Saturday, 22 July 2017

#203 Taking stock

I chatted to a career advisor this morning. I had a good idea of the type of job I wanted but figured it couldn't hurt to get some expert advice. Whether the National Careers Service employed any experts remained to be seen but it seemed worth a shot.

The last time I sought career guidance, I was fifteen. Our school had arranged for each of us to have a five minute meeting. In mine, I was told to flick through a humongous directory full of job descriptions. I did exactly that. I flicked through it. I don't remember spotting anything I liked. I murmured something about enjoying business studies and came away none the wiser about the world or myself. Wasn't the advisor supposed to advise me? Maybe this time, things would be different. I signed in to the free chat room and was greeted by an operator who called himself Adam.

My impression of Adam was that he was a very boring man. I based this purely on his conversational skills, which consisted of repeating large chunks of standardised dialogue and asking me, at regular intervals, whether what he was saying sounded ok. To be fair, he asked me a lot of questions and listened patiently while I told him my history. Towards the end of our conversation, he recommended some web links.

I gave Adam an easy ride, for the most part although I had hoped he would offer more insight. I asked him, in as nice a way as I could manage, whether he personally had much knowledge of the job market, or whether he often ended up referring people to a handful of links and leaving them to figure the it out themselves. I received a lengthy, rather political-sounding response, from which it was immediately clear that the latter was the case.

I was happy to check out the web links. What else had I expected? The man was not some kind of mystic. Maybe I should have seen a mystic. For now though, I proceeded to the first link. It was a three minute career suitability test. The test was designed to measure my desires, preferences and skills. I rapidly answered all of the questions. My reward was a gargantuously long list of job titles, grading each one out of a hundred, based on my answers.

I saved a copy of all of the job titles which scored 85 or above. It came to 140 results. Adam wasn't joking when he said I had plenty of options. Looking at the list more closely though, it was mostly useless. The test hadn't taken into account any practicalities, such as whether I'd go back to school, if the sight of someone's intestines made me squeamish, or how likely it was that I'd consider relocating to an offshore oil rig.

I decided to leave the test results and put together my own shortlist of viable options. What was the time? 9:53am. Adam and I must have chatted for the best part of an hour. All he'd had to do during that time was run through a template set of questions, dish out a series of pre-written messages and send over some web links. Now that I thought about it, perhaps he'd been more helpful than I'd given him credit for. I rated him four stars, opened up my shortlist and added "career advisor" near the top of the page.

1 comment

Running on empty said...

You'd have to talk to alot of strangers.

The ending was funny.