People use both brain hemispheres but one side dominates when it comes to how they think -- left-brain versus right-brain. Which one applies to you may influence the career you pick. Right-brainers are creative, emotional, intuitive and big-picture thinkers, while left-brainers are logical and rational thinkers. According to Daniel Pink, who has written extensively on the topic, right-brain thinking cannot be replaced by machines or outsourced, meaning even naturally left-brained folks should try to use their right-brain more.
Emotions and Empathy
Careers that require a great deal of empathy -- being able to place yourself in someone else's shoes -- should appeal to right-brained people. This hemisphere holds emotions, so people with increased emotional intelligence are more in touch with their feelings, and better able to understand the feelings of others. As a result, careers such as special education teachers, psychologists and psychiatrists, social workers and childcare workers can be ideal choices.
Careers that require creativity and design -- the expression of original thought -- need people who use their right brain. Thanks to the visual-spatial acuity of the right side of the brain, right-brained thinkers have the imagination needed to innovate and entertain. As a result, careers such as artists, creative writers, graphic designers and fashion designers, animators and musicians are ideal choices for right-brained individuals who have tapped into their creative sides. One could even say that being an interior designer could bring out the creativity in one of these individuals as it requires visualizing skills that come from that side of their brain.
Careers that require intuition -- the ability to quickly see the truth and have a keen sense of insight -- need people who show right-brain dominance. Their ability to quickly spot patterns, spot similarities and see through distractions makes them excellent problem solvers and innovators. As a result, careers such as architectural, chemical, civil and computer engineers make sense for people who enjoy this right-brained specialty.
Careers that require people who see the big picture and think holistically -- able to quick spot connections and interdependence among pieces of a system -- tap into the talents of the right hemisphere. Their focus on the system at large and how things are related make them expert in diagnosis, coordination and comprehension. As a result, careers such as nutritionists, health practitioners, machine operators and casino dealers keep the right brain engaged. These careers often require problem-solving skills that make these great jobs for right-brained people.
Most often, jobs require job seekers to utilize both hemispheres of the brain on a regular basis. During your job search, right-brained individuals should look for positions with more creativity, people skill requirements or communication skills. Left brain thinkers may choose career paths with more technical skills required, like creating video games or typing code. Whatever your career choices are, take your personality traits into account and make sure your full-time job allows you to harness them and grow as a person.
- OECD-Centre for Educational Research and Innovation: The Left Brain/Right Brain Myth
- USA Today: Retrain Your Brain from Left to Right to Fit Into New Economy
- CNN: Work Skills You Will Need to Survive the Conceptual Age
- O*Net Online: Occupations Matching Creativity
- O*Net Online: Occupations Matching Emotion
- O*Net Online: Occupations Matching Hollistic
- O*Net Online: Occupations Matching Big-Picture
- Best-career-match.com: Are You Right-Brained or Left Brained?
- O*Net Online: Occupations Matching Intuition