How My Measures of Success and Happiness at Work Have Shifted

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!