Where can I find useful (and free) life/career/personality assessment tests online?
March 3, 2008 4:08 PM   Subscribe

Are there any great (and free) life/career/personality assessment tests online? Where should I look for help brainstorming ideas for a new direction?

I'm in my mid 30s. Happy, but bored. I'm in a perfect position to make major changes, but have no idea where to look. I don't want a new job. I want a new direction - but apparently, I lack the appropriate compass.

I've tried reading "What color is your parachute" which seems like it would be helpful for someone who already knows what they'd like to do next... but that's not the case for me at all. In fact, I'm really looking for ideas I've never even considered.
posted by 2oh1 to Work & Money (8 answers total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
Personally speaking, I haven't really found any books or online tools to be helpful in any meaningful way when considering life choices. The closest I've come to finding anything useful was a book that a friend lent me called "The 4 Hour Workweek". Still, I consider most (if not all) of these books to be relatively the same in terms of what they ask of you. No book or tool is going to provide that "compass" for you- You have the same compass we all have, no better or worse. A compass only works if you have a destination that you need to reach. In other words, you need to define (at least for the moment) some goals for yourself.

If you find yourself bored by your life, then you need to figure out what would make you excited. A tool will not help this. Think about what excites you, there has to be SOMETHING in your life that is potentially exciting, something you've dreamed of doing. If you really can't think of anything then look to your friends, see what they're up to, tag along with them sometime.

In short, books and tests ain't gonna solve this one. You need to sit down and think it out like all the rest of us. Maybe you won't be sure, but getting out there and trying things will certainly be a step in the right direction.
posted by ISeemToBeAVerb at 4:35 PM on March 3, 2008

I have this one bookmarked -- I found it interesting.
posted by loiseau at 5:04 PM on March 3, 2008

I have to say I hated the 4 hour workweek because if everyone tried to do what it suggested, there would be no one to do any actual work! The idea is to make everyone else do what needs doing- but not pay them very much to do it while you swan off on some adventure and they sell your useless supplements. It seemed completely immoral to me.

What do you love? What would you do for free because you just enjoy it? What do you secretly want to do but won't admit because it's too far out there/ embarrassing to admit at your age? Start there...
posted by Maias at 5:21 PM on March 3, 2008


I'll agree with you that parts of that book seemed completely oversimplified and in some cases unethical. However, the parts of the book that focus on goal-setting and "filling the void" seemed to me much more action-oriented and useful than 99% of the other books out there. Overall, if you cut out the whole "make a shitty product and relax on the beach" part, there are some solid concepts in the book, concepts that relate to 2oh1's concerns.
posted by ISeemToBeAVerb at 7:12 PM on March 3, 2008

When I was declaring a major I found these sites that could help
Princeton Review
Service Canada
UC Majors
posted by apdato at 8:10 PM on March 3, 2008

I recently read Working Identity by Herminia Ibarra (website for the book is here), and i've been recommending it to anyone who's thinking about changing careers. You can get it from the library; I ended up buying a used copy because I want to read it again.

She talks about giving yourself permission to brainstorm about careers with your heart as well as your head (eg "I'd love to do that, but it would never work"...maybe it would!), and also points out that it takes time to both figure out what you want and to make it happen, and that the period of change can be longer than you think, not to mention uncomfortable. I'm not doing it justice, but it's worth seeking out.
posted by mogget at 10:11 PM on March 3, 2008 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I'm thinking I shouldn't have added any extra info to my question because the extra info - brief as it is - seems to be leading people astray.

Basically, I'm brainstorming. I'm trying to, anyway. I'm looking for ideas, and sources of ideas and leads to other ideas...
posted by 2oh1 at 11:27 PM on March 3, 2008

"Guerilla Tactics in the Job Market" by Tom Jackson.

Not a collection of scales per se, but the same exercises and suggestions you would get from a career counselor.
posted by doppleradar at 3:03 AM on March 8, 2008

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