Passion, Like and Preference in Career Planning

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We all know what we like, as well as dislike and prefer.

Food, drink, colours, social activities. We don’t even need to think about it.

When it comes to career planning however, many people have difficulties. In part this is because there is such a lot to think about and a lot to weigh up. Personal factors, job requirements, training, social & family pressures, etc. Not only desirable things but also things to avoid. For young people in particular, future job demands are outside their experience.

Jobs with everything we like and nothing we dislike are rare! Compromises have to be made. In fact a component of good career planning is the art of compromise.

When starting their career planning the concept of “follow your passion” can be very puzzling for young people. “What? You mean skateboarding and watching movies all day long?”

Realistic help is available! Reliable and valid Occupational Interest Guides do exist!

A critical issue for occupational insterest is the difference between LIKE and PREFERENCE.

Measurement of LIKE typically requires a rating (eg 3 point LIKE, DON’T MIND, DISLIKE) of an item (or question). For example “How do you like coffee?”

Measurement of PREFERENCE on the other hand requires comparisons. For example “Do you prefer tea or coffee?”

Each of these strategies has advantages and disadvantages.

LIKE – DISLIKE rating gives you useful information about the extent coffee, or anything else, is liked. The down-side is that some people have response sets, ie the tendency to answer in a certain way. For example a young student answered LIKE to every item in Career Voyage, and then commented: “Please ask me some more questions. I like answering questions.”

Ranking of PREFERENCEs (such as paired comparisons) overcome this problem. But you lose information about the degree of liking. For example, two people may say they prefer coffee rather than tea. Person A loves both but likes coffee slightly more. On the other hand Person B hates both and just picked coffee because s/he was forced to choose.

Career Voyage and Career Compass software uses both LIKE and PREFERENCE to get the best results for every individual.