Are You In Need Of Some Vocational Soul Searching?

Are You In Need Of Some Vocational Soul SearchingBy Christy Schutz

You’d be surprised how many people I come across who have already invested a decade or two in a particular line of work and are still unsure of what they want to be when they “grow up.” This has been my experience with people who work in a traditional office setting as well as people who work from home. With so many different positions now offering full or partial telecommuting arrangements, it can be overwhelming to narrow the focus down to something that will meet someone’s work arrangement needs while also leveraging their skills, interests and personality.

If you can relate to this statement, I would recommend you set aside some time to do some career self-assessment, or, as I call it, Vocational Soul Searching.  You can dig deep and get clearer on the types of roles you should explore by completing the following four steps.

1.) Get really clear about what aspects of your current job you like or dislike.

Author and speaker Marcus Buckingham describes a process where you take the time over a week or two to be really mindful about the tasks that you are completing each day. Do they energize you, or strengthen you? Or do they weaken you? And it isn’t about what you are necessarily good at or bad at. Someone can be really good at a task, but, absolutely dislike doing it. To complete this task, keep a pad of post-it notes nearby. When you feel a strong emotion, take a moment to jot down “I felt energized when…” or “I felt depleted when…” Chances are you will start to see some patterns emerge on the types of tasks you should navigate toward or away from.

2.) Look back in history.

Take some time to consider all the jobs you have had to date. Take the time to analyze what experience you took from each role, what gifts or abilities you tapped into for each role, how your personality meshed with each job you held, and what you enjoyed most. You may start to see some patterns that will help to narrow down your search and/or be inspired to pursue a field or role that you abandoned long ago.

3.) Take the online assessments.

There are dozens of online assessments, in a variety of price ranges that can help someone to narrow down their job search. Check out all or some of the following:

  • The University of Pennsylvania offers several free assessments, like a strength test, a work-life questionnaire, life satisfaction questionnaire and more. Learn more and register to take the assessments at
  • The MAPP assessment can help you to identify your career profile and can be scored against hundreds of jobs. They offer a free sample report as well as a more comprehensive paid assessment online at
  • Gallup offers a strengths assessment called the “StrengthsFinder.” There is a smaller, more focused assessment that identifies your top 5 strengths (at a cost of $9.99) or a more comprehensive version that identifies your complete strengths profile (for $89.00). Learn more online at
  • If you are interested in an assessment that has a Christian perspective, check out the PLACE assessment. It is very thorough, and analyzes personality, spiritual gifts, abilities, passions, and your life experiences. Cost for the individual assessment starts at $14.95 and can be found at

4.) Ask others to weigh in.

Sometimes our friends and colleagues can see things more clearly in us than we can see in ourselves. Checkster offer an interesting program called the Talent Checkup. You take a self-assessment and then enter the names of colleagues you want to get feedback from. Or, you can always take the low tech approach and simply reach out via phone or email and ask your associates, mentors, friends and family members to give you feedback as it relates to your abilities, personality, interests, their perception of your biggest achievements to date, your weaknesses and what they see as a career fit for you.

All of these tactics combined should help to reveal the types of jobs that will energize you, utilize your abilities, and bring you more overall happiness and fulfillment in your life. You can then get busy with the task of searching for work at home positions that will make the most sense for you!

What suggestions would you add to the list? How have you identified which careers are right (or wrong) for you? Any awesome assessments you’d add to the list?

Christy Schutz, is a communications professional and freelance writer focused on topics like employer/personal branding, career management, personal development, women in the workplace, and female entrepreneurs. She enjoys putting 16+ years of experience in the advertising, recruitment marketing, employee/internal communications and special events industries to good use by helping others to discover, develop and market their own distinct calling or mission. This Tampa Bay, FL-based Mom also keeps herself busy by raising 4 kids, caring for her husband & doting on her dogs Petey and Daisy!

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