The Power of Strengths and Weaknesses

by Michelle Straka, Partner, Givelos Partners Search Inc.

Toronto, ON (Nov. 5, 2015) – My favourite thing to do is to ask my teenage nieces and nephews how and what they are being taught in their high school classes, especially when it comes to how to prepare for life after school. What has taken me aback recently was my middle niece’s class being told by their teacher that if they did not receive at least an 80% on the first Chemistry exam, they shouldn’t bother considering science as a major in university. Initially, I was shocked that the teacher wasn’t more supportive, but as time went on I considered the validity of the statement.

Throughout childhood we are told that we can be anything, do anything. Current child-rearing strategies involve exposing kids to as many different things as possible to ensure they are good at everything regardless of their strengths and weaknesses. We put our efforts into making a child better at their weaknesses instead of focussing on their strengths. Are you good at math but weak in history? Let’s spend countless hours making you a better historian. Hours that are spent at the expense of taking your math skills to the next level.

Once I contemplated this further, I began to realize that the teacher’s comment made more sense than I initially thought. She just simply was one of the first people in my niece’s life who admitted that no one can “Kumon” their way into a career in science if they do not have a natural aptitude or interest in that area of study. To a certain degree, our personalities and strengths dictate the types of jobs that we will enjoy and in which we will be successful.

As a Career Consultant to thousands of people over the last 15 years, I have personally seen the toll exacted on people who are in jobs that don’t make the most of their personalities or skill sets. People who are servicing when they should be selling. People who are underwriting when they should be in claims. On the flip-side, I’ve met people who are in the exact role they should be, yet can’t help but try to find a new position; either out of boredom or career dissatisfaction.

There is nothing wrong with stretching your abilities and setting goals; trying new things, however, many times our strengths dictate to us what positions are best for us. When you are contemplating your next career move, ask yourself if you would achieve 80% on a test of the abilities required for the job. Your answer to that question will help you determine if your next move is the right one for you.

About the Author

Michelle Straka is a professional staffing consultant with 15 years of experience providing recruiting services to Canada’s property casualty insurance market. She has positively impacted the careers of countless insurance professionals, in all areas and at all levels, across the country. Michelle has contributed articles on pursuing a career in the insurance market, job search tips and recruiting trends to many well-known publications.

About Givelos Partners Search

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SOURCE: Givelos Partners Search