Mondays Work: Poet or drill sergeant? Career assessment results must be read in context
Last week’s column, “My daughter wants to be a poet,” led to excellent comments by readers Anansi and Money Bags. Their thoughts are definitely worth considering by anyone considering a non-traditional career path.
This week, I would like to continue that discussion by relating a family story about our youngest daughter. (Yes, she has given me permission to do so; you will understand why a 17 year old would agree to let her father write about her as you read the following.)
When she was in eighth grade, she took her first career assessment test and announced the results with particular excitement, as she understood what I do for a living. She proudly told me the two occupations that tied for first place; she would be best suited to be either a poet or an army drill sergeant.
Huh? Like many career tests, those results may have led to either confusion or dismissal of the recommendations.
Yet, in this case, the test was entirely correct. For many years she had written poetry, and proud father that I am, I will be among the first to say it was quite good, as did many of her teachers. She has a precision with words and a depth of thought that led to poems that demonstrated her writing ability.
Now, what about that drill sergeant attribute? She also has a definite skill at confidently letting people know what she thinks. As her father, I have had to make room for that characteristic, knowing that what others may see as aggressive or brash is simply her confidence combined with her take on how things should be.
Does she then become a drill sergeant who leads the troops through long marches with uniquely written cadence songs —known as “jodies”? This is a case where the results of a career assessment test need to be considered in a larger context.
Yes, our daughter may someday become a poet or even a drill sergeant; however, given her attributes, she and others like her who are “self-assured poets” may also make outstanding litigators, investigative journalists, apologists or elected officials.
What other occupations come to your mind for someone with the gift of words and the confidence to use them? “I have a dream ” changed the world, didn't it?
As a career coach, I too have a dream. It is that more people will find the encouragement and opportunity to be who they are at work and use the best of their talents.
However, nothing will improve until one takes the time to understand what is really inside his/her mind and heart.
This week’s career question is, “What is inside of you that others have told you cannot be used as part of an economically viable career path?”