I have the privilege of working with amazing people every day. Since we are in the business of finding and hiring talent for our clients, we spend between 4 and 6 hours each day talking with people about their careers. We spend an equal amount of time combing thru resumes. Without sounding too Black and White here, there are two types of professionals out there: those who are drivers in their careers and those who choose to be passengers. Let’s investigate both….


  1. Only look for a job when they are mad, unhappy or unemployed.
  2. Only network outside of their company when they want a new job.
  3. Only pursue continuing education when their employer forces them to and pays for it, or when they need to uphold a license/certification to continue doing their job.
  4. Believe that work is work and that you aren’t supposed to like it – that’s why it’s called WORK.
  5. Are in their current role because it was the first offer they received when they were looking for a new position (or when they were unemployed).
  6. Are unavailable or unwilling to make introductions or help a colleague who is looking for a new position.
  7. Constantly worry or complain that they don’t make enough money.
  8. Believe that it is their company’s obligation to offer benefits, continuing education and raises on a regular basis. Drivers:


  1. Are very satisfied with their chosen career and genuinely like going to work.
  2. Change positions based on a set of written goals (short, mid and long term). They establish gates for themselves and when the gate is attained they look toward the next goal. If their current company can’t offer them movement toward the next goal, they move on.
  3. Regularly nurture and grow their professional network with an emphasis on people outside of their current company.
  4. Make a personal commitment to keep certifications current and learn a new skill every year.
  5. Actively seek out a mentor and engage with him/her regularly for progress and professional guidance.
  6. Stay current on trends in their industry and local business.
  7. Make a point of offering referrals to colleagues who ask for help.
  8. Are aware of the market value for their skills and proactively work to demonstrate that value.

You might notice that drivers don’t really worry about how much money they make or what title they hold.  They proactively navigate their careers and consequently are in a position to choose where they work, how much to earn and what their role will be.  Drivers will take on more responsibility when their personal lives allow for it, and will seek out less demanding roles at other times – regardless, they are DRIVING their careers.  Finally, drivers earn substantially more money over their lifetime than passengers.  Give it some thought – are you a passenger, or a driver?

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