The summer after graduating from college, I returned to my mom’s house, where I spent vampire-style hours in my old childhood bedroom, staying awake all night watching bad TV and watching. trying to figure out what I was. will do with my life. I had majored in Feminist Studies – not exactly a desirable skill set – at a college where our career orientation was a dusty filing cabinet with internship listings printed from the internet. Most of my friends were in the same boat, misworking or killing time in their own childhood bedroom, eating Tostitos until the early hours of the morning and trying to figure out how the hell people knew what job would make them happy.
I had known all my life that I wanted to be a writer. But at 22 I thought it would be too hard a field to break into, so I stumbled into a lot of different jobs, trying to figure out what would be a good second best career. After nearly a decade of having fun with second-rate careers, I realized that nothing was harder than spending all day doing a job you couldn’t care less about, and so I did. the leap into writing, which was the best decision I have ever made in my life.
All this recently got me thinking: were there any shortcuts that could have gotten me here sooner? Did I need to spend eight years getting the devil wears Pradawould I have traveled the city to understand what I really wanted to do with my life? Or was there a resource that could have encouraged me to get here faster?
I know this is the time of year when many of your recent graduates make the same pilgrimage to your childhood bedroom as I did. I tested three of the biggest free online career assessment tests to see how accurate they were (I had the benefit of knowing the correct answer, of course). Yes, there are a number of expensive programs that could be a bit more specific, but hey, you don’t have a career yet – so where the hell do you get $ 80? Keep it for your budget Tostitos, stove at home.
The gold standard for career and personality assessment tests is the so-called Myers-Briggs type indicator, which was developed by the mother-daughter team of Katharine Cook Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers during WWII. Myers and Briggs distilled pioneering psychiatrist Carl Jung’s work on human archetypes into a test that would divide people into one of 16 “types” based on their answers to yes or no questions about how you interact. with other human beings, what you enjoy and how much you hate going to parties (correct answer: a lot).
The official Meyers-Briggs test will make you run around fifty smackeroos; but luckily for you, the internet is full of imitation tests that, like a fake designer handbag, give you the same general experience as long as you’re willing to deal with a janky design. These are the fake purses of self-knowledge! I took the Jung typology test, which gives you your Myers-Briggs type and suggests some careers you might enjoy based on that.
Sample questions: “You think that everything in the world is relative”; âYou spend your free time actively socializing with a group of people, attending parties, shopping, etc. “
Results: I learned that I am a ENFJ, Which means Judgment of the intuitive extrovert feeling – which basically means I’m kind of fun for people, but also sometimes feel like putting my fist in drywall because I have way too many feelings. (Wikipedia speculates that President Obama might be an ENFJ, and God knows this guy seems like he needs a recreational drywall punch.) Does that mean my ideal career as President? From Jung’s typology test, maybe! My suggested career paths were politics (of course), fashion merchandising (makes sense) and IT (what?), Alongside all of the classic careers for people with too many feelings (social worker , to advise).
Would it have helped me in the past?: Probably not. The only thing that seemed to be missing from Jung’s typology test was the creative element in the jobs I needed – an element that turned out to be the one thing that could actually make me happy in a job.
But maybe you’re looking for something a little less responsive, with less of a whiff of âdrum circleâ. You want a real test that will help you find a real job, not a glimpse of your feelings. Fair enough! For people like you there is My next move, a site (sponsored by the US Department of Labor) dedicated to helping people determine what jobs they would like.
Unlike the Myers-Briggs, which is more about getting a read of your general personality, My Next Move’s O * Net interest profiler is about figuring out the specific daily work activities that you find enjoyable and the daily work activities that will make you lose your mind and run naked through the streets of your hometown, screaming wordlessly and pooping in people’s mailboxes . I thought that was a great goal, because the little activities that make up your day really do or destroy a job – much more than a lot of the whole thing.
âTry not to wonder if you have enough education or training to do the job or how much money you would make doing the job. Just think about whether you would like or dislike doing the job,â note the instructions, which makes this free online test already more favorable than many of our real human relatives.
Sample questions: On a scale from âstrongly likeâ to ânot at allâ, would you like to âteach an individual exercise routineâ, âraise fish in a hatcheryâ, âuse a calculatorâ.
Results: The test analyzes your answers to 60 different questions, then assigns you scores in six different categories: Realistic, Inquiry, Artistic, Social, Enterprising and Conventional. I got the highest score in the Artistic and Social categories, and I had a virtually non-existent score in the Realistic category (tell me something I don’t know, right?).
Instead of giving you a few suggestions of areas to consider, the Interest Profiler divides careers into tiers, based on the training they need: you can browse suggested careers you can jump into right away, ones you can jump into right away. you need training, and those you need extensive training for. I’ve had dozens of matches across the levels, from “food server, non-restaurant” to actor, stonemason, makeup artist, film editor, kindergarten teacher, interior designer, journalist, decorator and therapist. – all jobs that seem pretty cool and interesting to me, honestly. Also, given that “blogging about boner jokes” isn’t an official career title, I think “reporter” is about as close as any test will let me say I would be happy. to do my real job.
Would it have helped me in the past?: The Interests Profiler was full of great job ideas – but there were so many, I’m not sure as a recent graduate I could have distinguished which ones I’m passionate about from those I could just tolerate . But that’s a lot to ask for a free internet test, isn’t it? At least it offered more valuable information than the average internet quiz (i.e., “Which Harry Potter character is your dog?”)
If you’ve ever taken a work aptitude test in school, the GoodTherapy.com Personality and Work Aptitude Test may sound familiar. In fact, this 240-question test looks suspiciously like a career inventory test I took in eighth grade, which prompted me to become a park warden (which even at a young age I knew that I would totally hate it). But a lot has changed since 1995 – including, hopefully, vocational aptitude tests. This one seemed a bit more sensitive to the nuances of his personality than my ranger test 20 years ago.
Sample questions: “Evaluate your ability to [ponder] fundamental questions of existence (eg, why am I here? What is the meaning of life?) “” Indicate your level of interest … [in] handle and move objects of different sizes and weights.
Results: Do you remember when I said that it seemed more nuanced than the test I took in college? I was forced to withdraw that statement when I saw my suggested career: foreign language teacher – an interesting choice, given that I have literally never been able to master a single foreign language, and have passed my whole last trip to Paris asking strangers on the street, “Are you the excellent bathroom?” Well.
Would it have helped me in the past? No.
So it turns out that there are no internet-based hacks that you can use in place of life experience and self-knowledge accumulation when it comes to choosing one. career. Damn it!
If you are completely at a loss as to what to do with your life, some of these tests can certainly help you determine whether you are more interested in, for example, working in an investment bank or becoming an erotic baker for the stars. But I think really, deep down, most of us know what career path we’d like to pursue – we often put it aside because we’re afraid we won’t be able to do it, or are afraid that our family or others. friends will think we are fools to pursue him.
Whether or not it’s worth it to pursue your dream career is a decision that only you can make, of course. But even if you feel totally lost, you probably know more about the career that would make you happy than you think – often the biggest step is just figuring out how to admit it to yourself.
Or, failing everything else, you could become an erotic baker to the stars. It’s an uncrowded area with unlimited growth potential, I hear.
Images: 20th Century Fox / Dune Entertainment, Giphy (5)