What You Can Learn from These Tests
The ultimate purpose of all of these tests is to help you better understand yourself and your relationship with the working world. Armed with this self-knowledge, you will be able to make well-informed decisions that will affect your future happiness, satisfaction, and success in your chosen career. You have undoubtedly thought about some of these topics a lot, such as your values and your interests. The act of writing them down in your chart will help you see how they relate to your other characteristics — and how they correspond to possible careers.
Career Test Topics
You may never have given any thought to some of the other topics, such as the balance you want between your work and personal life or if you have what it takes to open your own business. By taking those tests, you will learn something new about yourself. You will gather more information that, when combined with all of your other test results, will help you clarify your career direction and decisions. The key is to take several tests. No single one will give you the help you are looking for, but all of your results together will round out a portrait of you and your preferences and enable you to more closely match your career options to that self-portrait.
Criteria for Job Satisfaction
This checklist gives you a preliminary glimpse at how you feel right now about making changes to your career. It indicates some of the types of possible changes.
What do you value most in your career: Financial security? Helping others? Status? Loyalty? Depending on how you feel now, a career that resonates with your values can affect your feelings of satisfaction.
Perhaps you have a talent for managing people, computer programming, or improvising solutions on the fly. You stand a better chance of finding fulfillment in a career that uses your skills. Don't forget those skills that are related to your hobbies, too. You may dismiss them as unimportant, but many fulfilling careers started out as pastimes.
If you know you like to build things, be outdoors, or work with kids, you will probably enjoy a career that takes full advantage of your particular interests.
Knowing whether you are, for example, adventurous, spontaneous, structured, or serious can help you find work situations that suit your personality.
Perhaps you like a noisy, busy office environment with lots of people interacting, or you like to work outdoors. A desirable commute ranks very high among factors that keep employees happy in their jobs. Matching your preferences with your work environment can make or break your career satisfaction.
This is about where in the country — or the world — you want to work, taking into account such considerations as climate, access to nature, affordability, and the livability of the location you choose. You don't always have a choice of where you'll work, but if you do, it's good to know your own preferences.
Do you relish putting in seventy-hour weeks at the office, or would you prefer to have afternoons free to play with the kids after school? Perhaps you feel strongly about making time for volunteer work. Striking the right balance between your personal life and your professional life can have a huge impact on your career satisfaction.
Are you a self-confident risk-taker who doesn't mind investing many hours and your own money in your business, or do you prefer receiving a regular paycheck for working a set number of hours? Not everyone is suited for the world of self-employment, but if you've never thought about it as an option before, you may surprise yourself.
Are you a born leader? You may never have supervised other people before but still have the qualities of an excellent manager. This test will help you figure out your leadership potential.
You may be smart and you may have loads of technical skills, but if you don't have emotional intelligence, career success may elude you. Find out what it is and how to improve yours.
What These Tests Don't Do
These tests will not match you to any one particular career or job. These tests won't provide information about anyone else. Nor will they tell you if you can afford to make any of the suggested changes or how a particular career path will affect your relations with family or significant others. Those are determinations you will have to make on your own. No test or series of tests can give you all of the answers to your career questions. If, after taking the tests in this book, you are still unclear or need more direction, try looking at some in-depth publications relating to the careers that interest you, visit a few career Web sites, or consult a career counseling professional who can guide your further efforts at self-assessment, job hunting, and beyond. The resources listed in the appendices will help you.
How to Take the Tests
For some of you, these may be the first tests you have taken in years, if not decades. Relax. This isn't punishment, and the tests will be fun. After all, they concern the most fascinating topic in the world — you! Remember to photocopy the pages before you write on them so you can take the tests again in the future.
Find a quiet place with minimal distractions.
Read all instructions carefully.
Don't agonize over your responses. There are no right or wrong answers.
Don't try to second-guess your responses.
Take your time.
Sum Up Your Results
On pages 178–179, there is a chart where you can record your results from all of the tests in this book. When completely filled out, the chart will give you an easy-to-read, convenient, and current snapshot of you that will help you determine your next steps and focus your path to career fulfillment. The terminology used throughout this book is the same as that used by career counseling professionals, so you will be able to compare your results with other resources and literature in the field. Again, you may want to write on a photocopy of the chart so you can use it again in the future.