I’ve spent a lot of time in hospitals recently. Doing one of my favourite things, observing human behaviour.

We’ve learned a lot about our courageous, hardworking nurses on the frontline this year. They’ve come to our attention for the first time and although this doesn’t mean instant pay rises for them, it means recognition and I hope it’s a start.

As I’ve watched them carefully over the last week, it made me ponder the  suitability of the jobs we choose. This is one job where the Goldilocks principle certainly applies.

You have nurses who are excellent, efficient administrators. You have nurses who are kind and caring and motherly. And then you have the ones who are just right for the job.

Like my own mum. As children we grew up around hospitals, always visiting mum after school or going to pick her up. She whipped around those wards at the speed of light but she wasn’t intrusive – more like a discreet waiter in a fancy restaurant. She was bright and cheerful, thoughtful and empathic. She noticed the things that counted; whether a patient was hot or cold, or needed help with brushing their teeth. She is also an Admin Warrior. You’d be hard pressed to find fault with her reporting.

You see, as a Banana/Lime she chose a profession she was perfectly suited for. Organised, ordered and detailed blended with a natural pre disposition to happy face, patience and empathy for others. Boom! Right there. She loved it so much she worked until she was 72.

Sometimes we end up in roles where we’re not using our natural strengths and this is a fast road to grief for ourselves, the people we work with and the people we serve.

This is why self awareness of our strengths and flaws is so critical. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that because you love something you will be great at it. I love skiing. But you wouldn’t want me on Ski Rescue if you had an accident. There’s a limit to how quickly you can move doing snow plough.

2020 has dished up a lot of change and for some there may be an opportunity to consider a new role or even career change. But where to start? It can be helpful to look at our key traits.

The most widely accepted traits are known as the Big Five, established in the seventies by a collaboration led by Paul Costa and Robert.R.McCrae.

They are:

Openness:  curiosity and a desire for adventure

Conscientiousness: a strong sense of duty and propensity to plan

Extraversion: drawing energy from crowds and a need to be social

Agreeableness: kindness, trusting and helpful

Neuroticism: worry and concern, at the high end anxiety

Consider where you sit on each of these on a scale of 1 – 10, bearing in mind nothing is right or wrong, it is just human.

Apples and Mangoes will have a higher score in openness and extroversion. Limes will rate higher in conscientiousness and neuroticism (bad name by the way, but don’t be put off – it’s psyche talk). Bananas fly high on the agreeableness scale. Take the scores where you are most even, that is, where you sit at a 6 or a 7 and think about what work may suit you. To get you thinking…

Agreeableness and neuroticism –  jobs such as admin, nursing, teaching, business support

Openness – entrepreneurial roles, start ups, high risk roles

Conscientiousness – risk management, finance, analytical roles, IT

Extraversion – anywhere that brings you into contact with a lot of people

It’s the end of the year when everyone takes time to consider the year past and the year ahead. We have learned we certainly can’t control everything, but we can choose the type of work we want to do.

To find out if you’re an Apple, Mango, Lime or Banana take our short Fruit Quiz.

Seek a career coach for professional help and a quicker transition.

Lynne Schinella’s new book, Pick Me! Loving and Living with People We Just Don’t Get is out for Valentines Day 2021. Get ahead of the curve and pre order here at a special early bird rate of $24.99

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