Mapping your motivations helps with career decisions

There are a seemingly endless number of personality and career tests out there. Often an absolutely overwhelming number to choose from. This in itself can be rather debilitating, especially when you feel under pressure to work through career issues and the fear of making the wrong choice already weighs heavily. It clouds your ability to make career decisions rather than enhancing them.

I have tried a few paid tools and assessment tests and have also found some quite useful free ones (check them out in this post). Most of these are quite similar. They focus mostly on your interests, then try to predict potential careers that interest you.

The challenge is, you can become overwhelmed with recommendations of a huge number of job titles and begin to get stuck focusing on the matching instrument itself, rather than seeing it as a starting point for exploration to support decision making.

There are two instruments that I recommend. The first is Morrisby Profile. Typically used with high school students, unlike most online tools, the long-form version provides a high degree of insight into capabilities and aptitudes, not just providing generic job matches based on interest. This makes a lot of people uncomfortable, it does counter the “you can do anything you stick your mind to” narrative because it does give a viable indication as to academic performance and the results can be challenging for some people. This tool itself is also useful for adults, however, the use in high schools provides a really great way to provide younger people with some practical starting points to acquire some self-knowledge and for career decisions.

The second instrument is Motiva (Motiva Individual 2). In my career transition, I tried a lot of tools, this is the one I found the most useful to support the decisions I was about to make.
This helped me unpack my different motivations, as well as the usual interests. It confirmed some things I already knew and added new information that helped refine tasks that I used in creating an action plan. What I found particularly unique in the process was comparing things that motivated me, to the job I was in and my level of satisfaction in that role. I knew that I was not happy where I was, though getting clarity about why and really pinpointing it was difficult. This gave me the insight I needed to manage some decisions.

The other really valuable piece of the puzzle that helped me, was to understand the type of environments that would suit me. In my working life, I’ve tried lots of different things. From working with children in foster care to the hyper-competitive world of advertising, taking small insights from each along the way.

Some clearly didn’t align with my values, particularly advertising. I was entirely the wrong fit, yet I persisted because I didn’t want to give up or be seen as a quiter. I was miserable in those environments and focused on trying to change and adapt myself. I’d invested so much time to find a way into an industry I thought would be a fun place for a creative thinker and didn’t want that investment to be wasted. It took a while before I admitted that my attention could have been better directed at determining more suitable places to contribute and design steps to move in that direction.

Overall, the Motiva tool helped place some rigour around my experiences and examine what I could learn from them, it provided a jumping off point to accelerate collating all the different elements to know my self better in a work sense. This is the reason it is now my go-to career tool to use with clients, where required.

Check out these two Career packages that include access to Motiva. Feel free to call me on 0418 678 611 to ask any questions or talk about my approach to career counselling. Thanks for reading – Mark

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Open-source career tools

Access to resources gives people a headstart in life and career. Without wanting to spark a debate around fairness, equity and social justice on this post, the gap between those who know how to access the help they need, and those who don’t, won’t or can’t is growing and it’s incredibly damaging in terms of economic development and productivity, and critically, health and wellbeing.

Thankfully, if you have the resource of time, and a little motivation, I have found some free tools that you can use to help build some of the self-awareness that is useful to help you build actions and directions useful in your career or work. These are all tools I used before changing careers.

Your Career Australian Federal Government Resource
This landing page displays a few useful resources to help you gather some career ideas or inspiration. What I think is particularly useful here is having several separate resources in one place. There are quizzes that will help you at various stages in your career decision journey. It could be a little overwhelming at first, so take a breath and give yourself time to explore the different tabs and navigate your way around the site.

Holland codes (RIASEC) on Opensource Psychometrics
This is probably the most common (and pervasive) assessment tool around. It forms the base of a lot of rebranded tools, both in paper and online.
“The Holland Occupational Themes is a theory of personality that focuses on career and vocational choice. It groups people on the basis of their suitability for six different categories of occupations. The six types yield the RIASEC acronym, by which the theory is also commonly known. The theory was developed by John L. Holland over the course of his career, starting in the 1950s. The typology has come to dominate the field of career counseling and has been incorporated into most of the popular assessments used in the field.”

My Future
This resource was designed with Australian high school students in mind, but please, if you’re an adult, don’t let that put you off. This is a very powerful free tool, better than most paid offerings on the market. It’s a resource I used around 18-24 months before deciding to undertake post-graduate study to become a career counsellor and I found it incredibly useful to explore the reality of different options.

Take some time to explore the site. Set up a profile and navigate through the questions. These seemed similar to the usual interest profiling type questions. The really useful part is having a profile to work with that you can keep coming back to.
From there you can launch into exploring different industries and start to build your own ideas as you learn.

You can retake the questions again to test the validity. The first time I jumped in and did it was a particularly difficult time at work, so I retook a few weeks late to compare the results (there were just slight changes, though I personally found it really interesting).

My Next Move – oNet Interests Profiler
Based on the Holland codes, however, this also links to other free career exploration resources. Great for sparking ideas and exploring connected industries.

5-Minute Career Action Plan
This is a nifty self-guided document published in the UK. Honestly, this will take you longer than 5 minutes, as it should. Treat it as a live document, you may not be able to answer all the questions, use them as prompts to guide your discovery.

Your local library!
Depending on where you live, local libraries often provide access to a huge array of underutilised resources. Particularly a growing range of digital resources like Linkedin Learning (perfect for testing interest in learning about subject areas before committing to formal study) and eBooks. They can often be good places to find out about local services, you may even discover local career support is available, waiting to help, but doesn’t have a marketing budget and struggle to promote themselves to people.
PS – I love libraries 🙂