How do you define success? Sounds like something you’ll hear at a beauty pageant, right? You can quote the greatest men in history or the most iconic pop stars. Or you can make your own and find the words happiness, contentment, riches, influence to fit perfectly.
But how do you write it down on paper? Once you think you have achieved career success, you can’t simply reduce it to a nice quote. The fact is you must have something to show for it. You can’t expect people to just take your word for it. There are important figures to help you gauge success, or failure. You can always argue how happiness is the key to career success or how a sense of fulfillment defines success, but metrics are not going to hurt either.
These are the metrics that help you target and manage your goals better. These are the metrics that keep you realistic. These metrics will show you just how far you’ve come, just in case you needed to be reminded.
Show me the money
Let’s start with that elephant in the room: money. It is a difficult topic, really. People are never comfortable to talk about it. But isn’t it a top concern when applying for a job, getting considered for a promotion or leaving a job? They say money can’t buy happiness, and it is true, but so does being broke.
How much are you getting paid for doing what you do? Do you think it is worth your time, talent, and the work you put into it? Entry-level employees are not paid as much as managers because they are not valued the same way. Experience, expertise, and leadership skills are factored in. If the number of zeroes in your paycheck is nothing, then why would you even strive to go up the career ladder?
The salary you take home every month is an indication of how far you’ve come and how far you can still go. It is a motivation, a fact about career success that shows employees they are appreciated and valued.
People under your watch
Is it five, 10, 15 or more? How many people do you manage? They say true leaders are those that have helped groom future leaders. It is when he is out of the office but everything runs smoothly because he trained people well. If you have been trusted to supervise people, you can bet you are doing a great job.
In the call center industry, there are agents and there are team leaders and supervisors. Can you tell who’s had more success in their field so far? That’s easy, right? When employees are put in a position where they are assigned a team, it shows how the company trusts them and their skills. And when the company you work for think you can be trusted, you have done something very right in your career.
Depending on the work you do, there are benchmarks that show if you have made considerable progress in your chosen field. It could be sales volume, number of accounts, bids won, cases won, number of hires, number of customers served, etc. If you are a call center agent, it matters how many accounts you have handled, which can gauge call center career success. If you are a contractor, the number of bids won should matter. If you are a sales agent, your performance benchmarks are commission and sales volume.
It definitely helps to have these performance benchmarks in mind. They give you a clear picture of how well you are doing in your job and how you can improve. They also make it easier for you and your superiors to set targets. For realtors, for example, if you’ve made a total of $200,000 worth of commissions last year, you can set $300,000 as your next goal. It is realistic and all the while keeping you focused and motivated.
Rank against peers
This is not about insecurity. This is not to say that you would have to be on constant ultracompetitive mode. At the end of the day, you are racing against yourself not with the person sitting next to you. But how do you know you are moving towards the finish line fast enough? Your peers and colleagues can help you with that.
Measure your success vis-à-vis the workforce average. If the commissions you made in the past month is 20% higher than the average, you can give yourself a pat on the back. But if you are falling below the average, you have to work harder. That’s how it is with measuring performance indicators against peers. Your rank among peers reminds you of that cliché that if others can do it, so can you.
What evaluation numbers say
Sometimes, we need other people to convince us that we are indeed doing a great job and that we are well on our way to achieve career success. Most companies conduct regular evaluations as a basis for retention or promotion. Employees are graded on their performance and skills, whether they are doing an excellent job or need improvement.
Employees should always aim to have better evaluation scores. This is their superiors’ point of view and whether you like your bosses or not, what they think about your work matters.
There are as many recommendations on how to achieve career success as there are definitions about success. Look beyond numbers when it comes to your personal and professional growth. Sense of fulfillment, the relationships you build, the lives you touch, and how happy you are at what you do are surely very important. But do not underestimate quantifying metrics, too. Numbers are unbiased and factual. They tell you as it is. They give you clear goals and targets so that you can be even more successful.