Holland's Hexagon: How It Can Help You Organize Your Thinking People earn money in thousands of ways. The number of new careers that pop up each year makes this an ever-changing list. In a way, trying to find a life mission under such circumstances is a lot like hitting a moving target that changes as you’re shooting at it. For example, even people working on developing the Internet even five years ago had no idea that it would have the employment impact that it did. Those who have flourished in the E- economy have had to know their skills, their passions, and how their personalities fit into this web environment. This is where Holland steps in. He developed a model of thinking about careers called the Holland Hexagon. Like all models, the Holland Hexagon is meant to illustrate some ideas about personality, work activities, and work environments to make sifting through thousands of career choices a little less overwhelming. Here’s how it works. Holland envisioned six different occupational personalities and six different occupational environments. Each of these six occupational categories contains careers that have some common similarities and requirements. These categories are called THEMES in you interest inventories. The positions of the various themes are important because they represent the similarity or dissimilarity of one theme to the other. The traits of the occupational themes next to one another are the most closely related; those at the opposite side of the hexagon are the least like one another. If you notice the diagram illustrating Holland’s Hexagon on the next page, the arrows indicate the similarity or differences of one theme from another. For example, Realistic careers are related in some ways to Investigative careers. Enterprising and Social careers relate in some ways also. The career areas situated directly next to one another have related qualities. In contrast, Investigative careers are most unlike Enterprising careers. Those directly across the hexagon from one another have the least similar characteristics. Realistic (similar) Investigative tional Conventional Artistic Enterprising Social (similar) The Holland Hexagon The different occupational orientations or themes can be described in the following ways: REALISTIC Practical, physically strong and coordinated, mechanical, competitive, stable, persistent, frank, genuine. Interested in activities requiring mechanical ability, physical strength, or coordination in working with objects, machines, tools, athletic equipment, plants or animals. Likes the outdoors, sports, building with tools, machines, prefers things to ideas or people, concrete over the abstract, cars, airplanes, speed boats. INVESTIGATIVE Intellectual, curious, reserved, abstract, analytical, task-oriented, independent, original, unconventional. Interested in activities requiring intellectual or analytical skills to observe assess, evaluate, and theorize in order to solve problems. Likes the sciences, school, abstract problems, hard date, ideas, numbers, graphs, formulae, ambiguous challenges, computers, calculators, and electronic games. ARTISTIC Imaginative, aesthetic, independent, creative, complicated, emotional, idealistic, impulsive, intuitive, introspective, non-conforming, original, expressive, intense. Likes activities requiring artistic, creative, expressive and intuitive skills to convey esthetics, thoughts, and feelings in words, movement, sound, color, and form. Likes free environments, beauty, small intimate groups, making things, taking risks, self- expression, unconventional clothing, words, music, art forms, and the theater. SOCIAL Cooperative, friendly, generous, helpful, idealistic, tactful, responsible, understanding, cheerful, achieving, service-oriented. Likes activities requiring work with people to counsel, instruct, educate, train, or to treat their ailments. Likes relationships, working in groups, discussing philosophical ideas, leading group activities, church groups, service clubs, being the center of attention, and enlightening others. ENTERPRISING Extraverted, aggressive, persuasive, adventuresome, ambitious, energetic, impulsive, self- confident, optimistic, sociable, talkative, enthusiastic. Likes activities requiring persuasive, managerial, supervisory, and leadership skills to obtain social, political, institutional, and economic gain. Likes selling, convincing, running meetings, organizing committees, competitive activities, influencing others, making things happen, status, recognition, material wealth and possessions, resort hotels, country clubs, and famous people. CONVENTIONAL Con trolled, structured, efficient, conservative, sociable, orderly, conscientious, persistent, practical, calm. Likes activities requiring attention to detail, accuracy, and clerical skills to record, file, and organize numerical and verbal data according to precise conventions and procedures. Likes order, structured tasks, attending to details, regular hours, indoor environments, large organizations, knowing what is expected of them, associating with power and status, shopping for bargains, and savings accounts. Remember that these are descriptions of pure orientation types. None of us has only one orientation.
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