How much do you love your job? We all know people who have happily found a compatible, lifelong profession and others who just can’t seem to settle on one career path. Where do you fall along this spectrum? Take our quiz and find out!
1. Which statement best describes your overall attitude about your career?
A. Without work, I’d feel empty and life would have little meaning.
B. I work to pay the bills.
C. My career is a fulfilling part of my life. I derive a great deal of satisfaction and enjoyment from my work, as I do from other parts of my life.
D. I’ve done a lot of different kinds of work, but I haven’t found anything I’d commit to for the long-term.
2. If you were to lose your current job tomorrow, what would you do?
A. I’d have no reason to get out of bed in the morning.
B. I’d be glad, because I’m bored with this job already.
C. Initially, I’d feel disappointed. But then I’d assess my options, activate my professional network and launch a full-scale job search.
D. I would be disappointed at first, but given time, I might actually look forward to moving on to something new.
3. How would you characterize your career plan?
A. It’s solid. I don’t let anything get in the way of achieving my professional goals.
B. I don’t really have a career plan; I just go where my career takes me.
C. My career plan is like an unfinished painting within an established framework. I know where I’d like to go, but I’m open-minded and flexible about how best to get there.
D. My “plan” is to preserve my freedom as much as possible and not get stuck in a routine.
4. What’s your attitude about having to work overtime?
A. I’m usually so wrapped up in what I’m doing that I end up staying after hours anyway.
B. I only put in the hours that are required; there’s no overtime for me.
C. I accept it as an inevitable and occasionally necessary part of today’s workplace.
D. If I’m asked to work overtime too often, I’ll probably put feelers out for a new job.
5. Which choice best describes your relationship with your supervisor?
A. I want her job. Then I want her supervisor’s job.
B. I try to stay out of my manager’s way.
C. My supervisor is a mentor as well as a capable manager.
D. I’m not too close with my boss, since I don’t stay at any job for too long.
6. Which of the following best describes your relationships with your co-workers?
A. If they can help me advance in my career, I cultivate a close professional relationship.
B. I wouldn’t be able to survive without them; bantering with my colleagues helps me pass the hours.
C. I generally like the people I work with and enjoy collaborating with them.
D. I don’t know them that well, but they seem friendly.
7. A co-worker takes full credit for a project on which you did the majority of the work. As a result, she — not you — will be considered for a promotion to a higher-paying, more prestigious position. How do you handle this situation?
A. I would consult with an attorney about my options for redress. At the very least, I would send a letter to the CEO and request a meeting to air my grievances.
B. I’d let her have the promotion — although I could use the extra cash, I really don’t want the additional responsibilities.
C. I’d request a private meeting with my immediate supervisor and explain my role in the project. If my co-worker receives the promotion anyway, I’d try to get over the episode and move on.
D. I’ve been considering a career change anyway, so ultimately it doesn’t matter.
8. You make a mistake on a project. Another member of your work team corrects it. How do you react?
A. I offer to buy my co-worker a fancy lunch in hopes she won’t tell the boss.
B. Mistakes happen, and I appreciate my co-worker covering for me.
C. I thank my co-worker for catching the error and try to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
D. The mistake is probably a sign that it’s time to look for another job that stimulates and engages me more.
9. You’re on a weeklong vacation. You didn’t think you’d be accessible, but there’s an Internet café at your hotel. How often do you check in with the office?
A. I answer most of my e-mail every day so there will be less work go come back to.
C. I scan e-mail once or twice to make sure nothing important has come up.
D. I e-mail my manager to say that I’m considering pursuing a new career as a surfing instructor and not to expect me back anytime soon.
10. Your significant other is transferred to a new position 3,000 miles away. What do you do?
A. I suggest a long-distance relationship since this will give me more time to work.
B. I give notice and start packing.
C. I check with my employer about opportunities within the company in the new location. If there are none, I revise my career plan accordingly and start a long-distance job search.
D. I can’t wait to start a new career in a new city.
If most of your answers were:
Be careful — that’s not the best grade on this quiz. In fact, too many A’s may mean you have an unhealthy obsession for your job. Does the term “workaholic” ring any bells? You tend to put work before everything else, including relationships with others and even your own well-being. Because you often focus on the job to the exclusion of other aspects of your life, you’re at real risk for burnout. You also may alienate your boss and others you are trying to impress by being too competitive; teamwork requires shining the spotlight on others, and, on occasion, admitting you’re wrong. Develop a hobby, set aside time to socialize and relax. You’ll find that it actually pays off professionally. You’ll have more energy and creativity at work if you lead a balanced life. Good luck!
You’re at the opposite extreme of the A type. In fact, you have very little interest in — or passion for — the work you’ve chosen. It’s time to re-evaluate your goals and aspirations. What do you really want to do with your life? What are your major talents and strengths? What’s your idea of the perfect job? What matters most to you? If you can answer these questions honestly, you’ll be able to determine what sort of job best aligns with your core values and abilities. Then you can begin to chart a more satisfying career path and find work you really love.
Congratulations! You’ve been fortunate enough to find a career that’s rewarding and fulfilling. You’re passionate about your work without crossing the line into obsession. You have a healthy outlook that will enable you to weather job-related setbacks with poise, and you’ve been able to achieve a balance between work and your personal life. The fact that you have a clear career path enables you to acquire new skills while advancing professionally.
D: It’s the first letter in “dilettante,” which is what you tend to be when it comes to your professional life. You are most likely ambitious and multitalented, but have trouble settling down because it means foregoing other choices. This isn’t necessarily a bad quality – many people change careers several times throughout their lives – but you should try to make sure these switches in direction are based on careful thought and consideration rather than impulse. Perhaps you’re reluctant to commit to one job or career because you haven’t prioritized your goals. Since it’s impossible to do everything, try narrowing your options by assessing your talents and preferences. Ask basic questions – do I like to work with people or am I happier with solitary pursuits? Do I have a knack for mathematics, science, languages, music, art or sales? Could my interest in a particular field lead to a career or merely a hobby? Can I make money at this? Do I want to do this work 40 or more hours a week? Finding the answers to these questions is the first step toward committing to a career choice.