By Brian Horan
There are a number of theories on how and why we like and choose different professions. These choices could stem from many things, including being in the right place at the right time, having connections, what we’ve studied, or even following on a family business. Career practitioners use a number of methods to help their clients discover careers to suit them. These methods are called career profiling tools. This article will detail seven of these tools – ranging from the basics, to the bizarre, to the bleeding obvious.
When we were in High School there were some subjects that we loved, some we liked, some we disliked and others that we loathed. (Hopefully the latter two related to the course content and not the teacher!)
To fully grasp this element as a profiling tool, we need to ask the questions: “WHY did I like that subject? What was it about the content which made it interesting to me?” Often, if you find out the ‘why’, you will discover another element of what makes a career fulfilling to you.
Interests & Hobbies:
Do not discard some of your hobbies as being potential indicators to a future vocation. Whether it be gardening, sports, the human anatomy, playing with (non-live) electrical circuitry, music, dancing, constructing Lego blocks, interior design, fashion, writing stories, etc.
They could form the foundation of, or a major part of, a potential profession.
My brother always told me that you can adapt to any profession. This is partly true. But when you’re in the career which really matches you, it’s like slipping into a perfectly designed suit, tailored just for you.
Therefore, what are some of the job factors which could fit ‘just right’ for you? It could be anything, including working in a job that is:
- With a team environment
- By yourself
- Static and staid
- Includes lots of variety
- Using mechanical equipment
- Driving trucks
- In a dirty environment
- In a clean, sterile environment
- Used to heights
- Potentially dangerous
- Caring for others
- Instructing others, etc.
Try to think of a few of your personality traits, and try to identify potential professions that these traits would suit. Consider, for example, whether you are someone who:
- Is a good listener
- Is energized by being alone or with only a few people
- Needs to be with others (all of the time)
- Is a good talker
- Evaluates work scenarios using intuition
- Evaluates work scenarios using common sense
- Makes decisions using their emotions
- Makes decisions using statistics, logic and facts
- Operates in their work environment to schedules, time limits and within strict guidelines
- Operates in their work environment casually, flexibly and motivated by creative urges
By combining a number of these personality traits, you may find you’re able to come up with a few specific professions. If you tried combining these personality traits with some of the other indicators (ie. Education, hobbies, etc) you can probably come up with some unique occupations!
The Seed Theory:
There are many theories in Career Development. One of them has been dubbed the ‘Seed Theory’. This theory proposes that each individual on the planet has been ‘implanted’ with a career-destiny seed. As this seed grows it displays the form of vocational interests which are characteristic of that seed. Job interests, consistent with that vocation, are then realised by the (discerning) individual.
According to the theory, the expression of one’s career calling is more clearly expressed between the ages of 1 and 10-12. During this time in their life, the individual is apparently communicating more through their subconscious and not their conscious mind. It’s no wonder that when a teenager is asked “What do you want to do when you leave High School?” the usual response is, “I don’t know!” That’s because the fifteen year old teenager is operating predominately out of their conscious mind.
Some career practitioners recommend that clarity on this matter can be acquired by asking the parents of the client what their son/daughter gravitated to during their ‘subconscious years’ (1 to 10-12).
In line with the ‘seed theory’, it is postulated that every individual on the planet has acquired innate gifts – possibly to assist them in fulfilling their career vocation.
Examples of this can include:
- A deep empathy for those in grief or suffering;
- Inspirational leadership;
- Someone who really ‘listens to you’;
- A desire to naturally encourage others;
- Teaching and communication;
- Someone with a servant’s heart;
- Financial giving;
- Insight and/or wisdom;
- Organisation/facilitation, etc.
The good news about innate gifts is that we ALL have them. The challenge is that we often don’t know what they are. Innate gifts allow us to do things easily or well. When we have to do tasks for work that are outside of our range of gifts, these tasks become more like chores.
Because our gifts let us do certain activities with relative ease, it may be difficult for us to determine what these specific gifts are. Sometimes we need others to help give us some insight. Another indicator of an innate gift is that we can break-down a task or activity in our head, without pen or paper.
The Combination of ‘Seed Theory’ and ‘Innate Gifts’:
How audacious … the thought that we have innate gifts to help us in fulfilling our career calling – bizarre!
Our present generation often says, “I want to make a difference!” From a careers point of view, my response to that is: “Discover … and develop your ‘career calling’ and innate gifts.
In addition, when you discern the innate gifts within a friend, family member or stranger, tell them what it is! They might not even realise themselves, and it could help them on their own career journeys.
The Bleeding Obvious
So, if after all of these career factors, you still can’t discern a career-type, who do you go to ask for advice? Do you ask:
- The guy who daily sits on the same pub stool drinking beers and cursing every successful person, because they “don’t deserve it … he should be the rich one!” (downing one more beer)?
- The lady at the local corner store, who used to give you extra sweets in your lolly bag?
- Your school-yard friends, who are just as confused as you are about choosing a career path?
- Your neighbourhood bus driver, because he must meet some many people each day … and therefore know lots of professions!
While these people are likely wise about a number of life’s issues, they’re probably not the best people to ask for career counselling! You’re looking for an occupation that will fulfil you, bring enjoyment to your day, utilise your innate gifts and help you realise your full potential – you need to see a professional.
Careers practitioners are university-trained, requiring practical experience to qualify for their degree. An effective career practitioner will use profiling tools, in combination with their many years of experience to build trust with their client and help them discover a range of career options to suit them as an individual. These practitioners understand that each client is unique, with their own personal futures, hopes, and abilities.
Rather than leaving things to chance, it’s always a great idea to put the effort in and visit a career practitioner when you’re in need of career advice!
I encourage you to dare to dream … and to fulfil your innate vocational potential!
May you be inspired for your future by reading this section of Nelson Mandela’s 1994 Inauguration Speech (written by Marianne Williamson, “A Return to Love”):
“…Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine, as children do.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
Featured image courtesy of Unsplash.