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Does Your Personality Match Your Career?
Steve Bohler, The Oxford Program Founder

Surveys indicate that up to 80% of us claim that our work lives lack meaning; but don't blame your guidance counselor just yet. People often pick the wrong career because they're listening to the wrong voices. They're overly concerned with what they can do, what they (or others) feel they ought to do, and what they think they want to do. But the starting place is with understanding who they are.

Who are you?

You are your personality: a collection of your temperament, style, and values. You are a unique collection of personal preferences. You may prefer a sense of achievement or of perfection. A structured environment might suit you well while a varied and somewhat chaotic workplace is ideal to someone else.

Why does personality matter?

Your personality is one of the major requirements of a "natural vocation" and, thus, a fulfilling career. Even if you are wildly fascinated by the subject matter of your work, if the nature of the job doesn't fit your personality, there will be "friction". If our personality isn't being expressed, we are basically being somebody else: something toxic to our sense of well-being.

Even a small degree of misfit between personality and job can diminish your effectiveness and satisfaction. People who are introverted become exhausted and stressed if they must spend an excessive portion of the day interacting with others. People who are extroverted feel frustrated when they are without that external contact.

These needs aren't weaknesses and we're not going to grow out of them. They are requirements of joyful "being". The more the job matches who we are, the more successful and happy we are.

Let's take an example

A large percentage of the population basically prefers to be "group workers". They have a broad, generalist frame of reference for life, usually getting bored with work that is highly specialized and narrow in scope. They are at their best contributing to the goals of an organization. They are on the same wave length as the group.

On the other end of the spectrum are the "individual workers". They prefer to be valued for their mastery of a particular discipline or subject. At work, they like to have people seek them out for their mastery, expertise, or knowledge.

Regardless of where we fall in the various spectra of our personalities, what we all have in common is that if we are not able to satisfy our preferences at work, we will feel that something is "missing".

Who are you? - Revisited

So how do you determine who you are and, thus, what you need? The key lies in being posed the right questions. I believe that a combination of good personality testing and self-administered exercises/inquiries can be invaluable in posing these crucial questions which help validate what you know deep-down about yourself already.

A good place to start is to do some thinking. What are some things you have enjoyed in the jobs you've had? What have you hated or just plain disliked? Look for common themes in your experiences. Begin to create a profile of who you are (and, again, what you need). This profile will help you create the blueprint of your "natural vocation".

Steve Bohler is the founder and head coach of the Oxford Program career programs. The Oxford Program is specially designed to help adults who feel "stuck" with a complex career choice/change dilemma. This program has helped over 1000 people worldwide understand their vocational identity and excellence and directed them to the careers and life for which they are best suited. Take the first step towards loving your career and sign up for your "2-week complimentary trial" by going to: The Oxford Program.


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