What Should I Be When I Grow Up?

Posted  | 2 Comment(s)  |  by Tamara Tasche

Whether you’re embarking on your first job search or transitioning to a new career, an important goal is to identify and pursue meaningful work.  What is viewed as meaningful, however, can change throughout the course of your career.  There are two questions that trouble all generations in the workforce, from the Gen Y novice to the transitioning Baby Boomer:

What should I be when I grow up?

What should I do next with my career and life? 

Career assessments are a great tool for all job seekers to use to answer those important questions.  They play a helpful role in identifying career options, setting long-term career objectives, pursuing ongoing career development, selecting alternatives during job transition, re-careering, or successfully retiring.  

A typical career assessment battery includes an overall psychological inventory, a temperament indicator, an interest inventory, and a work/life values assessment.  This is combined with an interview to further identify strengths, current skills, interests, and factors to include or avoid during career planning.  For young people looking for their first job or adults thinking about re-careering, aptitude testing can identify natural aptitudes to leverage when making career decisions.  Depending on the individual’s results, the data collected can be interpreted to identify the following:

  • Appropriate career options
  • Level of aptitude development needed for roles under consideration
  • Best point of leverage – individual contributor, middle management or upper management
  • Preferred job scope
  • Industry options
  • Elements of a “best-match” work environment or employment situation
  • Work style considerations for on-boarding
  • Career and leadership development action steps
  • Non-vocational interests to pursue during retirement

The vast majority of transitioning executives take advantage of assessment services to better focus their job search, identify target organizations, ask “due diligence” questions, and evaluate job opportunities for an ideal fit.  Assessments can help employees of all levels select opportunities that provide additional learning and exposure (consistent with their interests) that will move their careers forward.  Assessment test results also provide insight that can be leveraged during the on-boarding process.

For the young person seeking to identify a career path, or the adult hoping to make a career change, assessment is only one piece of the puzzle.  Additional data should be collected through a combination of occupational research and informational interviews to determine what career path is right.  This includes data related to the occupational outlook or marketplace need for the job over time.  Volunteer or practicum work can also assist in determining if a career is a good fit before investing in further education.

At Career Partners International, we believe assessment provides needed insight for individuals along the full career continuum - career selection, career development, career transition and through semi or full retirement.   Whether you are 17 or 70 years of age, it can be helpful to use assessments to answer the question: What should I be when I grow up?

Comment below and tell us what career assessments helped you move forward in your career!

Bookmark and Share


  1. Melinda Brown's avatar
    Melinda Brown
    | Permalink
    I've used career assessment tools when I was lecturing in a Business College and coaching students in their job search / career direction. More often than not, we get positive results. Most times, they confirm what the job seeker is thinking of anyway. At other time, it creates a platform to explore options that the job seeker may not have even considered. And then, there are the occasional ones where the results are way out because the job seeker over-complicated the assessment and got confused when answering! :)
  2. Donald Cable's avatar
    Donald Cable
    | Permalink
    One of the best career exploration techniques I have come across is from Joseph Campbell... (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Campbell‎)
    and it goes like this... Close your eyes, imagine a hand coming down from the sky and ripping you off the earth. Every relationship, association etc, with anyone or anything on earth is completely severed. The hand then puts you back down on earth. You are now totally free to do what ever it is you want to do. What would you do?
    Joseph suggested that this is one way to identify what your passion is. Your greatest chance at happiness is by following your passion. The objective then is to determine how you can make a living out of it.

    Go for it.

Leave a Comment