Is That Really What I’ll Be Doing?
As a prospective young adult that will eventually graduate and tackle on the (scary) world where unsaid rules must be followed, where bills and taxes are things to take care of, and of course, where we spend the rest of our lives pursuing a career. Ideally, this said-career is supposed to provide enough income for us to live comfortably and is supposed to be a passion of ours. Some professions support modest living while others are more fortunate. In the end, careers are unfortunately a huge factor in our lives. But here’s the good news: we always have the choice to decide what we want to do — it’s a very dynamic process, and sadly, I know enough people to realize that this idea has not been normalized, yet. Back when I was in high school, I had a “Life Skills” class where we all had to do a test on CareerCruising that determined potential professions for us. The test was based on questionnaires about our individuality qualities, such as attentiveness to others, independence, and our performance in social interactions. We had the job to answer each item from a 5-part ranking starting from “strongly agree” all the way to “strongly disagree.”
I think that being a stereotypical Chinese student brought up by immigrant-parents who have sacrificed more than I know, I was more than thrilled to obtain the result of “Plastic surgeon” as my top potential career. Why that result did gave me so much pride? After all, can that career assessment website REALLY predict my future career? It “judged” me based on whether I selected “Strongly Agree” or “Neutral” for a few statements like “I like to help others.” Potentially, if any 15-year-old had common sense, I am sure they could have just answered what is right rather than what is true to them, thus, committing to the expectation bias. For instance, if a person wanted to become a doctor, all they had to do was to think of the skills and heart a doctor should need, and they will probably get “doctor” as one of their results. Hence, this could have altered the answers a bit.
And how valid could that test be? I did perform it during my crazy teenage years, and I would like to think that I have grown and had gotten to know myself better through countless different situations. It baffles me to see how these past results still stick with me: why? Maybe because they made me feel proud and the thought of it, regardless, gives me hope that there just might be something “big” out there for me. These career assessment tests allow people, like me, the feeling of maybe knowing the future and “what if…” Perhaps that is why career aptitude assessment is popular.
Perhaps plastic surgeon is my calling later on! However, this is not the case for now: I cringe every time I see surgeries shown on TV. Pursuing a degree in psychology is definitely I am genuinely interested in, and let’s just say I am nonetheless learning a lot about myself.