Decades from now, when you’re sipping some bubbly at your retirement party, what do you want the theme of the day to be? “She didn’t hate her career all of the time”? “He broke the record for the number of career jumps in a 10-year period”? Of course not. You want that day to be a celebration of a career that was satisfying and fruitful for you.
But in the meantime, how do you achieve that long-lasting career satisfaction? The folks at LifeHacker have a system for determining your career personality, or the type of job that fits your own skills, abilities, values, and preferences. This is important for a variety of reasons.
This flowchart from Truity helps you find your career personality type:
It’s your path forward.
Basically, knowing your career personality can not only help you settle on a specific path, but it can also help you set goals. If you have trouble visualizing a five-year plan for yourself, it might very well be because you’re on a career path that makes you uncomfortable. If you majored in accounting in college because it seemed like the thing to do at the time, but now you want to scream after spending hours knee-deep in spreadsheets, well…maybe you and accounting aren’t a good match.
Figuring out your career personality can help you avoid that spreadsheet rage by narrowing down what would interest and challenge you. Maybe you and your accounting degree would be better suited to a different kind of financial environment—or maybe you should be on cable news talking about the economy. There are ways to adapt skills and interests to different career paths, but you won’t know how to take advantage of that until you take the time to figure out what you can do, and where you should be doing it.
Money shouldn’t be the only career consideration.
Yes, of course you want the job that pays your bills and maybe even lets you save up for that dude ranch vacation you’ve been eyeing on Groupon. But if that paycheck comes at the expense of a job that bores the heck out of you, or an intense office environment that leads to epic crying jags in the restroom, that doesn’t seem like a great career investment. Know yourself, know your limits, and know what will make you a satisfied employee.
It’s never too late to make a change.
Think about the choices you made when you were young. That haircut. The summer you spent as a boy band groupie. The first boyfriend/girlfriend, whose cringe-inducing Facebook posts always make you wonder, “What was I thinking?” It stands to reason that a career choice you may have made just out of high school or college wouldn’t line up with your life and interests as you get older.
Gone are the days where you’d start entry-level with a company, then park there for 40 years. You’re not tied to a particular job, and you’re not even tied to a particular career. It’s totally legitimate to re-evaluate who you are right now, and what you want out of your professional life. Figuring out your career personality is an excellent first step.
You can always do some fine-tuning.
If you take the time to map out your career personality, you might figure out you’re on the right general career path. If so, that’s fantastic! You chose well. Your next step should be taking that knowledge, and deciding whether you’re getting all you can out of your career. Perhaps your values and skills would be a better fit at a different company within your field. That’s the kind of self-knowledge that will come in handy if/when you decide to make a job change and start searching for your next step.
It makes you a stronger employee.
Much like you want to find a workplace that aligns with your own needs and personality, companies are seeking new hires who mesh well with their day-to-day operations. One of the main purposes of a job interview is talking with candidates and evaluating how they’ll fit in with not only the job, but the company’s existing employees and culture. Knowing where you fit best will make it easier for you to demonstrate confidently how and why you’d be a great hire.
So think about what you want, what makes you tick career-wise. You have plenty of time before that retirement party, so make the most of it!
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