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Hidden Factors: 5 Reasons You Have the Job You Do

Hidden Factors: 5 Reasons You Have the Job You Do

Fate, random chance, grades, luck—all of these are reasons people usually give for how they ended with the job they have. But there are hidden luck, skill, job, positionvariables in the career equation that we may be overlooking. Luckily, some people end up becoming researchers—and here’s what they have to say about why you are where you are today.

Sibling Dynamics

A study conducted by highlighted birth order and number of siblings as strong indicators of the type of work people end up in. According to the research, only children are more likely to earn six figures and hold top positions (CEO, VP, etc.) but are less likely than those with siblings to be satisfied with their jobs. This sort of makes sense if you consider the burden of responsibility and attention bestowed upon an only child. First-borns are also more likely to go into fields related to government, science, engineering, and information technology, the study reports, while younger siblings seem to be geared more towards creative pursuits. So while your older brother may get a kick out of wearing a tie and working Microsoft Dynamics Ax spreadsheets all day, don’t feel bad if you feel inclined towards something different.

Biological Clock

Another study released by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine suggests that sleeping habits are another strong indicator of professional tendencies. The study found that students at universities generally fall into one of two categories—they favor either “morningness” or “eveningness.” Everyone has had experience with “morning people”—those who wake up bright and early, ready to get started with the day—and it appears that this trait is genetic. Thus, hereditary preconditions are likely to impact people’s choice of majors and their potential job prospects. Students who did well on tests taken during the evening were more likely to be interested performing arts, media, and information systems, as opposed to their “morning person” contemporaries.

Astrological Sign

Astrological signs may not be the most convincing factor, since it’s up for debate whether they are really as accurate as they presume to be in the first place. But for what it’s worth, the CareerBuilder study found that Virgo, Aries, and Scorpio are most likely to earn six figures, Capricorn and Leo are most likely to hold upper management positions, and Virgo, Libra, and Taurus report the most job satisfaction.

Economic Hardship

Certainly career choices are limited at times of severe economic draught, but research suggests that personal experience is even more of a factor than the general climate.  The study—conducted by researchers from San Diego State University and UCLA—surveyed high schoolers before and after the recession. Many of those with personal family ties to economic hardship (having a parent who lost a job, for example) were more conservative about money and tended towards more financially stable career choices. 

Spiritual Beliefs

Other research has linked spiritual practice to career development, suggesting that various spiritual “meaning-making” influences the choices that people make about their jobs. Certain values that spiritual and religious people hold such as “developing and becoming self” and “union with others” guide people towards some careers over others.

There’s clearly a lot more to the equation than the factors listed above. But when it comes to jobs, it may not all be a matter of luck or circumstance. Some of us are clearly predisposed for certain things, so when you’re on the hunt for jobs, remember: go with your gut, because your preferences are predestined.


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Kate Simmons is a blogger and writer on recruitment-related topics. She is currently experimenting with how effective phone answering services are in pre-screening applicants. You can reach Kate via Twitter.

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