What is Success? — 4 Comments

  1. Hopefully, we can enjoy the journey, so that it doesn’t matter if we ever get to where we want to be… That’s one of the things that I keep reminding myself: My current job – which pays nicely and could be considered a success in some camps because of that – does not feel like success to me. I don’t enjoy it. But I am noticing that I am already feeling pressure from myself to achieve something great in my new career (which I haven’t started in yet!). Instead, I just want to enjoy what I do every day!

  2. I agree with Elise, there’s more pressure on singles to be successful at work. If that’s what you want, that’s fine, but you have to be careful not to neglect other areas of life. I think whether or not you’ve achieved “success” depends upon the definition you use. And hopefully that definition will include more than just promotions at work.

    And I agree with Elise about achieving success at a certain age, it makes it harder to feel better about yourself as you get older. I toiled for a decade as a mediocre molecular biologist, never really happy with my career. I felt rather stuck Now that I’m an RN I have a chance to achieve some success, even though I’m pushing 40. It may take a few years to get to where I really want to be, but I figure it doesn’t matter when I get there, just as long as I do get there.

  3. Thank you, Elsie, for tying this success thing to the single status! That is such a very good & important point! And it all boils down to not allow us to simply enjoy life and be average…

  4. You’re definitely not alone! One of the cultural messages we’re fed is that we MUST be measurably successful by a certain age, and I think that produces a lot of anxiety in people who otherwise wouldn’t desire those particular measures of success.

    Another even more interesting message I’ve noticed is that singles especially MUST have career success in order to make up for what they lack in the family department. That is, there seems to be less pressure on men and women (especially women!) who are married with children to be high achievers because they’ve already “achieved” the goal of marriage and children. On the other hand, there’s this pervasive attitude that if you don’t have a spouse or children, then you’d better have something else to show for yourself. After all, if you don’t have anyone to take care of at home, you should be living at the office and jumping at every chance to climb the career ladder, right? In keeping with this philosophy, the majority of protagonists in chick lit and romcoms are singles who “have it all” except the guy/girl of their dreams. Yet the majority of singles are NOT living wealthy or glamorous lifestyles. It makes those of us singles who are just average working stiffs feel doubly bad for all the expectations we’re not living up to!

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