Despite earning a handsome salary, enjoying power within a company and status in society, many people still feel a nagging discontent.
I’ve known CEOs, CFOs, CMOs, etc. – at the peak of their careers – earning a seven-figure salary, living in palatial bungalows in metropolitan cities, enjoying all amenities and luxuries that money can buy. But still unsatisfied.
Why does life start looking ‘unfair’ to many of us?
This tells us that lack of fulfillment in professionals lives isn’t necessarily related to what we think it is, designation, salaries, perks. The root cause is deeper, an introspection that most of us ignore all through our professional lives.
But before exploring exactly what is it that we feel missing from our lives, let us first try to define career success.
Creating your own definition of success
Most of us nourish secret desires to do something different than our current job profiles. However, first parental pressure and then societal expectations decide our path to already set combinations of degrees that eventually serve well for professional interviews. This does bring handsome salaries but leaves most wondering in the long-run if they are actually happy.
On the other end of the spectrum are people who follow their passions for performance arts, creative arts, cooking etc. but do not earn enough to be as comfortable as their corporate peers. As a consequence, they suffer a similar level of angst related to the choices they made at the beginning of their career.
Venturing out in our professional lives involves a compromise between idealism and practicality. This where career success comes into play.
The mainstream definitions of career success revolves around achieving a good level of financial stability in a job that you enjoy doing and doesn’t make you regret choices taken down the years. It is attached to waking up hungry everyday and sleeping fulfilled every night. Success, therefore, involves performing the work you are passionate about while earning enough to lead a comfortable life. No amount of money or designation will matter if you are not at peace or happy doing your job.
As a recruiter in our modern, 21st Century, digitally powered corporate world, I’ve seen candidates struggle with certain obstacles on the path to achieving career success. Here are the 5 most common roadblocks to a successful career:
Roadblocks to a successful career
- Lack of understanding: Most young prospects never bother to take the time to ponder what success actually means to them and what they want from their career. This is where the need of early career counselling arises. A well-thought out and far-sighted approach to job hunting ensures one doesn’t eventually become disillusioned stuck in the wrong job.
- Fear of failure: People are often deterred by a fear of failure or a fear of the unknown. They avoid taking risks because they are fearful of adverse consequences. This prevents them from taking on new challenges and growing. In turn, it results in a life of unhappiness instead of the uncertainty. Embracing the unknown.
- You’re unwilling to do whatever it takes: Some people feel powerless to change their circumstances, sometimes pressured by family obligations. Unwillingness to make the necessary sacrifices often dissolves the pursuit of dreams.
- The victim attitude: This involves attributing blame for lows of your life to others. Such people play the victim card often and expect others to create opportunities for them.
- Pleasing others instead of the self: Every office has people who climb up the ladder by pleasing senior management rather than being an actual asset to the company. They pursue or sacrifice projects based on what others feel. Eventually, they realize that they are living someone else’s dream.
Though career success has different definitions in different contexts, one commonality is that you must like your job or the work you do so that it can help you grow. Here are some tips that can help you to have a successful and satisfying career:
Tips for career success
- Choose your profession wisely: Pick a profession that matches your interests, personality, values and aptitude. Always ask yourself, “Do I see myself enjoying this work every day for so many years?” Do proper research about the job’s requirements, prerequisites, as well as average salaries and ensure it syncs with your goals.
- Make your own decisions: Don’t let others decide if a particular field is good for you or not. Converse with parents, relatives or friends and take on their wisdom to enrich your knowledge. Pay heed to their advice but don’t follow it blindly.
- Define what “success” means for you: Is it a fat salary check? Quick promotions? Or praise and credit from your boss? Or is it having the right work-life balance? You should define what success means to you. Your satisfaction with your career is associated with whether you feel constitutes your goals.
- Own your mistakes: Everyone makes mistakes. The important thing is to own them, learn from them and make an effort either to rectify them or mitigate their effects.
- Seek help and be grateful: When you think you are stuck and need some advice, always be receptive to help. Have a mentor and take advantage of their experience and expertise. Always express gratitude to those who have helped you.
- Ditch the negative attitude: Don’t always complain, crib or see the glass half empty. Negativity kills productivity, slows you down and saps your energy. Instead of complaining, be proactive and find a way to fix your problems. Don’t be too harsh on yourself. Take pride in all your successes and positive attributes.
We all want to feel in control of our lives. And that needs aligning purpose, passion and values with your career decisions. It makes no difference whether you’re a CEO, salesperson, actor or a teacher. Whether you work in a skyscraper, restaurant or a school.
Chart your own career path and make sure that it is not only giving you satisfaction in terms of finances but also empowering you to do what you like, to make your own decisions, and most importantly give you peace and happiness.