Occupational Environments  

 

            Do certain types of people go into certain kinds of work?  If they do, where would you fit in?  It is very difficult to categorize people and work environments, but it can be helpful to look at your interests and preferences and then compare them with the interests of people in various kinds of work.  Some research has shown that your chances of success and happiness in a career are improved if you share similar interests and preferences with others in that career.  According to John Holland,[1] the world of work can be divided into six categories.  People with certain personality characteristics do tend to go into certain types of work.  These categories can be called occupational environments, and are described as follows. 

 

Realistic

            People in this category tend to be interested in mechanical things and have mechanical abilities.  Many like to work with objects, tools, and machines.  Many tend to be athletic and are interested in activities where they can use their physical abilities.  They tend to enjoy working with their hands.  They are very practical in their outlook on life and often enjoy working outdoors.  They prefer an active life rather than a sedentary lifestyle.

            Some examples of jobs in this category are construction worker, carpenter, mechanic, skilled trades, police officer, dental technician, forester, farmer, military officer, and air traffic controller.

 

Investigative

            People in this category are interested in observing and analyzing situations before they act.  They like to investigate situations and to solve problems.  They are very interested in learning and are likely to continue their education.  They like to evaluate situations and are task-oriented.  They tend to enjoy dealing with abstract problems and have a need to understand how things work and why things are the way they are.  They like to design equipment and solutions to problems. 

            Some examples of jobs in this category are engineer, chemist, computer programmer, biologist, economist, social scientist, physician, research worker, physicist, systems analyst, meteorologist mathematician, dental hygienist, tool designer, optometrist, and x-ray technician.

 

Artistic

            People in this category like to use their imagination in dealing with situations and tend to be quite independent.  They prefer and unstructured environment where they can create and use their artistic abilities.  They like to innovate.  They express themselves in artistic ways and could often be described as being quite unconventional.  They are independent and need the room to express themselves and their creativity. 

Some examples of jobs in this category are singer, actor, fashion model, actress, musician, interior decorator, reporter, artist, public relations person, author, advertising manager, composer, technical writer, photographer, and music teacher.

Social

            People in this category like to work with other people in a helpful and supportive way.  They like to inform, teach, enlighten, and train others.  They like to help others solve problems and develop their potential.  They tend to be concerned with the welfare of others and are very humanistic in their approach to dealing with others.  They are often skilled with words and like to be with other people.  They tend to be quite sociable and feel responsible for helping others who need assistance.

            Some examples of jobs in this category are clinical psychologist, waiter or waitress, teacher, marriage counselor, speech therapist, nurse, personnel director, dietician, child care director, social worker, bartender, and ticket agent.

 

Remember that a variety of interests which you actively pursue can be extremely valuable in maintaining a satisfying lifestyle now and in the future.  Creatively expand possible ways to fulfill your interests.  Examples are full time work, part time work, volunteer work, hobbies, leisure time, teaching, reading, participating, watching, etc.

 

1.  Interest ____________________________________________________________

     Ways to fulfill this interest:

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2.  Interest ____________________________________________________________

     Ways to fulfill this interest:

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3.  Interest ____________________________________________________________

     Ways to fulfill this interest:

_____________________________________________________________________

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4.  Interest ____________________________________________________________

     Ways to fulfill this interest:

_____________________________________________________________________

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5.  Interest ____________________________________________________________

     Ways to fulfill this interest:

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________

 

Enterprising

            People in this category are energetic and like to assume leadership roles.  They enjoy being in charge of other people, and persuading others to do something or to buy something.  They often work hard to achieve power and status, and financial gain is an important goal.  They enjoy material wealth and will work hard to achieve it.  They like to work with other people in managing, influencing approach.  They tend to be goal directed and wish to move up in an organization or in their own enterprises.

            Some examples of jobs in this category are realtor, lawyer, buyer, farm manager, business executive, salesperson, marketing director, bank manager, recruiter, sales manager, insurance investigator, and florist.

 

Conventional

            People in this category like well-ordered activities, and usually enjoy office work.  They like to know what is expected of them and appreciate a system in which there are well-defined tasks.  They tend to like to work with data and to use numerical and clerical skills.  They are interested in following things through in detail and they also like to follow the instructions of others.  Some examples of jobs in this category are bank examiner, bookkeeper, court reporter, computer operator, credit manager, secretary, accountant, and telephone operator.

 

Where Do You Fit In?

            Now look back over the six occupational environments.  In which environment would you feel most comfortable?  Does one stand out as your clear choice or is it difficult to choose?  In the spaces below, write three choices, preferably in order, of the occupational environments in which you would feel most comfortable.

 

First Choice____________________

Second Choice__________________

Third Choice___________________

           

Many career resource centers are organized using these six occupational environments.  You can go to a resources center and investigate all of the possible careers in the realistic category, for example.  It is also interesting to combine categories, since many careers involve a variety of interests and skills.  For example, some engineering careers involve both realistic and investigative interests.  Some social service careers involve both social and enterprising interests.  Use these occupational environments to expand your investigation of possible careers.  In the space below, write as many careers as you can that would fit into the occupational environments that you chose.

 


 

1. _________________________                              6. _________________________

2. _________________________                              7. _________________________

3. _________________________                              8. _________________________

4. _________________________                              9. _________________________

5. _________________________                              10. ________________________

 

D. Interest Inventories

 

            You may also wish to further explore your interests by taking one or more interest inventories.  These will not tell you what you are “good at,” but they will help you to categorize your interests and to compare your interests with those of people who are working in various careers.  Some of the more widely available interest inventories are:

 

The Strong-Campbell Interest Inventory

The Self-Directed Search

The Career Assessment Inventory

The Kuder Occupational Interest Survey

The Myers Briggs Type Indicator

 

            These inventories are often available through college, community, and private counseling services.  Check with organizations in your area on the availability of testing, the procedures for arranging for testing, and the cost of taking one or more interest inventories.  Remember that these inventories will not provide you with any quick and easy answers in your career and life planning.  The information you receive from taking them makes up one small part of everything you need to make decisions.

 

Summary – Interests

 

            This ends the section on interests.  Remember that yours interests hold the key to a rewarding and satisfying life.  Any career that you can enter which is based on your interests may be very rewarding for you.  A variety of interests is needed to maintain a well-rounded lifestyle.  This becomes particularly important in your later years when work takes on a less important place in your life.  Pursue your interests on and off the job, and develop new interests as you go through life. 

 

 


 

[1] Holland, John L.  Making Vocational Choices: A Theory of Careers.  Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice Hall, Inc., 1973, pp. 27-36

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