End of the School Year: Career Assessment Time!

(…in other words, it’s almost my birthday and I’m going to pretend I’m turning 18 instead of 28…)

I haven’t been actively self-styling my life lately, amid holidays, a trip, crises and life in general. But the nagging question is always in the back of my mind: am I making the most of my life? [I guess as humans that’s one of our defining characteristics–that question is usually back there somewhere, always, right?]

To get back into a routine of self-assessment, I thought it might be useful, and if not useful than maybe just fun, to get literal about it and take one of those personality/career assessments like the ones we all took in school at some point. I settled on a newish online tool, the MAPP: Motivational Appraisal of Personal Potential.

The Test:

The 71 “questions” consist of a set of 3 tasks or activities that you rank according to which you’d most prefer to do and which you’d least prefer to do. The idea is that it assesses you for potential in certain career areas based on your motivations and interests.

The actual test-taking was fun. It instructs you to detach from your current self and simply choose based on preference–not what you do now or what you’ve studied, etc. It is exciting to try to picture yourself in these various scenarios.

Some choices were easy. The one that included the possibility of measuring the accuracy of industrial scales, for example. Yeah, that was pretty easy to put into the “least prefer” box.

Others were more difficult such as when it asked whether I’d want to live on an old homestead near a national park, downtown in a metropolitan city or live in many places working for the diplomatic corps. They all sound cool!

The results:

… were mixed for me. (check out a sample assessment to help you follow what I’m talking about) I suppose I got really imaginative and maybe disregarded my actual abilities a bit too freely. I was drawn to many of the choices that involved performing (music, drama, etc), probably because these things are fun. Could I make it as a professional musician? Probably not 😉 Nevertheless, in the list of “career areas,” suited to me based on the results, options 2-6 (along with #’s 8, 11 and 16) involved either teaching or performing music or drama!

Ultimately, I found the suggested career area section less compelling (possibly because my #1 “career area” was “interview-inform: gather, dispense information” for which it lists librarian, information systems management, admissions clerk as career possibilities. Yeah, not so motivated by those.)

The “Narrative Interpretation” section was more interesting, and seemed to describe me quite well. In fact, many of its statements mirror things I’ve put in my own cover letters. For example, it repeatedly described me as being a “big picture” person, interested in determining how details fit together into a cohesive whole. It also said that I prefer to see projects through from beginning to end (probably why I didn’t love working for the government). It told me I hate math (no joke), but I am motivated by synthesizing and communicating information (no surprise since you’re reading my blog, right?).


I am not entirely surprised by most of the results, but it was an interesting exercise. And there were a few unexpected results (like the fact that I am apparently strongly motivated to persuade people–perhaps my husband would agree with that).

The main benefit is that it makes you sound good! It describes your traits in a productive way–how they translate into what you would be good at. It is definitely, as the name suggests, motivational in that sense.

So if you’re bored or curious, check it out. You can do the test for free, but be warned–it just shows you a teaser of the results. You can get the full results for about $15 if you “like” them on Facebook and use the promo code. (And yes, in the interest of being able to discuss it  more completely, I did break down and buy my report!)

Have fun and let me know what you think! [And no, I am not getting paid to promote MAPP, I just happened upon it. You can look here for some suggestions of other useful career assessment tools, if you’re interested.]

4 responses to “End of the School Year: Career Assessment Time!

  1. Just checking out the sample, I’m amazed that you read all 30 pages of a strangers assessment!

    Please don’t think that just career determines if you’re making the most of your life. Your job doesn’t have to be world changing…If you’re bringing in money to pay the bills and your job allows you to live your life fully with your husband, family and friends your influence on the world will be felt
    …and by the way, you are quite eloquent and persuasive! Keep up the good work.

    • Oh I didn’t read the sample assessment… I just didn’t want to show everyone mine 🙂

      Yeah, no, I definitely don’t think that my career defines me or my success in life (or trying not to fall into that trap)! Thanks for the reminder though! I just figured it’s always good to reassess and remember what motivates me. 🙂

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