My problem is I often get really excited about something, learn so much about it in very little time, get somewhere with it, but then I don’t end up pursuing it fully because I get bored, or realise I don’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would.
I’ve been reading Penelope Trunk’s blog about everything to do with career advice. Some things I came across in her posts which I found insightful were her suggestion to do a Myers Briggs test which tells you which one of the sixteen personality types you are. You can do the test here.
My result was an ENFJ ‘Popular and sensitive, with outstanding people skills. Externally focused, with real concern for how others think and feel. Usually dislike being alone. They see everything from the human angle, and dislike impersonal analysis. Very effective at managing people issues, and leading group discussions. Interested in serving others, and probably place the needs of others over their own needs.’
This description I thought suited me and I found some useful tips on what ENFJs feel fulfilled doing. Some carreer options suggested were: psychologist, social worker, teacher, clergy, sales representative, HR, Manager, Events Coordinator, politician, diplomat and or a writer, interpretor/translator, TV producer.
I have to say I was confused though why I had just left an events coordinator role, when apparently that is one of the jobs which I should thrive in. Well apparently ENFJs also ‘dislike impersonal logic and analysis’ and the nature of events I did was not very personal and more logistical, which is probably why didn’t enjoy it so much.
The Myers Briggs test has its critics, and so I’m not taking it as the results as gospel but it is a useful indicator. However, out of the suggested careers for my type I have already tried the translator, the teacher, the events coordinator, the journalist and the TV producer and none of them really fit the bill. This is probably because I wasn’t dedicated enough or convinced enough that they were my calling to focus fully on achieving those goals instead of just dabbling in them and then getting discouraged because it was just too hard to get the job/not as fulfilling as I’d envisaged.
So that’s why Trunk also advises people to try a few entry level jobs if they need to and ‘use a series of jobs to observe different professions at close range to see if YOU think they make people happy.’ So at least I’m doing that right!
Trunk also advises to specialise in something (makes sense) and advised that when choosing a career ‘the trick is not to find the thing that allows us to earn the most money or the thing that we are most passionate about. The trick is to find the thing that combines passion and money and stick with it so you get great.
Apparently janitors are happier than lawyers ‘because they can control their workday and they can see immediately how they are helping people. Lawyers, by contrast, are the most universally unhappy, because they have little control over their hours and they are generally dealing with people who hate that they have to hire a lawyer, whatever the lawyer is doing.’
And finally the good news is that while job satisfaction is very important, social relationships are the most important in making us happy, and as long as you earn enough money to meet your basic needs, making more money does not make you any happier.
So that’s it. Lot’s to think about, and I’d definitely recommend doing the Myers Briggs personality test – I found it interesting.
What about you, are you happy at work? What would your career advice be?