Aptitude and Personality

Jun 6th, 2010 | By | Category: abundance, aptitude, Career advice, career challenges, challenges, fear, interview, mentor, personality, success

In an attempt to keep a finger on the pulse of the workplace and honing my skill as a  mentor, I participate in yahoo answers Yahoo Answers as the PracticaL Mentor. Perhaps  it is the season for graduation, but there are a lot of people asking how to choose a career  or advice of choosing one career over another. Many have doubts of their ability to compete  college and pass professional tests. This is a perplexing problem not only in the dilemma  of choosing a career field, but being academically and socially ready to successfully  complete courses of study at the college level.

When I attended high school there were three main tracts of education. General which prepared students to join the workforce after graduation at unskilled entry level jobs. At that time the economy was humming along with a plethora of manufacturing and service jobs. Many of those entering as unskilled were taught necessary skills such as welding, fitters, machinist, etc. The second tier were taught skills that could be used in the workforce such as secretaries, bookkeepers, draftsmen, etc. The third group was considered colleges bound and taught academic subjects that were required to gain admission into college. This tract system seem to work well for the majority of students who had an idea of what they wanted to do after high school. Most high school students who did not have a good idea of what they wanted to do were placed in general studies. Many of these students were short changed. Although the tracts have been replaced the same scheme persists. There are general students; vocational/technical students; and college bound academic/honor students. Although this system seems to fit the needs of society it often by passes students who do not focus on their future until they graduate from high school and get a taste of working in mills and other unskilled jobs.

While it is never too late to get an education or switch career fields, the older we get the harder it is. With each passing year our responsibilities to family and our day job increase making time ever more scarce for continuing education. Anyone who has worked their way though college while supporting a family deserves a great deal of recognition. It is not an easy task to balance the demands of a full time job, family responsibilities, and rigors of attending college.

With the changing economy in the United States and around the world, unskilled and semi-skilled jobs continue to disappear at an alarming rate. Computers, robots, and off shore manufacturing have eroded the American dream into a survival nightmare. The pat answer is our workforce needs to be retrained, and more educated. Although this general statement is true, it gives little guidance to workers of all ages who are too young to retire, or can’t afford to retire. How do you choose a career or a second career?

Most of the self help books I have read cling to the idea that if you follow your passion that fame and fortune will automatically follow. While I do believe that it more pleasant to work at a job you like, the majority of the workforce are doing jobs that they tolerate more than like. Even those who are in a chosen professional career position are not ecstatic about their jobs. My entire career I thought it would be better to be in a different career field. Now that I am retired I am trying some things that I thought I would enjoy, like mentoring. I also earned a MBA so that I could try working at something other than engineering. So far I have started to develop the PracticaL Mentor web site, but is a good thing I have a pension, because there are few if any job opportunities, especially in the business and management field where I have no demonstrated experience. So I can just imagine the feelings of retraining into a new career field and not being able to find work to support yourself and your family.

Education is always beneficial, but it is no guarantee. There are a lot of college graduates looking for work, some with more experience and higher GPAs. One thing that I have found helpful is trying to match your personality and aptitude with job trends. Regardless of your education if you do not come across at the interview as confident and knowledgeable your chances of success are slim to none. Perhaps this what the self-help community calls your passion, but to me it is more just common sense to seek out opportunities that mesh with your personality and aptitude. In my opinion a person with average intelligence and social skills can perform the majority of jobs in most career fields. In these times of economic uncertainty I would recommend choosing career fields with a sustainable future over those which may seem more to your liking. For example the medial field is one that is predicted to grow with our aging population. Not only is the need increasing, but also technology is creating jobs and careers that did not exist just a few years ago. The number of diagnostic medical devices continues to increase, and the need for trained personal continues to grow. If I were starting out or retraining I would certainly consider a career in the medical field over manufacturing.

Although we think we know ourselves pretty well it is amazing the way we under estimate are abilities. I have found real value in taking personality and aptitude tests to get an idea of what these instruments predicted would be a good match for my intellect and personality. I was pleasantly surprised at the variety of jobs suggested. The main message of this post is do not let yourself be pigeon holed at any point of your career, and seek help in deciding what you may be good at. Even if it is to get advice from someone you trust. There are free aptitude and personality tests available on the web. You may try taking some of them for fun, and give the results some thought. You my be surprised at the opportunities you have been ignoring. Best of Luck. The PracticaL Mentor.

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