Eileen came to me feeling unclear about her future career path. She was successful as a high level manager, but felt drained by her work. She wanted to be happy in her job. She also wanted to pursue a Master’s Degree but wasn’t sure what focus her higher education should take.
Eileen took the Values in Action (VIA) Strengths Inventory, the Keirsey Temperament Sorter, and the Desired Work Characteristics Survey.
From the VIA Strengths Inventory we discovered that Eileen strongly valued Honesty. This value was constantly challenged in her work because she worked for unethical managers and managed young staff members who didn’t have the highest level of integrity. This misalignment between her values and her work created an internal conflict for Eileen that sapped her energy.
We also determined that Eileen’s Signature Strengths of Judgment and Perspective were not being fully utilized in this job. She felt unfulfilled and that her work lacked meaning.
In addition, a key finding from the Keirsey Temperament Sorter was that Eileen was an introvert. Her job required constant interaction with people, leaving her no time to process internally, reflect, or be calm, which is a strong need for introverts to renew their energy. This was another reason why Eileen felt drained at the end of the work day.
It was clear that Eileen needed a new career, so we generated a list of careers to consider from the book Do What You Are (based on the Keirsey Personality characteristics), adding ideas Eileen already had and brainstorming new ideas.
We then took Eileen’s VIA Strengths, her Kiersey characteristics, and her Desired Work Characteristics and referenced them against the careers she was considering.
Not surprisingly, Eileen’s current job scored very low on this correlation.
As we worked through the list, three careers emerged with high scores: Management Consultant, Public Speaker, and University Professor. These careers would give Eileen time to be calm and introspective and the ability to use her Perspective, Wisdom, and Judgment and Leadership skills. In addition, these careers would offer her independence, the ability to serve others, and the ability to utilize her bravery and love of learning.
As we looked at these careers, we realized that Eileen could even combine these careers if she wanted. She could teach business management, speak about business management, and be a consultant.
Due to the careers Eileen picked, she decided to pursue an MBA.
Eileen decided to wait to switch careers once her MBA was complete.
She needed to find a way to make her current position more bearable. She explained to her boss her need for more quiet time and her boss moved her to a quieter office. She also began encouraging her staff to go to lower levels of management with their questions and issues.
Through this process of understanding herself and her needs more clearly, Eileen also realized she would be happier living alone. She decided to move.
By understanding who she is and what her needs are, Eileen was able to modify her work situation and her home environment in a positive way. Now Eileen smiles on the way to work, enjoys her privacy at home, and is hopeful to find a more meaningful career once she completes her MBA program.