The Career Doctor™

by Dr. Jacqueline Hornor Plumez

Looking for a first job? Thinking of changing careers? Facing a lay-off? The Career Doctor™ is a Larchmont psychologist specializing in career counseling. If you'd like to ask a question of your own, use the anonymous form below, and she might answer you here. Read more about the Career Doctor here. Contact information is here.

WHAT CAREERS MAKE PEOPLE HAPPY?

Dear Career Doctor:

Another reader, Carrie M., wrote to you saying that she couldn't find any studies that compare job satisfaction across all the different fields. I too have been looking for such information, and I've been truly astonished that it's so hard to come by. There are hundreds of aptitude, personality, and interest tests out there, but contrary to prevailing career counseling wisdom they don't seem very helpful in predicting future job satisfaction. Knowing whether or not OTHER people are currently happy in a career would provide much more relavent information about whether or not I or anyone else would personally be happy in that career than trying to guess based on what our aptitudes/interests are. If you are aware of any such studies, could you please share them? Thank you,

Mark E.

Dear Mark:

You are wise to want to figure out whether or not you would be happy in a career before you invest the time and trouble to enter it. But what does it matter if a study shows that 60% of people in a career are happy? That says nothing about whether you will predictably be in the 40% who are dissatisfied or the 60% who aren't?

The best way to make that prediction is to compare your personal likes and dislikes and aspirations to people who are happily and sucessfully employed in a career. This is what a vocational test, the Strong Interest Inventory, does.

Since you obviously have concerns about which career is right for you, I suggest that you find a career counselor who has been trained to give the Strong Interest Inventory. If you are in college (or even if you graduated years ago) your college counseling center will probably give you the Strong. Or there are many private career counselors who point their clients in the right direction using the Strong.

In addition, ask people who are employed in the fields you are considering what they like about it and what they don't. See if their needs and interests are the same as yours.

The Career Doctor

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The Career Doctor™ is Larchmont psychologist and career counselor, Dr. Jacqueline Hornor Plumez.

Her office is at 90 Beechtree Drive in Larchmont, 914-834-1982.