Recently, a friend mentioned something about identity and jobs and I commented that I feel like now that I don’t have a job I no longer have an identity, at least in the eyes of the world. We like to define people by their jobs. I wrote about this and about how I didn’t want to be defined by my job six years ago. The problem is, people still want to judge people and their success by what they do and how much money they make. I have failed at society’s view of success my entire life.
When I was in college I failed at being successful by struggling with my grades at first, changing majors at the last minute, and taking over 5 years to graduate. I failed at being successful by deciding to get a library science degree instead of going into a better field. I failed at being successful by not only being a librarian, but also being the “jail guy” instead of a real librarian. I failed at being successful by being turned down for every promotion I applied for at my job I failed at being successful by never moving up a pay grade for the entire 25 years I worked at the library. I failed at being successful by making less money than my wife. I failed at being successful by quitting my job before I was eligible to retire. In the eyes of the world, I could easily be seen as a failure and I’m sure in the eyes of some, I am.
Now, I don’t even know what would be considered a success for me. Is it writing a blog post? Is it getting a certain number of views? Is it writing non-blog stuff? Is it number of words? Is it being published? Is it getting stuff done around the house? Has success passed me by and I am now a lost cause? I have no salary. I have no title. I have no job. By society’s standard I am very far from successful.
But what is success, really?
I raised two kids who have grown to be decent people.
I devoted more time to spending time with them than working(at home and work)
I worked for 14 years with a church youth group and like to think I was a positive influence on the lives of a number of teens.
I coached youth sports and danced in the dad’s dance at my daughter’s dance recital.
I chaperoned school fields trips.
I created a program at work that encouraged the singing talent of area teens.
I believe that the impact I had on lives from that list is a better way to judge my success than job titles and bank accounts. I would rather have that list than more hours at work making more money. Others would disagree.
How do you define success?