Anyone want to play guidance counselor?

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Brett_H, Nov 18, 2003.

  1. Brett_H

    Brett_H Second Unit

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    I seem to be going through some sort of quarter life crisis lately. Thankfully it's only of the work variety as my home life is great: I'm 29, married to a wonderful woman, recently bought our first home, etc. Things in that respect are great. The only area I could use some help with is my career. I don't hate my job, but I don't wake up every morning looking forward to the day, either. (I know some of our unemployed members are now rolling their eyes at me, but so be it) To add a little pressure/deadline to things, we'd like to start a family sometime soon, and the ideal situation would be for me to be the sole wage-earner and have my wife stay home with the kids. This means that somewhere along the way I’m going to need to start making a lot more money.

    Does anyone know of a good site that has some sort of aptitude test, be it paid or free? There's lots of stuff I enjoy, but I can't seem to figure out how to turn those ideas into something that I can make a living from. I'm
    starting to feel that working for myself is the way to go, but I don't know where to start. If it helps, here's a little background about me:

    No college degree (attended for 2.5 years, started a co-op job, never went back)
    Experienced in CAD drafting (5 years ago), software support (levels 1-3), programming (C++, ASP, COBOL, SQL/DB2).
    Currently employed as a programmer/analyst for a large company.
    Love cars (specifically German, VW/Audi in particular), HT (duh), any and all electronics. Pretty good with just about anything mechanical, but no formal training.
    Not interested in medicine, legal work, or sales. Something that doesn't involve a cubicle would be nice.

    I suppose I'm looking for something I can start small and grow over time. I'll probably stick around at my current job for the foreseeable future, the benefits are great, I don't mind the work, etc. It's the potential for advancement that has me down. If there was something that I could do in the evening or on weekends to start with and eventually do full time that would be ideal. Knowing all of this, anyone have a suggestion or two for a career field I might be interested in?

    Thanks for listening.
    -Brett.


    PS - I don't know how this fits into the HTF's stance on After Hours postings. If I'm in violation of the policy, feel free to delete/close this topic.
     
  2. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    You're simply looking for advice re career-aptitude testing, not telling us deeply personal things. Nothing wrong with your post.
     
  3. Charles J P

    Charles J P Cinematographer

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    I have seen, and experienced what you seem to be talking to a lot (I'm 25). I think the most clear thing I have seen with myself and friends is that no matter what you think, working full time, being married, making major purchases, starting a family, etc. are all things that you are never prepared for. But, work seems to hit people particularly hard. I have had friends that worked 40 hours a week, all the time from high-school on, full time in the summers, even working during college to help pay for expenese, and friends that havent worked a day in their life before they graduate, and it seems like they all have similar experiances. At some point in your life, whether its at a time of formal change, like graduation, or just in general, you will realize that the job you work at now is no longer a job. It is part of something bigger. You cant just tell your boss, or coworkers to shove it, you worry about advancing and raises (and not just so you can buy a new do-dad) etc. You have to really look down the road. Not, I wonder if we're going to get screwed on raises again, or I wonder if they're going to bring Bob from department X in above me... but where do you want to be in 10 years.

    There is no answer to these feelings except to experiance them and grow. Answers will come with time, not internet personality or aptitude tests. See Office Space.

    Peter Gibbons: Our high school guidance counselor used to ask us what you'd do if you had a million dollars and you didn't have to work. And invariably what you'd say was supposed to be your career. So, if you wanted to fix old cars you're supposed to be an auto mechanic.

    Samir: So what did you say?

    Peter Gibbons: I never had an answer. I guess that's why I'm working at Initech.

    Michael Bolton: That question is bullshit to begin with. If everyone listened to her, there'd be no janitors, because no one would clean shit up if they had a million dollars.
     
  4. Scott_lb

    Scott_lb Supporting Actor

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    Brett: As an industrial/organizational psychology doctoral intern, I might be able to help you out a bit. First off, I should make it clear that I/O psychologists sometimes incorporate career counseling into their practice, but career counseling in and of itself lies towards the outer edge of what we do. In short, we work with executives, managers, and CEO's to maximize the effectiveness and efficiency of their human capital management initiatives (or, we do a whole lot of research and teach at universities - depends which road you choose to take. I've taken the first one!). Given that, here's what I can offer you:

    "Does anyone know of a good site that has some sort of aptitude test, be it paid or free? There's lots of stuff I enjoy, but I can't seem to figure out how to turn those ideas into something that I can make a living from."

    Answer: You need to be very, very careful here. In short, the development of psychological tests or inventories is a very complicated process and takes a lot of "know how" in statistical methodology to develop. There are a lot of tests that are available (including those that are actually published by psychologists) that look like tests, are taken like tests, and are scored like tests - but they are not actually tests. In order for something to be considered a test (or inventory) that actually provides useful results, it needs to be valid and reliable. There are a large number of products available (especially on the internet) that don't measure a thing - even though they look like accurate tests. Furthermore, there are some serious concerns about certain published psychological inventories that exist as well. In order to get results that are valid and reliable (read: results that actually mean something to you), you will likely need to see a specialist. A cheap online test could do you more harm than good in the long run.
    Also, in relation to this point, you have to seperate your statement into two different constructs: interests and abilities. From an ability standpoint, the psychological tests that exist tend to be more valid and reliable because they actually have right and wrong answers (unlike personality inventories) and are less subjective in nature. Within the umbrella of ability tests, there are a multitude of tests that you could take to measure different things. There are common timed or untimed cognitive ability batteries you could take as well as more specific cognitive ability tests for individual jobs/occupations. For example, you mentioned that you are pretty good with mechanical things, and a mechanical/spatial ability test should prove that if it is indeed true (and of course, only if you use a mechanical/spatial ability test that is reliable and valid in the first place).
    From an interests standpoint, things tend to get a bit more sticky. The first thing to realize (if you haven't already) is that interests do not equal ability. For example, I really like NBA basketball and wouldn't mind being an pro basketball player. However, it turns out that I get stomped on at a game of HORSE and perform even worse during an actual game with my friends. I don't think that the Lakers (or even the Grizzlies) will be calling anytime soon. I don't mean to make you sound unqualified for jobs you might be interested in, but you should take a serious look at how competent you truly are (or take a valid and reliable test) within the areas that personally interest you. That said, there is also more variability in vocational interests inventory reliability than in cognitive ability tests. In other words, let's say you take three different types of vocational interests tests. You might get totally different results from all three tests. Whose results do you trust (if any)? A qualified professional should be able to recommend a valid and reliable inventory for you. I'd recommend one myself, but I've only been working for our firm for about two months and have been exposed to only one instrument which I am not very impressed with. Out of the respect for the test publisher, I will not post the name of that particular inventory on this board, but you can PM me and I'll let you know. In school, we focused on the foundations of psychological test development so we know what to look for when developing or analyzing tests and didn't focus on any specific individual tests.

    I'm not trying to make things sound more difficult than they have to be, however, you also don't want to "just try something" out and be in the same position ten years from now either.

    Hope this helps!
     
  5. Brett_H

    Brett_H Second Unit

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    Charles,

     
  6. Jason_Els

    Jason_Els Screenwriter

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    I'm stupid busy but I've done some of exactly what you're talking about. I'll try and post it tomrrow. I have some good sites too.
     
  7. Jason_Els

    Jason_Els Screenwriter

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    Haven't forgotten! :b
     
  8. Jason_Els

    Jason_Els Screenwriter

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    OK, what I did was I tried a bunch of tests and also went to The Johnson O'Connor Research Institute to see what they said. For me, all the results from the various tests pointed to the same kind of jobs. None of which I'm in now [​IMG].

    The one site I really liked was DiscoverYourPersonality.Com. There they had the Myers-Briggs, which is the standard personality/career test tool used by most companies and The Strong Career Test. CareerPlanner.com wasn't as in-depth but it backed the results from the Myers-Briggs and the Strong and JOC. I wasn't too fond of MyAnsir as it seemed to give more generalized, less complete answers. What was interesting was the Kiersey Temperment Sorter at AdvisorTeam. It seemed to complement what everything else did.

    What I did then was use The Oxford Program to see how well the career matches from the previous personality tests matched a testing tool geared primarily for career suitability/temperment. Again, the results were complementary.

    It appears I'm easy to pigeonhole. [​IMG]

    While all this might sound dull it was actually quite reassuring to see that so many different tests and inventorys matched within the same general area. When I go back to school I can be reasonably assured that I won't be getting a degree in something I absolutely hate with jobs I will hate. Sometimes the ideal and the reality of a career are completely different. I don't want to go down that path. Been there, done that.

    All of these were good sites that delivered what they promised and gave me what I asked for. They weren't cheap but I figure spending the money is an investment in my future. Johnson O'Connor was really the best. Having someone who counsels you is a tremendous advantage because you can address any concerns you might have right there and then.

    I hope this helps. You're not alone in any of this and if it's any consolation the Department of Labor figures that the average American these days will have 3 different careers in a lifetime. We're living in a brave new world, might as well try to enjoy the pioneering experience in career transience.

    Oh and btw, I'm an INTP/INFP. This bizarre archetype I've dubbed, "The Saintly Critic".
     
  9. DarylA

    DarylA Agent

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    Brett
    Make sure that whatever direction you head that you don't end up having that "painted in the corner" feeling now or years later. My experience with potential employers is that they want to see growth/progression in your job experiences. Start to keep track of your accomplishments at your current job and any future work. Incorporate it into your resume. In my job search/desire for change over the years, potential employers do not see being at a job for a long period of time (as I have, 22 years) as beneficial. Having started a family and bought a house many years ago I quickly found out that my priorities and desires were obligated to change. Try to keep a balance and don't move switch or change your job/career based on emotion. We all get miffed at work and want to just "walk out the door" or want more money. Be sure to think with your head, and not your heart, as you travel down this road. Pursue completion of your degree. Good luck.
     
  10. JustinCleveland

    JustinCleveland Cinematographer

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    I know it's cliche'd, but I would recommend heading back to college and just getting the credits you need to finish a basic degree. It will open a lot of doors for you, combined with your extensive computer experience.
     
  11. Eric_L

    Eric_L Screenwriter

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    I'd like to help but time is not bountiful for me right now. I'll be back. Till then can I ask you to share more specifically what you don't find appealing about your current job.

    I'll also share a personal ancedote:

    In school I took a bunch of aptitude tests. They always seemed to match up with engineering.

    I am in investment consulting now - which is less similar with engeneering than sales. I couldn't imagine doing anything different. It is not anything like I ever imagined sales to be. I am a consultant. (and damn good at it!)

    When my first son was born we thought we'd have trouble financially (especially when I got fired from a low salary job a few months later!)

    These things tend to work themselves out. As a result of being fired I was able to undertake training that led to my current career (seven years now and six digit income) Getting fired was the best thing that could have happened to me!
    (and now that company begs me to return! -ah justice!)

    One thing - I had more than one friend tell me to pursue a career in financial consulting. They seemed to see I was suited for it even though I had never really seriously considered it. It would be worthwhile to ask a few o your riends what they think...

    Dang - took longer than I expected. gotta go!
     

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