When is a person successful? That’s a question that keeps playing in my head. When I was studying for my bachelors degree, to me it seemed there was a lot of pressure on building a strong resume. Do the right kind of internships and make sure the list of employers is not too long. Well, after ten years of a working life and 15 jobs I guess I failed at building a strong resume. My longest employment consisted of a one year contract at first and after that a 9 month on-call contract. My shortest job was just a few weeks long.
One could ask what happened. I’m still not sure exactly, but I used to blame it on others and the circumstances. I would sadly say “why is no-one giving me that chance?”. Now I know that partly yes, it was a bad time to find a job, I wasn’t the only one struggling. But there was something else going on. I lacked the passion and commitment that others seem to have. I’ve always been mediocre at everything.
But does that mean that I’m not successful?
What is the definition of success? I can’t quite put my finger on it. I could have googled for a bunch of popular writings where people put a modern explanation to the term successfulness. But in the end it doesn’t change the perception of a wanderer like me on today’s society?
And to be honest, I don’t even know what the perception of me by society is. All I know is that on a regular basis I’m feeling like I’m failing big time. Luckily there are many other moments that I’m truly happy with my life.
The professionals always stress the fact that it’s important that you work as long as you can for the same employer and work in your field of expertise as much as you can. The more experience you have in your field the easier it is to get hired. And yes that’s often why I was rejected, I didn’t have the same amount of experience as the other people who were applying. And it sucks to hear these kinds of things all the time.
But I’d like to highlight the pros of having had so many different jobs. Over the years I learned a bunch of skills that seem irrelevant if you are thinking about a landscape architect. But in everyday life it can come in quite useful. I worked for quite some time at a laundry service, and now doing laundry is way easier than it was before. Also I learned to cut different types of fruit in a very efficient way. I even learned the basics of HTML. On top of all that I’ve learned to adapt and adjust. I gained people skills by working with people from different walks of life and various places on the planet.
With having had more than 15 jobs I’ve had even more interviews. Now going for a job interview is not scary at all anymore, I just have to make sure that I’m not too relaxed when I go in. Only last Tuesday afternoon I had an interview for a position as an environmental coach. A job that doesn’t ask for any qualifications other than a passion for recycling and strong communicative skills. I was so enthusiastic during the interview that I was scared afterwards that I overdid it. I was ecstatic when the next morning I received a call that they wanted me on board.
Ofcourse I haven’t started yet but I think this is a job that gives me the same feel of making-a-difference as I had when I was in the Park Service. For the people who are now starting to worry about the business that I was starting, nothing to worry about I’m still working on that, it’s still a goal that I want to achieve. But one cannot live on just water and air unfortunately.
Back to my terrible career. I’m not a person who wants to “make it”. I’m not interested in fame or lot’s of money. But I do want to make a difference.
If we would define career as the path to reach your personal goals.
Then I’m for sure on the right way. All I have to keep in mind, as one of my personal examples Jochem Myjer said, is when climbing my career ladder to keep enjoying the view along the way because the view is amazing from each step on the ladder.
How would you define the term career? Do you agree with me? Let me know.