Being aware that most threads eventually get read by multiple parties interested in the discussion other than the OP, I try not to limit myself to the intent of the OP, but try and speak to the question raised by the title in a way that will prove useful to a broader readership as the topic pops up in internet searches well after the OP has gone on his way. It's like answering a question in class for the benefit of the whole class rather than just the student who asked it. For me, "success" in science is ultimately about good science rather than paying the bills. Lavoisier was a successful scientist even though he made his living in other areas and funded his science with income from other pursuits. There are many other similar examples in history of science. Galileo is another important example of one who had many notable accomplishments in engineering as well as theoretical physics. The arbiter of good science is repeatable experiment. Peer-review is a temporary expedient since sometimes the experimental tests of theoretical work are well in the future. Alternate metrics of success in science are often counterproductive to good science.