The Facade of Career Success

You land that dream job. You get that six-figure income. You get that fancy title in your signature line. You are the envy of all your peers.  

Have you ever asked yourself why does all of that matter?


You tell yourself that…


…you’re providing for your family.  


…you’re giving your kids a better future.


…you’re enhancing your career.


…you’re building a bigger bank account.


Your list of reasons goes on.


Thing is that you and me have both fallen for the façade of career success. Then, we wonder why we still have a gnawing dissatisfaction every day that we get up to go do the daily grind again.


We may be able to last for several months--or even years--in this state. Some of us become addicted to the prestige we associate with our identities in the workplace. We are afraid to do anything else, even though we know that deep down inside we are desperate for a way out.


I’m speaking from my own personal experience.


Self-admittedly, I am a very ego-driven person. I want to be the best at what I do. I want the recognition for it in the workplace. I want to be acknowledged as a Gen Y thought leader in my areas of expertise.  Therefore, I pursued that “big position in San Francisco with a big salary.” I got what I wanted.


But in the process, I discovered that “big salary, big title” did not resonate with my value system. I began to lose my connection with my family, excusing my actions because I was the breadwinner for the family.


My recipe was Work More + Play Less = Be Successful No Matter What The Cost.


It did not turn out too well. Thankfully, I caught my mistake before I became too accustomed to The Lifestyle. Our family made some drastic changes to downsize our lifestyle and pursue a more minimalist path. Spending quality time together became a priority over monetary success.


What happened? We actually came out financially ahead. We’ve never looked back.


For us counterculturists, career success is often just a façade used to make us appear happy and feel like we matter to society. When we decide to tear down that façade, it’s scary. We don’t know what we will find. We wonder who we will become. We fear what others will think about our decision. We don’t know how we will make ends meet.


Yes, there will be a shaky period when you question that decision. It’s not easy. You will need to reassess what matters to you and how you can make a living. What you will discover is a deep satisfaction once you align your work with your value system. You will no longer be exchanging your time and energy for a big heap of cash at the expense of _________. (fill in the blank)


Do it. I double-dog dare you.


Your Turn: Are you doubting your career path because it clashes with one (or more) of your values? What are you going to do about it?