A Whole New You - Part 2

A client sat down with me and started talking about what he is looking for next in his career. I couldn't help but smile as he expressed his desire for a meaningful job where he can make a difference in people's lives.

My smile was one of recognition. I was recognizing in my client a yearning I have felt in myself: to do more with my life that just hold down a job.

One of the keys to happiness, I have learned, is to seek meaning in life. When we find meaningful work to do, it doesn't feel like work. We lose track of time when we are doing it. We are swept away.

Psychologists call it "flow." And flow can be found by seeking work that calls us.

What work is calling you?

A wonderful model to ponder in this regard was developed by a vocational psychologist named John Holland and described in the book What Color Is Your Parachute? by Richard Nelson Bolles.

Holland identified six occupational types, summarized by the letters RIASEC, and created an assessment tool to help each of us to find our own 3-letter profile.

Here are the six types. Which three, when put together, feel like the right combination to describe you?

Realistic - Realistic types are doers who like working with their own hands in jobs such as farmer, carpenter, and chef.

Investigative - Investigative types are critical thinkers who like problem solving and analytical work such as researcher, journalist, and scientist.

Artistic - Artistic types are creators who like work that permits the expression of their imaginative faculty in jobs such as dancer, poet, or sculptor.

Social - Social types are helpers who are motivated to heal, serve or support others in jobs such as teacher, nurse, and social worker.

Enterprising - Enterprising types are risk taking persuaders and leaders who like influencing others and calling the shots in jobs such as manager, sales person, and small business owner.

Conventional - Conventional types are organizers who like making and following procedures, processes, and policies in jobs such as accounting, human resources, and project manager.

While we all have a little of all six of these in our unique personal chemistry, Holland's theory proposes that three of the six would be a good "capture" of our career interests, and would give us a good headstart in the search for the most meaningful lines of work for each of us.

My 3 letter code is ASE or Artistic-Social-Enterprising. You can use your code (in various combinations ASE, AES, SAE, SEA, EAS, ESA) to seek and research various compatible career paths. The work that I do, as a writer, trainer, facilitator, and coach, seems like a good fit for my interests.

So, if you are wondering what to do next in your career, take the time to explore your career interests using Holland's RIASEC model. You can find it at this website, called My Next Move, from the U.S. Department of Labor.

Terrence Seamon helps his clients find their way toward personally meaningful goals. Follow him on twitter @tseamon.


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