How we are taught to measure success is so wrong

I was struck by the above image in this tweet.

This is something I have been hoodwinked by my whole life. I have always measured success by my job title and the associated salary, and with this the material objects that came along for the ride. Health insurance, a company car, the authority and the obligatory suit to symbolise my status.

Certain aspects of the above were advantageous of course, but I think back to the facade that was kept up throughout and the conformity that was required to exist in such a space. I did not realise it at the time, but so much of my corporate existence was not real in any way and I can look back now and wonder why it all felt so completely normal.

I can look back now because I have, for many years, worked in different positions where I can wear what I want and where the lack of corporaticity (new word!) is ever present. It has enabled me to move the priority of what is important to me in different ways and I now realise that the second pie chart above makes a whole lot more sense than the first one.

Lockdown has also taught me this in a much bigger way and I suspect that many others are going through the same thing. Just maybe, the pandemic will have a shiny silver lining after all.

2 thoughts on “How we are taught to measure success is so wrong

  1. The subtitles to the categories in the first chart are the striving for more money and the striving for a better perceived job title. For example, if you’re a sales person, the next level is sales manager, and then Senior, etc. The actual acquisition of money or title doesn’t necessarily make us happy or content and the striving certainly does harm in the form of stress and usually negative effect on family and others.

    I always looked at my working life in 3 pieces, the job, the environment, and the salary. If at least 2 out of 3 were satisfactory, I was reasonably happy. The job is both what you’re doing and whether you like it, which usually relates to how well you can do it. The environment is where you work and the people around you. And salary relates to whether you think you’re being paid appropriately to what you contribute and whether it supports you reasonably well.

    I was lucky in my working career in that early on, I learned that I much preferred doing it myself than managing other people. Even when I was a product manager, directing people involved with the product, there was a people manager taking care of reviews, evaluations, salaries, etc. I also found that the best managers and leaders actually liked doing what they were doing.

    1. Interesting thoughts Bob- you seem to have nailed taking the right approach. The one part of management I enjoyed was managing people, I hated the politics and the sneaky behaviour of so many other managers.

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