Friday, September 11, 2009

Put away the tube socks

Well, campers, it looks like I won't be overseeing any dodgeball games anytime soon.

I sat down with the career counselor at NYU on Wednesday to learn the results of my Strong Interest Inventory. I'm still digesting what it all means, which is why it took me this long to blog on it.

Essentially, the Strong is designed to help you assess your interests, preferences, and personal styles— and then matches them to the responses from people in a variety of professions who are satisfied (maybe even happy) in their jobs. The test also gives you general occupational 'themes' that describe your work personality, as well as personal styles (do you like to work solo or on a team, do you like to take risks, how do you like to learn, etc.) With this information in hand, you're better equipped to choose a career you can be passionate about.

My results jived pretty well with some of the other testing I've done in the past, though neither dictator nor assassin showed up on the preferred occupation list. My highest themes are 'investigative' and 'artistic,' followed by 'realistic.' Not surprisingly, the results also pointed to me being more of an independent spirit than someone who has to work within a team environment.

But here's where the real fun comes in: they provide your scores in over 100 occupations, and while the list certainly isn't exhaustive, it's representative of major work areas. The area where I showed no interest whatsoever, was around sports; I scored zero points for phys ed teacher and athletic trainer. My absolute highest score was for attorney, followed closely by librarian. Small wonder why I get along so well with lawyers. And, of course, I do like to research and share what I learn. Trivial Pursuit, anyone?

Somewhat comforting is that my scores around communications occupations were relatively high, though it's interesting to see that 'reporter' scored higher than 'public relations director.' So I haven't been totally in the wrong ball park in what I've been doing for the past 20 years -- maybe just in the wrong section. And 'English teacher,' which an annoying ex-boyfriend said I should be, scored really low.

Now, none of this means that I have to go to law school. In fact, the interpretive report suggests that the results can also point to things I'd find satisfying in my personal life. (Oddly enough, I do like sparring with lawyers in my free time.) What's most important are the descriptors -- the aspects of the occupations that appeal to me. As I go on job interviews or talk with people in interesting careers, I can ask questions to determine if those things are present in the job, and mine for areas that won't be as appealing or may even contradict my preferences.

And if I do decide to strike out on my own, I can weigh all of this into my thinking, and create the job that makes the most sense for me, and partner with or hire someone who likes to do the stuff I'm not as thrilled with.

But we can be sure I won't be wearing a whistle on a lanyard around my neck.

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