5 Signs Your Career is Going Better Than You Think

Worried that your career is lagging? These 5 signs prove that you're more successful than you know.

Woman with laptop


Taylor Tobin
Taylor Tobin1.84k

Even when things at work seem smooth and stable, it’s common to feel a gnawing sense that you’re not quite where you want to be in terms of your career. Part of this stems from the perfectionism inherent to high achievers, while “imposter syndrome” can be another culprit of career anxiety. But before you start beating yourself up for your work performance, give your professional history an objective once-over. If any of these 5 signs of success apply to you, you’re on the right track.

1. You’re excited to go to work.

Obviously, no one is excited to head to the office every single day. “Sunday Scaries” exist for the career-content and the career-disappointed alike But if you typically look forward to a new work week and feel invigorated by the tasks on your professional agenda, that’s a strong indication that you’re good at what you do.

“If you dread going to work in the morning and are sluggish when you're there as a result, chances are you're not doing your best work. But if you're enthusiastic, energetic and happy, chances are what you're producing will be a reflection of that,” Bustle explains.

2. You seek out new opportunities to learn.

When asked to offer career advice to young employees, former General Electric vice chair Beth Comstock told LinkedIn: “The first thing you have to say to people is: Make room for discovery. If I manage myself, I manage a team, I manage a division, there's a certain amount of your budget, your time, and your people that need to be focused on what's next. I think usually 10% is a pretty good way to think about it.”

Even if you only have a small amount of time each day to research new processes, watch a video tutorial related to your job, or read an article shedding new light on an aspect of your field, taking the initiative to learn more about what you do and how you can move upward suggests a strong link between your abilities and your interests, which translates to career success.

3. You reliably meet deadlines and budgets.

If your colleagues can consistently count on you to complete tasks on time and to adhere to agreed-upon budgets, you’re in good shape on the career front. Not only is it important to respect deadlines and budgets in the vast majority of positions, but building trust among your coworkers and establishing yourself as a person who gets things done are equally-crucial benchmarks.

MindBodyGreen describes it like this: “In today’s demanding work environment, which is moving faster and faster, doing things on time and on budget can be no small feat … and one that many people fall short of. So if you do your work on time, consider that you truly are a valuable part of the team.”

4. You receive frequent feedback from your boss.

Many employees believe that regular check-ins and reviews (whether formal or informal) from the boss are symptomatic of poor work performance. But in many cases, close communication with your supervisor happens as a result of impressive work on your part.

According to The Muse, “[frequent feedback means that] you’re performing so well that now your boss wants to give you the tools, resources, and constructive criticism you need to become even better. You’ve set the bar high for yourself, and now it’s your manager’s job to continue challenging you.”

5. You’ve learned when and how to say “no."

Career success and being a “yes person” don’t necessarily come as a package deal. Professionals with enviable careers know how to assert their boundaries with their bosses; the key is to position a “no” response in a positive light.

For example, if you’re dealing with a loaded work schedule and your boss attempts to toss another task onto the pile, workplace expert Lynn Taylor recommended the following response to Business Insider:

"I would be happy to do that project, but what that could mean is that [whatever other project you're working on] will have to be put off until tomorrow, because I was actually going to spend the next three hours finishing that proposal. Would you like me to put that off?"
Taylor likes this approach because “[it allows you to] frame your response in terms of doing your best work — something that's certainly in your boss' best interest.”