Because I’m writing a book about career ownership, I spend part of my time taking self-assessments – the kind that tell you what your skills, style, values, and interests are – to find out if they are worthy of my readers (i.e. you). If they are, I write about them. If not, I whine about them all the way through and then forget about them.
As I promised in an earlier post (Making – or breaking – Sustainable Career Decisions), these are the tests that I’ve used to develop a snap-shot of Me Inc.
(And for the record, I do not and will not get any remuneration from any test provider if my readers- you – buy or use these assessments.)
So what’s my personality – the way I do the things I do?
After months of testing assessments, I now know that according to the most common personality test on the career counselling circuit, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI for short), I’m either an INTJ (a.k.a. Introverted Intuitive Thinking Judging) or an ISTJ (a.k.a. Introverted Sensing Thinking Judging). To find out more about my types and all others, go to: http://typelogic.com or to www.personalitypage.com or type the actual initials in a search engine and you’re likely to get a list of sites that define each type.
In essence, according to the MBTI I’m undecided when it comes to being either sensing or intuitive. And I’m not so sure what to do with that information. Maybe my career coach does.
For now I’ll stick with the INTJ (intuitive) type since Thomas Jefferson, John F. Kennedy, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rudy Giuliani, Donald Rumsfeld, and General Colin Powell all have that same type. But especially because Eeyore, the donkey in Winnie Pooh, is an ISTJ!
I also know that to take the original version of the MBTI test you need to pay a fee. Although there are some imitations offered online for free (www.similarminds.com/jung.html and www.wzsn.net/mbti.html), the original version is only available for a fee. I recommend that you skip the free versions, and pay for a service, whether online or in person, that interprets your results. It’s the interpretation of your profile that’s likely to benefit you the most. There’s an extensive list of certified MBTI counsellors at www.myersbriggs.org It’s also possible to take the test online at www.personalitydesk.com which includes a personalized interpretation. I found the test to be quite easy to complete and their staff quite helpful and accessible and clued in.
What are my interests – or what am I drawn to?
According to Dr. Holland’s Self-Directed Search (SDS for short) which he designed 20 plus years ago to assess a person’s predominant career interest, I am Realistic and Artistic. Is that possible? Oh, that’s why I’m a writer. (I get it now)
If you’d like to find out more about this test, visit: www.self-directed-search.com. For a free (award winning) assessment based on Dr. Holland’s work, go to the University of Waterloo’s career centre at www.cdm.uwaterloo.ca/step1.asp You’ll be able to find out your interest type, after you complete step 5. The templates on this site are very user friendly and I’ve found that career centres in universities across the US refer to it as well. (I’m sure that they’re onto something…). At www.personalitydesk.com you’ll also be able to assess your interest and get an interpretation of your results.
What am I good at? Actually what am I better at than most?
I decided to add some spice to my personal inventory and find out about my strengths. According to Donald O. Cliffton, author of Soar With Your Strengths, our strengths are different to our skills. They are those things that we’re naturally good at, not just what we can do or are skilled at. On the other hand, our weaknesses are those things that no matter how much we practice and focus on them, we’ll only be average. In other words, why bother and waste time with our weaknesses when we can instead focus on our strengths and potentially become world class. Sold on this theory, I decided to take the Strengths Finder test. To access the test online you need to have a code that is found inside the book by Tom Rath: Strengths Finder 2.0. A copy on Amazon is anywhere between $12 for a new copy and about $8 for a used one.
It turns out that my strongest themes are (in that order): Focus, Learner, Intellection, Self-Assurance and Futuristic.
After I did some research to find out what that meant – and with an ego that was about to burst – I realised that according to the different theme quadrants (please refer to exhibit 1) I can work hard and smart, but I’m weak at influencing people and relating with them. Pop! went my ego…
Here’s exhibit 1 as evidence of my findings:
Striving: Working Harder
Thinking: Working Smarter
Impacting: Influencing People
Relating: Assisting People
So how can I be so self-assured if I cannot relate or influence, let alone make an impact? And what, I have no Woo? How can that be?
There’s gotta be a way for me to improve on that. There has to be. Not according to the strengths theory. I mean, sure, I can work on getting better at having Woo but I’ll never make any real noise. After that, and not sure any more, there was no air left in my self-assured ego.
Bring on the Mother of all tests
Being that I am one to persevere – nope, perseverance isn’t one of the themes on the list above – I decided to check out another test.
This time I went for the Mother of all tests: CareerLeader. (Thank you Tim and James for letting me trial it at no cost)
You can take it online at www.careerleader.com for $95 – or you might be able to convince your boss to buy it for the company. I know what I’d be doing – if only I’d be good at influencing others! Developed by Tim Butler and James Waldroop, it’s used by the Harvard Business School and other top business schools to assess and give career direction to graduates and by several Fortune 500 companies to assess their employees.
The main philosophy behind this test is that when it comes to choosing a career what matters most are your values – or what rewards you need in order to stay motivated and your interests – or what you’re drawn to. This is based on the theory that these are the two dimensions of your personality that tend to change the least throughout your life. In other words, you can always up-skill to take a job that you feel passionate about, but you cannot love (at least not long-term) a role that is not in line with your values even if you have the skill set to do it. And without passion, it’s unlikely that you’ll last long in a role. I can say that I’ve certainly experienced that.
Did the test boost my ego? Yes and no. What it did accomplish is it gave me more information about myself.
And that’s the name of the game.
As a person, you are too complex to encapsulate your traits in one single test. For that reason, it’s key that you take several assessments. That is how you’ll get a more complete picture of what really drives you, what you’re great at, and what’s important to you in your work-life.
Before you go to test away, I’d love to hear what your experiences have been with these and other self-assessments.
Please share the wealth…