What Really Interests You?

And do you get to pursue these at work?


What really interests you?  What kind of activities do you find you get really engrossed in so that time goes past without you noticing? What gives you a real sense of achievement when you have finished?

How many of these interests take place in your work time, I wonder?

Interests and career change

When I work with clients to help them explore what new career directions might be a good fit for them, one of the areas we always look at is interests.

It is an obvious area to consider when you think of it and yet somehow many of us get locked into the idea that having an interest in your work is an extra bonus if you are lucky and that generally speaking, work is something you just tolerate while you pursue your real interests and passions outside of work.

Isn’t that such a shame?  We spend so many hours of our lives at work and yet the stuff we are really interested in gets crammed into a few spare hours at evenings and weekends.

But when you are doing something you love, something that absorbs and engages you, you get into a flow where you are able to give of your best.  Wouldn’t it be great if you could find that flow in your day job?

Well it is possible and one of the shifts you need to make as a career changer is starting to believe that your work can be interesting and engaging.

Exploring your interests

So how do you identify what you are interested in?  Well, you can begin by just make a list because some of your interests are likely to be relatively easy to identify.  But a tool I like to use with clients is the Strong Interest Inventory as this allows you to explore your interests in more detail and to relate them to the world of work.

The Strong Interest Inventory

This psychometric tool was developed in the US based on the work of John Holland.  Holland broke the world of work down into 6 occupational themes and these can be used to categorise jobs and also individuals.
The 6 themes are:

  1. Realistic – The Doer
  2. Investigative – The Thinker
  3. Artistic – The Creator
  4. Social – The Helper
  5. Enterprising – The Persuader
  6. Conventional – The Organiser

You can probably hazard a guess at which themes would be right for you, but by completing the questionnaire and having your results matched with people in different occupations, you will get a much more accurate result. The Strong then offers you a range of career suggestions which match up with your expressed interests.

The report you get when you take the Strong Interest Inventory to explore your interests also links up with the O*Net website http://www.onetonline.org/ so you can research in more detail what the occupations suggested may involve.

As with all psychometric assessments, the real value comes from the discussion of the results where you can explore what they mean to you and how that may influence you future career plans. When used as part of a wider career change process, it can make a valuable contribution to your understanding of yourself and to the range of career ideas you can consider.

And a little celebration

Would you believe that this is the 70th edition of the 5 Minute Career Coach! Where did the time go?

I have been writing this newsletter since December 2008 and I know there are a few of you out there who have been with me since the beginning. So a special thank you for being my companion along the way.

I really hope that you all get inspiration and encouragement from what I write and that it has helped you make the break from a job you hate to something you love. If you feel the 5 Minute Career Coach has helped you, then you can always buy me a coffee as a way of saying thank you and also helping me celebrate my 70th edition

Next milestone, 100 editions in July of next year.  Hope to see you there!

What do you think about interests?

  • Are you able to pursue your interests at work?
  • Do you think your work could and should be interesting or is it just to be tolerated?
  • Have you taken the Strong Interest Inventory? If so, how did it help?

From The Five Minute Career Coach September 2014

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About the author

Amy Thomas

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