If I'm working, I might as well be working TOWARD
October 26, 2008 4:08 PM   Subscribe

What are some good, specific resources that can help me figure out what job I should have?

I am unemployed at about the worst time in the last 20 years to be so. Let's find the silver lining around the top ramen and tontino's pizza that is my future.

Is there anything that will help me figure out what I would enjoy doing career-wise? My complaint thus far is that when I run quizzes or read through a book, the answer is "writing!" or "non-profit!" or "use some numbers!" What I'd like to be able to get out of this is "Editorial Assistant within nonfiction press" or "Human Resources Director at online doctor's... thing" or something.

Perhaps an online questionnaire? A book with a scantron that will shunt me into a specific block of people, maybe?

I know, it's asking for way more and I probably won't be happy with the results, but since I'm getting a job soon (oh for the love of god let it be soon) I'd like it to be something where I'm going in the right direction.

PS - career coaches get a resounding 'meh' from the Hive Mind, so I think I'll keep my money on that, thanks.
posted by OrangeDrink to Work & Money (8 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Look, here's the deal. There is no book or consultant or computer program that's going to tell you what will make you happy. Only you know what will make you happy.

You are already unemployed and broke.
Do what you love. What have you got to lose?

The hell with 5-year plans. The hell with direction. Is your heart crying out to be "human resources director at online doctors...thing"? Something tells me it doesn't, but if it is, go for it. Like hanging out at the bowling alley? Get a job there. Like going to the cinema? Get a job at your local theater. Keep at it, doing what you love, and you'll work your way up. Enthusiasm and job satisfaction is infectious. Doing what you love won't feel like work, and you won't leave the office every day drained and miserable.

Listen to me: making 50 grand a year doing something you hate will exhaust your body and empty your soul.

posted by dbgrady at 4:42 PM on October 26, 2008 [2 favorites]

Do what you love and plan for it.
posted by amtho at 5:34 PM on October 26, 2008

Did you grow up watching on Saved By the Bell when they'd take the quiz in high school and the teacher would say they should be, like, a veterinarian? Because I was crushed when I found out that doesn't happen in real life. If someone does turn up a scantron test answer, this will be my favorite Ask.Me ever.

A real-life alternative: Do you know the general area you want to end up in? Like, when the quiz or book says you should be "writing" or "non-profits" or whatever, does that sound right? If so, find people--through your family, friends, past colleagues, whoever--who have careers in writing or at a non-profit (or whatever) and ask them how they did it and what they'd recommend for you. Someone with an established career at a non-profit can tell you if you should go for an Editorial Assistant position or... I don't know, whatever else, in order to get started in the career direction you want.

"Do what you love" is fine advice, but you should also talk to people who having been doing what you love for years already.
posted by Meg_Murry at 6:59 PM on October 26, 2008

I'm not going to join the "do what you love" crowd because 1) You may not actually know what it is you love (let alone how to commodify it and turn it into a business), and 2) Doing what you love as your job can often kill your love for that thing (see the above part about commodifying your love.)

I've searched the tubes for exactly what you are searching for and have come up empty, too. There are places that offer short, inexact personality tests, but they seem to be merely come-ons for you to spend a lot of money taking their bigger tests.

I've not had any experience with career coaches (and am still unsure what, exactly, they do), however, there are career counselors who will put you through a battery of tests, both psychological and aptitude, and provide you with direction based on those results. They won't help you land a job. They will merely help identify aptitude and temperament in yourself.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:27 PM on October 26, 2008

I agree with the "do what you love" mindset for the most part. But just to provide another angle to this is "what working conditions do you enjoy?" or "who would you rather spend your day with?" or "what sort of task do you want to do routinely?"

In high school, we took some kind of job aptitude questionnaire and the end result was a pinpoint on a wheel that told you where your interest fell. The four areas were people, ideas, data and things. It said I like ideas and things and I'd say that's held true for 15 or so years. My interests change but my working style doesn't.

So you may hate being outdoors, or indoors, or working with people or not working with people, going to meetings or not going to meetings. You may prefer teamwork to autonomy or the other way around.

It's still important to think about what you'd like to be doing but maybe looking at other factors too will help narrow things down.
posted by i_love_squirrels at 11:03 PM on October 26, 2008

Best answer: I took a test like this in high school. I remember it telling me I should be an aerospace engineer or chemical engineer. I don't remember what the name of the assessment was, but if you call up a guidance counselor or career office at a college or high school to ask what they use to assess students, you might find some leads.

Some links I found:

posted by lunchbox at 11:38 PM on October 26, 2008 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks everyone!
posted by OrangeDrink at 11:42 AM on October 27, 2008

A little late, but I do stuff that's kind of related to what you're asking.

One of the thing to look into would be something like a college career counseling office. From what I've seen they offer a lot of services to both current students and alumni.

For example, Eureka is all about finding what sort of jobs you want to do. You start out by taking some personal inventory tests and then it spits out job fields and specific job titles that would be of interest to you. It also has comprehensive information about each of the jobs. I found it to be very accurate when I tried it out. It suggested jobs I've never heard of that sounded fascinating. Looking at the site it appears to cost about $30 for individual users. So if you can get access to it through a school, that would be a bit cheaper.

Or if you want to put a bit more time into it, the Occupational Outlook Handbook seems to have a lot of the job information that Eureka has. So you could spend your time going through job descriptions and seeing if anything struck a chord. According to the site, "For hundreds of different types of jobs [...] the Occupational Outlook Handbook tells you:

the training and education needed
expected job prospects
what workers do on the job
working conditions"

And as a sort of mix between the two, O*NET OnLine has some surveys that help narrow down what, again, looks like the job information from the Occupational Outlook Handbook. However, it's not as precise as Eureka appears to be.

Mostly though, I would recommend pursuing career counseling with a school of some sort as they tend to have a lot of experience helping people figure out what jobs are suited to their personalities and skills.
posted by mindless progress at 2:15 PM on November 2, 2008 [1 favorite]

« Older Footcare for a non-bendy person.   |   Why walk your bike vertically? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.