When we think about our jobs, we often think about the nature of the field we’re in, how well it fits with our interests and education, and the purpose we want the work to serve. The degree to which a job fits with those priorities can determine whether we’re happy at work or not.
But on a less-conscious level, career choices are also influenced by the way we like to work—that is, what we actually “do” on the job. How much human interaction in a day do you need? What kind of decisions are you comfortable making? Can you tolerate all day at a desk, or are you drawn to the outdoors? In some cases, a job is compelling enough that we’re willing to step out of comfort zones to do it; in others, we only thrive in roles that suit our personal style.
Quartz combed through the US Bureau of Labor Statistics’ incredibly detailed data on the type of mental and physical labor that goes into hundreds of the most common jobs. Take our quiz to see what job best fits your work preferences. If your answer is markedly different from the job you actually do, read on to see how we arrived at your result. You might be surprised to find just how far you’re going outside your comfort zone for work that you enjoy. (Or not!)
The results are based on the responses from roughly 30,000 US employers to the Occupation Requirement Survey, collected in 2015 and 2016. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics conducts the survey to understand the mental and physical activities expected of workers in different jobs. This information helps the government decide the types of people who are unable to work, and should qualify for disability benefits.
The survey is remarkably specific. Employers were asked over 100 questions about the nature of their employees’ jobs. They report that 76% of social workers are required to go outside for their job, for example, but just 46% of bartenders. Thus, if you prefer to work outside, social work is a better option than bartending.
The charts below show the survey results for each question, highlighting the option you picked and where falls in the mix of 108 different occupations.
We decided was the best match for you by combining two calculations.
First, we looked at the jobs that most closely fit your answers to the questions. To do this, for each question, we took the share of people in that job that best matched each of your answers, and added them up.
Second, we looked for jobs that you were unusually suited for. This second measure is useful because there are some jobs that would never come up under the first measure alone. For example, all else equal, an elementary school teacher would always get a higher total share than a personal care aid, simply because only 34% of elementary school teachers work with wetness compared with 99% of personal care aids. So for this measure, we took the sum of your answers and divided it by the best possible answer for every job.
Finally, we multiply these two measures to get a score for each occupation. Your best match is the one with the highest score. The chart below shows how all of the jobs stack up on the two measures.