Any serious professional wants to achieve and maintain career success. It’s in your blood. The drive beckons you to get out of bed in the morning and engage in the process of putting your best efforts forward. The goal of career success is why you’ve spent time, money, and energy educating yourself in your chosen field.

A successful career points you in the direction of realizing your potential and being able to share that passion and enthusiasm with others. However, to be successful you must first determine what success means to you. After all, if you don’t know what you’re trying to achieve, how will you know when you’ve achieved it?

So, what does career success look like to you?

How one defines success is personal. Some define career success as making a certain level of income. Others define it by the height of the corporate ladder they’ve climbed. Some define it by the amount of joy they derive from the work they do. Others define it by the access to a collaborative network of peers. And still others define it by the standards of what others think.

So, how do you define success?

It’s important to define your own career success.

There are countless articles that exist which tell us what success looks like in the general sense. But what success means to an entrepreneur is going to look entirely different from what it looks like to someone employed by someone else. A brain surgeon is going to have a far different take on what success means than an accountant. For the surgeon, a successful day is saving someone’s life. For the accountant, success looks more like a balanced ledger. We can’t define our success by comparing it to what others think it should be. Success is personal because when you come down to it, only you can know what’s important to you.

Defining Career Success

Determine what’s important

When you understand what’s important to you as a person, you’ll be better able to determine when you’re in alignment with success. Is it work/life balance, high income, flexibility, ability to affect paycheck through increased production, teamwork, short commute or creativity that’s important to you? The answer will cue you in on the criteria you’ll need to help you define success.

Know your value

Knowing what you value, and marrying that to your work, can significantly raise the level of satisfaction you derive in your career. If you have a deep understanding of your value, you will be in a better position to determine what success is and how best you can achieve it.

Evaluate your feelings come Monday morning

So many people are unhappy and unfulfilled in their jobs. They struggle with the Sunday night blues, dreading the alarm clock waking them from their slumber and tossing them into the trenches of the Monday morning march to the office. A good question to help you evaluate what kind of career will set you up for success is what kind of work would make me feel excited that it’s Monday morning?  The answer to that question will point you in the direction of your passion. Where there is passion, there is also a strong indicator success will naturally fall in beside you.

If you’re looking to explore career options in the ISD field, UMBC’s ISD Graduate Programs offer both master’s and certificate degree options. And, they are completely online.

By what criteria do you define career success?

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