I recently ran into someone I hadn’t seen for a long time. We started talking and he asked me what I was doing these days. I told him that I am a freelancer and work on several projects in the fields of communications and events and that I also run a foundation together with my sisters. He was surprised: “I really expected you to become such a career woman.” That got me thinking. What did he mean by that and do we actually have the same definition of this term in our minds? What is a successful career anyway?
For many people a successful career means having a busy job at a big company or major organization. Climbing up the ladder year after year until you cannot climb any higher. Earning a lot of money, working long hours, having great responsibilities and driving a nice car. To me, that is not the definition of a successful career.
Unfortunately, I lost my mother at a young age. She taught me to always see the positive side of things, to keep going forward when you experience setbacks, to follow your heart, to fight what you believe in, to be independent, to get the most out of life and above all, to love the life you have. She died at the age of 46. Thanks to her life lessons, I often ask myself if what I do in my career really makes me happy.
The added value of having our own foundation, through which we support young families that are about to loose a parent or have already lost one, cannot be expressed in terms of money. And for me, the combination of doing my own commercial projects is the best. Being able to self-organize your time, to say yes or no, to combine commercial with social aspects, to earn my own money and to decide what my day will look like. If I for some reason won’t grow old like my mother, I want to be able to look back with a big smile. Knowing that I took every chance I got. Knowing that I’ve done what makes me really happy. That is a successful career to me.
Career woman? It depends on the way you look at it!
Nicky is 32 and lives in Haarlem. She owns her own company, NIK Communicatie & Events. Together with her sisters Suzanne and Femke she founded the Foundation Bretels. This foundation supports young families who lost or are about to lose a parent. In 2013 her novel ‘Dansen op een Zijden Draad’ was published.