On personality assessments

One of the things that intrigued me most about career counseling was the possibility of discovering new things about myself or new directions in which I could take my career. I’ve not been unhappy as an editor in educational publishing (well, not most of the time), but it’s hardly the kind of work that makes my heart sing. I’m very good at it, but it’s not my passion.

But what is my passion? That is the question I’ve been asking myself for years. Working in educational publishing has been the closest thing I’ve ever found to what I’m looking for, but it’s just not quite right. If I’m not where I should be, then the obvious question is where would I like to be?

Um…uh…can I have some more time to think about that one?

So imagine my delight when I found out that one of the perks of being laid off is getting career counseling—real career counseling that would match my skills, abilities, and loves with some form of gainful employment. This was going to be an enlightening experience.

I spent about half an hour last night completing the online assessment. It was actually quite challenging. After finishing the assessment, it gave me a message that my answers were all inconsistent, and wouldn’t I like to take another look at my answers…? Thus humbled, I undertook the test (a second time) with even more seriousness. After all, this is my life we’re talking about.

Today, I had a meeting with my career counselor, and he went over the results of my test. I was amazed at how thoroughly the test pinpointed my strengths and interests, and made clear all of the wonderful and different qualities I have to offer. I actually felt quite chuffed.

And then I read the list of “Suitable Careers” for a person with my personality traits. After all that work, after all that hope, it turns out that my ideal career is to be… a book editor.

What a dramatic revelation. I suddenly had a series of flashbacks from the BBC show “The Robinsons,” in which poor Ed Robinson who has lost the job he hates (in reinsurance) and takes one of these tests in desperate hopes of finding a new career, only to be told he is ideally suited for a job in reinsurance. It makes for good comedy on television…

The list they gave me was quite enlightening in other ways. Some of the other top jobs for me include clergy (which sounds great except for the whole religious part of it), director of religious activities (am I supposed to be getting a message here?), and poet. Clearly, they have never read my poetry.

Since it looks increasingly unlikely that I will find total fulfillment in my job, then perhaps its time to take up my needles again and knit.

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2 Responses to “On personality assessments”

  1. Oy. This just goes to show that those tests can pinpoint your strengths, but they clearly have no idea where you can best apply them! Go with the knitting. It will come to you 🙂

  2. Tracy, thank you so much for the comment on kids and education — it’s so good to know that I’m not the only one who’s dealt with this kind of thing. Well, I know I’m not the only one, but it’s good to know that a sane, good parent would also choose the more peaceful, less “in” place because it’s just a better all-around match. And you’re right, this doesn’t have to be permanent — we can always reassess. Sometimes it just feels so momentous, but I really do know better, in my saner moments.

    Hope you’re having a wonderful weekend with all of your boys!

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