Are the Happiest Days of Your Career Over? Most Say Yes
Most workers believe their best career days are behind them. / Credit: Looking ahead image via Shutterstock

No matter how old you are, there is a good chance you believe that the happiest days of your career are behind you. The majority of professionals believe the happiest point in their careers has come and gone, according to a new study.

The study, released by Citi and LinkedIn, found that people younger than age 35 were most likely to say they were at their happiest career point at age 28, while professionals ages 45 to 54 were most likely to say they were at their happiest at age 42.

While they might not be as content as they previously were (or thought they were), most employees think they won't hit the height of their career until well past their happiest days. The study found that most professional women expect to reach their career peak at age 53, while men expect to reach the top slightly later, at age 55.

However, the age at which professionals expect to reach the height of their career success does vary significantly by generation. The millennials surveyed expect to hit their career peak at 43, while baby boomers expect to hit the top at age 62. [8 Best Jobs for Retirees]

Linda Descano, head of content and social for North America marketing at Citi, and president and CEO of Women & Co., said the research illustrates that career satisfaction and success are not just end goals, but rather moving targets.

"While the age at which professionals believe they will peak varies by generation, most expect the high point of their career to occur within the next several years," Descano said. "Yet, at the same time, they believe that the happiest moment of their careers occurred several years in the past, suggesting that peak satisfaction does not necessarily mean the height of career success."

The study also discovered that men and women define career satisfaction differently. The men surveyed were more likely than women to equate career satisfaction with a "good salary," while women rated salary, "doing what I love" and "being challenged" as equally important to their satisfaction. Additionally, women are more likely than men to equate career satisfaction with "making an impact on the world" and "helping people."

Men and women also disagreed on the definition of progress for women in the workplace.When asked to define what the most significant indicator of progress for women in the workplace would be, one-third of the women surveyed felt that the elimination of the gender wage gap would be the biggest win, while men were more likely to say that the end of the need for the "women in the workplace" conversation would represent real progress for women.

The study was based on surveys of 1,070 professional men and women LinkedIn members.

Originally published on Business News Daily.