Muskens: Do your own research to figure out life-long career goals

Years ago in elementary school my brother-in-law took a career test and was told he should become a farmer.

Years ago in elementary school my brother-in-law took a career test and was told he should become a farmer.

If you were to meet my brother-in-law today you would realize right away that he is far from the farmer type. This is a man who enjoys living in a large city, has no pets and doesn’t even do that well with houseplants.

Through the years a number of tests have been developed to help people figure out what career best suits their personality.

In 1985, John Holland created one of the most popular theories to support career testing. He developed six personality types and six matching model environments in the belief that people seek out work environments that best suit their personality type.

His six personality types are:

Realistic: These people are frank, practical, inflexible, not insightful and uninvolved. They are usually competent in manual, mechanical, agricultural and technical areas. They prefer to work with objects, tools, machines and animals. Your farmer and trades person.

Investigative: Described as analytical, intellectual, precise, reserved and cautious, many of these people are competent in science and mathematics. They usually prefer work that values science and scientific reasoning—this would include engineering.

Artistic: Tending to be emotional, expressive, original, imaginative and impulsive, they are usually competent in artistic areas such as language, art, music, drama and writing. They prefer spontaneous, creative and unregulated activities that lead to the creation of various art forms. Today this can be applied to software development such as computer and video games.

Social: We have all met people who fit this category. They are cooperative, friendly, helpful, empathic and tactful. They value helping others and like working in places where they can educate, inform, cure or enlighten. These are your teachers, caregivers and human resource workers.

Enterprising: You appreciate this person, but they can drive you crazy at a dinner party. They tend to be domineering, extraverted, self-confident, talkative and adventurous. They often value political and economic achievement preferring to work with others to achieve organizational goals or material outcomes. I would expect to see them in sales and marketing.

Conventional: This person can be best described as conforming, efficient, inflexible, practical and unimaginative. These people tend to be competent at clerical and computer tasks. They often value business and monetary achievements. Daily activities include work that is achieved in a systematic orderly way. An accountant may fit this type.

Although these personality types provide some interesting information I would be careful not to slot most people into these definitions.

The best way to determine your career choice, as far as I’m concerned, is through research.

You need to figure out what you like to do, what careers are associated with this activity, and what is required in terms of education and experience to achieve your career goals. Don’t forget to consider how much money you will make on average (if your goal is to own a house and raise a family) and the impact some careers can have on your health.