Driving Your Own Career

Davina Greene is The Personal Strategy Coach – a coach, trainer, and People consultant based in Dublin, Ireland. This column was first published in Irish Tatler magazine. 

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Recently, my boss has suggested training courses and roles that I don’t feel suit me. Until now, all of his suggestions have felt relevant. He has promoted me often, over the years, and I want to maintain our close working relationship and not let him down. What can I do? Claire, Dublin.

I get the sense that your boss is driving your career more so than you are. This needs to change!

It is not his responsibility to choose your path; at this stage, most suggestions should be coming from you. You have been there a few years, you know the business – step out of it for a moment, and observe. Look at every area, every job, and see what you might like or not like, or if there is perhaps some new role you could create. Talk to your boss about what is happening – what does he foresee for you? Then take charge! Where are you, exactly, in terms of your greater plan? What is your strategy now?

Questioning, and showing independent drive, is in no way disloyal. Every role-change is like a junction in a road – just because the word ‘promotion’ is involved, or there is a bit more money on offer, doesn’t make it the right thing to do. It is great to have a supportive boss who furthers your career; some people have to fight for acknowledgement every day. But if you are not making equal or greater contribution to your career plans, then you run the risk of become a tool of the organisation. Consider, did you truly choose your past positions, or were you “put” there?

Remember, they say that the highest-performing, happiest people consider themselves as working with a company, not for a company. Which are you doing?