February 15, 2022

By Leanne Soulard

One of the most enjoyable aspects of the work we do with students is helping them make sense of their natural talents and abilities and then matching those with their career interests. I read not that long ago that today’s high school students will have, on average, eight careers over the course of their working lives. That’s a lot of change! And while it’s true that some people change careers because they’ve exhausted their growth potential or perhaps need a more flexible schedule that supports their lifestyle choices, most people report that they change careers because the work they do isn’t satisfying. It doesn’t fill their cup, as they say. We all know someone in this position, someone who sometimes ponders out loud, “If only I had known back then…”

So how do you know if you’re choosing the right career path? It’s a conversation we have with our students at the very beginning of the college planning process because, believe it or not, choosing a career—a satisfying career— may actually be more science than art. A truly satisfying career exists in that sweet spot where our natural skills and abilities overlap with our interests and values. The Japanese call this ikigai, a concept that encapsulates one’s motivation for getting out of bed in the morning. That sounds like art, doesn’t it? Imagine if we could all find our ikigai and live happily ever after.

Maybe we can, through science. All of our students complete an aptitude-based assessment called YouScience that helps them discover their innate talents and abilities but also matches them with in-demand careers based on their work values and interests such as independence, recognition or achievement, and helping others, just to name a few. Even if you don’t have access to a fancy assessment tool, there is a lot of great information out there to help students think about what a satisfying career looks like for them. Here are a few resources that you can use with your student at home:

Holland Code Career Test

Career Personality Profiler

16 Personalities

O*Net Online

And remember, it’s never too late to reinvent yourself…don’t be afraid to use a few of these tools to discover your own motivation for getting out of bed in the morning!

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