If you've got half a brain, you'll find those "What Type of Job Is Right for Me?" quizzes on the web about as useful as your weekly horoscope. How you really feel about sharing a four-by-six-foot space with a hygienically challenged, socially stunted coworker usually has zilch to do with the meager multiple-choice options these tests offer. Yes, you may get affirmation that you like to help people, work with power tools, or swing from a trapeze, but you'll still need to research and test-drive any new career you're thinking of pursuing.
"'What are your values?' seems to me a much more important question," says peer counsellor Kirsten Johnson. If your interests or values are still a little hazy after working through this chapter, chew on these questions awhile, and I suspect those values will start to crystallize in no time. To illustrate, I've offered up my own (wildly embarrassing) answers.
1. What's on your nightstand? What books and magazines you're reading can be pretty telling about what turns your crank.
(As an example, my nightstand's brimming with issues of The Bark, my favourite dog magazine; Swivel, a literary journal of women's humour writing; and whatever book about tortured adolescence I'm currently reading -- at the moment, The Liars' Club -- all of which could lead one to speculate that I'm a witty dog owner with a fair amount of baggage. Perhaps, though, your nightstand runneth over with a couple dozen issues of National Geographic and Shutterbug, in which case I'd wager that you're a travel-photography buff.)
2. Out of all your friends' jobs, which one are you most jealous of? Why?
(I'm most jealous of the dog-walkers I know. They spend their days getting the blood pumping, getting muddy, and interacting with colleagues who are always happy to see them. What's not to love?)
3. What's the one thing you've been talking about doing forever that your friends are sick of hearing about?
(Guess. If stumped, see above.)
4. What's the one off-the-wall, pie-in-the-sky job you've always wanted to try that no one knows about?
(I have this fantasy where I get hired to work as a personal assistant to a lavishly wealthy person. I swear. Maybe some Hollywood debutante with a $13 million estate overlooking the Pacific who just keeps me around so I can run her errands, schedule her spa appointments, and weigh in on how great her emaciated butt looks in her new $350 jeans.)
5. If you could start any business or organization, or sell any service or ware, what would it be?
6. If you could work anywhere in the world, in any country or organization, where would it be? Doing what?
(Writing, in some ancient European farmhouse. With a personal chef on hand. And a hot tub out back.)
7. If "debt," "years," and "practical" weren't words in your vocabulary, what would you be doing now -- besides sipping margaritas on your own tropical island?
Obviously, some of my "values" (personal chef? hot tub? hello?) won't point me toward any moneymaking ventures anytime soon, but there's some useful information in here: For starters, if this writing thing doesn't pan out, I may want to look into working with dogs, since apparently I think about them morning, noon and night. What's more, I may want to explore what being a personal assistant actually entails, since I have evidently romanticized that career choice to the hilt. And finally -- thank God for small miracles -- I'm happy in my current incarnation as a writer.
|Excerpted from The Anti 9 to 5 Guide: Practical Career Advice for Women Who Think Outside the Cube by Michelle Goodman. Copyright 2007 by Michelle Goodman. Excerpted by permission of Seal Press, an Imprint of Avalon Publishing Group, Inc., distributed by Publishers Group Canada. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced except with permission in writing from the publisher.|