Does Career Success Make You Happy? The Mediating Role of Multiple Subjective Success Evaluations
- 1.1k Downloads
We hypothesize that career success assessed as objective career achievements (income and responsibility status) has an indirect positive association with life satisfaction that is channeled through multiple subjective success evaluations. These are based on (a) social comparisons (comparison with others, other-referent success evaluation) and (b) individual standards (satisfaction with career achievements, self-referent success evaluations). We tested our reasoning in a 2-year prospective study with N = 990 professionals. Controlling for gender, family status, and workload, the results of two mediation models that draw on all information from two measurement points supported our reasoning. We found indirect positive associations between career success and life satisfaction (H1) channeled through both other-referent (H2) and self-referent (H3) subjective success evaluation. In both mediation models, we found partial mediation, and the remaining direct path from career success to life satisfaction was negative. We conclude that career success has mixed effects on a person’s life satisfaction: The net effect of positive indirect and negative direct effects is positive, but not large. We discuss the significance of these findings for theorizing about the influence of the work domain on life satisfaction as well as for conceptual issues in the analysis of mediators and moderators of the career success life satisfaction association.
KeywordsCareer success Success evaluation Social comparison Career satisfaction Life satisfaction
The present research was supported by a grant from the German Research Council to the first author (AB 45/8-1/2/4/6). We thank Juliane Bräutigam and Stefanie Wening for their help in data collection.
- Dette, E. D., Abele, A. E., & Renner, O. (2004). Zur Definition und Messung von Berufserfolg – theoretische Überlegungen und metaanalytische Befunde zum Zusammenhang von externen und internen Laufbahnerfolgsmaßen [Definition and measurement of career success—Theoretical considerations and meta-analytical findings on the relationship between external and internal career measures]. Zeitschrift für Personalpsychologie, 3, 170–183. doi: 10.1026/1617-63184.108.40.206.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Hall, D. T. (2002). Careers in and out of organizations. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
- Muthén, L. K., & Muthén, B. O. (1998). Mplus user´s guide (3rd ed.). Los Angeles: Muthén & Muthén.Google Scholar
- Spurk, D., & Abele, A. E. (2014). Synchronous and time-lagged effects between occupational self-efficacy and objective and subjective career success: Findings from a four-wave and 9-year longitudinal study. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 84, 119–132. doi: 10.1016/j.jvb.2013.12.002. ISSN: 0001-8791.CrossRefGoogle Scholar