What does your career mean to you?

Uncategorized Sep 19, 2022

What does a ‘successful’ career mean to you?


When I was a junior lawyer, I knew EXACTLY what it meant.


It was what the legal industry told me it was. 


It meant qualifying as an associate at a ‘good’ firm, performing ‘above class’ then getting on the partnership track as soon as humanly possible. 


Things not factored into the ‘success’ narrative:


  • Sleep… or any type of rest really
  • Relationships with human beings outside of work
  • Time for other interests, commitments etc. 


Looking back, I don’t regret going for partnership. I enjoyed a LOT about my job, the people, the challenge, the deal-closing adrenalin … ☺ 


But I never really questioned the definition of ‘success’ that society and my industry had handed to me. Which made it REALLY HARD to set boundaries or choose a different path. 


When I started questioning my priorities and options, I felt like a FAILURE…


Crazy looking back at it. But at the time my brain went automatically to ‘failure’ because I’d totally internalised someone else’s model of what ‘success’ looks like. 


A model created by white middle-class men 70+ years ago. Men with totally different commitments, support systems, values, priorities and expectations of life than me. 


So, in case this resonates, I just wanted to remind you that YOU are the authority in your own life and career. You get to decide what ‘success’ means for you. 


Maybe it’s


  • partnership or the equivalent in your field.
  • pivoting to a different role or industry.
  • creating a life with more space for other things that matter.
  • making a ton of money doing something else.


Maybe it changes in different seasons of your life. 


Whatever the case, good for you. Go for it. 


Remember, what qualifies as a ‘successful’ career is just an opinion. 


Your version is just as valid as anyone else’s. 


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