General Question

Aesthetic_Mess's avatar

What books/things will help me figure out what to do?

Asked by Aesthetic_Mess (7877points) April 13th, 2012

Are there any books that help high school students figure out what skills they have and what things they might be interested in for their future job or career?
I’m trying to figure out what I should do, and I am finding that I do not know myself enough to make that decision.
I know my Meyers-Briggs personality is INTJ, although I have some S tendencies.
Are there any things that could help me figure it out?

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17 Answers

Judi's avatar

Edit: sorry, I didn’t read your entire question. My bad.
Have you googled careers for your Meyers Briggs type?

ro_in_motion's avatar

A great general book is “What color is your parachute”.

Aesthetic_Mess's avatar

@ro_in_motion I’ve heard of that one.
Are there any others?

ro_in_motion's avatar

No, I don’t know of others. However, my search for a career was really determined by the following:

When I was like 10, I would walk to a nearby University and drop in on professors in their offices or labs asking them what they did (and, often, why). What I discovered in doing so that I identified with some professors more than others.

In addition I looked at my own interests: Since, well, forever I was turned on by writing, comedy and science.

gailcalled's avatar

The traditional inventories start by asking general questions.

For example,

Do you like routine and scheduling or do you prefer to work when you feel like it?
Do you want physical activity or do you like sitting at a desk or in the library?
Do you like being around lots of people or do you prefer to be alone or in small groups?
Do you like being responsible or do you prefer being the second-or-third in command?
Do you like the city or the county better?
Do you like intellectual stimulus or challenges or do you prefer more concrete areas?
Do you like to think about abstract concepts?
Do you like to write?
Do you like engaging with lots of people.
Do you like to wear old comfortable clothes or do you like dressing up?
Do you like the idea of a 9–5 job or do you prefer working at 3 AM?

You certainly have a sense of who you are; that will help steer you towards areas of study or career paths.

I always knew that I loved doing research by myself for a good part of the working day; the inventory that I took steered me into careers such as librarian, researcher, teacher, psychologist, counselor. I could have predicted that before I took the test, which I did just for fun.

Charles's avatar

If you don’t know what you want to do (and you are planning on going to college), take your general ed and eliminate what you DON’T want to do and aim for field that pay well. If you don’t have a passion about anything you might as well make the most money doing something you aren’t passionate about.

gailcalled's avatar

Here’s one link to many career inventories.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Now Discover Your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham is the best one I’ve read. It is much more than helping someone identify the right field of work, but really focuses on learning what characteristics you are hard-wired with.

It also includes a link to The Gallup Organization’s StrengthsFinder assessment, which in my opinion, is much more insightful than Myers Briggs, although that’s a good one, too. A large group of us at work took the assessment. It was so enlightening that both of our departments made some minor changes in our teams’ roles. People were better positioned to spend time on tasks that played to their strengths, meaning that they were jazzed when doing it, and time flew by.

Let me know if you decide to get the book. I’d be happy to chat with you about it via PMs. One other Jelly and I did this. I forwarded your question on to her, so that she might give a second opinion about the books and the results.

Aesthetic_Mess's avatar

@gailcalled Thank you for the plethora of sites
@Pied_Pfeffer I probably will get the book tomorrow as I am going on an excursion to B&N.
@Charles I don’t want to go to college if I don’t know what I want to do. That would just be a waste of time and money

Judi's avatar

If you know that you tend more scientific you can go to college, maybe community college that’s cheaper, and get a lot of the math and science prerequisites out of the way. You seem like a smart cookie who will probably choose a career track that requires college, so why waste time NOT going? You might discover your passion there, and as many will testify, when you decide to “take a break” between HS and College, the odds that you wl actually finish college diminish. (I’m a statistic.)

Coloma's avatar

Take the Enneagram personality tests, comparable to Myers-Briggs, but much more in depth with a big emphasis on how to monitor your varying levels of development and potential best fits for career choices. I’ve found the Enneagram to be a very helpful and insightful tool in my life. Also, know that we all change and shift many times in our lifetimes and there is no one purpose. The best fit you can find will incorporate/showcase your strengths and minimize your weaknesses.

wundayatta's avatar

I wonder if this notion “what do you want to be when you grow up?” is a particularly American thing. I’m not sure it’s so important to ask kids this in other countries. But I know it’s about the only way adults know how to interact with kids in this country.

Personally, I think it artificial and damaging. How the fuck do we know what we want to be? We barely even know what we want to do. And yet…

I think we do know what we want to do. All we have to do is to pay attention to what we do. All we have to do is expose ourselves to things, and we’ll find ourselves wanting to do things.

My son consumes voracious amounts of material on the internet. A lot of it is crime show stuff, but he has learned to draw and to play music and do various other things from videos he finds on the internet. He discovered photoshop there and at school, and it is one thing he really likes: manipulating images.

Of course, in the past he has been gaga about rocks and paper folding and bicycles and many other things. His interests wax and wane.

I think that’s normal. I think that most of us move through life, turning from interest to interest. But there’s this idea that we are supposed to have a career and that a career is one consistent job track through life. So if we are floating from one interest to the next, we are not doing it right because it isn’t a career.

And why have a career? I guess because that is most efficient in terms of climbing to the top and making the most money. And everyone wants to climb to the top, right?

Personally, I don’t think there is any one right way to live a life. Personally, I don’t think we have to end up at the top or we have failed. Personally, I think life can be meaningful in many ways, not just with monetary success.

“What Color is Your Parachute” is about hunting for a job, which, of course, starts with deciding what kind of job you want to hunt for. But you are asking what you want to do and trying to get help figuring out what to do. My answer is that you don’t need a book. Look at what you are interested in. Do that.

tranquilsea's avatar

I’d just go out and live life until I figured out what I wanted to do. I’d get jobs or volunteer in many different areas. I would not spend money at college or university until I figured out what direction I wanted to in.

Multipotentiality is bitch.

Jeruba's avatar

Is there anything (anything) you feel passionate about? Start there. It can take a lot of dedication to build a career, and you don’t want it to be in a field for which you lose your appetite too quickly.

If there’s something you’re especially good at, that’s an indicator too. It can be really hard to sustain enthusiasm for an endeavor if we’re not able to perform well at it.

Not all career-related skills have a classroom equivalent in the standard academic curriculum, but if there is a subject that excites and fascinates you, there will be some sort of career option that relates to it.

When it comes to a choice of college major, I like my mother’s advice. She said to major under a professor who truly inspires you, regardless of the subject matter that he or she teaches, because that’s the person from whom you’ll learn the most. Not too many of us actually work in the fields we studied, anyway.

College is not just about job training. Get an education that will stand by you for life and not just fill a line on your resume.

ro_in_motion's avatar

Remember: It is far easier to do the impossible when young. Running away with the circus; becoming a rock star; traveling to India and studying under a guru; canoeing down the Amazon. If you have something like this that really moves you, do it.

linguaphile's avatar

I am @Pied_Pfeffer‘s very appreciative “other jelly” :)

I learned about StrengthsFinders from Pied and the book series helped me tremendously. Taking the test made me much more confident about a career/life change I’m preparing to make. I also better understood how draining obsessing about and working so hard on my weaknesses truly is. Imagine how much better life will be when you’re working your strengths everyday?? That’s what StrengthsFinders helps you identify.

I brought it to my workplace along with the “How Full is Your Bucket” series. My workplace is pretty cutthroat—after a few of us took the test and shared the results, including my boss, nobody was moved around, but It helped start people on the path towards gaining more respect for each others’ skills and more patience for what we might not be .

Like Pied said, StrengthsFinders identifies what you do best, naturally and without effort.

One other way to identify what you’re good at is to listen to what other people say to you. What do they notice or compliment? What do they say you’re good at or say that they wish they could do as well as you? If that doesn’t work, what do you “wake up” doing? What can you do for hours and hours without end? Those are clues to your skills and preferences.

ftp901's avatar

I’m also INTJ, which is supposed to be the type that is most interested in researching Myers Briggs (because we like getting to the bottom of things and learning alot). From my own experience, I enjoy creating things & problem solving and I’m extremely detail oriented. I’m curious and like learning new things all the time and I can work alone for hours on one single problem in deep concentration. I’m better than anyone I know at analyzing a problem, getting to the root cause and coming up with creative solutions. If some of this rings true for you, you might like a job that involves designing things or processes, learning new technology, problem solving, or working independently for long periods of time (eg. at a computer or in a lab).

Some good books:
What Next? by Barbara Moses (goes into extreme detail with exercises so you can assess for yourself what your values, assets & interests are)
Do What you Art – Paul Tieger (an overview of different MBTI types)
As someone mentioned above, Marcus Buckingham. He has a good system for recognizing your strengths which he describes in this course:

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