Success is relative.
While certain people come to despise their jobs believing that they are stuck doing a routine they have been performing over and over everyday for years, some of us rejoice in the idea that what we are doing is interesting, awesome; something others wish they had just the same job. This is because success is relative.
We all want to be successful in our career, but do we even understand our personal measure of success? Do we base it on the standards set by others, so that we constantly compare ourselves to them?
I was once a hopper in the career world . I changed jobs year after year. I got bored and unsatisfied easily, that each day at work just didn’t feel right. Reporting to work felt like a struggle, a test I only needed to pass and never to top.
At one point I started reflecting on what could be so wrong with my job. Why did I feel like nothing was going right? Eventually, I realized that the problem was not the job I was holding, but myself. In fact, some of my colleagues thought my job was perfect. It was the kind they wanted to find after college. I realized that the jobs I held were simply not my calling. I thought of them as just pathways towards where I should really be going. Hence, I always felt the need to leave and venture elsewhere.
So I began to browse through job hunting sites, checking out the classified ads in newspapers, and asking some friends for possible referrals in their workplaces. Then I made a list of prospective jobs and companies, both local and overseas. It was a long list. I sent my applications and showed up for interviews one after the other.
My ultimate goal was to land, not just a job, but a career. I had to choose one that would make me want to stay until I reach my retirement age. I had to choose the one that would move me to say that I am successful.
I had stumbled on Confucius’ adage: Choose the job you love and you will never work a day in your life.
And it hit me. I revised my list, narrowed it down to a few choices. I considered not the amount of money I would earn or the possible promotions I could get (since these may knock on my door through hard work and proper timing), but creating a specific mindset: to find a job where I would be doing the same task every day without getting tired because I loved what I was doing. A job that I can proudly share about when anyone asks what I do for a living. Ultimately, I would be establishing a career that would allow me to tell myself: Yes, finally, I am successful.
Years after landing the job which I currently hold, I can say that I am still as thrilled as the first time I typed my login code on my keyboard, edited my first manuscript, received my first paycheck, and made new friends at work. Everything feels pretty much the same, except that some colleagues have left, also for good reason—to discover their own version of success.
Success is relative. It comes with different struggles, bad decisions, lost opportunities, heartbreaking failures. But the plot of our story cannot be written by somebody else. We cannot seek anyone else’s approval. We cannot solely live up to other people’s expectations. They cannot simply outline what ought to be done.
We are, after all, the author of our own story. We are accountable for every word we write on our book. It is up to us to turn all our struggles into victory.
Other people can see our careers as fulfilling. We can see theirs as fulfilling as well. What can be learned from this is that there is really no standard set to label a job as a “dream job.” Not a company’s profile, salary offer nor the job itself makes such a “dream job”. The dream job is one that makes you feel dignified by doing the task that you love over and over for the rest of your life.
Here’s the secret: The people around us do not define our success. We do!