In the dreaded career search, students are always asked, “Well what do you like?” This question is confusing, not least because they have had little time to try different types of work. Here I lay out the 7 Types of Liking Work so students can easily categorize the reasons why they feel positively toward certain types of work. Hopefully it can be useful in helping students pick careers.
1. Liking the Status of a Job
Often when we ask if we would “like” a certain job, we instinctively react to the status of that job. Jobs like banker, manager, doctor, and developer are all high-status jobs. If you catch yourself “liking” these jobs, ask yourself, “Do I like these jobs because other people respect them?” If yes, then it is partially status that attracts you to a job. Status is cool, but mostly visible from the outside. People without those jobs may envy you, but once you get a job in that field, your new coworkers become your peers. Therefore, all of your “new peers” have already accomplished getting this high-status job, and you hold no status advantage over them, so you may not feel the happiness of having a high-status job. In short, you get used to it and the cool factor wears off after you get the job.
2. Liking the Compensation of a Job
One driver of status is money, and one of the biggest reasons people choose jobs is money. Recognize if this is one of your main motivations, and there is nothing wrong with that.
3. Liking the Topic of a Job
Do you love a certain topic, be it history, music, or math? You may like a job in that topic, but you also might want to work a different job and study your topics as hobbies. That way, you can have fun with them, instead of worrying about making your hobby pay the bills. Either way, if your great love is numbers, you will likely dislike a job where you deal with words all day. Likewise for word-lovers; a number-crunching job may crush your soul.
4. Liking the Experience of a Job
This is how you feel after attempting a certain kind of work for 4-8 hours. Are you bored? Or are your interested? This is regardless of the topic. For example, you may love history. You may find writing and researching history papers quite boring, while you may love teaching history to other people. In that case, you enjoy the topic, but don’t enjoy the experience of working alone; you far prefer the company of others.
5. Liking a Type of Interaction with People
Are you energized by working with others, yet tired when you work alone? You may love a job where you interact with people. Teaching is a type of job where you interact with people constantly. In a job like software developer or business analyst, you work alone much more often. It’s important to understand this before you get into a career path.
6. Liking the Lack of Bad Aspects
Many jobs bring negative aspects with them. For example, waking up early might be a negative, so you might like a job because it lets you sleep late. Starting your own business allows you to avoid negative things like waking up early or taking orders from a boss. Working a regular job subjects you to these negative aspects, but it also brings positive feelings, like our last category.
7. Liking the Camaraderie of a Job
Serving as a member part of a work crew, like on a farm on in a landscaping crew, can bring tremendous camaraderie, or a sense of togetherness from the shared work. Working with a group of people your own age who get off work at the same time can bring camaraderie as well. You will likely hang out after work and that may become your favorite part. Entrepreneurs beware, however: starting your own business does not provide much camaraderie, since you are usually alone in your responsibilities and may have different hours from most people.
Hopefully this can help you or your student figure out the reason they like certain careers, so they can make better choices for their futures.
Tim Dugan is the Founder of Dugan Prep.