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03 August 2009 @ 04:16 pm
Success - how do you define it (OT)  
OT and a bit of introspection for the day, sorry, but I am curious if anyone wants to take the time to respond:

I had my ex ask me recently why, me the one with the college degree is "not as successful" as he, a convicted felon...

I, however, while I don't consider my current situation ideal (who does, really), I don't deem my life unsuccessful to this point. I may not make as much money as he does, but I made the decision to have a baby 19 years ago in lieu of grad school, which my BA in Theatre required me to have in order to do anything with it. I have chosen over the years to take perhaps lesser paying jobs that allowed me to A) be closer to home so that I could spend more time with my family and B) allowed me the flexibility of being able to take time off for things I needed to do for my family. While living in Chicago, surely I could have found a much higher paying admin job in the city than the one I had. But by the time I was done paying for the commute and everything else, coupled with the fact I'd never have seen Stephanie it wasn't even an option for me.

I've been in the working pool for 27 years now and I have never been fired, never been released, laid off or anything of the kind. I have left all of my - count them - 8 jobs during those 27 years - on excellent terms with excellent references following me to the next job. I had a boss at a company in Chicago give me $300 a month out of his pocket so that I wouldn't have to get a second job. He didn't want me exhausted coming to work every day (or not showing up at all). Surely if I wasn't a worthwhile employee to begin with he wouldn't have cared let alone been so generous with me. And, to me, that's what I strive to do in my life. Money is necessary, sure, but I'd rather be happy doing what I'm doing than make more money and be miserable.

So, it got me thinking - what do you define as being a success? Is it a set amount of money? Does money figure into the equation at all? If you had a long, happy, fruitful life and lived it out on a shack, hanging ten on Maui would that be success to you?

Just curious.
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Amber: the class | kat and ethanminttown1 on August 3rd, 2009 10:05 pm (UTC)
You're definitely successful, yes. :)

To me, money only comes into my definition of success as a means to an end. I need to achieve a level of professional "success" that will furnish enough money to have a home and a family with my soon-to-be fiancee. If she and I can afford to (preferably buy rather than rent) get a little house and raise a cat and a dog and a couple kids in it, then we'll have been successful, whether we ever use our (currently worthless) bachelor's degrees or go on to professional school. At this point, I think I'd prefer a retail or clerical job over going into politics or law, provided said job was full time with some benefits. I consider myself unsuccessful at the moment, though, because my part time crap job isn't giving me enough money to even move out of my parents' house, never mind to start a life with someone.

I didn't mean to turn that into a ramble on my situation. I was just using that to illustrate that I agree with your definition of success, and that money and job title don't really come into it.
apckrfan: unashamedly a hopeless fangirl!apckrfan on August 4th, 2009 09:15 pm (UTC)
Thank you for taking the time to respond. I realize this is a very subjective issue and there really is no right or wrong answer, but his comment made me both equally a bit angry (cuz he knows full-well I can't use my degree) and curious.

I hope things work out for you.

If it's worth anything, I work fast food full-time at the moment for the benefits and so that my youngest (5), who will start school this year doesn't need to go into daycare. Overnights suck, but I had no choice but to put my oldest in daycare so it's one of those things that's very important to me that no one else raise this one.

Good luck and thanks for sharing!
Davedlgood on August 3rd, 2009 10:42 pm (UTC)
So, it got me thinking - what do you define as being a success? Is it a set amount of money? Does money figure into the equation at all?

To me, it's a simple question with not simple answers. Do you know what your goals are in life? Do you have a reasonable faith that you can reach them?

Money enters into it, because money is a tool. If lack of funds prevents you from achieving that which you aspire to, then yeah, you aren't going to feel successful. If you have enough money to attain what you really want and value - then you're successful whether those dollar amounts are high or low.

The big thing is, if you can be honest with yourself about what you aspire to. If you are setting low goals because that's all you think you can get, rather than because it's all you genuinely require...

Money can be a nice measuring stick, and without a certain amount, we really are limited, but it's not the be-all, end-all.
apckrfan: unashamedly a hopeless fangirl!apckrfan on August 4th, 2009 09:17 pm (UTC)
It does have rather complex answers and the companion question "what is happiness" while simple is also complex to answer. LOL

I should print your comment out for my oldest. She's 18, just moved out and kind of floundering and what to do with her life. She says college in 6 months, but I fear she's not motivated enough to actually pursue it. Your words say rather succinctly what I've been trying to tell her for years.

Thanks for the response.
Davedlgood on August 5th, 2009 02:07 am (UTC)
You're welcome. I would say this for your 18-year old. If she's not motivated for college, and isn't really sure why she's going it makes sense not to start right away. As long as she's finding something valuable/productive/constructive to do with her time.

You know? We have our constraints, but after that it's really just a matter of making the best choices we can make and doing the work to get the most out of our time. (Unless we're lazy, and value avoiding work most of all...)

In my case, I have some money, but it doesn't make me feel any more or less successful, because it came from doing things unrelated from what I really cared about. But it does allow me more freedom to do things I wanted to do that I might otherwise have not afforded. (Like when I volunteered on political campaigns and the year I volunteered for my city government's traffic planning committee.)

But then, that's all just a part of growing up, figuring out what's important to you. It's sometimes useful to compare to others, but yeah, you can't let someone else's idea of success stand in for yours. One size doesn't fit all.
Stefanie (Stefwithaf/GreenLeoFiend)greenleofiend on August 4th, 2009 02:42 am (UTC)
Success has many definitions. You had many good jobs and seem happy. For you, that is your success.
apckrfan: unashamedly a hopeless fangirl!apckrfan on August 4th, 2009 09:19 pm (UTC)
Thank you for commenting. There are so many different interpretations of the word. I'm sure my father sees me as unsuccessful as well, but I've never been the type to want to work 12-15 hours a day and never see my family.
draconindraconin on August 4th, 2009 09:01 am (UTC)
This is something I've considered too because teaching's not exactly a profession that's ever going to make you rich and it's irritating sometimes seeing friends with *far* less qualifications than I have making double my salary.

However, to me success boils down to a) is what you're doing making society better, and b) do you feel happy doing what you're doing? The second is IMHO the most important point; there's no point in being a lawyer or a doctor if you hate your work!

ETD: The ex you mentioned who's a felon rather self-evidently fails my definition of success under part a) above.

Edited at 2009-08-04 09:05 am (UTC)
apckrfan: unashamedly a hopeless fangirl!apckrfan on August 4th, 2009 09:21 pm (UTC)
lol, I would agree with you and yet he can't seem to recognize this. He thinks I blame him for things I've never even thought of him with regard to, but he's rather self-involved that way.

My husband and I will never be rich and that's OK with me. The ex always had this goal of being retired by the time he was 45, that just never appealed to me and didn't seem worth the sacrifices (and he's suffered a lot of them!).

Thank you for your comment.