My first job was in structured finance (before the financial crisis, actually as the market was starting to peak).  My job was to research and evaluate transactions according to standard measurements for risk, return, sensitivity to economic indicators…ect. Basically I had to take MEASUREMENTS of something NEW/NEVER BEEN DONE and COMPARE them to something OLD/ALREADY ACCOMPLISHED.   Sounds kinda easy (without details)  but at least, straightforward right?

Lots of jobs do something like this…Finance roles, government roles, risk managers, marketers, sales people, teachers, lawyers…  I guess we want to see how far different a new idea is from one that has already been proven/done.  I guess we also want to improve new ideas or ways of doing things.  If we can see what we did as the same as something that has already been done, basically we define it as SUCCESSFUL. Other reasons? Thoughts?

When I changed roles from working for financial institutions to staying at home, my measurements needed to change A LOT.  But I’m kinda slow, so I am still working on it.  Here are just a few of my old and new ways of thinking…

Success at Work: CORPORATE job Success at Work:  at HOME
–        Deal List Objectives –       At least writing down a grocery list (or remembering to go at all in 2 weeks)
–       Operational Efficiency –       Getting kids to put on shoes (underpants and socks optional)
–       Team Dynamics –       No whining during homework (or at least no whining for 1 hour)
–       Quarterly Reports –       Balanced food intake over 1 month (screw the 1 week concept)
–       Dedicated Hour for Current Event Research –       Speak to another adult for 2 minutes without interruption
–       Employee Reviews –       Praying kids won’t go to jail in next 18 years
–       Sales and Marketing Goals –       Avoid spending $20 extra at the $1 section of target when you just need toilet paper, hot dogs and baby bell cheese to appease.

But here was/still is my problem…I still think of my daily success according to my ‘work outside of home’ measurements.   I still want to raise my kids with the pride of a check list some days to know that I am being ‘successful’ and it would be FANTASTIC if occasionally, just occasionally, I could check items off and not have to go back to it again, and again, and again…. I swear Parenting means ‘painful repetition‘ in some ancient language. 

So how do we change our definition of success for a new phase of life? Even after we were successful with it at a different phase? Anyone else ever feel stuck in their perspective? I know we all hope to be as flexible and tolerant with ourselves as we (should be) with others…but personally I struggle…

The rub is that we have to change the yardstick we use otherwise we set ourselves up to fail.

Anyone up for posting a change they made to view success given a change of life phase, change of job, change of environment?



One thought on “Yardsticks

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