How to Choose the Right Career for You

Finding the right career can be harder than you thought.  It’s easy enough to hear about a particular field or industry and think it sounds like something you’d like, but how can you know how well suited a career really is for you without ever actually working in that field?  Given that many talents are applicable in multiple fields, even having a strong passion for a given type of work doesn’t always help.  If you’re trying to find your place in the business world, whether for the first time or after realizing that where you are can’t possibly be where you’re meant to be, it might help to understand what your primary focus really is when it comes to your attitude about work.  An increasing number of studies conducted by various experts, including psychologists, suggests that most of us fall into one of two groups:  prevention focused and promotion focused.  Knowing which one you are is a great way to help steer you down your best career path.

Prevention focused


Those who are prevention focused tend to see security as their biggest goal.  Prevention-focused individuals value stability over everything else.  They want to keep things running smoothly and safely.  They also tend to be seen as very methodical and dependable.

If you are mostly prevention focused, you generally excel at being thorough and detail oriented, careful planning, reasoning and analytical thinking, producing near-flawless work, being able to anticipate and head off problems, and being dependable and reliable.

Those who are prevention focused do tend to resist change or risk-taking for fear of failure, making them seem less flexible and adaptable.  They also tend to work more slowly, since attention to detail and accuracy are so important.

Promotion focused

Successful leader


People who are more promotion focused tend to see everything as an opportunity for advancement.  The thought of every job as a means to a more elevated end is what fuels them.  They are more focused on rewards, even if that means taking more risks.  These people tend to excel at working quickly, taking risks, jumping at opportunities for advancement, innovation and creativity, coming up with multiple alternatives and ideas, and completing work quickly.

On the down side, those who are promotion focused are often error prone (since quick work is often more important than accurate work), optimistic to a fault (in that they are often unable to see potential problems and obstacles that could arise), and more likely to take foolish risks, in part due to being so determined to excel that they aren’t prepared to deal with unforeseen difficulties (the kind of difficulties that a more prevention-focused person might have seen a mile away).

Understanding which of these groups best matches your personality can help you find a new career or job in your current field that is more likely to keep you fulfilled.  Prevention-focused folks should look for companies where stability is key, though it might mean opportunities for growth are limited.  Promotion-focused individuals do better with companies focused on growth and expansion.

Finding a career that matches your talents, passion, education, and goal orientation can be the difference between finding your bliss and finding yourself staring at the classifieds.