Over the last few months I’ve reflected on my career to date and what makes me so happy doing what I’m doing. I started thinking about me 10 years ago and realized how dramatically my measures of success and happiness at work had shifted. 10 years ago, I was working on my bachelor’s degree, counting down to the day when I could join the workforce and climb my way up the corporate ladder to what would make me happy – a great title and lots of money (you know, the usual business grad mindset). Obviously, my definition of success was very rigid but also limited.
7 years later and I’ve found I have new measures of success and happiness at work that boil down to three simple questions:
Am I learning?
This is a biggie. I’ve been very privileged in my role to take part in projects that interest me, including projects that span way beyond the scope of my normal role and challenge me.
Am I inspired?
Since I started working (including my jobs in high school and university!) I have had the good fortune to work with some exceptional leaders and massively talented people, all of which inspire me to do more and set higher goals than I initially set for myself.
Do I feel valuable?
Does my work feel like I’m making a difference? Does it give me a sense of purpose? Do I feel like my contributions are recognized and valued by my team?
It’s a great thing to dream and set goals, monetary or non-monetary. Striving for the next step is important. But it’s also important to critically think about your roles to really define what makes you jump out of bed in the morning – this exercise may even change some of your goals!