Everybody’s success story
Success is relative.
While certain people come to despise the job that they hold, believing that they are stuck in a task that they have been performing over and over again every day for years now, some of us rejoice in the idea that what we are doing is interesting, even cool or awesome, and that others wish they have the same or even similar job, or at least the same level of guts to be able to nail it. Well, it’s because success is relative.
In the world of jobs and careers, we walk with different perspectives. Some of us are amazed by the success of others and at the same time neglect our own career. Because we set too high standards, we fail to see that every little thing that we do at work reflects our own definition of success.
We achieve good things. It doesn’t matter how big or small the achievement is; we achieve good things every day. And these small achievements will accumulate, and within years, we will realize how big a change we have made, not only in ourselves, but also in our workplace. But we fail to even picture this, because there is always a point in our professional life when we become too consumed with defining what constitutes real success.
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 with them?
I was once a hopper in the world of careers. I changed jobs year after year. I got bored and unsatisfied easily, feeling that every day at work just didn’t feel right day after day. It felt like reporting for work was basically a struggle, and was 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, and that the problem was myself. In fact, in the opinion of some of my colleagues, my job was perfect; it was what they had wanted to find after college. It was where they wanted to devote themselves and their services until they reached retirement age.
True enough, I realized that the jobs I held were not my calling. I thought these were just pathways toward where I should be going. Hence, I always felt the need to leave and venture elsewhere.
So I began to browse through online job-hunt sites, to check out the classified ads in newspapers, and to ask 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 in which I saw myself working my entire career-life. 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 of it because I love what I am doing and, at the same time, I can proudly tell anyone who 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 in which I am still engaged, I can say I still feel the same way about it. I am still as thrilled as the first time I typed my log-in 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 is a story we write about ourselves. 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 paper. It is up to us to turn all our struggles into victory.
Other people think of our career as fulfilling. We think of theirs as fulfilling as well. What can be learned from this is that there is really no standard set to label a job a “dream job.” Not a company’s profile, salary offer, or the job itself makes such a “dream job,” but the one that makes you feel dignified by doing the task that you love over and over again, for the rest of your career-life. Here’s the thing: The people around us do not define our success. We do!
Heinrick G. Rabara, 28, is associate editor for law books at Rex Publishing Inc.
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