I realized the other day that, when it comes to our jobs, my wife is far more successful than I am. It sounds funny to say out loud (or write in this case) because I’ve been doing my job for 18 ½ years and my wife has only been doing hers, professionally, for a year. That doesn’t mean I’m not good at what I do, I am. I’ve been doing it for almost two decades and I know it inside and out. At this point it requires almost no thought. To be fair, my wife has actually been doing her job for 11ish years, but only a year of that has been professionally. In addition to my almost 20 years of experience I have a lot of training and education that punctuates the depth of that experience; I mean A LOT. On the other end of that, my wife has very little “formal” training in her skill. By in large, her skill is almost completely self-taught. Yet, the fact remains that she is still far more successful than I.
What makes her more successful? That depends on your definition of success. If your definition is the amount of money you make, I might have her beat. Although, in proportion to the amount of hours she puts in compared to how much she makes versus the amount I do, she probably slays me in that area too. If your definition of success is based on how far up the promotional/leadership ladder you’ve climbed, then I might get her there. Although, again, she’s self-employed so the minute she started her business, being that she’s the boss, she started at the top of the ladder. What took me 15 years to achieve, she achieved by simply deciding to start a business. Sarah – 2, Bruce – 0. If either of those are your definition, they aren’t very solid goals to move toward.
There will always be someone that makes more money and always someone in a higher position, thus always someone that is more successful.
I used to look at success like that, but over that last few years that’s changed; largely in part due to my wife and others I’ve seen achieve “success”. So how do I base success? On this one question: Do you love what you do? So what does my wife do that makes her successful leaps and bounds beyond me? She’s a photographer; and a stinking good one at that. And it’s not that she’s a photographer that makes her successful, it’s the fact that she LOVES it.
I get to go on photo shoots with my wife often. When I accompany her, I get to watch as she turns a decade long passion into a job that she absolutely loves. I get to be privy to all her giggles and excited squeals as she clicks away and captures that literal “once in a life time” shot. I also get to see the aftermath, in the editing portion, and there are equal portions of giggles and squeals. Then I go to my job. I’m a Master Sergeant in the US Air Force (for those that don’t know, MSgt is a fairly high enlisted rank. It’s the third of the top three highest enlisted ranks. It’s essentially the equivalent to upper management). Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the career I’ve had, especially as I draw close to retirement. Also, I’m so honored to have served my country. But, I don’t love what I do anymore.
I work in an office, all day, managing people and programs. I answer emails and go to meetings. I sign things, assign tasks and coordinate with other agencies. And I’m good at it, but it’s not what I love doing. It hasn’t been for a long time. There are so many other things I would love to do.
Realistically, for me success looks like teaching, speaking and writing. I love all three. It’s where I’m comfortable and what excites me. So my philosophy on success goes like this: If you can do what you love as your job, then do it. If your passionate hobby can be your dream job, it should be. That’s success.
So like I said, my wife is a really good photographer. She has a lot of fans, of which I am the biggest, regardless of what anyone on the internet says. I’m her husband; I get the “Biggest Fan” title by default. As her biggest fan I’d be remiss in not telling you to visit her website and FB Page. Seriously, go there and see how amazing she is.