Q: I worked part-time through college and now I'm looking for a full-time job. People have told me to do whatever I feel like because now is the time for me to be free. My parents told me they can't continue supporting me, and even if they could, I don't want to be a spoiled brat who never takes responsibility. I went to school with kids like that — they'd say things like "maybe I'll travel when I graduate, or move to different cities to see what they're like." I have to get a job, but I don't want a "minimum-wage-type" of job that is what it is. Then going to college would have been a waste. I also don't want an office clerical job where I'd be bored to death. I don't really know what I want to do, only what I don't want.
A: It sounds like you're in a "getting-to-know-yourself" phase, which can be quite a shock for some. Life may initially seem easier for kids with parents in professional careers, since they have grown up familiar with the fields their parents work in, such as doctors, lawyers, university professors, highly trained technical fields or the trades. Many of those "kids" leave those fields they felt guided to once they face the actual practice and realize it's not for them.
It's as if graduation is D-day — your moment of truth — when you must take over and become self-sufficient, but you're not sure which path to take. You are not alone. For the many new graduates and adults who have no definitive careers in mind, a minimum wage job may be just what you need to give you time to learn the difference between what you're good at and what excites you.
Being good in a job doesn't always translate to loving the work. One corporate attorney described going to work every day "as entering a long, dark tunnel with no end in sight." Clearly, a person may be smart enough to do many things, but liking what one does as a career can be different story. On the reverse side, a student said she was thinking of being a doctor, but explained that she didn't like school, which was why she kept dropping out of college. When told of the schooling it took to be a doctor, she immediately changed her mind. Confusion and nativity can lead to an unhappy future. Assessment testing helps guide a person, but a reality check of one's abilities is also important.
The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, based on Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung' personality theory and developed by Isabel Briggs Myers and her mother, Katherine Briggs, clears the confusion and helps individuals to better know themselves and the fields best suited to their personalities. The MBTI questionnaire was published in 1943 and has been repeatedly updated. It is reported to be the "world's most widely used personality indicators, with two million assessments done annually."
The MBTI has 16 personality types, each with its own characteristics and strengths. While 70 percent of Fortune 500 companies have used the MBTI, individuals can take the assessment online or through a certified MBTI professional. Don't worry about being exposed. It is not a personality test that highlights all your undesirable traits; it is a positive tool that helps individuals "make better decisions, communicate more effectively, manage and prevent stress, set and achieve goals, build strong relationships, and focus your career plans." The MBTI "is based on well researched and validated personality theory with proven applications in a variety of fields." (MBTI Training Institute of The Myers & Briggs Foundation)
If you want to end the confusion and save time from repeatedly choosing the wrong jobs, take the test online at www.MBTIonline.com or find a certified MBTI practitioner in your area to help you fully understand and make use of the results.
Email all questions to [email protected] For more about her, visit www.lindseyparkernovak.com or follow her on Twitter @TheLindseyNovak and Facebook at Lindsey.Novak.12. For past columns, visit Creators Syndicate Website at www.creators.com.