#6 – Identifying Your Interests



“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You’re on your own, and you know what you know. And you are the guy who’ll decide where to go.” (Dr. Seuss)

Which direction will you choose? What choices are you going to make as you search for a career? As mentioned in my last blog post, there are thousands of possible careers, each requiring specific skills and abilities. This is both daunting and exciting. This is daunting as the variety of possibilities can be overwhelming. This is exciting as the opportunities to grow and learn are huge.

This week we start to explore your interests and passions. We all have things we love and we all have things we hate. As we go through our days, both at work and at play, there are certain things that energize us and certain things that drain us. I, for example, am energized by finding new ideas and exploring new possibilities and information that I can pass along to others. I am drained by too much social interaction, especially if I do not get the chance to step back and breathe in between social events. My wife is different, too much repetitive detail drains her, but interaction with others energizes her. We all have things that we would love to do more of while we avoid other things that just don’t grab us.

To build a sustainable and effective career, you need to ensure that you are doing something that builds you up rather than breaks you down. You need to journey in the direction of a career that interests you and energizes you rather than building a career that bores and drains you. Thinking through and narrowing down your interests (this blog-post) and your strengths (see upcoming post) helps you to ensure that as you journey towards your career, your shoes are heading in the right direction.



John L. Holland, a psychologist, attempted to help make this journey clearer by creating what have come to be called the Holland Codes. These codes are sometimes referred to as the Holland Occupational Themes (RIASEC), which is a theory of careers and vocational choice. Each letter or code stands for a particular type: Realistic (Doers), Investigative (Thinkers), Artistic (Creators), Social (Helpers), Enterprising (Persuaders), and Conventional (Organizers). These codes have been used by the US Department of Labour for more than 20 years to help people identify which careers best connect with who they are and what interests them.

The diagram below illustrates these 6 codes:


REALISTIC PEOPLE: Are often interested in mechanical activities; prefer activities that allow them to use their hands; allow them to work alone rather than with others, and use machines, tools and equipment.

INVESTIGATIVE PEOPLE: Are often interested in mathematical or scientific activities; prefer activities that involve learning about new subjects or allow them to use their knowledge to solve problems or create new things and ideas.

ARTISITIC PEOPLE: Like activities that allow them to express themselves through some type of artistic medium; like activities that allow them to be creative, do something original and work according to their own rules.

SOCIAL PEOPLE: Often prefer activities that allow them to interact with others; like activities that involve working with and helping others and that involve teaching.

ENTERPRISING PEOPLE: Tend to prefer activities that allow them to influence others; like activities that are fast paced and require them to take on a lot of responsibility or leadership.

CONVENTIONAL PEOPLE: Prefer activities that allow them to use organizational, clerical and arithmetic skills; prefer activities that require attention to detail and accuracy.



The table below illustrates some of the key careers associated with these codes:



Realistic Farm workers, Airline Pilots, Riggers, Miners, Police officers, Plumbers, Electricians, Grounds-keeping workers, Medical technicians, Housekeepers, Firefighters, Foresters, Carpenters, Taxi drivers, Technicians, Drivers, Construction workers, Tilers, Boilermakers
Investigative Engineers, Astronomers, Biochemists, Doctors, Fire Investigators, Microbiologists, Dieticians, Chemists, Scientists, Pathologists, Market researchers, Surgeons, Urban and regional planners, Veterinarians, Zoologists, Biologists, Detectives
Artistic Actors, Architects, Choreographers, Dancers, Editors, Film editors, Graphic designers, Hairdressers, Makeup artists, Models, Animators, Music directors, Musicians, Painters, Photographers, Writers, Announcers, Reporters, Singers
Social Teachers, Health Educators, Funeral attendants, Occupational Therapists, Nannies, Nurses, Child care workers, Dental Hygienists, Pastors, Medical assistants, Massage therapists, Personal Trainers
Enterprising Food service manager, Purchasing managers, Salespeople,  Judges, Magistrates, Financial Managers, Detectives, Chefs, Flight attendants, Lawyers, Bartenders, Financial Advisors, Real Estate Agents, Travel agents, Marketers, Buyers
Conventional Accountants, Actuaries, Dispatchers, Database administrators, Cost estimators, Licensing Inspectors, Tellers, Treasurers, Clerks, Proof-readers, Editors, Bookkeepers, Human Resource assistants, Librarians, Medical Secretaries, Statisticians, Researchers, Receptionists, Web-developers, Software developers

For the complete list of jobs categorized according to the RIASEC codes, see here.



To discover what your RIASEC score is, I would encourage you to take 15 to 20 minutes to take the following test here.

This web-resource is easy to understand and once you have completed all of the questions it will provide you with a summary of your results. You can then explore these careers further by going here.

Alternatively, you can simply search for further information on any career at this web-resource.

I would encourage you to look for connections between your findings on the personality profile and on this interest assessment. What is the combined message? What careers are these tools pointing you towards? What careers are they pointing you away from?


NEXT WEEK: Your mindset determines your success?


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