For many of us, it’s easy to believe that our careers aren’t going as planned. Maybe your salary is lower than you hoped. Or perhaps your job title isn’t quite as impressive as you planned. That doesn’t mean your career isn’t successful.
There is more to careers than money and titles. In fact, your career may be far more successful than you thought.
What makes a successful career? It will look different to everyone, but professionals commonly have traits that define “success,” at least for most. For instance, most people need to feel fulfilled in their careers. When we feel like our work matters, we are more likely to enjoy our careers and do a better job. Inner peace is critical.
In addition, most of us need to get along with our boss. While compensation is a significant cause of quitting jobs for most people, many of us leave to escape a bad working environment with management. A toxic relationship with our boss will kill our job satisfaction and career progression faster than anything else.
It’s about more than just money.
Sadly, too many people conflate job titles and salaries with career “success.” When we do that, we pigeonhole ourselves into a very narrow scope that could hurt our career prospects because we inaccurately believe our career is going nowhere.
Here are seven signs that your career is more successful than you thought.
Sign #1: You Have a Great Work/Life Balance
Some people work 10 to 12 hours a day, every day. In fact, more than 3/4ths of people experience burnout at work. If you’ve managed to avoid being a part of this terrifyingly-high statistic, it sounds like you’ve built a well-balanced career, and not many people have done that. Congratulations!
Sign #2: You’re More Talented Than You Were Last Year
If you are learning something new at your job – like a new skill, software product, or way of doing business, that sounds like a great position to be in. If your job helps add more skills to your resume, you’re doing wonderful. Keep this up, and your career will continue to flourish. Learning new skills at work is definitely a sign of a successful career.
Extra credit if you’re getting regular promotions. Getting promoted is often the best way to learn new things and level up your career continuously. Job advancements mean you’re doing a great job, and your employer values your work, and that’s great for your career, even if you don’t like what you do.
Sign #3: Your Coworkers are Your Friends
If you get along well with your coworkers and maybe even do things with each other outside of work, chances are you work with great people. Working with people you like being around will help make your career successful because you’ll enjoy going to work and doing your job. And making friends with coworkers expands your professional network, which helps create more opportunities for you at other companies as your coworkers switch jobs.
Always keep in contact with your coworkers when they leave for another company. You never know what opportunities will come up, and switching jobs is an excellent way to boost your skills, experience, and salary throughout your career.
Sign #4: You Are Passionate About Your Job
There aren’t many people who claim to love what they do. According to research, while 65% of people are satisfied with their jobs, only 20% are passionate about them. That’s only two in 10 people! If you’re one of these people (and can’t imagine doing anything else), that’s a perfect sign your career is heading in the right direction.
Sign #5: You Work With Your Boss, Not Just for Your Boss
If your boss actively tries to keep you involved at work, that’s a great sign that they value your contributions. For instance, I worked side-by-side with my bosses throughout my career. They would include me in high-profile decisions and keep me in the loop, which is not something they did with most coworkers. As a result, I got more opportunities for advancement, and when I asked for raises, I would generally get them (three out of four times).
Sign #6: You Lose Yourself in Your Work
If you’re not staring at the clock all day waiting for it to strike 5 pm, then you probably enjoy your job enough to get wrapped up in it. During my career, I would routinely lose track of time. It was a great feeling knowing that my work was satisfying and purposeful. When we like our work, our primary focus isn’t on how many hours are left until we get to leave.
Sign #7: You Turn Down Other Job Opportunities
If you turn down other job opportunities, that’s a tell-tale sign that your career is doing well. If it wasn’t, you probably would have taken another job. Saying no to other work opportunities indicates that you have confidence in where you’re at in your career. That’s a great spot to be in!
This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.
Steve Adcock is an early retiree who writes about mental toughness, financial independence and how to get the most out of your life and career. As a regular contributor to The Ladders, CBS MarketWatch and CNBC, Adcock maintains a rare and exclusive voice as a career expert, consistently offering actionable counseling to thousands of readers who want to level-up their lives, careers, and freedom. Adcock's main areas of coverage include money, personal finance, lifestyle, and digital nomad advice. Steve lives in a 100% off-grid solar home in the middle of the Arizona desert and writes on his own website at SteveAdcock.us.