Apparently I have a pretty useless Work Personality

Earlier today I decided to be a bit more productive than I usually am after my 4-hour stint at my part-time job and made my way to the bookstore hoping to find some "direction." Ever since I lost my magazine job (and to be honest, even a few months before then), I've been feeling a bit jaded and confused. I'm suddenly wondering if what I always wanted to do with my life is what I'm supposed to be doing, and asking myself if the profession I've always dreamed of pursing since I was about five-years-old is really for me. What if I'm honestly just no good at it? What if I just thought I was?

I had one day left on my "birthday gift" from Borders (I got a free raspberry-lemony iced tea!), so it seemed like the place to be. In the reference section, I grabbed a Writer's Market hoping to discover a few new avenues and alleys I never thought to walk down before. In the job section, I found "Fired to Hired," which I embarrassingly picked up, thankful that I'm black and no one could see the shameful blush that rushed into my face. I felt so disgraced and exposed sitting in the cafe, sipping my tea, holding this book who's title was written in big, bold, RED letters. (Can I just say, I did end up buying the book... although I might return it, or sell it to Half-Priced Books when I'm done. Not sure if I want anyone to ever see that title peeking out of my bookshelves.) A book that was supposed to offer "job options for the creative mind" proved to be rather useless. None of the jobs sounded remotely creative. Or like anything I would ever want to do. And then I found a somewhat large tome: "Match Your Career to Your Personality."

Honestly not sure if that was the title, but that is what it promised to help me do. I was thrilled! I assumed that not only would this book prove to me that I am meant to be a writer, journalist, editor, or something along those lines, but here was the possibility of also being guided to careers options I may have been blinded to.

What's that saying about assuming this, again? Yeah... let's just say I was wrong. Instead I discovered that my personality type is apparently relatively useless. I mean, I'm sure there are jobs out there that fit my personality, but they do not pay well, have the fastest growth, or the most openings. Out of the "top 50 jobs" listed under my personality type only two was a perfect (or close to perfect match)--Broadcast News Analyst. Which... I guess is in journalism, so I'm obviously not too far off track. But the description kind of made me cringe. For one, while I majored in journalism, I'm not exactly a new junkie. Instead I'm an information junkie. Similar, but not the same thing. To be a news analyst, I'd have to be a news junkie. Also... I am so far from being a fan of broadcast. There are some appealing qualities to the format, but.... Let's just say Broadcast News Analyst didn't exactly excite me. 

The other profession was Interpreter and Translator (which was a perfect match). The only problem is the only other language I kind of know is Sign Language... which I could be good at, and I did take 2 whole years of. Except I am soo far from being fluent. And I guess I do understand Yoruba, and can speak it on a very basic level. (Note to self: begin practicing your Sign Language and improve your Yoruba skills.)

Apparently I'm not the right personality type to be a writer or author, a technical writer, an editor, a photographer, and interior designer, a graphic designer, film and video editor, fine artist... oh the list goes on and on. 

If you haven't been able to tell by the jobs I'm listing, my primary personality type was Artistic (A). This means I like work that deals with the artistic side of things, like forms, design and patterns. I like self-expression in my work and prefer a setting where work can be done without following a clear set of rules.

My secondary personality was Social (S). This means I like work that assists others, promotes learning and personal development. I prefer to communicate more than work with objects or machines or data. And I like to teach, give advice, help and/or be of service to people. 

Technically, your work personality should have 3 components, but I scored so low on the other four components [(Realistic (R), Investigative (I), Conventional (C) and Enterprising (E)] that I could only claim two letters. I mean, I scored a 1 out of a possible 30 in the R department! 

So, I am an SA. And out of the Top 50 jobs that means I'm suited to be a translator/interpreter and that alone. Broadcast News Analyst is an SAE (and Enterprising was my third highest score, although it was just a 5 out of 30, so...)

Most of the other top artistic personality jobs (like writer, editor, etc.) all were like AEI, AER, AR, ARE, AEC.

So... if this RIASEC Personality Test is to be trusted... I don't have a lot of options for complete happiness or success when it comes to my career in life. I left Borders slightly depressed, and ended up buying four books (including "Fired to Hired") as a weak attempt to cheer myself up.

The books didn't work... but I will say my family and friends did. After my discovery, I immediately texted my sisters and a few choice friends. And while I headed home and wallowed in self-pity, singing "Woe is Me," I got texts from friends saying things like, "You can never trust those things!" "Take another test and I'm sure it'll say something entirely different!" "It's just a BOOK! What does it know?" 

And then my sister sent this text: "Well... I guess you just have to trust God more." 

And honestly, who can argue with that? I may have a useless work personality... but God created that personality. So I guess I do just have to trust that He knew what He was doing. And there is some career path out there that will fit my Artistic-Social-ness perfectly. 

Can't wait till He reveals what that will be! 

Share this:



  1. Hey B,

    It's been over 2 years since your post, I hope you've managed to find the career of your dreams. I am an I/O psychologist, one of the people who make tests like the Holland RIASEC model you talked about. I haven't worked much with that system, so take what I say with a bowl of salt.

    First, its more than okay that you have low scores on the other four. Whatever the top one out of those four is, that will likely be your third component. This test works such that the more you lean towards any one facet, the more lean away from all others (roughly speaking). So, I'm guessing you are very high on the Artistic scale and probably quite high on the social scale as well. So much so, that you didn't leave much room for any of the other components to get points.

    Also, I think your primary facet goes a long way towards dictating your other two facets: the ones that fall to either side of it. That means you are probably an Investigator. The low E score supports this. Also, reading your post, I get the strong sense that you are quite strongly artistic, social, and curious (i.e. investigative). Who else spends so much time exploring a book store and then artistically shares the experience?

    On a separate point, this isn't a personality assessment. Instead it's a measure of what interests you. If I recall correctly, the story behind this instrument is that Holland noticed at cocktail parties that people tended to form into a few different groups based on similar interests. Th conversation dominating each group fell into the RIASEC categories. So, one way to look at this instrument, is that it simply measures where you are likely to stand at a cocktail party.

    That said, it can be a very useful tool for focusing your thoughts about career pursuits. It saves you many years of "finding yourself". Like any test, it will never be a perfect measure of you, but it will probably get pretty close and show you where to start digging further.

    If you see a job in any list, for any RIASEC type, and say to yourself, "that sounds perfect!!" then that may just be the career for you. If its from a type completely opposite what the tool says, than I would highly recommend looking further to make sure it is the kind of job you would enjoy, but I would recommend that for any career choice.

    The point is that while this tool can point you towards careers you might enjoy, it can NEVER tell you aren't suitable for a job or that a career you find interesting isn't really for you.

    1. Thanks! This was actually really encouraging. Still working on a dream job, but currently teaching and overall finding purpose in it!