SUCCESS. This is something I’ve been struggling with here lately. What does it look like for me? Is it different for everyone? How do I define it? All these questions and more have been running through my mind because I’ve come to a point in my life where I have to ask myself, “am I happy?” The truth is, I don’t know! I suspect other women in their mid-20s are asking themselves the same thing. So let’s deep dive into “success” not only from a career stand-point, but also from a mental health perspective!
What am I doing with my life? Is it meaningful? Do I enjoy it? These are all questions I’ve asked myself recently. To be clear, I’m not questioning getting married or if I have enough friends or the right ones; I’m questioning my career choices. I work in the marketing industry as a Marketing Manager. I like what I do. I think. But it isn’t what I thought I’d be doing.
Full transparency here: At 17 years old I wanted to work in politics and change the world. By the time I turned 21, I said “to heck with that” and decided to pursue other interests. I’m glad I did that. However, I’m honestly not sure how I got to where I am now. I didn’t purposely choose marketing, it chose me. And thus begins my quarter-life crisis, if you want to call it that.
Finding the Right Job
I feel like in your early twenties, your choices of jobs are little less curated and a little more take what you can get. But towards the end of your twenties, when you have some experience under your belt, you get to be a little more picky. And that’s where I am right now. What do I do next and who do I want to work for? I’d like to stay within the marketing industry, as I feel I’m pretty darn good at what I do. But working for the right people makes a huge difference! Having worked for several companies now, I know what I like and what I don’t.
- I like companies that trust their employees and don’t micromanage.
- I like companies that value charity and helping the community.
- I like companies that are flexible with working from home from time to time and put an emphasis on work-life balance.
- I do not like companies that think you aren’t able to work unless you’re sitting in a cubicle.
- I don’t like companies that have stringent vacation time policies and only give a day off at Christmas and Thanksgiving.
- I don’t like companies that don’t value new ideas and planning for the future.
There are a lot of good and bad places to work. So as I look to my next move in my career, I’ll be a little more picky. I want to go somewhere that I can be successful and VALUED.
Am I successful?
I’ve also been asking myself for awhile now, “am I as successful as I should be?” This is a hard question to answer because success is different to everyone. For the sake of this blog post, I”m defining success as “the ability to make executive decisions in your role and being paid in correlation to the difficulty of those decisions.”
My role has totally changed since I was first hired. A lot. I’ve taken on more responsibility and started leading and making directional decisions. I honestly love that! So in terms of leading and finding new opportunities within my role, I’m successful. But, as many young women (and sometimes men) find, I’m not being rewarded for the risks and responsibilities.
Talking to other young professionals about their job roles, salary, benefits, and work environment has shown me that often times, we undercut ourselves! You can be young and successful, but you have to see the value in yourself before anyone else will. With that in mind, I can affirm that I’ve only been successful in terms of the responsibility I have in my role. Not much else.
What About Mental Health?
Ahhhh… mental health in the workplace. It’s so important and I think employers are finally understanding that. But I think there’s more to mental health than not crying at your desk every day. For me, my mental health tends to take a hit when I’m being overloaded with work or when I don’t feel like I’m being heard or respected. It’s demoralizing and exhausting.
Working somewhere that understands the amount of time and effort that goes into a single task or project is so important to being successful within that company. Working for people with experience and know-how can make or break your mental health.
I think we can all agree that no company is going to be absolutely perfect and some days you’ll feel more drained than others. But when every day becomes an energy drain and you feel defeated, that isn’t healthy.
Ok, Now What?
This is so hard for me to answer for myself, let alone you! I will tell you that if any of this resonated with you, then maybe it’s time to go somewhere new or try something new! As I was writing this, I couldn’t tell if I was writing it for myself or for my readers. I think it’s a little of both because we’ve all been here!
Personally, I’m going to pray about it and then make some decisions. The world is my oyster as my mom says!