(Note: The first two paragraphs are “blah, blah, blah” explanations of the theory. Only the last paragraph is personal)
John Holland’s theory on personality in the workforce in based on six various categories of people. Holland’s hypothesis is that the occupation that best matches our personalities is the one in which we will be the most successful and satisfied at. He also believes that we each tend to choose the occupation that best matches our personalities.
To summarize the six personalities, firstly, there is the Realistic Type which is aggressive, physical, and has low interpersonal skills (taking jobs such as a mechanic or repairman). There is also the Investigative Type (abstract, thinking, enjoying challenging tasks, and low in social skills such as a scientist); there is the Artistic Type (an example being a graphic artist as they prefer to be unstructured, have individualized activity, and are often asocial) and there is the Social Type (people-loving, needing attention, dislikes ordered activity, and chooses services jobs such as education). Lastly there are the Enterprising Type and the Conventional Type; the former likes to be in charge, organizes, and leads such as a manager or entrepreneur. The later could be an office assistant as they like subordinate roles, guidelines, and are precise (Boyd and Bee; 105-106).
If you want, here is a short free online version of the Holland Code Test (Which helps categorize your work personality based on how you answer the questions): http://www.roguecc.edu/counseling/HollandCodes/test.asp
I thought Holland’s theory made a lot of sense as I read through the personality types. My electrical engineer husband fit the Investigative Type personality perfectly; then I read that they are often engineers. Go figure! He is extremely satisfied in his career. I, on the other hand, often find myself doing Conventional Type jobs which I am normally very unfulfilled as a person in, so much so that when offered a Conventional Type job position recently I refused it although I knew I could do it just fine. I love doing art, yet I can’t handle being alone in it. This is because my work personality is firstly the Social Type (then secondly Artistic); I often do not feel fulfilled and content in life unless I purposefully add large doses of unscheduled human interaction to my day, especially if its helping or teaching people. In my current job as a “Domestic goddess and World Changer” (my title according to my business card, at least) I often find myself doing work which fits in most of these categories; there is basic housework and chores (Realistic), dealing with paperwork and schedules (Conventional), managing those in my household and groups I am involved with (Enterprising), and all types of unstructured creativity for various reasons (Artistic). Yet, unless I am doing things that fall into the Social Type of job personality, I am normally discontent and unmotivated to work. Thereby I tend to be more unsuccessful in what I do than being successful at it. I guess I agree with Holland’s theory, then. I can do many types of work, and when it is my responsibility I will try to do my best at being faithful in whatever job I have. Yet, I am most successful and most satisfied doing jobs which are the “Social type”or at least artistic in nature, due to who I am as the person God made me to be.