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Adam Davis
Adam Davis

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What does a successful career look like?

A career in tech can take so many different forms that it can be difficult to define what your own personal definition of success looks like.

Are you motivated to reach a particular title or level of compensation?

Is your goal to build certain products or become an expert in certain areas?

Or are you trying to find the perfect work-life balance in a low stress environment?

How have your perceptions of success changed over time?

Discussion (4)

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bradtaniguchi profile image
Brad

I think being able to define what a successful career is secondary to the more broad concern of what one wants out of life.

I think overlooking what one wants out of life can lead to "hollow goals", especially if one focuses on an aspect that isn't actually one of their actual top priorities.

Things like spending time with love ones, traveling the world, or financial freedom don't always go hand in hand with one's career and career choices. This doesn't apply to everyone, but it should be something one keeps in mind when thinking about their career.

It's because of this, I'd say a "successful career" is one that enables you to fulfill what you want out of life.

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brewinstallbuzzwords profile image
Adam Davis Author

I find myself increasingly shifting my definition of success from focusing on promotions and compensation toward what type of life my work allows me to live.

I'm mostly focusing on hitting certain thresholds in compensation and job title while maintaining low levels of stress and keeping my job from being an all-consuming part of my life (burnout isn't fun).

I find this hard to balance with options like FIRE (financially independent retire early), because I know that if I worked harder now I could make more money and then not need to work at all later in life.

The downside to that, though, is that many of the joys of life require regular long-term commitment, and being alive and healthy tomorrow is never guaranteed. My current work-life balance allows me to spend a significant amount of my time on my hobbies and gradually improve at them, even though I don't always get to spend as much time on them as I'd like.

Overall though, I find it really rewarding to have some feeling of ownership over something I've made. I like the feeling of leading to implementation of important features at work, and I hope to keep doing that for a while.

Blogging has been fun as well, since I can create the guides that I wish I'd had when learning a topic.

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Thomas Iguchi

Health and some kind of fulfilling private life right here and now and in the near future is really important.

My father lived for his work and was pretty consumed by it. When he finally retired he came up with all those new dreams and goals. He bought a fancy car, a huge flat screen TV that was quite pricey at that time, and he wanted to keep working as a consultant and bought a laptop as well. A year later he was diagnosed with cancer, and about 6 months later he died.

That was a huge wake-up call for me. Projecting all goals of a fulfilling life into some distant and unknown future is actually very unfair towards your current self, because you are basically forbidding yourself from achieving some of that life balance and happiness right here and now. And it's also unfair towards your future self, because that's a huge burden not everyone has the ability or time on Earth to carry.

And to be honest, I still didn't find my own work-life balance, even though I should know better. It's difficult, because the world we live in expects us to just live for work and nothing much else.

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Cesar Aguirre

For me it's not a title or salary or company, it's the perfect lifestyle