Tales of a Disgruntled Graduate: A View from the Front Lines of the Post-College Job Hunt
The Career Test: Part I
Ever run out of ideas in your job search and Googled “dream job” just to see what’d turn up? That’s how I got suckered into LiveCareer, which advertised a free career test to find out what kind of job I’d be good at. I’m skeptical of tests like this for two reasons: first, I think you know yourself better than any series of questions, no matter how probing or “valid” they claim to be; second, I took a career test once before, in high school, and I’m still bitter about the results.
It was during junior year when the guidance counselors came into our class to guide and counsel our college searches. Part of this process involved a personality, skills, and interests assessment to tell you what kinds of jobs you’d be well-suited for.
Now, I admit to being a fairly fastidious person in many areas of my life. I like to be clean and make other things clean; I like to organize things and put them in categories; I like the meticulousness of stuffing envelopes or counting and separating objects into groups. However, I am also very creative: I love language, music, art—and even excel at a few of those things.
But apparently that side of me didn’t pass the career test. Turns out I was best suited to be a meter-reader, storeroom clerk, telephone operator, or inventory manager.
Imagine you’re 16 and just found out you’ve got a lifetime of clipboards and checking off boxes ahead of you. Thrilling, isn’t it? (Actually, I love clipboards.) It puts a bit of a damper on your college search, for starters. But it’s also not something you’d expect to be told, and certainly not something you would ever hope for. Forest ranger, ambassador to Ecuador, cheese-maker—these all sound promising in their own way. Storeroom clerk? Not so much.
Ironically, I currently work in a landlord’s office, and part of my job is to read the tenants’ electrical meters every month and record the numbers, complete with a clipboard. Come to think of it, I keep tabs on our office supplies, restocking and reordering when necessary, and although I am not an operator, I do sit at the front desk and answer the phone for a good part of the day.
Turns out the test was dead-on. Not only do I do everything it said I’d be well-suited for, but I actually do love my job. Just as the test predicted.
But is it merely a coincidence—some kind of cosmic joke that gives me something to write about—or am I really suited for this type of work? Granted, I don’t actually want to be a cheese-maker, but at least it sounds more interesting than being a meter-reader. And I bet I could still have a clipboard if I wanted. Someone has to check off the different kinds of cheese as I make them.