How to Find your Career & Take Control of it in 2 Simple Steps.

In the long run, we shape our lives, and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility. – Eleanor Roosevelt.

How to find your career / control your career

(This is a post by Alison Horner. Pic course:

We normally think of ownership in terms of things.

You own a car. A house. A turkey shaped serving platter. 

With any of these items it’s clear when they became yoursYou signed a piece of paper or swiped your credit card. In return you were handed a set of keys. Okay, technically you may still be paying off your mortgage, but there is a definite difference in the way you treat a home you are buying versus one that you are renting temporarily.


In contrast to these defined transfers of goods there is no clear moment when you are handed the keys to your career and told, “This is yours. Take care of it!”

As a result you may not have ever claimed full ownership of your career.

You may be working at a particular job based on what family, community, or professors expect of you. While you may show up to work each day, it’s as though you’re in the passenger seat, merely along for the ride.

Taking ownership of your career means deciding that it is your responsibility to be in the driver’s seat, steering your career toward a destination that is agreeable to you.

The possibility of taking ownership and responsibility for the direction of your career is ever present. And you can choose to own it on any regular day of the week.

Maybe even today.

Here are two simple steps to take the reins of your career into your hands.


Thinking about where you’d like to be with your career in five years is not just relevant when asked as an interview question. It’s important to consider this question in the privacy of your own brain, where the only correct answer is what you truly want.

So, where do you want to be in the next couple of years?  

In a more advanced position in your current field? In a new field? Running your own business? Taking a break to raise your kids?

Your answer is going to be unique to your preferences and values. It will reflect what you yearn for in your heart of hearts. Give it some deep thought, you might be surprised what you find!


To bring your career vision to life first consider your end goal. Assume that you have reached it. Then work backwards. What steps did you take en route to achieving your goal?

These steps may involve networking to learn more about a new field, going back to school, creating a website, or seeking out a promotion.

Name as many of these big steps as you can. Once you’ve identified these steps pick a small first step to accomplish today. Take another small step tomorrow. As you continue to take these small steps over time your momentum will build.

When you take ownership of your career you will stop drifting along waiting for your turn at your own life. Instead you will begin moving in a direction that is attractive to you.

Let this be a little whisper in your ear that it’s your time right now.

Have you taken ownership of your career? If not, what is one small step you will take toward doing so? Leave me a comment and let me know! Please like/tweet/pin/share this post with someone who needs it, thanks!

Alison Elissa Horner specializes in helping adults in their 20s and 30s figure out what the hell they’re doing with their lives.

You can signup to receive her free Career Unstuckinator at  

She tweets at @alisonelissa.

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  1. says

    I love the analogy of getting the keys to your own career!

    This is something that I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. I’m in the middle of my PhD program and starting to truly think about where I want to go next. The more I think about it, the more I realize that what I want to do doesn’t fit into a traditional job description.

    Now it’s time for me to start crafting my own job.

    Thanks for the gentle reminder to take ownership of my career and life!

  2. says

    Thanks Sarah! I’m glad the article struck a cord with you.

    I think graduate students in particular can be susceptible to following one of a handful of pre-laid paths that come with having an advanced degree. Nothing wrong with this if it’s what you want. Sounds like that’s not what you want though.

    So kudos to you for recognizing something different is more suited to you and for being brave enough to get started!

  3. says

    Having a long term vision for your career -this is so important! I think a lot of people would realize that they don’t particularly enjoy their career if they dared to think about the fact that they will probably do that job for 50+ years. Having a long term vision puts things into perspective and shows you whether or not you’ve been on track with your goals (if you had any).

    Great post!


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