“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”
So said Confucius in 500 BCE. He may not have used exactly these words in that century but his teaching, compiled into Analects, does communicate the same message and holds true, especially in today’s fast-moving world.
So what makes someone love their job? Is it something they like doing? OR is it something they feel very passionate about? It is both and can be labeled as one’s Career or Vocational Interest?
Interest motivates a person to do the work and also injects passion into him to get better at it. And this becomes the secret sauce of one’s success – enjoying what you do and getting better at it with each passing day.
Moreover, identifying one’s professional interest helps a person in more than one way. Assessing to identify your types and levels of interests brings you one step closer to knowing yourself.
You will get better at answering the ‘Tell me about yourself’ question, whenever it is thrown at you again, mostly at an interview. Also, finding one’s interest gives purpose and meaning to life. Knowing what you can do will give you direction in life and the path which you would like to explore without getting exhausted.
So how does someone appraise their interest?
The simple way is asking yourself and others who know you closely about their perception of you.
But the drawback is, this process is becoming more complicated with each passing day. Because these days every human is exposed to so many experiences since their childhood and they end up liking everything.
In the end, neither you nor your near & dear ones know what you like to do.
Another method employed by counselors is doing a psychometric assessment. It is an objective and standardized assessment to measure a person’s interest in different activities. What makes it interesting is that it categorizes different interests under one label.
This means that even if you have varied interests, all of them may have a singular connection which a counselor can identify using their psychometric tool. And this method also saves time that you would have possibly spent on self and peer assessment.
One of the most popular assessment tools for identifying a person’s career or vocational interest is the RIASEC model based on Holland Codes by John L. Holland.
John Lewis Holland was an eminent American psychologist and academic, working in John Hopkins University until 1980. He published some of his most important research on personality and career choice during this tenure including ‘Making Vocational Choices: A Theory of Careers’, ‘The Self Directed Search’, and ‘The Dictionary of Holland Occupational Codes’.
He has been researching this topic since as early as 1958 and stated as per his research that in choosing a career, people prefer jobs where they can be around others who are like them.
They search for environments that will let them use their skills and abilities and express their attitudes and values while taking on enjoyable problems and roles. Based on these insights, he developed “The Holland Codes or the Holland Occupational Themes (RIASEC)” referring to a theory of careers and vocational choice based upon personality types.
The US Department of Labor uses the RIASEC model in the “Interests” section of its free online database O*NET (Occupational Information Network) since its inception during the late 1990s.
RIASEC is an acronym for six categories in terms of career environments where people would fit in and flourish. These six categories show some correlation with each other and hence they are represented through a hexagonal model connecting the regions of high correlation, resulting in 720 personality pattern possibilities.
They are the “Doers”. They are the people who like to work mainly with their hands, which involves making, fixing, assembling, or building things. They are also good at using and operating equipment, tools, or machines.
These people often like to work outdoors and prefer to experience or see the direct results of their labor. They approach problem-solving “by doing something, rather than talking about it, or sitting and thinking about it”. They also prefer concrete approaches to problem-solving, and focus on scientific or mechanical techniques.
They are the “Thinkers”. They like to discover and research ideas, observe, investigate and experiment, ask questions and solve problems. They think analytically and logically and prefer to work with ideas and things.
They like to think and observe rather than act, to organize and understand information rather than to persuade. They also prefer individual rather than people-oriented activities.
They are the “Creators”. They like to use words, art, music, or drama to communicate, perform, or express themselves through creating and designing things. They like to work with ideas and people.
They tend to be creative, open, inventive, original, perceptive, and independent. They rebel against structure and rules but enjoy tasks involving people or physical skills. They tend to be more emotional than the other types.
They are the “Helpers”. They like to work with people to teach, inform, help, treat, heal and cure, serve and greet, concerned for the wellbeing and welfare of others. They like to work with people who seem to satisfy their needs in teaching or helping situations. They tend to seek close relationships with other people and are less apt to want to be intellectual or physical.
They are the “Persuaders”. They like meeting people, leading, talking to and influencing others, encouraging others, and working in the business. They enjoy activities like selling, promoting, developing ideas, public speaking, managing, organizing, leading, and planning.
They like to work with people and data. They tend to be good talkers and use this skill to lead or persuade others. They also value reputation, power, money, and status.
They are the “Organizers”. They like working indoors and on tasks that involve organizing and being accurate, following procedures, working with data or numbers, and planning work or events. The activities they enjoy include recording and keeping records, paying attention to detail, meeting and greeting, doing calculations, handling money, organizing, and arranging.
They prefer to work independently and to work with things and data and like rules and regulations. They emphasize using self-control. They like structure and order and dislike unstructured or unclear work and interpersonal situations. They also place value on reputation, power, or status.