Have you ever worked at a job you hated? Are you working in one now? Well, if misery loves company, congratulations. You’re not alone. According to a recent poll by the Gallup organization, most professionals don’t exactly wake up inspired to go to work. The survey makes a few points worth observing:
- High-Stress Levels: A record 44% of employees worldwide reported experiencing significant stress, with managers playing a pivotal role in contributing to this stress.
- Job Seeking: Over half (51%) of the employees surveyed actively or passively seek new job opportunities, indicating high job dissatisfaction.
- Desired Improvements: Increased pay, improved well-being, and opportunities for growth and development are the top factors that employees seek in their next job.
And while these three points are worth fretting over, this final finding is sobering.
- Quiet Quitting: Nearly 60% of employees are “quiet quitting,” a state of psychological disengagement, leading to a lack of understanding and connection with their work and colleagues.
This is no way to work, and it’s certainly no way to live. The causes of this deluge of negativity are myriad and complex. Many of them lie outside our influence to affect. However, some of these causes lie solely in our control. It’s those issues that we’ll delve into here. For example, you have little control over who you work with, as one doesn’t usually vet their coworkers. Yet, we control what job we apply for and the industry of that job. So, if you’re in a career you don’t enjoy because you hate the work, it falls on you to find another career. You can solve that problem if you’re operating under the proper guidance.
Start By Taking A Career Aptitude Test
Before listing all you hate about your job, take an aptitude test. Ensure your assessment is an advanced aptitude test, not a personality quiz. Personality assessments can provide insight into your optimal social behaviors rather than your aptitudes. Aptitudes aren’t personalities. Additionally, aptitudes aren’t skills. Skills take practice to improve upon. Meanwhile, you and I are born with our aptitudes. You see, aptitudes are natural talents that predispose you to excel at specific tasks. They don’t change over time. You have them, or you don’t.
Beethoven may have worked hard to become a master musical composer. But we can agree that there was something special about the classical musician that overshadowed his skill. Beethoven had a knack for music. He was “a natural,” as we say. And that’s aptitude. Everyone has them. We just have to identify them. When we know our aptitudes and work in jobs that harness them, we can accomplish those tasks more efficiently and with acuity. Spending time on tasks that don’t harmonize with our talents takes more time, energy, and effort.
Lance Armstrong made a better swimmer than a basketball player. Michael Jordan’s talents would be wasted on swimming compared to his illustrious basketball career. Your aptitudes shouldn’t be wasted. They need to be expressed.
Which Aptitude Test Should I Take?
Here are your options if you want to take a quality aptitude test. Three aptitude assessments exist that are worth your money. They are as follows:
- The Highlands Ability Battery
- The Johnson O’Connor Aptitude Test
- The AIMS Aptitude Test.
Avoid any other assessment claiming to be an aptitude test. The internet is rife with scammy assessments claiming to be aptitude tests. For example, in the screenshot below, you’ll see a Google search I did for the “best aptitude test to change my career.”
It might surprise you, but none of these search results lead to actual aptitude tests. All of them were self-reported personality tests or interest surveys. Again, there’s a place for assessments like that, but masquerading as an aptitude test is about as ethical as a heart surgeon claiming they’re a brain surgeon. They might be a great physician, but they won’t solve the problem you’re paying them for.
What Do Career Aptitude Tests Do That Personality Tests Don’t?
Aptitude tests measure natural ability. Personality tests don’t. For example, a personality test might tell me how introverted a person thinks they are. Still, it can’t measure your mechanical ability, inform you of your ideal pace of problem-solving, nor can it show you how you best learn. Career aptitude assessments can. These assessments identify an individual’s natural talents or abilities, which are stable and remain relatively unchanged over time. These tests help to identify which careers an individual is neurologically suited for. For instance, a student with high image recall might be well-suited for a career in radiology, while a student with high pattern recognition might excel as an ER doctor.
What Can Career Aptitude Assessments Reveal About Me?
The short answer is pretty simple: a lot. However, the longer answer is simple as well. A career test like this can reveal essential inborn capabilities that would idealize you for a career. Look at the breakdown below for specific examples of how aptitudes impact your career.
Spatial Relations Theory (SRT) and Spatial Relations Visualization (SRV) are aptitudes that reflect a person’s ability to understand systems and visualize objects or patterns. SRT is more about understanding how systems interact and function, while SRV is about visualizing and manipulating objects or patterns in one’s mind. These aptitudes can be particularly useful in engineering, architecture, and design fields.
Aptitude tests can identify an individual’s preferred learning channels, which include Design Memory (visual learning), Verbal Memory (learning by reading), Tonal Memory (auditory learning), Rhythm Memory (kinesthetic learning), and Number Memory (learning by numbers). Understanding one’s preferred learning channels can help choose a career that aligns with these abilities, leading to a more fulfilling and effective work experience.
Aptitudes like Observation, Visual Speed, and Visual Accuracy can reveal a person’s proficiency in visual tasks. These aptitudes can be crucial in careers requiring keen observation skills, fast visual processing, and high visual accuracy, such as careers in art, design, or even surgery.
Problem-Solving and Reasoning Aptitudes
Classification and Concept Organization aptitudes reflect a person’s ability to categorize things quickly and organize their thoughts logically. These can be particularly useful in roles that require quick decision-making, problem-solving, and strategic planning. Many attorneys I’ve tested with the Highlands Ability Battery, financial planners, and consultants have these aptitudes.
Timeframe Orientation or Foresight
This aptitude measures a person’s natural time horizon. Essentially, it’s the time one considers while planning or making decisions. This can be particularly useful in identifying suitable roles, for example, strategic roles that require long-term planning or operational roles that focus on short-term tasks.
Why You Must Know Your Aptitudes
Can you see how important it is to identify your aptitudes? Without knowing what they are, you risk spending your career toiling through tasks your brain isn’t optimized for. The chances of you being overshadowed by your coworkers increase. Finally, the possibility of career burnout shoots through the roof.
While ” burnout ” is a buzzword chanted by pop psychologists, it’s real. The Mayo Clinic defines burnout as “a state of physical or emotional exhaustion that also involves a sense of reduced accomplishment and loss of personal identity.” And if you’re reading this article, you might suffer from burnout. Do me a favor and read and answer the questions below:
- Do you struggle to start work and maintain productivity?
- Are you often irritable or hostile at work?
- Do you feel unfulfilled or disillusioned with your job?
- Do you often need more energy for work?
- Is concentration difficult for you?
These are sobering questions. But remember this, regardless of whatever your answers were. If you hate your job, you hate a massive part of your life. I’m no clairvoyant, but it doesn’t take a psychic to know that the resentment you feel at work may soon spill into the parts of your life you still enjoy. You want to avoid that, and I know how you might.
The Best Career Advice
The best career advice I’ve ever received was this: “Be Useful.” Those words were told to me by friend and mentor Dr. Wally Goddard, a family life scholar, and friend that I’ve always made time to listen to. Dr. Goddard then explained that one of the most meaningful things about our lives involves becoming useful on our terms. In other words, we each contribute toward the good of our careers and the lives of others differently. Some do that through coding, others through teaching. Many serve as healthcare professionals or in the military. Some learn trades, while others become scholars. I hope you’ll forgive me for waxing too philosophical here but finding the right career is as much of a philosophical struggle as a professional one. And it is every bit as rewarding.
Not knowing which tasks you’re wired to excel in puts you at an inarguable disadvantage. Contrastingly, knowing your aptitudes instills you with advantageous insight. It’s not everything, but you do much worse than having a data-driven framework by which to see your talents. In my attempt to follow Dr. Goddard’s advice to “Be Useful,” I’ve broken down the cost of each aptitude assessment we recommend so you don’t have to look them up. Hopefully, Dr. Goddard approves.
How Much Does a Career Aptitude Test Cost?
The cost of these career testing services depends on which assessment you take. I’ll organize the list of the recommended aptitude tests by price (most expensive to least expensive). You can see the breakdown below:
AIMS Aptitude Test
The AIMS aptitude test wins the most comprehensive aptitude test trophy. It measures more aptitudes than any other but at a cost. That cost comes in two forms: time and money. The AIMS test takes 10 hours and must be completed in two sessions. After that, you have to sit for a 3-4 hour debrief to have one of their specialists interpret your results. Furthermore, you’ll have to drive to their center in Dallas. “How much does AIMS testing cost?” you ask. The AIMS test costs $925. This and potential travel expenses make it the most expensive option among the three tests. Don’t get me wrong. The AIMS assessment provides excellent value but requires much from those who wish to benefit.
Johnson O’Connor Test
The Johnson O’Connor test is administered on-site like the AIMS test. However, Johnson O’Connor has more than one location. They have fourteen research centers across the United States requiring in-person attendance. The testing experience is spread over two sessions, each lasting approximately three hours, followed by a debrief session of 60-90 minutes. This makes for a significant time commitment (like the AIMS test), and if you don’t live near a testing center, it also means travel and potential accommodation costs.
The cost of the Johnson O’Connor Aptitude Test is $850. This includes the testing sessions, evaluation, and access to a report outlining your aptitudes. However, travel expenses are not included in this fee. For example, traveling from Little Rock, AR, to the Testing center in Dallas, TX, you could end up paying well over $2000 to cover the gas, hotel, food, and testing fee.
While the Johnson-O’Connor test is a reliable and comprehensive assessment, it’s worth noting that alternative aptitude tests offer more flexibility and affordability.
Highlands Ability Battery
The Highlands Ability Battery (HAB) stands out for its accessibility and affordability. Unlike many other aptitude tests, you can take the HAB remotely. Remote testing eliminates travel and makes it a convenient option for many individuals. Despite its lower cost of $500, it does not compromise on the quality or depth of the assessment, making it an excellent value proposition.
The HAB addresses the need for a reliable, accessible, and affordable aptitude assessment. It comprehensively evaluates an individual’s abilities, providing valuable insights to guide career choices and personal development. Its unique approach and commitment to ongoing research make it a standout tool in aptitude testing.
What I love most about it is its reports (see below).
The HAB’s reports connect with O*Net, the Department of Labor’s database for every occupation in the US. Essentially, the report does your career research for you. I can’t express how much it speeds up career research. To have a list of ideal careers that correlate with your strengths is impressive in and of itself. However, having data on each career takes the convenience to the next level.
With the HAB, you’ll have the ability to see the following data on each career:
- Average Salary
- Education Requirements
Again, one of the HAB’s greatest strengths lies in the convenience it gives its users. This convenience isn’t limited to how accessible the test is. It makes the entire career planning process more streamlined through its integrated reports. Thus, with no small amount of bias, I view the HAB as the best test to determine career placement. I believe it’s the best career aptitude test because I’ve used it to help many professional and college students gain clarity and direction for their careers. Unreservedly, the Highlands Ability Battery gives you the most for your money.
Remember that understanding our aptitudes isn’t just about advancing our careers. When we put our natural strengths to use, we’re not only more productive but also more fulfilled. We do that by being useful in a way that harmonizes with our talents. When these align with our work, job satisfaction elevates, as does the quality of our lives. It’s about recognizing where our strengths lie and integrating them into our professional lives.
Simon Sinek said it best:
Imagine a world in which the vast majority of people wake up every single morning inspired… and end the day fulfilled by the work that they do.
Schedule your Aptitude Assessment today! Gain deeper insight into your innate abilities and to pave the way for a more secure and fulfilling career.
 Gallup. “.State of the Global Workplace 2023.” State of the Global Workplace: 2023 Report, Gallup, 13 June 2023, https://www.gallup.com/workplace/349484/state-of-the-global-workplace.aspx?utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=gallup_access_branded&utm_term=&gclid=Cj0KCQjw54iXBhCXARIsADWpsG-dvSXXa2CHuDpQAysF3ES20y1fYBEQb3EycTtImjIUtnsDfi7I5lYaA. Accessed 14 July 2023.
 Job unhappiness is at a staggering all-time high, according to Gallup, Leah Collins – accessed at https://www.cnbc.com/2022/08/12/job-unhappiness-is-at-a-staggering-all-time-high-according-to-gallup.html on 14 July 2023.
 Job burnout: How to spot it and take action, Mayo Clinic – accessed at https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/burnout/art-20046642 on 14 July 2023.
 Dr. Wally Goddard, accessed at https://drwally.com/ on 14 July 2023.
 AIMS test, accessed at https://www.aimstesting.org/ on 14 July 2023.
 Learn About The Optimism Company Mission and Values, Simon Sinek – accessed at https://simonsinek.com/our-why/ on 14 July 2023.