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Matching Personality to Career

What do people think about when choosing a career? Most people's future educational paths and careers are decided by looking outward to the influences of society and economic conditions, and not inward to their own personalities and preferences. That is, most people choose their educational paths and careers based on the influences and pressures put on them by society, and not completely by what they want for themselves.

Think about the last time you discussed career choices with your friends, parents, or teachers. You probably focused on such topics as future growth for that career, demand in society, prestige and honour for that profession (which depends on the culture), educational path, working environment, and of course MONEY. These kinds of discussions show how the society around you is approving or disapproving of your career choices. Obviously, they can be very strong pressures on your choice.

Society will also direct you into certain careers and steer you down certain educational roads before you are even old enough to think about your dreams and career plans for yourself. How well you do on institutional test scores, for instance, can determine who gets into the various educational programs that mark one for a certain career. Often it's the case that a student "wakes up" one day at a university, working toward a degree, and he doesn't even know why he is studying that subject. It seems that he didn't even choose the subject. Somehow between his parents, teachers, test scores, university admissions officers, and what society "needs", there was a decision about his future. He may even continue in that career all his life, hating it, but staying there because he thinks he is powerless to control his future and his fate.

Well, actually, all that focus on outward influences on a career by society is important. However, we really need to focus more on the inward influences on career choices as well. What good is a career choice based on the outward influences of society if that choice will make you unhappy in life? That career choice might even make you rich, but remember, there have been a lot of rich men and women who have regretted the way they had lived their lives. Money is a key ingredient to happiness, but everyone knows it is just a small part of the equation.

Career happiness comes, to a large degree, from the inward influences! What's the difference between "slaving away at a job" and "living your dream"? Often, it relates to the match between your personality and preferences and the nature of your career choice. If, for example, you have a shy, introverted personality, and you are pushed into a career in Marketing and Sales, you may find it difficult to enjoy the type of work that professional Salesmen and women are involved in. Power lunches, conferences, telemarketing, CRM (customer relation management) applications, and people, people, people, may not match your personality well. For some personalities, this kind of work is a dream. It's fun, involving, challenging, and some people just love to be around new and interesting people all day. So you can see, any consideration about a future career in Marketing and Sales must balance the discussion of society's influence with the influences of your own personality.

Here's a little story to keep in mind when you are considering your future career directions. This story was written a couple hundred years ago by a German poet named Heinrich Heine. The quick paraphrase goes like this: Once upon a time, there was a simple fisherman sleeping in his small boat. A rich, powerful businessman came up and saw him there. The rich man asked him why he was not out fishing since it was only early afternoon. The fisherman told him that he had already caught enough fish for the day. The businessman was confused by this attitude and began to lecture him. "But if you work all day, then you can make more money!", the rich man said, "And you can buy a bigger boat. Then you can hire other men, catch more fish, and then make more money." The fisherman looked confused and asked, "Why would I need to make so much money?" The rich man replied, "Then you could retire and not have to work anymore." The fisherman then looked at him with a smile and said, "I'm not working now."

Life is also long and careers are often not. In America, the average person will make 5 major career changes before retirement. This tells us that life is a learning experience. Often our first choice for a career may be completely different from our final career. They may be in the same "general" area, for example Engineering, however the exploration within Engineering may take you all over the career map. And this is for the average American. Silicon Valley careers often see many more changes than this. The point here is to remember that careers are explorations.

Careers are life-long, full-time pursuits. They are a marriage between people and activities that will change and evolve over the years. Just like a marriage between people, the way your wife or husband looks, behaves, and thinks at the beginning of the marriage may be totally different when you retire together. Just as your husband or wife became a completely different person over your 40 years together, so too will your career flower and grow, age and mature, change and branch into different interests, and settle and become more fitting and comfortable.

So, as your career counselor, I encourage you to marry for a good personality match and not for money. And after you marry a career, allow it to grow, and change, and mold itself to fit you comfortably. Explore different areas of that career, and pursue your interests and strengths. Love your career and you will love your life. Remember, you will spend far more time with your job than with your family. Make sure you can love it and grow with it!

Task 4. Insert the right preposition:

1. When choosing a career, remember to look inward ___ your own preferences.

2. Despite the fact that John's family were disapproving ___ his career choice, he became a lawyer and continued ___ this career all his life.

3. Her friends have always put very strong pressures ___ her.

4. Would you ever marry ___ money?

5. A warm and supportive family environment is a key ingredient ___ happiness.

6. How can a society direct a person ___ certain career and steer them ___ a certain educational road?

7. All my problems are rooted in my adolescence: it was then when I was pushed ___ a career ___ Engineering. Since then, I have been slaving ___ ___ my job. I should have thought ___ myself and focused more ___ the inward influences.

Task 5. Guess words or word combinations from the text by their definitions:

1. adj relating to how a person or situation seems to be, rather than how it really is;

2. noun the respect and admiration that someone or something gets because of their success or important position in society;

3. noun the people, things and the general situation you are in at your job;

4. adj unable to stop or control something because you do not have the power, strength, or legal right to do so;

5. noun a job or profession that you have been trained for, and which you do for a long period of your life;

6. noun the set of different facts, ideas, or people that all affect a situation and must be considered together;

7. noun a meal eaten in the middle of the day at which people meet to discuss business;

8. verb to talk angrily or seriously to someone in order to criticize or warn them, in a way that they think is unfair or unnecessary;

9. verb to continue doing an activity or trying to achieve something over a long period of time;

10. verb to become fully grown or developed.

Task 6. Fill in the gaps with one word:

1. Life is a __________ experience. The longer you live, the more experienced you become.

2. Choosing a career __________ is one of the biggest decisions you make in your life.

3. Future __________ for the chosen career, __________ in society, prestige and __________ for the chosen profession are surely important, but they are only a small part of the __________.

4. Would you like to __________ away at a job or to live your __________? The answer is obvious. Not to __________ the way you live your life, don't let the society be very strong __________ on considering your future career __________.

5. The average Russian person will make 2 __________ career changes before __________.

6. My parents have always encouraged me to marry for a good __________ match and not for money, to choose a career which will let me __________ my interests and __________, a career that will __________ and grow, age and __________, change and __________ into different directions, and __________ and become more __________ and comfortable.

Task 7. Paraphrase the underlined vocabulary units in the text in the written form. Make up 7 fresh-context sentences with the word combinations you like most.

Task 8. Work in pairs or in groups and make up 3 factual questions on the text and 1 question about opinion. Ask other students your questions and answer theirs.

Task 9.Work with a partner and make up a list of the main ideas of the text in Task 3. When you are done, make a table containing the ideas from the text you agree with, you do not agree with, and some ideas of your own.

I agree I do not agree/disagree I'd like to add

Task 10. Write a summary of the text "Does my personality match this career?"


Task 11. Reflect on your career choice. Have you chosen the right career path? Did you look inward or outward when choosing the career? Share your ideas with the group. Remember to use active vocabulary units.


CAREER AND PERSONALITY | Become broadly literate.

Find a job you like and you add five days to every week. | A. occupation - job - work - career - position | Getting Started | Be willing to change and adapt. | REVISION | LOOKING FOR A JOB | Unsocial hours; late shift; take a break; set up a business; bed and breakfast | JOB-HUNTING | JOB SEARCH METHODS | JOB SEARCH METHODS |

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