A recent survey conducted by the Conference Board showed that only 50% of Americans are satisfied with their careers, and of that 50%, only 14% are “very satisfied.” What determines job satisfaction, and how can you be sure your career is the best fit for you? FNC iMag investigates.

EXPERT ADVICE

Lynn Berger, a career expert and counselor in NYC, offered some answers. First, she said people need to figure out what is important to them. "One test won't do it," she said, but tests can provide "structure and focus" for people hoping to gain a better sense of themselves. She explained everyone has different needs and we have to be aware of these needs. For example, good bosses and a friendly work environment might be crucial to some, while others need to know that they are making a difference. In addition to knowing what you want in your job, Berger says, you have to have an understanding of who you are. To be satisfied and successful in your job, she says your work should be “in line with your interests, values, and personality style.”

Determining on your own what you might best be suited for is no easy task. For some it’s akin to taking a shot in the dark, which is why career counselors are helpful. But, for those self-proclaimed clueless career-hunters who are not ready to sit down with a counselor, there are a number of fun tools, tests, and quizzes that will help lay out the criteria you should examine before entering a career field.

THE FOX NEWS CHALLENGE

FOX News Channel conducted it’s own exercise using a test provided by CareerPlanner.com. The test is based on research done by Dr. John Holland who developed technology to match a person’s interests and passions to the type of work that best fits them. We sent the test to six employees in various fields: an editor, a producer, a technician, a financial analyst, and a production assistant who is just starting out in the business. The results? Fortunately for our employees, everyone discovered that their personalities matched up with their chosen career accurately. Is this a coincidence? Probably not. For some, we learned that having a job that fit their personality was their top criteria to begin with, when choosing their career: “Of course I thought about that,” our producer said, “otherwise, I would have gone for a top paying job on Wall Street.”

Luckily for her, our producer has a strong sense of who she is, but she realizes that not everyone does. She found that this test would be valuable, especially to younger people just starting out. “It helps you list your strengths,” she said after completing it, “and helps give you a better sense of yourself, and those strengths.”

Like our producer, our financial analyst understood who she was and what she wanted in a career. After teaching abroad for a year, she returned to the states and pursued a job in finance. Knowing that she was an analytical thinker and enjoyed working with numbers helped lead her in the right direction. In addition to this, she knew she wanted to work in the corporate world and had financial goals that were important to her. Because she was aware of who she was and what she wanted, she was able to pursue a career that gives her both satisfaction and success.

Everyone is not as lucky as our producer and financial analyst. Many, like our editor and technician, each have multiple experiences before discovering the career they want to pursue. Before settling down in her career now, our editor has been a producer and a manager of a department. For her, she did not realize the extent of her likes and dislikes until she was in these different positions. She was very organized in every aspect of her life, and thought she would like being a manager, but soon learned how much she disliked the administrative aspects of the job. She also underestimated the effort she had to make in such an interpersonal position. When we asked her whether a test like this, or a career counselor would have helped her get a better grasp of who she was and what she would be happy doing, she seemed unsure, “without experiencing it, without doing it, I really don’t know.”

Our next volunteer had been in a number of jobs without considering his personality. A technician now, he entered his current career because it was a “hot job” and did not really consider his likes and dislikes. Luckily, it was a good match, but looking back, he now realizes that it is important to take these things into consideration. This test, he says, would have helped him understand earlier in his career path what would have best fit his personality.

We also wanted to give the test to someone just starting out in his or her career. After taking the test, our 22-year-old production assistant learned that she was on a career path that matched her personality, but she had some hesitation, “you never know whether you are answering the questions how you want to see yourself, or who you actually are,” she said. However, she does see value in the test, “it narrows things down for you because there are so many things out there.” This production assistant thinks experience is important, especially when you are young and might not know exactly what your personality is.

For many of us, our career path is not going to be as straight as our producer’s or financial analyst’s. It might take a few uncomfortable jobs to lead us in the right direction.

WHAT IS YOUR CAREER PERSONALITY?

The test we submitted to the FNC volunteers determined a range of careers that best fits a certain combination of personality attributes. These attributes were divided among the following:

Realistic: Tend to prefer careers that are physical, outdoors and hands on.
Investigative: Like to use science and technology.
Social: Must work with other people in order to enjoy their career.
Enterprising: Like to work where they can provide leadership and where they are able to persuade or supervise others.
Artistic: Thrive on creativity, imagination and self-expression.
Conventional: Very practical, consistent, organized, orderly and usually detail oriented.

Each volunteer agreed that for those who are looking into a career change, or are uncertain what might suit them, they will undoubtedly gain insight to areas of their personality they had not considered, not to mention receive ideas on career choices they had not thought of or been exposed to.

THE CONCLUSION

However cliché it sounds, we spend a large part of our lives at work, and life is too short to be stuck in an unsatisfying and uncomfortable situation. Taking a career test like the one on CareerPlanner.com provides a thorough evaluation and the focus and tools to get you thinking about where you would succeed. It’s a place to start, but for some people like our editor and technician, experience will be the judge. We may not be career experts here at iMag, but we think we owe it to ourselves to face the question: Are we satisfied? More importantly: What are we going to do about it?

TAKE THE TEST!

Take the career test that we gave our employees. Click Here

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