Default vs Choice

Lisa Plain (Petkovsek)Blog

I did a poll on LinkedIn earlier this week about whether people make career decisions by default or by choice and the results weren’t surprising.

A common thing I hear from clients is that their career path has been largely determined by default. A job appears in front of them that has a flashy title or pays more and they say yes. There’s no clear reason to say no.

This often continues until one day they realize that they are very far from the dreams they started with or they are drained and burnt out.

If you’ve been a default career changer and want to include more intention in your next move, here’s a formula to make more informed decisions in your career:

  1. Know your values. Your values largely influence what drains vs what energizes you, so make sure your career decisions align with yours.
  2. Know your preferences. Based on your personality, how do you like to work, which tasks do you enjoy on a regular basis, and what motivates you on challenging days? This will impact your satisfaction on the job.
  3. Know your value. Know what makes you unique and how that makes you an asset in an organization. Knowing your value helps you avoid taking jobs where you’ll be underused or undervalued.
  4. Do your research. A company does a lot of research on you before hiring you, you should do the same due diligence. Contact current and past employees in the department you’d like to join to see what they like and dislike. Read news articles about the company. Go for a tour of the offices. Whatever you need to do to make an informed decision.
  5. Know that opportunities are out there. If you feel that there are no jobs and that you have to take the first thing that comes to you, you will settle. Avoid this by knowing that more jobs are available even if this one doesn’t work out. Even in a tough job market. Unless the job boards dry up completely, there are companies hiring, you just need to find them.

What would you add?

If you’re interested in making more intentional career decisions, check out my coaching programs here: Coaching


Career Balance Coaching has been helping corporate professionals find career happiness since 2018.

You can learn more here.


If you have any questions or comments that you would like to share, please feel free to reach out directly, or fill out the form on the contact page.