You know when you are in a job you like. You also know when the task you're doing just isn't right for you.
What lies behind our feelings of work satisfaction or dissatisfaction are our fundamental work interests: These are the things that we enjoy doing, whatever the industry or the job title. The trick to finding career satisfaction can be to identify those core interests and match your job to them.
For example, if you're a science person, you may not be happy working in a job that needs quick decisions, or where you need to use your 'gut' to guide you. Likewise, artistic people would be driven mad in a profession that has lots of rules and procedures, or which demands a lot of number crunching.
In a perfect world, we would all choose careers that suit our core interests. However this is not a perfect world: For all sorts of reasons, we can find ourselves in positions where what we're doing just doesn't suit our natural interests and abilities. This is where understanding how job and personality fit together can help you change the situation for the better.
Ability and personality are the two main things contribute towards job satisfaction. You're likely to find that jobs that suit your ability and personality are much more rewarding than those that don't. Here we look at your work interests – an important part of your work personality.
In the 1970s John Holland developed a popular theory of interest development based around these six personality types:
These are people who like well-ordered activities, or enjoy working with objects, tools, and machines.
Investigative people like activities that involve creative investigation of the world or nature.
Artistic people like unstructured activities, and enjoy using materials to create art.
Social people enjoy informing, training, developing, curing and enlightening others.
These people enjoy reaching organizational goals or achieving economic gain.
Conventional people enjoy manipulating data, record keeping, filing, reproducing materials, and organizing written or numerical data.
Holland then arranged these six personality types into a hexagon (see figure 1, below) organized according to people's preference for working with different stimuli at work: people...
"When I started using Mind Tools, I was not in a supervisory position. Now I am. Along with that came a 12% increase in salary." – Pat Degan, Houston, USA
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