Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Finding Employers That Fit You

Personality tests such as the Myers-Briggs, Strong, and Holland are mainstays of the career counseling profession. By taking a personality test, you can narrow the list of professions whose duties and demands are a good fit for your personality. Many job seekers don’t realize that you can also apply the principles of personality analysis to employers to find those whose operating styles fit you best.

The personality theory and test developed by Dr. John Holland is especially useful for career self-guidance because of its simplicity and direct applicability to the job market. Holland’s test asks questions about jobs and duties that interest you and then groups your answers into six personality categories and associated professions:

  • Realistic - hands-on physical professions: trades, machine operator, engineer, police
  • Investigative - scientific, intellectual professions: lab technician, scientist, analyst
  • Artistic - creative professions: artist, musician, graphic designer, creative writer
  • Social - helping, interpersonal professions: social worker, counselor, nurse, teacher
  • Enterprising - sales professions: salesperson, entrepreneur, marketing manager
  • Conventional - rules, records, and numbers professions: accountant, clerk, banker

The category in which you score highest (and possibly the next one or two highest categories) defines the dominant aspect(s) of your personality. You can see in the hexagonal chart that some personalities and professions are opposites, and others are “neighbors.” For example, Artists usually crave freedom, openness, and self-expression, while Conventionals prefer rules, order, and structure. These professions are opposites. However, Social personalities are “neighbors” to Artistic personalities, so the two are compatible.

How do you know what a business's "personality" is? You can't give everybody in the place a personality test, so the next best way is to assume the personality of the business most likely matches the Holland Code for the predominant profession in that business. An accounting business probably has a Conventional personality type, a graphic design business probably has an Artistic personality, and so on. There will undoubtedly be many exceptions, but it's a safe bet the business will approximately match the code for the profession that predominates there. You can also gauge for yourself if you interview there. 

By looking at the predominant personality of a business, you can get some idea about whether it will suit you. Are you an Artistic personality considering working for an accounting firm? Then you are likely to feel ill at ease in their exacting, rule-driven Conventional environment. Are you a Conventional personality working in a police department? Their Realistic style will probably feel OK to you. Are you an Enterprising personality working for a PR firm or a marketing department? You’ve likely found your perfect match in their Enterprising environment. The more similar your personality is to the “personality” of the employer, the better you will fit with them.

For more detailed information about Holland’s personality theory, visit  
For a free test to find out your Holland Code, go to; the results point you to professions that may fit your personality. Click on the profession for an in-depth job description.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Overcoming Cruelty in the World of Work

There are so many ways in which work in America cuts us no slack, from uncaring and sometimes downright cruel employers, to ambitious cutthroat coworkers, to a very inadequate social safety net when we are unemployed or unable to work. Americans have always prided ourselves on our hard-driving work ethic and strong desire for individual achievement. The flip side of that coin is a kind of cruelty and uncaring intolerance for people who are not built for such a system or who have burned out trying survive in it while facing overwhelming obstacles. In America, sometimes it feels like we kick people when they are down instead of helping them get back up.

To be honest, I was never built for this kind of culture and have spent a lifetime looking for scant comfort to help me live in a society that feels foreign to my nature. Oh, I have professional talents and have done OK in my career, but I believe I could have done much better and contributed much more in more supportive environments than the ones I've found in American private industry. Competition and clawing to get ahead never came naturally to me. I don't think I'm unique. I suspect nearly all of us have faced jobs that we have found meaningless and alienating, or where we have screwed up, or even worse, where we have been abused by unscrupulous coworkers or vicious bosses.

Unemployment can be a time of healing from those experiences. It's a time when we can take a breather, look back at what has happened, and look for a new and different path forward. It's also a time when we can find new sources of comfort and healing, whether it's through counseling or deeper faith practices, a closer connection with friends and loved ones, opportunities to get away into nature, or pursuing education to strengthen personal or professional abilities. Whatever your situation has been, it's good to take the time while unemployed to introspect, to look back at where you have suffered at work, justly or unjustly, and then make a plan to find a better, happier, more positive you.

So here's a big question: Where have you suffered in your career, and what are you doing during this time to make it better for yourself in your next job and in your life? What are you doing to be kind to yourself?

Chuck Petch (

Monday, July 9, 2012

The Beer Connection

Having a beer with a friend got me a job! Recently I contacted an old friend to get back in touch. We met in a local pub and had a couple of beers and an excellent, wide-ranging conversation to catch up. When I mentioned that my contract writing business has been very thin lately, he looked positively cheerful. You see, my friend is a writer too, and he was looking at a large bubble in his workload coming up just a few weeks from now. He was very worried about how he would handle it. Now he had the answer to his worry sitting on the barstool right next to him. We do the same kind of writing, and I am familiar with the technology he writes about, so it will be very easy for him to hand off a big chunk of the job to me for as long as the work bubble lasts. Both of our problems were solved.

The wonder of this "chance" meeting is twofold. First, it points out the value of networking, and that networking is not just something you do by going to dull chamber of commerce meetings or uncomfortable mixers. Just meeting an old friend for lunch or drinks can become a networking experience that leads to your next job. The other wonder is the synchronicity of our meeting. For those of us who believe in God, this was a God-orchestrated meeting for both of our benefit. Even those who are without faith will agree that such a meeting is a very fortunate "coincidence." The universe smiled on both of us while we were drinking beer.

Tell us the story if you have had coincidences like this in your job search. Just hit the "No Comments" button below this post and a window will open, allowing you to add your story as a comment.
Chuck Petch (

Sunday, July 8, 2012

What do you miss?

I realized something today while at the Yuba; aside from the cash flow being absent, I miss the routine of work.

What do you miss?

Laura Papke

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Don't You Give Up !

Persistance. Just a word at a glance, however, once put into action can result in reaching a goal. Case in point, I applied for a position the early part of April, 2012. At first, all looked good; initial interview followed by an observation days later. Then nothing.

This position held significance for me as it meant helping at risk youth to discover positive alternatives to life. A week went by and still nothing.

At this point I began to call diligently every week, on the same day. The gal in human resources soon new me on a first name basis, yet no second interview, nothing.

 Last week I made my weekly call, with the typical response of "we'll keep you on the available and interested list". Upon hanging up the phone and 3 digits into my next follow-up call, the phone rang. It was my good friend from human resources! She emphatically said to me, "Laura, we need to get you up here for a second interview". The rest is history. Upon clearance of pre-employment red tape, I will soon have my start date. Did I mention it was June 24th when I got the news!

Moral of this story.... DON'T GIVE UP! Too many of us get discouraged, followed by depression, in turn leads us to darkness. You matter, you count, you're loved and you're worthy! Keep you're faith, and the rest will follow.

Laura Papke