The end of the year can be a time to reflect on the successes and mistakes of the past year, and to set goals for the new year. Birkman International is a 60-year-old company that now offers a 30-minute online assessment of career and personal interests. Sharon Birkman says the results of these assessments often stay constant throughout life.
"There are ten broad interest categories that we measure. What is interesting is they stay — for the most part — fairly constant, and we can actually get a reading earlier-on, age-wise. If a young person is really interested, for example, in being outdoors at age 12, they probably are the kind of person that's going to want to go camping or working an outdoor profession, or at least be out gardening on the weekend. It's amazing how constant that actually stays throughout our lives."
If it's not an income, it may have to be an outlet — but for mental health, Birkman says it has to be a convergence of passion and financial stability.
"We know all too well that there are things we love to do which may or may not be revenue-generating. If you can find a way to incorporate some aspect of what you really enjoy — what you'd do even if you weren't paid for it — into your daily work routine, more power to you. If you're unable to do that, it's really critical—it's not a luxury, it's a necessity—to find a way to go ahead and include that in your hobbies and in your private life."
Birkman says self-assessment can be affirming that you are in a well-fitting job, or it can help you determine whether it's time for a job change.