Interests and the work environment
By Klemen Marinčič, mag.
Have you ever wondered what the main reason for job dissatisfaction and low work motivation is? Most would give the following answer: poor work conditions, poor workplace relations, overworked employees, low wages. All this is true. But perhaps the reason for dissatisfaction also lies in choosing the wrong work environment, one that doesn’t allow people to develop their potential.
Holland was one of the first to draw attention to the interaction between interests and the work environment. His theory of career choice attempts to show how we make career decisions, how we shape our careers, and how we achieve satisfaction and success in our chosen profession.
In a similar way, Holland also classified work environments as (realistic, investigative, artistic, social, enterprising, and conventional). People look for work environments where they can develop their skills and abilities, express their views and values, and accept tasks and roles that match their interests. The more a person’s interests match the characteristics of their environment, the more satisfied and successful they are in their work. That’s why it’s all the more important for us to know our interest profiles, in addition to our strengths and weaknesses, beliefs and values.
Individuals can also have two or even more types of interests. This is common and completely normal. It means that we appreciate multiple work environments or a combination thereof.
Based on interest characteristics, Holland identified six interest types.
R: Realistic type – people with this type are considered to have a strong interest in systematic, orderly work with objects, tools and machines. They are characterised by resistance to research and social activities. The realistic type is considered to be unsociable, conformist, thrifty, maladjusted, persistent, simple, practical, and undistinguished.
I: Investigative type – people with this type are considered to have a strong interest in observational, systematic and creative research of physical, biological, and cultural phenomena. They are characterised by resistance to acts of persuading other people and to social and repetitive activities. The research type is considered to be analytical, complex, pessimistic, reserved, cautious, precise, and critical.
A: Artistic type – people with this type are considered to have a strong interest in free and unsystematic artistic work. They are characterised by a resistance to systematic and ordered activities, and they have fewer developed entrepreneurial abilities. The artistic type is considered to be complex, impulsive, intuitive, original, disorganised, independent, emotional, impractical, introspective, and open.
S: Social type – people with this type are considered to have a strong interest in working with people (providing information, education, nursing). They are characterised by a resistance to working with objects, tools and machines. The social type is considered to like cooperation and helping others, and is kind, idealistic, sociable, empathetic, friendly, persuasive, considerate, patient, responsible, and understanding.
E: Enterprising type – people with this type are considered to have a strong interest in working with people and are driven by a desire to achieve economic success. They are characterised by resistance to actions that do not achieve profit. The entrepreneurial type is considered to be profit-oriented, ambitious, extroverted, outspoken, ostentatious, enterprising, energetic, flirtatious, confident, sociable, optimistic, and persuasive.
C: Conventional type – people with this type are considered to have a strong interest in working with data and information. They are characterised by resistance to ambiguous, unsystematic, and free research activities. The conventional type is considered to be attentive, responsible, inflexible, ordered, modest, unimaginative, restrained, defensive, persistent, conformist, efficient, obedient, practical, and caring.
Source: Niklanović S., Lapajne Z., Hruševar-Bobek B., Boben D. (2005). Iskanje poklicne poti – SDS. Priročnik za obliko R in E. Center za psihodiagnostična sredstva.