Monday, August 29, 2005

My Definition of Success - WEbring Assignment #4

This week's post comes thanks to Ms. Wish to See. [Hyperlinking is apparently not an option here at home so I'll have to do it from my computer at work tomorrow... which technically is in a very large baggie right now, so don't hold your breath.] If you’re just tuning in, each week someone posts a topic and we each blog on it. Everyone is getting anxious as they run out of responsible people to generate ideas and we narrow in on my inevitable turn (#6, no doubt).

I've thought about this one for a bit. Despite the diversity of approaches taken by the others, I simply can't divorce this question from thoughts on my career. I suppose this says something about my own priorities and prioritization of career "success." I agree with Ms. Write Again Soon that financial security is important. Not sheer wealth, of course. I always bristle when people say "Oh, she's a very successful taxidermist," in which they don't mean she stuffs a lot of animals per hour, or that they are objectively very well stuffed, or even that she creatively puts them in hilarious everyday positions. Rather, they mean she makes bank.

I do rate financial security as an imperative. Some financial autonomy would be nice too -- the chance to live in the neighborhood of my choice, and to have enough experiences to enrich my exposure in this lifetime. Other than that, I'm not counting my ducks as the measure of my success.

So upon reflection, I've determined that my definition of success is autonomy. Not complete autonomy, as I appreciate working within structured institutions, especially because I do believe that ones efforts have exponential effect when acting in unison with others to a common goal. When your efforts are in conflict with those around you, of course, the result is the depletion of anyone's effectiveness. Regardless, I enjoy my exposure to colleagues and the opportunities both to persuade and to learn.

Within these institutions, we come in at junior levels, where much of what we do is at the behest of others. Success to me would come when I've impressed these “others” with the quality of my work and have been given additional responsibility and trust. With that comes the potential for advancement to higher positions, more responsibility, and more autonomy. Eventually, one who is successful would reach a level of partnership with the others guiding the direction of the institution, and would have a say in its mission, goals, and resulting product.

For more, read:
Write Again Soon
Wish To See
A Little Meryment
Post No Bills

A Prize in Every Box

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