I was talking to a group of students recently about careers and what kind of thing they were looking at doing. The idea of the talk was to identify what kind path the students would have to take in order to gain the career they were after but during our talk, something kept occurring which interested me far more. It seemed that each student that I spoke to had a different idea of what a successful life looked like and it made me think about how much importance, if any, most people placed on this idea when electing a career.
Many of the students were looking for a job which meant that they could yield power on a daily basis. The most popular jobs that cam up within this field was positions such as CEO like the successful Lloyd Claycomb II or Bill Gates, others looked at varying managerial positions in a wide variety of industries when I asked them to define what kind of jobs they considered to boast the most amount of power.
Almost all of the students answered that money to them was a direct link to success in their careers although when asked if they would value this above their own happiness at work, many of the students were not convinced that they would. Professions such as doctors, lawyers and entrepreneurs were the most popular jobs that were mentioned when we got to talking about high wage earners in society.
This was the idea of success that really split the group as everyone has different ideas as to what happiness is to them. For many, it was the money and the power which they said would bring them happiness. Many other students cited a peaceful life, free from stress with lots of spare time to spend with the family and kids as their definition of happiness. Those who opted for the latter however, were hesitant to say whether they would take a job that was boring, in order to gain their idea of a happy life.
Interestingly, when the topic of fame came up, many of the students were very clear that they had absolutely no desire whatsoever to pursue a career in sports or entertainment for reasons of fame. There were some in the group who wanted to be sports stars but none of them said that fame was a driving factor behind this and that instead they simply wanted to reach the pinnacle of their careers and seek to win whatever they could.
What does success mean to you? Have you spent the time to look at your life in reverse and begin with the life which you want to create for yourself and then tracked it back to see what kind of career could give you that life? If not then perhaps now is the time to do it, in order to make sure that you go after a career which can reward you in the way that you want to be rewarded.