American universities are struggling with a perplexing dilemma that would have confounded higher education activists 50 years ago.
Today the question is not how to recruit a diverse and inquisitive student body, but rather, how to get rid of them. Four year degrees have turned into 6 and even 10 year odyssies for confused parents and their even more confused college-age children who change majors more often than their socks.
Whether you’re a high school senior, third year psychology major or graduate student in career transition, it’s always a good time to explore and assess your skills, strengths and interests before making major career commitments. Click /2014/01/30/know-your-strengths-and-weaknesses-school-success/ to know your weakness and strength in more detail
More than likely you’ve found your career match when you can answer yes to the following: “Is this the type of work I would do even if I wasn’t getting paid?”
A sample question from a broad personality-career assessment inventory:
(A) I enjoy:
- Figuring out how things work
- Being prepared
- Discussing theories
- Being in control
- Helping others learn
- Trying new things–even if they sound crazy
Aptitude, career and interest assessments can go a long way toward saving precious time and scarce education dollars invested in an unworkable career/personality mismatch.
It is estimated the average American will work a total of 11,000 days in their lifetime. Complicating matters is the probability they will change careers six or seven times racking up 10 to 15 jobs in the interim.
Some 30 million people wake up each day to jobs they hate. The negative energy that permeates their lives can cast a black cloud over their homes, families and friends. The justifications these unhappy souls use for staying with a job they hate range from loss of a steady income and fear of change to overall clue lessness about the kind of work they feel they ought to be doing.
None of these excuses can possibly overwhelm the improved quality of life that comes with doing work that holds relevance and purpose. However, translating passion into a sustainable career and making dreams into reality is easier said than done. But with proper guidance and a willingness to honestly assess your personal strengths and weaknesses, and an open mind, there are several assessment tools available at little to no cost online and through your school-advising center that just might help you get your career ball rolling in the right direction.
Okay, we’re not talking about an uncomfortable couch and recalling your first childhood memory here. What career advisors mean is taking an honest inventory of the things that really matter to you. Where you see yourself doing the most good? What are your interests and hobbies, priorities, secret passions?
Sample question from a typical career-personality assessment:
(B) As far as the ideal work environment:
- I would like to work with my hands
- I would prefer to work alone
- I would like to have stiff competition
- I would prefer a freethinking environment with few rules
- I would like to work with people
- I don’t care to be in control
Honestly answering such questions will challenge your beliefs about money, security, fame and recognition. These are external motivators. And though they may work in the short term, if used as the sole criteria for deciding a career, inevitably lead to disappointment because they do not come from within. They do not cut to the heart of who you are.
Use your unique talents to guide you
True happiness, career advisors agree, comes from harnessing and honing your natural talents, developing and expanding them toward a field, job, or industry for which your passion runs high.
We are all born with inherent gifts, natural talents and proclivities. Some are natural leaders, for instance, while others have a knack for managing others, and still others possess unique creative talents. To those who possess these aptitudes, their jobs seem like easy work because they have a natural flair for them.
Find your match and go for it
Before choosing a college major, career, or vocational path, take some time for career exploration first. Simple skills and aptitude assessments can give you tremendous information of your career interests and preferences. The only thing at stake is your happiness.
Locate your high school or college academic advising office. Here you will find personal guidance and a variety of both online and reliable pencil and paper assessment tools to get you started. It could mean the difference between a career plagued by doubt, indecision and regret or one driven by passion, imagination and relevance.