Personal Growth Resources

Go to the Relationships Resource Section   

Go to the Alernative Spiritualty Resources Section   

Go To the Self Help Resources Section   


Career Selection Tool

Finding your "Right Livelihood

Susan M. Mumm, MA

Deciding on a career is one of the most important decisions of your life. Your “working hours” constitute a huge chunk of your life; you spend more time at work than you do with your spouse, your children, or your friends. It is therefore crucial that you select an occupation that is well suited to your temperament, intellect, values, life situation, interests, and personal goals. It is also important that your job utilizes your strengths and conversely, where your weaknesses (which we all have) will not inhibit you from successfully functioning in your chosen occupation. It is mind-boggling how many factors can impact how satisfied a person feels in his/her given occupation. Unfortunately, some people do not grasp the many factors involved with the career they choose until they have invested a lot of time and money in training or education. They end up feeling stuck in an occupation that they are not well suited for.

It is easy to overlook the “fine print” of an occupation. You may be attracted to an occupation because it sounds fun, stimulating, or financially rewarding. But have you examined what is really entailed in that career i.e. the travel involved, overtime, tight job market, pressure, value conflicts, committees/meetings etc.? How good of a fit is it for you, all things considered? Would the occupation require you to be something you’re not, i.e. outgoing, cutthroat, submissive, highly organized, persuasive, patient, fashion conscious, etc.? Would the career you’re considering stifle your creativity? It is also important to ask yourself whether you are selling yourself short by considering a career that is far below your intellect. On the other hand, your career does not necessarily have to be intellectually stimulating if it has other redeeming qualities such as great pay and benefits, or good job security. People sometimes do not look at the whole picture when choosing a career. A given career or job may not be as exciting or stimulating as you would like, but it might provide enough flexibility and economic rewards to enable you to pursue a non-paid endeavor on the side which can meet your need for intellectual challenge, or serve as an artistic or creative outlet. I know a dentist who is a part-time jazz musician, a plumber who sells antiques on the side, and an accountant who is also a free-lance writer; all of them happy with this combination of semi-boring, but financially secure careers with a fun endeaver as a sidekick!

This questionnaire will take you some time to fill out. Feel free to do it over a couple days. It is not difficult, but it is admittedly a bit tedious and boring to answer every nit-picky question and add up those looooooooooog columns of numbers. However, in order for the model to work mathematically, the tediousness is necessary. You may also need to go out and interview people in the occupations you are considering to answer some of the questions. I think you will find people quite willing to talk to you, and that they will be quite honest about the good points and bad points of their occupations.

Read More:

Career Selection Tool Optimized PDF for printing



This site owned and operated by: Susan M. Mumm, MA, Licensed Professional Counselor | Personal Growth Resources, Inc. | Ann Arbor, MI | (734) 913-5859