Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Could I be a Vampire?

Many of you have probably taken those aptitude tests offered by colleges, high schools and even private institutions, but do they really work?  Can they really provide insight into that deep and dark secret as to what would be the perfect career?
     Worth the time and effort?  
     Sounds vague doesn’t it.  That’s because that’s what most of these tests offer.  Vague answers with vague options, some almost bordering on the ridiculous.  
     I once took a very expensive career aptitude test when I was thirty years old and looking for a career change.  One of my top five options was astronaut.  Yes, seriously it was.  And this was almost twenty years ago when the space program was much smaller.  And oh, I am a woman.  And oh, I was living in Canada at the time, with no space program to speak of.  
     Twenty years later I have yet to hear of anyone getting a career option they would actually consider.  Probably because the tests are old and don’t take into account the changing world.  They are too limited in what they actually test, your aptitudes.   And most likely are too general in their corresponding answers to those aptitudes to be of any value. 
     Should you take one?  Sure.  Why not?  Especially if it’s free.  But be sure you take the results with a big whopping tablespoon or two of salt.  
     But on your own, most of you probably know what you are good at.   What things come easily to you, and what things you could never stand to do.  This is a good start.
     Consider how many people want to be lawyers based on the fact they say they can argue well.  If this were all it took to succeed in law every teenager should become a lawyer.  But these same people will tell you they hate paperwork, reading or and don’t consider themselves good at detail work.   All things necessary in the law profession.
     Let’s consider some questions you could consider on your own that might help.

1. How many hours a week do you want to work?  You mean I have to be at my place of employment every weekday by 9am, sit there until 5pm in a cubicle with no windows?  Yes.  Even after that expensive and impressive engineering degree is earned.  But there are jobs out there with more flexible hours if that’s what you are looking for. 

2.  Do you want to sit at a desk all day?  Or do you want flexibility to work in different locations or at home?  Lots of careers today can be done from home.  That works for some people, self-motivated types.  Others might need the structure of getting away from the TV, couch, or fridge.

3. Do you plan on staying in your city, state or country?  So many people say they want to leave their hometown or state when they graduate college and if that is the case consider where you want to go and look for a job that is either needed in the place you plan to live or will give you flexibility to work almost anywhere.

4.     Do you play well with others?  I know you’ve heard this since kindergarten, but consider this in your career.  Do you want to work as part of a team?  In a large company?  Or a smaller company?  Or even on your own?

5.     Do you handle authority well?  Either telling other people what to do or being told what to do?  Now we all have to do some of this some of the time but consider in your career that you may have for 20, 30, 40 years of this.  How much of either bossing, or being bossed, appeals to you.

6.     Do you mind wearing a uniform, lab coat, or suit?  I guess we could all get 
         use to this and make it work, but for some (fashionistas) it may be a deal breaker?

7. How much vacation time?  Are sabbaticals available?  Or does everyone work through lunch, vacation time and sick days.  Believe me there are plenty of jobs like that.  Not necessarily a negative, but at least you should consider it going in.
These are all simple, generalized questions that you can consider and apply to that career you have chosen.  Or use your answers when evaluating a possible career choice.  Of course, you may not find the perfect career that fits all your criteria but you will have thought about them and know going in what you are willing to give up.  
 Get to know yourself.  Be honest in your answers and if the sight of blood makes you gag, might want to reconsider the medical profession, or being a vampire.