To Play or Not to Play

Broader role, Geek 5
So what if you are not sure whether or not you want to play the corporate game? What if you are interested but also resistant to a broader role?  How do you decide?
 
Some geeks already know they don’t want to play.  It is always great to meet people who have found the right career and are content with their work and pay and advancement.  Those lucky geeks have found their bliss.  They can be doctors who just want to practice medicine and programmers who just want to write code.

Maybe you are already following your passion. If you cringe at the idea of going into management or fighting for career advancement, then you probably are not going be happy playing the game. In that case, think about what you love to do and pursue that – assuming you can make a living at it.

But what if you are not sure?  Maybe you like your work, but you feel stuck or you want more recognition, responsibility or a higher salary.  Maybe you feel like you ought to pursue a broader role in order to recession-proof your job.  But you aren’t sure if the trade-offs are worth it.

If you are not sure what you want, there are some great tools available to help you think it through. There is a whole industry built around career assessments and advice. These are not necessarily deep psychological assessments or research-based resources. These are generally common sense guides that help you think through options based on your own interests and skills. Don’t get too caught up in the specifics, instead focus on the themes for you and your preferences and the process of thinking through your options.

One old stand-by career assessment is the Strong Interest Inventory. It profiles you and matches you to careers based on your interests.  In the next post, we’ll talk about some of the components of the Strong Interest Inventory and how you can take one.

 As a psychologist, I have a preference for the proven assessments, like the Strong.  However, there are a lot of other free and easy to access options.  Search for “free career assessment” on Google and you get 7,540,000 hits. 

One example of a free career assessments site is careerpath.com which is a subsidiary of Career Builder.  That site offers several free assessments after you provide your email address.  Careerpath.com has a Career Planner Report, a Career Planner Quiz, Job Discovery Wizard and a Job Satisfaction Quiz.  I can’t vouch for the science behind this type of free assessment, but this is one of the rare circumstances in which the science of the assessment is not as important as the process.

Assessments should help you think about yourself and your career in different ways.  They are directional and provide guidance but not answers.   Hopefully you’ll get some insight into yourself. You can turn that insight into action and make some well-informed career decisions.

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