Work environments, like people, also have a predominant type, from creative to conventional. But just as with people, there will be more than one type working in any single occupational group. A pharmaceutical company, by necessity, employs many scientists and researchers, but there are also opportunities for artists (in advertising or packaging design), lawyers, maintenance staff, office assistants, and salespeople.
The eighteenth-century British author Laurence Sterne wrote, “What a large volume of adventures may be grasped within this little span of life by him who interests his heart in everything.” If your interests are myriad, you will have a hard time finding one single career that will satisfy all of them. If you focus on your most important ones for work, then extracurricular activities and hobbies can take care of the rest.
Space prohibits listing every conceivable interest or career option here. Those listed in this chapter provide some ideas to get you started. The U.S. Department of Labor publishes the Occupational Outlook Handbook with hundreds of job ideas. The appendices here include some more resources to help you in your search.
Now that you know your three-letter RIASEC code, look through the sample occupation list for each letter of your top three categories. Put a check mark next to the ones that look most interesting to you, and record them on the chart on page 178.
Realistic Careers (R)
Realistic people value practical, concrete things they can see and touch. They like to work with plants, animals, and real-world materials, tools, or machinery in scientific or mechanical areas rather than aesthetic or cultural ones. They like structure, clear goals, well-defined lines of authority, and straightforward tasks with observable, immediate, and tangible results. They are often found in hands-on careers in such fields as agriculture, engineering, technology, or skilled trades. They prefer working outdoors to jobs that involve working closely with others or lots of paperwork.
Driver (truck, bus)
Emergency medical technician
Forest and conservation worker
Freight or stock movers
Plumber, pipe fitter, steamfitter
Telecommunications line installer
Welder, cutter, solderer, brazer
Investigative Careers (I)
Investigative people prefer unstructured environments that are academic and/or involve research. They are often found in careers relating to science, mathematics, medicine, and other technical fields. Their work often involves ideas and thinking rather than people, things, or physical activity. They like tasks that entail discovering, collecting, and analyzing data or ideas. They are happiest with minimal supervision and structure and often like to work alone.
Computer programmer, software engineer, systems analyst
Health and safety engineer
Market research analyst
Medical laboratory technician
Speech language pathologist
Artistic Careers (A)
Artistic people can be found in careers that relate to music, literature, dramatic arts, and other creative fields, in work environments ranging from arts organizations, film and television production, art galleries, museums, and theaters to publishing houses or advertising organizations. They prefer unstructured, flexible environments that reward unconventional and aesthetic values, where their work can be done without having to follow set rules or procedures. Hence, they tend to be frustrated in conventionally bureaucratic organizations.
Advertising artist or manager
Designer (product, fashion, floral, graphic, interior, commercial, industrial, exhibit, set)
Director (stage, film, video)
Merchandise displayer, window trimmer
Music store staffperson
Announcer (radio, television)
Writer (fiction, nonfiction, poetry, scripts, screenplays, plays)
Social Careers (S)
Social people prefer activities that involve interaction with other people. They are often found in careers that take advantage of their interpersonal skills, such as teaching, community awareness, and other helping vocations such as counseling or clergy. They like to give information and discuss philosophical questions. They don't gravitate toward highly ordered or routine activities or those involving machines, materials, tools, or lots of paperwork.
Child care provider
Correctional officer, security guard, bailiff
Counselor (school, career, personal, substance abuse)
Fitness trainer, aerobics instructor, coach
Home health aide
Public health worker
Teacher (kindergarten, elementary, middle school, secondary, remedial education, special education, adult literacy)
Therapist (physical, speech-language, recreational, occupational)
Enterprising Careers (E)
Enterprising people prefer activities that involve selling, promoting, or leading. They like competition and making things happen. They avoid tasks that require attending to details, recordkeeping, careful observation or scientific, analytical thinking, and grow impatient with routine or systematic tasks. These people can be found in careers relating to sales, supervision of others, politics, and other leadership and managerial positions in organizations or entrepreneurial situations of all sizes. They like to be rewarded with money, power, or influence.
Claims investigator, adjustor
Criminal investigator, detective
Public relations executive
Sales (retail, advertising, real estate, wholesale, insurance, medical, securities)
Waiter or waitress
Conventional Careers (C)
Conventional people prefer structured, businesslike work environments. They are found in occupations related to accounting or business and in computational, secretarial, or clerical positions. They like maintenance or administrative tasks where they can attend to details, day-to-day operations, and bottom-line results and where the focus is on the systematic manipulation of data, information, numbers, or money rather than ideas. They fit well into large organizations but don't tend to seek leadership positions.
Air traffic controller
Library assistant, library technician