Saturday, April 9, 2016

Fear Of Failure Will Cost You

Career Choices

Personality Types: Laura Pappano writes for The New York Times: “The psychologist John L. Holland’s theory of career choice is more than a half-century old, but it remains an essential tool for vocational batteries and career counselors. Personality types and interests are sorted into six categories and matched with suitable careers. A three-letter Holland Code is often used to identify a cluster of strengths, and linked to particular majors for use in counseling. The O*NET job center website, sponsored by the Department of Labor, has a quick test to reveal your Holland profile. Where might you fit in? Consider these Holland-based personality/career matchups.”
Image Credit & Source: NYT

An article, by Laura Pappano, in The New York Times shows how far parents will go to ensure that their children will achieve success; and while the fear of failure or parental investment or career testing is not new,  it has potentially become more expensive for parents of 20 somethings to get them out of the house and on the right track. Having more choices, although generally good, can also be confusing for many today, who fear that making a wrong choice can result in negative (perhaps irremediable) long-term consequences.

Fear has always proven a strong motivating factor in creating commercial opportunities in niche markets. In “Career Coaching for the Playdate Generation” (April 7, 2016), Pappano writes:
Cue the career coaches — onetime tutors, test preppers and executive coaches who have created a blossoming industry to guide students in choosing majors, landing internships, exploring careers and seeking first jobs.
“Students are more confused than ever about what the next step is,” said Nicole Oringer, co-owner of Ivy Educational Services, a New Jersey company that began career coaching four years ago, often to students they had helped with college applications. Turning to experts seems only natural: “This is a generation of students that has been given a lot of resources and advice.”
Personal career guidance is not cheap. While help finding a job can cost a few hundred dollars, some companies charge $300 an hour for services that might involve deciphering strengths, arranging job shadowing and working on résumés, interview techniques and job search strategies. Walking a student through an extended exploration can run $5,000.
This might be money well spent, if only to allay any fears, perhaps more on the part of parents who deem shelling out 5K “a good investment.” The article further points out that  younger people today face greater choices of careers than previous generations, yet some things remain the same: personality types. Although the career choices have ballooned, it is likely these still fit within a dedicated but limited number of personality types. Knowing their personality type can help students determine what career/vocation is best suited for them (I have taken a number of such tests in my working life, including one that said I should become a lawyer, which I quickly disregarded; all the tests were comprehensive and yet free of charge.)

After many decades of work and life experience, I can see that career planning has its limitations. (As does success; a little failure is good for the soul, a teacher of the realities of life, which can often be harsh and unforgiving.) For example, one can be too cautious, too careful, too risk-aversive, relying too much on mathematical algorithms and the results of psychological testing. While it might be prudent to take such tests, or to work with a coach or consultant, and to seek advice and counsel, this does not guarantee success. Or longevity. Or happiness. It only gives you more information, or as some would say, more data. There is a thing, however, as too much information; and at such times the best advice is to take a leap of faith. This is what real people do.

For more, go to [NYT]

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