The True Definition of Career Success


I have had a career in government for the past 6.5 years and have been specifically in governmental audit for the last 3.5 years. When I graduated from college, I never imagined having a career in audit. I only saw myself with a future as an accountant. And unfortunately, I have to say I do not love it, which is why pursuing my CPA license is so critical for me at this juncture in my life. 

When I first started auditing, I knew within the first 3 months that I was having some challenges.

However, I believed that perhaps it was due to my adjustment to a brand new job. After all, this was my first auditing role and I had expected there to be a bit of a learning curve, so I hung in there a bit longer hoping that I would grow to love it over time. 

At the 6 month mark, I had a strong inclination that this was not the profession for me.

So, I began job searching immediately and was offered a position as a staff accountant for a public company. I turned down the offer because we could not come to an agreement on the salary. Although I believe that everything happens for a reason, I honestly feel in hindsight like I missed a good opportunity. At any rate, I decided to stay in audit even though I knew it was not for me. I was even promoted and received a substantial pay increase, both of which were bitter sweet because I was not happy and am still unhappy to this day.

When I think back to a time when I was truly happy in my career, my favorite job to date was an administrative position working for my home state’s government.

Although it was the lowest salary that I have earned during my entire career, I loved it. I looked forward to going to work every day and did not mind working overtime, whenever necessary. The reason I enjoyed it so much was because it allowed me to use most of my gifts and talents on a daily basis. This boosted my self-esteem tremendously. I was confident every single day and it showed through my interactions with my coworkers, clients, as well as my job performance. 

Whenever anyone asks me what my ideal work environment is, I usually reflect back to this time in my life. Being passionate about what you do for a living is extremely valuable and can have a drastic effect on your quality of life. If you love what you do and do it well, all of the rewards and benefits, including salary increases, will follow.

Knowing what disinterests you puts you one step closer to discovering your true interests.

Looking back, I should have researched more ways to get exposed to various types of work within my field. There were several ways I could have done this. Internships are most often the best way to figure out what jobs you enjoy the most or not so much. 

Another way to figure out the direction of your career path is through contract job opportunities. They expose you to various work experiences within your area of interest and are inherently for shorter lengths of time. If you don’t like the job, you have the freedom to move on to the next thing once your contract has expired. Regrettably, I never took advantage of either of these options, and is likely why I am still at a point where I am still trying to figure things out. 

So now, pursuing my CPA license has become my top priority because I know that it will open so many more doors for me and also give me the chance to go back to an environment that I love, where my gifts and talents can shine.

I am fully aware of what my strengths are, and there is an employer out there that has need of what I have to offer. I have learned to choose happiness and personal fulfillment over material things. Life is short and I am going to make the absolute best out of it by doing what brings me joy. For me, being able to merge your passion with your profession is the true definition of success.

–Kimberly Smith, Guest Blogger for Roger CPA Review

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