Now, for this analogy to work I think it's pretty important that you understand I do not believe in astrology. This will not be a celebration of how my Year 9 career aptitude test told me I would be exactly where I am today, or the accuracy of my daily star chart.
Come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve ever looked at a daily star chart, nor am I interested in doing so. Don’t get me wrong,
I think that astrology is incredibly smart! It takes very limited knowledge of an individual and provides some sort of conclusion to which they can think, “Huh… I do that.” It’s genius. However, I don’t think many of us would base a huge life decision off an astrology prediction…
When I was at school, we were all asked to take a skills and careers assessment in year 9. My friends were all excited when their dream jobs appeared on that long list of possibilities. Many were disheartened that their aspiring career was not on that list. A few of them even changed their choices of GCSE subjects based purely on the results of that assessment. I watched this in shock as all I could do at my results was laugh. For context, I had just been diagnosed with a physical disability a few months prior, and this assessment advised me to become a police officer. As much as I am an advocate for your disability not holding you back, a role in the police force did seem a little far-fetched for someone in my physical condition. So, when my friends would panic that they hadn't received the results they wanted I couldn't understand why they were taking it so literally.
“But it's official,” they said, “an official assessment has told me that I can't do what I have always dreamt of doing.” And they weren’t wrong. The skills and career aptitude tests are often government backed, and they had just told these kids that their dream jobs weren’t the best fitting role for them. But, that’s where the analogy comes in. Yes, like those astrology predictions, these assessments are smart and, oftentimes, accurate. They analyse your skills and situation and find the best fitting roles for you based purely on the data they have. Take me, for example. It didn’t have access to a rather vital piece of information, which likely would have changed it’s conclusion.
Physical issues aside, the biggest piece of information that those assessments do not have access to, is what you want. If you are an extremely talented architect, but have no passion for designing buildings, then an architect is not the best fitting role for you, no matter what the stars say. Instead of using those assessments as a be all and end all, think of them as progress markers. If you know where you want to be, but the assessment is not pulling that title out for you, work out what it is that you don’t have which the assessment thinks you need. Suddenly, the results are no longer an end goal, but simply signposts along the road telling you that you’re on the right path, or potentially that you might have made a wrong turning somewhere.
If that’s not the case, and you actually have no idea what you want from your future, then, congratulations. You now have a list of job titles to scrutinise and turn your nose up at. Go through them and put them into two piles of “That’s ridiculous” and “Wait a minute… Maybe…” Who has no idea what they want to do when they leave education? Not you. You still might not know what you do want to do, but you have a pretty good handle on what you don’t want to do now. That isn’t no idea, at least.
Either way, whether you are staring at a blank page or keeping your fingers crossed in the hopes that the stars will align for you, just keep in mind that these aptitude tests are a guide, not a prediction. If you are wanting more personalised advice, you can always discuss your options with your career’s advisor or teacher. There are also great sources to use as a comparison with the career’s assessments such as Prospects. Whatever information you receive, just remember to put yourself at the centre of it and work it around you, not the other way around.
Kitkat Anderson graduated from ACM in 2019 with a business degree. At university, she was chief editor and a top writer for the university ezine. In her spare time, she also enjoys creative writing, both poetry and prose. She spent a lot of time growing up in youth drama and music groups, and has never been afraid to be outspoken, which perhaps led her to performance poetry! Kitkat strongly believes that it is okay to make mistakes, as long as you learn from them. She feels there is a lot of pressure to be perfect, which is not healthy or realistic, especially for young people.
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