A recent survey by recruitment firm Reed has got me thinking about what it actually means to have a “successful” career. I recently posted about the stigma attached to blogging and how, even within the journalism industry, it is not only frequently misunderstood, but at times completely dismissed. Whilst blogging may not provide the quickest route to wealth, it does enable me to do something I love: getting creative and sharing experiences and insights that will (hopefully) help others in some way.
And, when it comes to looking beyond money, it seems that I’m not alone. Reed recently surveyed 2,000 workers across the UK in order to evaluate how they define success, and the results were somewhat surprising. As it turns out, an impressive pay packet is not the be-all and end-all, with 75% of participants considering a good work-life balance to be a true marker of success. Another interesting find was the value placed on flexible working, which stood out as a focal point for 41% of women and 31% of men. Whilst money will always play a part – most of us have to work in order to live – what this study shows is a shift in priorities; we are focusing less on financial indicators and prioritising instead the quality of our working lives.
As a passionate blogger and journalist-in-training, this is something I can wholeheartedly relate to. Having been told far too often that blogging is not a viable career path, I can’t help but feel somewhat vindicated by Reed’s survey: a hefty corporate pay packet is not the only measure of a successful career. The results are reflective of a generation who, armed with technology and a fresh outlook, are redefining what success typically looks like. Thanks to the internet, the flexibility and autonomy that so many of us value is well within reach, with remote and freelance work increasingly becoming the norm. Online entrepreneurship is not only the playground of writers or creatives, either; the rise of affordable and user-friendly hosting has made it easier than ever to use these flexible services to start your own web project and carve out an individual career path, be it blogging, ecommerce or otherwise.
What this study shows – or reminds us – is that reaching the top of the career ladder is not purely a matter of money. Success is about doing something you love, finding the work-life balance that is okay for you and, if necessary, taking a less conventional route to get there. If, like me, you are due to graduate this year or are considering your next career move, it’s important to remember that the meaning of “success” is different for everyone. Whether you’re chasing money, social change or independence from your boss, sticking to your goals despite the naysayers is, in my opinion, the biggest marker of success.