John, a lifelong educator, is my guest on this episode. Having the perspective of time and the results of his Birkman assessment, John walks us through his career selection having made peace with it not having been his “optimal choice.” Considering his personality, his interests and the needs that have always been the driving force in his life, he has managed to achieve a level of success and contentment. But could it have been better?
His motivating force was twofold, as illuminated by his assessment results: One who needs to “see the fruits of his labor” as quickly as possible and one who prefers an environment in which he is not continually socially demanded upon. Much of his time as an educator proved to be the antithesis of his “nature”: the world of a teacher is an experience of delayed gratification and a demand of “onstage performance” with students, administration and parents.
John highlights the fact that although it was a challenge, having not been the path he might have chosen with the benefit of guidance, one can find a way where things work out. Had he wanted to live a life using his natural innate abilities and interests, one which reflected his greater authenticity, he might have chosen a field in which he could experienced immediate gratification for his work output and one in which he could work largely on his own (the introvert versus extravert style).
John’s assessment results delivered two options, both of which he intrinsically understood were viable even back when he was deciding his path. One was of a skilled steelworker and the other highlighted the field of dentistry. Both career options present more solo work environments and offer immediate gratification of results.
There are negative consequences of working in a career for which you are ill suited and John experienced a few. Still, he found a few enjoyable and gratifying aspects in order to survive. When he retired at age 52, he did so realizing that he’d not have been anxious to leave his work life had he been engaged in work closer to his heart. Therefore, he fully endorses an assessment process for young people making life changing decisions at such a young age following high school.