My last post got me thinking about all the complexities of career counseling. One of the other best kept secrets is avocations!

Let’s refer back to the Strong’s Interest Inventory. Based on the assessment, you get a three letter code essentially indicating your career personality type. Then, the assessment pairs that three letter code to an environment with the same coding! Pretty cool stuff. But what happens when you already have a career and your codes don’t match up? For example, you took the test and it told you you’re an artist but now you find yourself in accounting!

Fret not!

This isn’t life changing and it doesn’t have to mean permanent unhappiness. Part of career counseling is tempering the ideal with reality. So unless you’re comfortable with being a starving artist, having a career as an accountant is just fine.

Because you can have an avocation!

An avocation is a secondary job that you can have which isn’t your primary income. Essentially, it’s a hobby. Yes, I’m talking about the importance of hobbies. Why? Because they actually can help boost your career satisfaction.

Sometimes, we have to take jobs that we don’t particularly like. It doesn’t mean we’ve failed in any way. It just means that we understand the necessities of life. We can’t all be pro athletes, pro singers, or pro artists. Honestly, if that’s all we pursued as a human race, I don’t honestly think life could legitimately exist as we know it.

Back to our example. Let’s say you scored high in the Realistic, Social, and Entrepreneurial domains (meaning you’d likely make a good marketer or sales person, or some other kind of social, potentially science oriented job) but are a computer programmer who mostly works alone from home. Your Holland Code is RSE but your work environment is more like RCI. There is no reason you can’t start a small consultation side business (RSE) or join an athletic club (which would fulfill the SE part of your Holland code).
While we may need to grieve the dream career we were told to pursue as children, there is no reason our career lives can’t be fully satisfying. Consider what jobs you might pursue if you could dream big and then think about how you can either distill a new hobby from that, go back to an old hobby, or maybe even begin a small side hustle. Let’s think outside the box when it comes to our own happiness!