Are you in the driver’s seat or passenger seat of your Career?

February 19, 2020

Are you in the driver’s seat or passenger seat of your Career?

February 19, 2020by Jackie Marsterson


I often hear from my clients that they have never really made an informed decision about their career; it has just happened. Often people are persuaded by external influencers, being directed to one role or another by their boss, family member or friend with advice that ‘you would be great for that, give it a go’ only to do exactly that and years later wonder why they are still there!


When starting out, being told by your parents or teacher, this career would suit you, and so blindly following a suggested path is often the easy option, with no real thought or research as to what might be good or right for you yourself. For some, this may well work out and they enjoy what they do and would never look back, however for many this is not the case. This is like being in the passenger seat and taking a passive approach. When we do this we abdicate our power, often complaining along the way. The solution is up to us, to no longer be a passenger but to get in the driver’s seat of our career and to shift from what is being chosen for us to what we choose for ourselves.


So how do you go from being in the passenger seat to the driver’s seat?


Know yourself and what you want. Easy to say I know, however, the more we understand ourselves the more informed independent decision we will make. This requires being honest with yourself and digging deep within. Create a ‘Mind Map’ exploring and brainstorming all your options and getting those thoughts out of your head and on to paper. What do you enjoy? What are your strengths, what are your values and what is important to you? Try not to ask others for their opinions as we are often tempted to do this at this stage. It will take you back to the passenger seat!


View your career as a journey and not a destination What you do when you finish your studies is not necessarily what you will be doing 10 years later, our life situations change, as do we, life happens. The world of work has changed and continues to do so, expectations from employers keep shifting. Try not to fight change, but embrace it and move with it. Most importantly don’t judge yourself to harshly if things don’t work out. One of my main observations in the work I do is that most people are too hard on themselves.


Research a few areas you may like to move into. How do you this? A good start is finding people who do what you would like to do, connect with them and ask what they enjoy about their work, how they got into it. Look at volunteering in the area of choice. If that is not possible then job shadow for a day or two. Contact recruiters and ask what they look for in candidates going into those roles. The internet is always a good start, websites like all of this is the information gathering stage, getting a sense of what you want.


The next stage is stopping at the next junction and taking over the driver’s seat. This stage feels good as you are taking control and have a clear idea of where you are going. It can be a bit scary and uncertain, particularly if you haven’t driven before! There will be some bumps in the road and signs telling you to STOP, go back but as long as you are focused, determined you will get there and you won’t want to be a passenger again!


If this sounds like you but all a bit daunting, help is at hand, feel free to contact me for a 15-minute chat and see how we can work together. M:0414 464316