7.7 Billion Definitions of Success

Hello again! I am two weeks out from having to come back home and I honestly wish I didn’t have to. I wouldn’t mind being here for a little longer and enjoying the people and culture a little more. However, given that I only have two weeks left to enjoy this beautiful city and the surrounding greenery, I’m continuing to spend every day doing something new and different. This past week I went to two new bakeries, checked out a new restaurant that had the best grilled cheese, tried new ice cream flavors, took a walk in Dublin’s financial district, and visited the nearby town of Bray. I also had a very in depth conversation with a roommate about the differences between here and back home in terms of attitudes and success, which just so happened to be this week’s blog theme. So without further ado….

What does success mean to you? Everyone has a different definition of success and what it looks like for them to be successful. The meaning varies based upon people’s experiences, goals, culture, and a variety of other factors that shape how someone sees the world. Some people will say success is equivalent to happiness, while others would say it equates to money and not having to worry, and others might even say that success is all the things you have that money can’t buy. Similarly, the way success is defined back home is extremely different from its definition in Ireland.

According to what I’ve seen around the office and from people in Ireland in general, success follows along the lines of being happy. Success is a job that keeps you happy while also allowing you to go home around 4 and have a proper work/life balance. Work is merely a means to an end and not something that people spend 8 hours on each day. An example of this is how people around my office usually leave as soon as their work is done or latest by 4pm. Going home to family and having that balance is extremely important here. A common mindset is that if the work wasn’t finished today and the deadline is not anytime soon, it is perfectly fine to go home or go do other things. Another example is of how people view success here is seen through a tour bus guide I had. He was telling us about how he owned a pub for nearly 20 years and decided one day that it wasn’t what he wanted to do anymore. Given that it’s Ireland and every second or third building happens to be a pub, it’s safe to say that the pub business runs very well. The tour guide however just wasn’t happy with it anymore and decided to drop it. 

More specific to my internship and industry, a successful and effective employee is simply one that gets the job done on time in an efficient manner. As long as the person does their job well and leaves no room for complaint, they are successful in doing their job. Obviously going above and beyond is a great idea if people want to move up and advance further in their careers. This differs from back home in that going above and beyond is almost expected. Whereas taking hour lunch breaks and multiple breaks to chat to coworkers is perfectly fine here, back home it would be seen as lazy and avoiding work. Many Irish people actually refer to the way people work in America as people working like machines. Working long hours and only ever thinking about their work. However, this way of life is ingrained from a young age that without coming out of that bubble, one would never notice how work driven America really is compared to other countries. Another key difference between a successful employee here versus back home is the fact that back home, people are sometimes expected to stay later to finish the job they’re working on. However like mentioned before, the work isn’t the most important thing and so leaving it for tomorrow is completely okay. 

There is so much to learn from different countries and the different ways of life because it’s never wrong, it’s always just different. Although I can’t bring back the chill work attitude back home with me, the no stress and worry part of the attitude here can come in handy. Just being exposed to a different type of work culture makes a big difference in helping understand more about what success means and why, and can help reassess the current notion of success you may have.