On the surface, the advice that young people should select careers that fit their personalities seems obvious, but a quick look at the stats reveals that it’s anything but.
A survey released last year by Gallup revealed that nearly two-thirds of employees from over 180 countries reported that they were “not engaged” at work and that a mere 13 percent of employees currently feel passionate about their work.
None of the figures are surprising to Paul Tieger. For over 30 years, the question of how people can find the right career path for themselves has fascinated Tieger and driven his own career and work. Along with Barbara Barron and his millennial-aged daughter Kelly Tieger, the author has just released the fifth edition of the book “Do What You Are: Discover the Perfect Career for You Through the Secrets of Personality Type,” which is geared towards the current generation of professionals.
“When you are doing something that is not about who you are, that’s a prescription for burnout,” says Tieger.
“We believe through lots of experience that the most important thing is to pick a job and career that matches your personality,” he continues. “Values, interests and skills are likely to change over time, but personality will not.”
To that end, the book provides detailed exercises and examples to help guide readers towards the perfect career for them. Both Paul and Kelly Tieger say that it’s particularly important for younger professionals-- the so-called millennial generation-- to be aware of their personalities and unique needs when deciding what to do next in their professional lives. They share these tips on how to find what’s right for you:
Ignore the ‘trendy jobs’
“It’s a difficult economy, so it can be hard to buck the trend,” notes Kelly Tieger. But while considering the current so-called trendy jobs, it’s also important to be realistic. “Think of the typical artistic type,” says Paul Tieger. “Those people really need to be true to themselves. The key is understanding what your strengths are.”
He notes that people who know that they would stress out in environments with tight deadlines, should gravitate towards fields where they can give themselves the time and space they need.
See if you can make a lateral move
If you are certain that your current department or environment isn’t working for you, see if you can make a lateral move within your organization, advises Kelly Tieger. Applying for a different position may not make a difference in your salary, but it will greatly enhance your quality of life.
If possible, the Tiegers say that you should examine fields that suit your personality as early as college. “Most people are asked to pick a college major when they are 19,” says Paul Tieger. “And most people don’t have a clue at that age. But you’re probably not going to get someone who is philosophical and artsy to go on Wall Street."
The more you know your personality, the better say the Tiegers. Career changers who want to discover their exact personality type and profile can take a quiz at personalitytype.com/dowhatyouare.
And don’t fret. “Just because you are creative doesn’t mean that you are doomed to never make money,” says Kelly Tieger. It just means that they creatively have to find the right path for them.