“I think I want to go into engineering.” Kevin, a senior at Old Lyme High School, said to me about 10 years ago. “I’m pretty sure you’ll be happier in finance.” I replied. Kevin’s parents met with me thereafter for a college counseling session and asked me to explain my thoughts.
I knew Kevin quite well from both SAT and college counseling work. Kevin was both extremely outgoing (Myers-Briggs – Extrovert) and heart based (Myers-Briggs, Feeling). Due to my career counseling work, I know a great deal about personality type, both in a psychological profiling and general sense. I also have studied the happiness correlation between personality types and different career paths. This has led to a reasonably effective way to guide students in the college counseling process toward specific college majors.
While exceptions abound, most engineers are more internally oriented (Myers-Briggs-Introvert) and head based (Myers-Briggs, Thinking). Both personality preferences are desirable when solving thorny math problems that require long spans of solitary thinking.
Kevin’s interest in engineering stemmed solely from his preference for math and his general thoughts related to practicality. He had no specific drive to do the work that engineers do. The faster paced and more people oriented world of finance suited him and, of course, the value he placed on practicality.
A short while ago, Kevin sent me a nice e-mail about his career happiness in the financial world, noting that I knew him at 17 better than he knew himself.