What type of work should you be doing?

I like career tests almost as much as I like personality quizzes*. And yesterday I stumbled on a really good one! The Sparketype Test.

The guy who created it, Jonathan Fields, has a podcast called the Good Life Project. He has interviewed all the usual suspects (another Brene Brown/Seth Godin/Elizabeth Gilbert interview, anyone? Sure. Why not? I always learn something new). I like his gentle, seemingly ego-free personality and the questions he asks guests. He always ends with, “When you hear the phrase ‘good life’–‘live a good life’–what does that mean to you?” GOOD QUESTION!

He’s worked with tons of people on finding meaning and purpose, particularly as it pertains to work, and after seeing patterns emerge again and again, he came up with a test for helping people identify the type of work that “lights them up” (thus, “Sparketype”).

I already know what kind of work I love. The reason I know, for sure, is because each time I finish shooting something, I make a list of other things I like to do that would be easier and likely more profitable, but I never can commit to doing any of them, so I suck it up and start writing the next script. But I can’t resist a self-test, so I took it. And I found the questions really interesting, and sort of surprising.

He has categorized types of work in a unique way, that I’d never thought about til I saw the phrasing of the questions on the self-test.

Before you take it, he tells you to answer honestly–don’t pick responses that reflect how you’d like to be, or how you think you should be. I was glad he said this, because I might’ve been tempted to side with some of the more altruistic statements in the test. Even though I of course like helping others, it turns out this is not my driver regarding work. In his follow-up “Sparketype Mastery Guide”–which I bought, because I’m a schmuck–he explains why this is not something to feel bad about.

If you take the free quiz, let me know what Sparketype you are. Mine is “The Maker” (making ideas manifest) and my secondary/shadow Sparketype is “The Maven” (driven to learn). Your secondary Sparketype is not necessarily a type of work you should pursue but instead an activity you probably perform “in service to” your primary Sparketype (i.e., I learn about a particular topic so that I can make better things).

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*The two best personality tests ever:

  • Gretchen Rubin’s “The Four Tendencies” (apparently, most people are either a Questioner or an Obliger. The rarer types are Upholders and Rebels. Rubin has figured out how to work around the challenges you face, depending on your type, so that you can attain any goal, finishing whatever you start): https://quiz.gretchenrubin.com/four-tendencies-quiz/

25 Replies to “What type of work should you be doing?”

  1. Thank you! The test was really interesting.
    You always point me to new and thought-provoking things. You are definitely a curator for me. Thank you, really!

  2. That was spot on!!! My primary was Nurturer and shadow was Essentionalist… thanks Courtney love following everything you do!!!

    1. Marcy, this means so much to me. Thank you for saying so! I’ve not had anyone check in with a Nurturer/Essentialist combo! So interesting! I bet this driver (Nurturing) shows up in how you approach your work as an accountant–like, I could see your having the mindset of taking care of clients, helping to make them secure. And don’t even get me started on this Essentialist driver–I find it fascinating. Such a valuable function/skill.

  3. Hi, I’m an Advisor/Scientist which makes sense since I’ve been a consultant all of my career and a career coach now which I feel is my dream job.

    1. I knew you had to have Scientist as one of your types, when I saw its “loves solving problems” description! But I would’ve thought it’s your primary Sparketype! You are great at career coaching and I love that you are doing your dream work!

  4. On Helen Fisher’s scale, I’m a Negotiator/Explorer:
    Your score on the Explorer scale is 31 out of a possible high score of 48, or 65%.
    Your score on the Builder scale is 25 out of a possible 48, or 52%.
    Your score on the Director scale is 26 out of a possible 48, or 54%.
    Your score on the Negotiator scale is 39 out of a possible 48, or 81%.

  5. Interesting! As narcissistic as it may be, I love a quiz that’s all about me! I’m a Performer/Maker, which makes me a little sad, because I’ve given up performing for so long. If I’m honest, it’s probably what I enjoy most about teaching and writing for that matter. I like to entertain. And right now I’m not doing any of it. No wonder I’m having a mid-life crisis!

    1. Kelly, somehow I am just now seeing this comment from you. Dang–cannot believe you’re a Performer first!!! F—k!! How we gonna get you performing again?! I love the idea of teaching and writing allowing you to perform/entertain. We gotta discuss this further next time our book club meets up.

  6. I’m pretty sure you probably have not encountered a Maven/Nurturer before. But that is totally me! Now what on earth to do with it???

    1. Good question! I just Googled it. Apparently he covers the topic of what to do with your life, once you know your Sparketype, in this conversation he had with a blogger woman who interviewed him: https://www.realfoodwholelife.com/feelgoodeffect/how-to-know-what-to-do-with-your-life. Maven/Nurturer IS an interesting combination. It means you love learning for its own sake and so you’re likely knowledgeable or even an expert in a lot of topics, right? And your ideal job would allow you to fully use your intellectual curiosity and tendency to research or collect info and data, I think? Maybe the fact that your secondary type is Nurturer means that your ideal job would also allow you to somehow put to use your concern for and attentiveness to others. All of this makes me curious about what you do for a living (or for fun).

    1. Sherry, thank you for visiting! I have tried to find more info on the other Sparketypes, because I was wanting to help a friend learn more about her type (she was a Nurturer, too!) but couldn’t. I think you have to buy the follow-up guide from Jonathan’s site if you want further insights.

      1. Sherry, Jonathan Fields is creating more resources about the Sparketypes–like, maybe a book and a program for getting coaching based on your type. Apparently there’s been a demand for more info and help around the types!

    1. So, if the assessment is correct, you make things in order to learn more? That’s so interesting. Also must mean you are intellectually curious and you probably know a lot about a lot of things.

  7. Hello
    I’m a performer/ from warrior with maker being a close 2nd for shadow. For the 4 tendencies, I’m a rebel and for the predictive index, I’m a maverick. For the strength finders I’m competition, strategy, command, individualizations, maximized; and for VIA I’m all about humor and Influence and in the DISC, I’m a high I, next is D, then S and C. Lastly, I’m an ENTP. Taken these over 40 years and as corney as it sounds, I am who I am and they pinpoint me well, even though the tests phrase things well. PS – on a great day, I’m an actress and a good day I help restructure and run companies from the C suite.

    1. Wow, love your self-knowledge! I had to Google the predictive index and DISC assessments. How wild that you are both an actress and someone who helps restructure and run companies! So interesting!

  8. For some reason, these assessments always make me feel better about who I am. It’s kind of like how I feel when I stop to read an owners manual and having that “ohhhh that’s what that button is there to do!” – moment. I’m so glad you turned me on to my sparketype.

    This one really turned my world upside down, but in a good way. Now I’m definitely going to grab the follow up book you mention.

    As always, thanks for sharing your big ideas here!

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