Match Your Career To Your Personality

choosing a career path

When I first started working, I pursued jobs that forced me to deal with the public. First I worked in a town inspection department where the public came in for building permits, home inspections, and to ask questions about zoning regulations and town projects. After that, I worked in a marketing department where I had to take calls from clients, schmooze potential clients at dinners, and give presentations. Then there was a stint in retail. It didn’t take long to realize that I am just not cut out for jobs that require interaction with a lot of other people. I don’t hate other people, but I’m an introvert by nature and too much interaction with people leaves me exhausted and annoyed. That’s not how I wanted to live.

Of course, I’d been a bit brainwashed to think that the only “great” careers were those where you were in the thick of things. If you weren’t seen and being seen, you weren’t going to end up on a great career path. (This was the go-go nineties and a time when the yuppies were still running much of the corporate show. My college professors also stressed the importance of a “public-facing career.”) I should have ignored all of this advice and skipped those years of working with the public and done what I really wanted to do all along. I would have been a lot less stressed.

The only career that has ever made sense for me is freelance writing. I don’t have to deal with a lot of people, I can set my own hours, and I get to use my creativity. I might have been happy in academia (which I briefly pursued) had it not been for the teaching aspect. My student teaching experience was unpleasant, to say the least. Parts of the academic track suited me, teaching did not. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve become much more aware of the types of work that will suit my personality and I navigate my career path accordingly.

If you’re an extrovert, you might find the things I didn’t like to be enjoyable. If you’re somewhere in between, you might have to find a job that gives you a little public interaction but which also lets you be alone sometimes. They key is to know yourself. If you don’t like kids, don’t try to become a teacher or day care worker. If you don’t like dealing with the public, stay out of customer service positions. If you’re the sort of person who just wants to hole up and think, look into careers that will allow you to do that. If you love people, don’t try to work from home. If you’re always looking for adventure, maybe you need to join the military or become a stunt person. Think about the types of things you love and the things that make you crazy, then choose your career accordingly.

It’s not just about getting a job, it’s about finding work that suits your personality and your strengths. You’ll not only be happier, you’ll probably be more successful, too. A job that looks great to other people or on paper isn’t great if it leaves you miserable and stressed because it goes against your natural personality.

(Photo courtesy of City of Marietta, GA)

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4 Responses to Match Your Career To Your Personality

  1. Olufemi Adebara says:

    I enjoined this article, it opened my eyes to deeper understanding of being happy with your

  2. Derek - Freeat33 says:

    I guess this is why I get more tired from an emotionally busy day than a physically active day. For me I find I also don’t particularly care for too much social.

    Do you have a test that matches characters to their professions?

  3. Karen says:

    I chuckled with the line “if you don’t like children”. I didn’t and became a teacher. After 5 years, I was blessed to switch to a more appropriate career. This article seems obvious, but I could’ve used it back then lol!

  4. Gailete says:

    Too bad things like this aren’t taught in schools. College bound kids are pushed to get into the best school to get the best career instead of trying to figure out what they will enjoy. When I became too disabled for full time work, we started an on line business. I can’t believe how much I love doing it. I get to interact with people via email and forums, if a customer for some reason become exceptionally nasty, and I’ve done every thing I can for them I can block their emails and I never have to deal with them again. I get to use the talents and abilities that I have and I can keep learning in an area that pleases me. Sure wish I had known all this when I graduated high school, but computers (at least personal ones) were science fiction at that point in time (Bill Gates was born three days before me and Steve Jobs only half a year before me) so they were soon on the horizon. But during all my working years I kept looking for ways to make money at home and finally found it. Finding a job that you like and suits your personality can really make up for possibly less money earned or less ‘prestige’. You can’t buy happiness with money.

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