How does one evaluate a successful career?
Written by: Renée LeMoine
Photo by: Archiv (1,4), Petr Poliak (2), Tomáš Kubeš (3)
Human resources manager, Motorola
The true measure of career success is neither about the genteel job titles, nor about the post the employee holds within the company’s structure. The true measure is rather about the continuously increasing level of accountability, combined with individuals’ and the company’s satisfaction on the progress being made by the employees. At the same time, we should keep learning new things and developing ourselves, in our jobs and daily life. The irreplaceability of human being is based on our uniqueness, and the continuously increasing level of employee accountability is the way of utilizing that uniqueness. This is where personal satisfaction in one’s career comes from.
Generally speaking, each of us should feel the ongoing progress being made in our roles and life. We should see the individual level of contribution we are making to support the company’s success. In a well-functioning work environment there should be definite tools and processes that enable every employee to analyze and understand the level of appreciation for his or her achievements.
One of the key prerequisites supporting career success is the ability to accept constructive feedback and to learn from our own mistakes. If we are able to demonstrate such ability, then success in our jobs and daily life is guaranteed.
Partner & business director, Et netera
IT is a widely varied branch of industry that links many firms of various types and professions, with varying professional goals. In fact anyone can start working in IT at any time – all you need is a computer with an internet connection. So it is impossible to name a single, universal yardstick for quantifying success in an IT career.
However, successful IT people have a common characteristic: the ability to learn, to receive and process large amounts of new information – thereby keeping pace with this rapidly developing industry, where new technology is obsolete the moment it comes on the market.
A common yardstick is the ability to keep up with knowledge on top development once a certain career level has been achieved, to stay “in”, and to be able to spot what is important amidst a sea of information. This is true for programmers, analysts, salesmen, and IT managers, and such a person is appreciated in his field by firms, and is respected by colleagues. And those of us who can not only keep pace, but even see a step ahead, are among the most successful.
Peter A. Růžička
CEO & Chairman of the board, Ahold Czech Republic
The true measure of career success is probably impossible to define, because it implies a certain “ideal career path”, applicable to everyone. Of course, every person is unique, with very distinct personal ambitions and desires. To generalize about this would show a huge lack of respect.
To speak of career success in general, I can only refer to the philosophy of Ahold (Albert and Hypernova in the case of the Czech Republic). In our company we want to develop our associates to be the best in their discipline. This requires from every individual a pro-active attitude willing to learn new skills and share experiences.
We believe that if people make clear choices what jobs they want, based on self confidence and self knowledge, people get inspired to do great things. If the motivation really comes from within and if you are content in doing the things you like best, it may give you an answer to the true measure of career success!
Director, Českomoravský penzijní fond
In the search for benchmarks for a successful career, there is a motivated employee who believes in himself and his abilities, and with a desire to excel on the one hand, and a corporate system for evaluating and motivating employees as set by the management on the other. The evaluation criteria are usually performance and personality. Performance criteria are dominated by the level of specialized knowledge, skills and abilities, reliability, independence at work, creativity, performance quantity and stability, resistance to stress, organizational and communication skills, teamwork – and, last but not least, identification with the firm, its products, and its strategic goals. The personality criteria include mainly intellectual level and make-up, responsibility, maturity and equanimity, character, and loyalty. The evaluation result may serve as a starting point for the development and direction of the employee’s professional growth.
A successful career certainly depends on other factors as well, such as family background, state of health, and sometimes a bit of luck. Being “in the right place at the right time” can be just as important as other objective evaluation criteria. However, I believe that the most important thing is a person’s will to succeed, and if that is buttressed by hard work, it can be the magnet that draws the required bit of good luck.