Posts Tagged ‘career choice’

straitjacket guyA comedic look at job search and success – “What Color is Your Parachute” meets “This Is Spinal Tap,” if you will. This combination of comedy and advice gives helpful tips to anyone who is searching for a job, or hoping to hold on to the one they have. Topics include contemplating your navel to find your life’s work, idiot-proofing your job search, online disasters, strategic schmoozing, resume do’s and don’ts, interviewing horrors and how to handle them, how to hold on to your job, reflections on bizarre jobs, and weird work stories.

Probably not, unless of course, you’re a circus clown. But you can often find creative ways to combine your talents. Or you may leave one of your passions as a part-time endeavor, while pursuing something else as your “day job.” Love ice cream? There are actually jobs as ice-cream testers. Of course, if the ice cream has in fact been poisoned by a sociopathic factory worker, you’re out of luck. And you will probably become morbidly obese and keel over from a heart attack in a few years. But hey, go to town.

If you can’t think of any careers offhand that connect with your passions, make a list of them. After you have the Passion List, then write down all the skills used in partaking of your passions. When that’s done, find a few job search sites and plug those skills into the “keywords” search function, and see what comes up. A lot of stuff will likely be vomited up that has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with anything you’re interested in, but just ignore that and focus on careers that sound exciting. Look at the Occupational Outlook Handbook and other resources such as the aforementioned informational interviewing to do a reality check on those careers, and off you go!

You can also check out some online career interest assessments, such as:, the Personal-Style Indicator at, the Myers-Briggs and the Strong Interest Inventory at, the Campbell Interest and Skill Survey at, or, to name a few. Some of these assessments are free, some are not. Some include consultations with certified career counselors, which is always a good idea, especially if you’re floundering around like a spastic fish.

The assessments are mostly about interests, but some also include self-identified skills (yeah, we talked about this earlier) and work values. Work values refers to the most important stuff you have to have in your work to, you know, make you feel whole and all that crap. Like, do you know you need to be creative in a job? Do you know you need structure, so that you don’t panic and wander off into another dimension, never to be heard from again? Do you know that you couldn’t do a job that would require you to write materials that referred to “kill fields?” Do you know that you would feel in constant need of a shower if you were part of advertising products that claimed to make elderly men sexually attractive to twenty-year-old models? You get the idea.

Most of us, to some extent, suffer from inertia when it comes to our careers. We tend to keep sauntering in the same direction until something – usually getting canned – happens to toss us off the path and into the bushes.  If you’ve been tossed, how about brushing the grass stains off your shorts and really taking a look at where you are and where you’re going.

Here are some questions to ask yourself. And, of course, answer yourself. Go ahead, you can do it in public. People will just think you have a phone in your ear. Or that you’re wacko. But what the hell.

1.   Do you really enjoy the work you’ve been doing? If so, is it because of the work itself, or because of all the hot guys on the second floor?

2.   What specifically do you like the best about your most recent job(s)?

3.   Assuming the answer to #2 isn’t the hot guys, what skills were you using when you did the stuff you liked best?

4.   What was your favorite job of all time? What in particular made it your favorite?

5.   What would your worst nightmare, wake-up-screaming-want-to-stick-a-wet-finger-in-an-electric-socket, job be? Figuring out what you don’t want to do can help you figure out what you do want.

6.   What is your fantasy job? Yeah, we know – judging the Mr. or Ms. America Pageant (do they really still have those??). Come on now, try to focus on professional stuff, like work environment, tasks you’d spend your workday doing, and type of customers you’d be working with – screaming kids? Corporate execs? Granola goddesses badly in need of anti-frizz products? What’s your preference?

7.   What’s most important to you in a job? Do you know you need to be creative? Do you yearn for structure? Do you need your job to not involve people? (just kidding on the last one – if that is, in fact, true, good luck).

8.   What are your strengths, professionally speaking? Jack of all trades doesn’t really cut it any more. Three or four strong skill areas will endear you to employers a lot more.

9.   What do you suck at? Everyone sucks at some things, though some suck more than others. Guess what? It’s okay to suck. Unless of course what you suck at is necessary for life as we know it. In which case, by all means work on it. But generally speaking, you’ll be much more successful in pretty much everything if you spend more of your time and energy developing your strengths rather than your weaknesses.

10.  Am I bullshitting myself? It’s important to dream, and dream big. And go for your dreams. But if you’re blind in one eye and you want to be an airline pilot, you probably need a reality check.