7 WRONG Ways to Decide Your Life’s Career
An open letter to graduates.
May 23, 2012 - 7:00 am
It’s that time of year again when a new crop of ambitious young folk will be graduating from high school and heading off into their glorious futures by selecting the exact wrong career for themselves.
We all want nothing more than to have that perfect career that makes us feel like life is the equivalent of skipping through a summer field, with flowers in bloom all around and the golden sunshine on your face (this is a fictional world where there are no bugs in that summer field). Most of us instead end up with a career like that miserable camping trip where it rained the whole time, you were freezing and tired and hungry non-stop, and, oh yes, there were lots and lots of nasty, crawling, dirty bugs.
Reportedly, over half of American workers hate their jobs. Only 45% of Americans report being “satisfied” with their jobs. (Frankly, if being “satisfied” means happy I’ll go shoot myself in the head right now.) Has this dearth of people in happy careers stopped succeeding generations from going through the same completely wrong process leading to the same terribly wrong decision? No. No, it hasn’t. I’m not breaking any sound barriers here – I’m not going to tell you how to pick the right career – but here are 7 common, and completely wrong, ways people make career decisions that may lead to the TWENTY YEAR camping trip from hell.
1. Based on Your High School Aptitude Test
We’ve all taken them. God help the children who actually take those test results seriously and make their career decision because of them. When I took the test I was told I should be a construction worker or a military general. At the time I was a 5 ft. 4, 120 pound, 17-year-old girl who loved reading classic literature and history. Yeah, that seems right.
Most school aptitude tests are a combination personality test and interests and hobbies survey. If you’re lucky they’ll throw in an IQ test so you can find out you are too dumb to follow your dreams or too smart to pick something you enjoy.
The problem with these tests is mankind hasn’t figured out how to crack the code of a human being’s unique complexity with a 50-point questionnaire. The information from these tests may not be a bad place to start, but there are many, many other factors to consider; for example, oh, I don’t know, would you actually enjoy being in the military?