I think I may have insulted a really good friend last night. And really more than one, but only one was around to hear what I said.
See I’ve been having a difficult time defining success. The fear of failure is ever lurking particularly when you work in journalism and particularly when half your company has been let go.
People don’t just get let go because they’ve failed at their job. But when we try to work harder in order to keep our job, we adopt the opposite thinking. Having becomes success, and losing becomes failure.
All sorts of characteristics come out in people when it appears you may be on a sinking ship. Or at least a ship where everyone is getting thrown overboard. You have people who never use the internet, updating their resumes and online profiles. People having drinks with other people they normally wouldn’t have but now they have something in common. The need for success.
I used to think that success could not be measured by dollar signs or material wealth. And now I feel that too, is incredibly insulting.
Now I’m going to say something even more insulting. I used to think that simply raising a family wasn’t enough. That it was good but that there had to be something else in order for a person to be truly successful.
Maybe it’s because my mother was so adamant about how hard she worked. How she would always say that if she could raise me and have a job, so could everyone else. It was as if not having a job was the epitome of failure.
I still have mine. But as I see co-workers and journalists walk out the door for the last time, donning a look of uncertainty, I can’t help but think–wait, it’s 2014.
Right now, having a job doesn’t mean keeping a job. The entrepreneurs and freelancers that I know today are rocking it. I want to be just like them. Not having a job can be success. Being your own boss is what we talk about at those happy hours with people we used to not have anything in common with. So what’s success?
Money, power, security, family, time?
We’re all playing Mastermind against ourselves. Trying to figure out just the right combination of all the things we think equal success. Sometimes we look at other people’s boards. We judge some people for finishing too quickly, we judge others for having too easy or too hard of a code. And we judge ourselves most of all for not getting it “right” always.
I’ve spent a lot of time mulling over what my code is. A lot of time scrutinizing other people’s codes. Today, I’m going to throw out the board. Maybe eat a donut grilled cheese sandwich. Maybe I won’t have a job. Maybe I’ll invent my own job. Maybe I’ll invent a better sandwich. But I’m done wasting time on my code. And I’m done looking at yours.