Friday, June 25, 2010

Thinking Styles and Careers

I have a career/personality test that I need to complete. It seems extremely
extensive and I'm a little apprehensive... about beginning it and having to
finish it.

Apparently I am now a rapper.

I've been thinking about poetry a lot lately and how I would like to practice my
word-crafting skills. I'd like to be able to write a piece free from meter and
rhyme and, most importantly, storyline. I want to form beautiful sentences from
beautiful words to create beautiful concepts that don't particularly lead anywhere.
I simply want to capture a feeling. I have a feeling this piece is going to start
out about fireflies and insincerity.

I've also been thinking about the concept of careers. In general, I could easily say
that I completely disagree with the American view that one's life must be defined
by a certain career. But you know me and you know I don't like blanket statements...

(as a side note, I found a very old short story I once began and soon gave up on and
I have not stopped thinking about how much I want to finish it, even though the basic
plot has probably largely been lost...)

The basic problem I have with the American concept of career is that a career is a
far too tangible thing to be the center focus and definition of a person's entire
life. But that's the American Dream, isn't it? Pick a career, go to school, and live
that career. Forever.

Oh, hey, fear-of-commitment.

Instead, I believe the focal point and primary definition (master status!) of one's
life should be something more intangible. It seems to be that the less intangible,
the more readily attained, achieved, and maintained; perhaps because things less
tangible are more open to interpretation and broader definitions?

I do not deny that I have an ultimate career goal. (see previous post(s) about the
importance of goal-setting) This ultimate career goal of mine is youth counseling,
whether as a school guidance counselor or otherwise. There is available proof that
this is my ultimate career goal because it is written in the headers of my plan of
major and plans of minors. However, this tangible goal does not act as the defining
status of my life because it is motivated by less tangible core values. It is these
values that I allow to act as the primary definitions of my life.

Today, I was asked what I first think of when I think of "success." I'll admit, as
an individual who has been enculturated with the American belief system, my first
reaction was "money." While I admitted this to the surveyor, I first responded with
my real answer of what I want to think of when I think of "success":
Achieving a purpose or goal. Or even just working toward that goal. Making progress
and being motivated to being productive in some way.

I was then asked to clarify what success means to me personally:
Youth counseling. Establishing camaraderie. Acting with compassion. Etc. And having
a white baby grand piano at some time. :)

These are those core values that I allow to act as the primary definitions of my
life, among others:
sanctified and selfless compassion
balance and moderation

The bottom line is this (and I will try to be as concise as possible)...
If one's ultimate career goal is motivated by any such core value, that career goal
can and should be attained, achieved, and maintained at all times, even before that
specific training is completed or the title is received.

(that's really the main thing... it's not about the title...)

Even though my ultimate career goal is youth counseling, the core values that act
as motivators and can be achieved regardless of where I am, the training I have
completed, or the title(s) I have received.

So, after I concluded this, I was thinking about other examples of career goals and
how the core values that should motivate them could be achieved at all times during
one's life.

I only ran into a problem when I began thinking of more "technical" careers... the
more tangible titles... electricians, mechanics, doctors, chemists, etc.

While these careers certainly still have room to be motivated by core values (finding
solutions, fixing and preventing problems, discovering new things, etc), the core
values are somewhat restricted by the more tangible and technical nature of such
career goals.

[enter, the difference between science-thinkers and thought-thinkers]
There are two different kinds of people here at Bridgewater; two
very different kinds of thought processes, learning styles, and
general philosophies of life. There are the science-thinkers...
chem, bio, math, comp, etc. There are the thought-thinkers...
socio, psych, eng, rel, philos, educ, etc.
Bear in mind that there sometimes is some overlap, but...
These different kinds of thinkers consequently have extremely
different opinions about the Liberal Arts philosophy. The science-
thinkers tend to view Liberal Arts as an unnecessary and painful
burden. The thought-thinkers adore the Liberal Arts and view it
as inherently invaluable.
Certainly, there would still be a chance for a small percentage of
students to be unhappy (because I have met some science-thinkers that
are thought-thinking majors), but this is why the admissions process
would have to be stricter.
[excerpted from "Ideas and Aspirations" - April 11, 2010]

So, even though both science-thinkers and thought-thinkers theoretically could be
motivated by the same core values, the way the express and demonstrate those core
values through their ultimate career goals would be inherently different.

In regards to career and personality tests, I believe this may be the most important
starting point.

Are you a science-thinker (more tangible) or a thought-thinker (less tangible)?

Oh, hellooooooo, Thinking Styles Continuum.

If a science-thinker tries to fit into a thought-thinking-shaped hole, chances are
he or she will be quite unhappy.

If a thought-thinker tries to fit into a science-thinking-shaped hole, chances are
he or she will be quite unhappy.

All in all, even though I am obviously biased toward thought-thinking aspirations
and science-thinkers are likely to experience more difficulty in achieving happiness
because of the more tangible nature of the ultimate career goals they are most likely
going to be inclined towards, the world most definitely needs science-thinkers to
balance the thought-thinkers and ultimately find solutions, fix and prevent problems,
and discover new things.

The most important thing may be to know what kind of thinker you are so that you will
be aware of the specific challenges with which you will most likely be faced.

Upcoming topic: Career Changes and Starting Over


Anonymous said...

Awesome post! Great thoughts.

The Balcony Lady said...

thanks for sharing your thoughts. Well presented to get your readers to think of their styles and their goals. We should talk about when goals overlap and when you achieve something within/in addition to the original goal.