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Monday, November 04, 2013

A Personality / Career Questionnaire

1. What is your personality type?

2. Tell us about your chosen career path. Where do you work? Would you consider this your dream job? Why?
I am a corporate lawyer. Previously I worked in mergers and acquisitions (M&A), now I work predominantly in banking and finance. I work at a smaller firm because as a junior lawyer, it allows me to have more responsibility and hands on experience. It is definitely not my dream job - I see it as a job, not a passion and ideally I'd prefer to combine the two. I preferred working in M&A, because it was a faster pace and efficiency and commercialism was often valued over process and procedure. However, I left M&A because it was taking over my life - I was so good at micromanaging transactions that I was overloaded, and spent 80+ hours per week working intensely. Being a corporate lawyer is definitely aided by my personality type, especially as I am robust and don't mind criticism. However, I also find that excelling as a corporate lawyer brings out the worst in me and encourages negative traits (or to the extent they're not as of themselves negative, over emphasizes them) - my need for control, lack of empathy, rationality, bossiness etc. 

3. How did you get to where you are now? What mistakes have you made? What would you do differently if you could go back?
When I finished school I had strong academic marks. I didn't know what to do, but I did what was expected of me to some extent which was to enter a course that required high marks - law. I breezed through university. I didn't need to do much study and I graduated with first class honours. During my final few years, I did clerkships at various top tier firms and I didn't like the environment. I think I found it overly competitive and intimidating, and also disliked the formality and pretentiousness. I started as a graduate in the federal government, but quickly because frustrated by the lack of efficiency, lazy people getting a 'free ride' and lack of challenges available to me. I moved into a mid sized firm where I did M&A work, which I really enjoyed but it also took over my life. I knew it wasn't healthy, emotionally or physically. An opportunity to move to a smaller firm unexpectedly presented itself and I decided to take up the offer.

If I had my time again, I wouldn't necessarily study law. It's somewhat pointless to say that though because when I finished school, I didn't know myself, or the workplace well enough to understand which careers I would get the most out of.

4. What is the best thing about your job? What is the worst?
The best thing is the intellectual challenge and feeling proud when I push myself and successfully take on a high level of responsibility or finish a challenging task. The worst is being bored during slow periods and wanting to be anywhere else during that time, and being treated badly, overloaded and taken advantage of by more senior lawyers.

5. What would you like to achieve in 10 years? Have your goals changed since the beginning of your career?
I don't want to be a lawyer forever, definitely not in 10 years time. I might enter business, start my own business, or retrain so that I can pursue a career which would allow me to work with children. I definitely didn't feel this way when I first started working.

6. If someone with your personality type was just about to start looking for their first job, what advice would you give them?
Identify your passions and what you really enjoy doing, and choose a career path which is broad enough to accommodate them.

7. Looking back at your career, what do you regret most? What makes you feel happy?
I don't have any regrets, except perhaps the failure to be 'happy' on a day to day basis during certain periods. I am proud of what I have learnt in the law, and also about myself and others - that makes me happy.

8. In your opinion, which traits of your personality help you the most? Which ones are the most problematic?
The ones that help: being able to multi-task, good time management skills and the ability to distill a very large and complex task into smaller steps, robustness and ability to accept criticism and ignore it when it is unwarranted, ability to stand up for myself, confidence to express and argue my opinions.

The ones that have been problematic: Inability to 'let things go', which increases my stress levels, inability to say no to taking on more work and to 'turn work off' at the end of the day, avoidance of delegating because I don't trust others to do the job 'in my way' or as well as I would, frustration/anger at people I perceive to be lazy or unjustifiably self-entitled at the expense of others.

9. If there was one thing you could change about your personality, what would that be?
I would like to be able to relax and compartmentalize more easily and more readily appreciate the small, simple things in life.

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