Work is the refuge of people who have nothing better to do. : Oscar Wilde

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Tell Me What To Do With My Life

"Just tell me." Isn't this what many of our clients want us to do?

If we do what they ask then our task is relatively easy: just administer and then explain the results from one of the many available vocational interest tests. And the client will probably be relieved of their burden of choice. Here's one view of why this should be, from Renata Salecl, who is currently Centennial Professor in the department of law at the London School of Economics and Senior Researcher in the Institute of Criminology at the Faculty of Law in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

But don't we want the client to take an active, creative rĂ´le, with some understanding of the constraints within which they must operate?


John FitzGerald said...

Saleci speaks nothing but the truth -- the problem is what she leaves out. For one thing, people with internal loci of control are happier and more successful than those without. Secondly, history shows that ordinary people usuaally think issues through better than experts. Thirdly, in a democracy the individual should make choices, not the state (of course the actual principle is more complex, but it still involves more choice than Saleci implies).

As for depending that much on vocational tests, their psychometric characteristics are underwhelming. They give useful hints about what a person might like, but they don't give direction. I once took a vocational test that told me my interests were most like thos of log graders (I was in my 30s at the itime, and as usual woefully out of shape) and ministers of religion (I was then, as i am now, an atheist).