Finding a career path that is both financial rewarding and personally satisfying can be a trying process. While many workers find positions that are either financial rewarding, or personally satisfying, ultimately the two goals are subtly linked. When a person settles for a career path that is financial rewarding, but exists outside the scope of their personal values or talents, the career can produce feelings of unhappiness in the individual, and lead to the 40-40-40 syndrome. A person works forty hours per week, for roughly 40 years, and tops out at a 40K per year salary. On the other hand, a person who finds the career he or she loves can spend a lifetime building personal accomplishments, which will quite often lead to expanded opportunity and expanded earning potential. Finding the ideal path for the career minded individual is a function of matching the person's desires and their innate talents with the responsibilities of a particular career. Making these matched possible is the purpose of Dr. John Holland's Self-Directed Search Assessment (SDS).
Purpose and Description of the SDS Inventory
Wendy Burton is a 25-year-old single career minded women who is moving toward serious career path. She has Bachelors in Psychology, and her early career positions have included social worker, and school outreach counselor. She has set a goal of earning a masters in counseling. Wendy, like every individual, has a set of basic personalities skills that are "hard wired" into their personality. These traits are added to by the skills a person learns during their childhood, and educational tract. These traits and skills work together in an individual, and form him or her into a shape that is a 'good fit' for many positions. In other positions, the person will feel like a 'square peg forced into a round hole.'
The SDS has been used by over 22 million people worldwide and has also been translated into 25 different languages. (Self-directed search.com, online)
The SDS is built in a theory of careers that is the basis for most of the career inventories used today. The SDA theory states that most people can be loosely categorized with respect to six types: realistic (R), investigative (I), artistic (A), social (S), enterprising (E), and conventional -. Occupations and work environments can also be classified by the same categories. Once a person takes the SDS, a SDS report is produces which takes the students code and searched lists of 1,309 occupations, over 750 fields of study, and over 700 leisure activities. This is done to increase awareness of potentially satisfying occupations for the person. (readyminds.com, online)
People who choose careers that match their own types are most likely to be both satisfied and successful. The 6 personality categories are arranged on the diagram below.
The hexagon shows the relationships among the six types. For example, Realistic and Investigative types tend to have similar interests, but Realistic and Social types tend to be most different. Conventional types are most closely related to Enterprising and Realistic types, somewhat less similar to Social and Investigative types, but tend to be most different from Artistic types. (Reardon, 2001).
The person looking for their 'good fit' in a career often will engage the help of a counselor, whose role in facilitating career development remains dynamic. His or her role is helping clients expand their lifestyle options, while maximizing the person's strengths for the career match. Since the workplace is constantly changing, the seeker, and the career counselor are continually presented with new opportunities. In response, most practitioners follow some common theoretical assumptions as their foundation.
With more than 500 publications stimulated since his original theoretical explanation in the 1959 publication of A Theory of Vocational Choice, Holland's theory stands as the most influential of the extant theories (Isaacson & Brown, 1999, p. 26.). Having successfully combined the science and practice of career development, Holland has authored several books in support of his SDS evaluation, including among others Self-Directed Search for Career Planning (Holland, 1970), Manual for the Vocational Preference Inventory (Holland, 1967), the Vocational Exploration and Insight Kit (Holland et al., 1980), My Vocational Situation -- An Experimental Diagnostic Form (Holland, 1980), and Dictionary of Holland Occupational Codes (Gottfredson, Holland, & Ogawa, 1982).
Today, the SDS is available online, and can be accessed for $8.95. The report is immediately synthesized, and the person can…