First, Know Thyself

"When it comes to career reinvention, too many people make a fundamental mistake: They don't know themselves," begins an article in yesterday's Wall Street Journal Careers Journal. I couldn't agree more.

A combination of aging boomers, massive layoffs, and a large young adult population poised to enter the workforce has a lot of people asking 'what do I want to do?' 

The article recommends self-assessment exercises.

"Career self-assessment is the process of getting acquainted with what you like — and don't like — in a work environment  …You can do this by simply making a list of your skills and interests, and asking yourself questions such as "What type of work would make me sit in traffic for hours just for the privilege of showing up?" and "What energizes me at work?" Increasingly, though, career changers are drawing guidance from more sophisticated tests.

A book I published just a few years ago takes job and career satisfaction beyond just understanding jobs by industry and position. 

Business Values and Motivators helps identify 6 personal values that motivate or de-motivate people. For instance, a career test or self-assessment might lead you to a career in engineering or medicine.  But one person may get his satisfaction from continuous learning and problem solving (Conceptual Value) while another might be motivated by the prestige (Power and Authority), economic rewards (Economic), or ability to be a contributor to the community as a whole (Social).  Often times people switch careers when all they really need to do is change environments. 

Read more at Career Assessment Tests and Business Values and Motivators


Ira S Wolfe


  1. Hayli @ Transition Concierge April 21, 2009 at 1:57 pm -

    Fascinating look at going beyond your “dream job” or “ideal career.” It seems this would help explain why some people love their job but have absolutely no desire to be promoted up to a supervisor or manager spot.