By Cynthia Simmons
Sometimes it’s good to go back and double check thoughts you have about yourself and what you want to do with your life as far as a job is concerned. But, then again, other times life is so busy, and you are already committed to so many things, that going back and double-checking isn’t an option.
Last week, I was granted a chance to look backwards at my past career decisions when I attended a free Illinois Workforce Development workshop. Our class of six people was lead through four self-assessment and interest inventories that were accessed through the website https://ilcis.intocareers.org.
As we worked our ways through the self-assessments, we each developed our own multidimensional personal profile that included our likes and work values. This was called our “portfolio.”
Other tools on the website that we were shown included a “reality check” regarding the median income for a particular job in a particular geographic area/region, and a budget builder, to use to draw up a real-life budget of what we need to earn monthly and annually.
I was relieved when the results of the interest inventory were the same as they had been years ago, when I took similar tests when I was 25 years old, and then when I was 30 years old. I still want the same things. I am still who I thought I was, even with all of the changes time and new technologies have brought.
This suite of tests is part of the Illinois Career Information System. One of the interesting and beneficial things that I experienced when doing these assessments was that it’s very important to take a look at careers you don’t want. When you look at profiles for people who like careers that you don’t want to pursue, you learn why those other careers don’t make sense for you. The discomfort and perhaps repulsion may make sense. For myself, I found closure when I asked questions such as, “Why does the thought of doing such and such make me anxious or annoyed?” The answers to these questions were–those jobs don’t include things I like to do or things that I’m good at doing.
Sometimes we feel that we can do anything and be anyone. And maybe, if we are desperate enough, we can try to make ourselves do that. But I think that the better course is to follow our individual preferences, if we understand ourselves deeply enough. And, failing a deep self-knowledge, taking chances and trying something new, may also be a good route.