Jun 20th 2021 | E057: Why Taking an Aptitude Test Could Change Your Career: On The Ontology of Value (ODYSSEY) Test

If you’re looking to stand out in the business world, then the best thing you can do is to find ways to deliver value to others. Whether you’re an employee that wants to go higher up in ranks or someone assessing their own career and trying to improve, The Ontology of Value Test can be a great option for you.

Also known as the Odyssey test, this is a very powerful aptitude test that shows you where you are in your career, what you can improve, but also what you know. Taking these tests is a great insight into identifying the value you can provide, how you can navigate the job market and find the right type of methods you can use to help others and push their experience in an engaging manner.

The Ontology of Value Test is also helpful because you get to figure out how you contribute to society, the benefits you are bringing to the table and also the things that you can implement to make things better. The test is very comprehensive and a powerful tool for all the white collar professionals.  

Once you try out The Ontology of Value Test, you will identify how you are creating value for other people and what methods you can use to make things even better. Once you create value for others, you get to help them and in turn that will boost your career. It really is a great opportunity and one of those things you do not want to miss.

Try out The Ontology of Value Test today and learn how you can make a great impact and enhance your career. It’s a great opportunity to learn how to do amazing things, and the payoff can be astonishing!

What is you natural way of creating value for the society? In which working environment will you be the happiest, and the most appreciated? The Ontology of Value: Discovering Your Source of Value for the Society & The Environment That Values You (ODYSSEY) Test is a powerful tool for white-collar professionals. Take the test to discover what is your natural way of creating value for other people, in which roles you would thrive, and in which tribes in the job market would fit you best. Gaining this knowledge will have a tremendous impact on your professional life! It will allow to find your edge in the job market and excel.

The ODYSSEY Test’s website: https://ontologyofvaluetest.com

Introduction: The Today’s Job Market

00:11 Hello! This is a very special day for me, because I will be introducing you to the ODYSSEY test. It’s a project that I’ve been working on together with my company for the last two years. And its impact the outcome of my whole life, I would say, not just the work over the last two years. But in fact, everything was leading me to this project, I think, since the very beginning. And I’m very excited about it.

00:36 I would like to tell you a bit about the rationale and the methodology today, and about the purpose of this tool that we built. And if you have any questions, of course, please drop the questions below. Or connect with me on LinkedIn, I’ll be happy to answer your questions. The tool is called the Ontology of Value Test.

01:05 First to say, the job market today is complicated. As I’ve already mentioned, in my recent book, “What is Out There for Me? The Landscape of Post-PhD Career Tracks“. The job market is a is a very complex landscape. And in this landscape, to briefly put, we have all kinds of working environments. And these working environments can either give you more safety, more stability in the workplace in your career. Or they can give you more personal freedom to choose your own projects and to choose people to work with. But usually at the cost of lower level stability in your daily life.

01:48 And it’s up to you what you eventually choose, of course. But as we’ll be speaking today, it also depends on your natural capabilities and personality, where you fit best in this landscape. So briefly, we have jobs in public sector, we have jobs in private companies from corporations and large companies all the way to startups. And we have academic jobs.

Academia Is Not an Ivory Tower Anymore

02:15 And actually, more and more people today, enter academia out at a later stage in their careers, because a lot of people also dreamt about PhD for their whole youth. And they only do it when they feel like they’re done with everything else, all the other duties in the lives. So then, they enter the research path at some point in their lives.

02:39 it’s not an ivory tower anymore. Academia also mingled with industry. Now we have new projects between universities and private companies. Academia actually opened its gates to everyone right now. And lastly, we have entrepreneurship and freelancing. These are paths for possible venture, or people who don’t really feel like they need a boss.

How To Self-Navigate In the Job Market of Today?

03:08 They highly value freedom, but at the cost of have a certain degree of uncertainty, of course. And the question is, how to self-navigate in such conditions? And also, why so many hard-working talented people today get stuck with their careers? We all know those people. We all know people who had best grades at school, who had incredible talent when they were young teenagers.

03:39 Yet today, they have boring jobs, they are not necessarily entirely happy with their professional lives. And somehow, despite their talent, despite their hard work, they could not navigate themselves well enough to now have the careers of their dreams. And of course, how not to become such a person, how not to end up in a dark corner in the job market.

04:08 First of all, one misconception that job hunters often make is that when they are looking for jobs, they look at their CV first. And they ask themselves; Okay, what are my skills? What is my skill set? What can I do? What types of projects am I suited for? What type of profession? What type of positions?

04:28 And they try to figure, ‘What is their fit, in terms of expertise and skills, will fit with the positions they’re applying for?’ Nothing’s wrong with that of course, but this is not the only dimension that you should be looking at. Because there is also this other dimension that is all about your personality, your motivation, your mentality or your working style.

04:50 And these are your personal traits that are equally important as your skills yet we often overlook those dimensions when we are looking for jobs or looking for careers. And this is what I would like to focus on today. And specifically, I would like to focus on the motivation part.

How We Don’t Understand Each Other’s Motivations

05:08 To briefly mention, I noticed this problem often that we don’t really understand each other’s motivations of professionals often. Since we have very different motivation structure, each one of us is motivated by different factors and situations internally. And some examples, for instance, many people have this detrimental stereotype of a secretary as not very ambitious person who is more of an appeaser and not really interested in hard work.

05:46 And just interested in a cozy position and appeasing everyone around. That of course, a detrimental stereotype. Stereotype as secretaries can be extremely ambitious and usually, they are. It’s just that their ambition is more about how to build infrastructure for other people around them, rather than how to get promoted by themselves.

06:08 Another example, influencer. Influencer, a person who was following on social media, who is content creator, who appears here and there to show up and present their content or just share stories from their life. Those people usually, once they get to a certain level of recognition. Usually, it’s for a reason. Really, it means they have content and they have certain motivation. And usually they have some sense of mission.

06:40 And in this business, it’s really hard to get through these initial stages, and keep on going for years and years before you’re eventually successful, if you don’t have any message to convey. And most people who are active in social media, they have such a message. This is, again, a detrimental stereotype that many people have about influencers.

07:01 Another example, investors. People who live off from investing funds into all kinds of assets, but also other companies, young people, startups. They are often taken as greedy, as empty, as money-oriented. For most of them, money is just a means of getting to what they really want, which is stability and freedom to do the projects they like to do.

07:31 And that’s usually the real motivation, and money is just the means to get there. That’s again, how people just have misconceptions of each other. That’s why it’s really important to talk about motivation and try to understand each other.

On The Roots of Human Motivation

07:49 And let’s talk a little bit about, what lies at the roots of human motivation? And of course, it would be hard to talk about the subject without getting back to the roots of the Modern School of Psychology and talking a little bit about the popular theories that does relate to human motivation. What are these theories?

08:11 All of us probably already heard of Sigmund Freud’s work. Sigmund Freud was Austrian psychiatrist, living in the first half of the 20th century and working the first half of the 20th century. And he developed this concept of the unconscious. For him, the roots of human motivation lie in this desire to feed the unconscious instincts like ID, ego and super-ego.

08:47 And then, we had Carl Gustav Jung his student, who developed quite a different theory, his own theory of human motivation. And according to Carl Gustav Jung, the roots of human motivation lie in trying to find a balance between the outer world and the world in our minds.

Alfred Adler’s View At Human Motivation

09:09 And lastly, I’d like to talk a little bit about Alfred Adler, he’s actually less known than the other two. He was also working with Sigmund Freud; Sigmund Freud treated him as a friend and as an equal. Alder also originally started from sharing, his mentors and friends, a concept of the unconscious. But he also differentiated later and he turned into developing his own theory of human motivation.

09:41 And according to him, we all have a desire to prove our value to ourselves and to the rest of the world and build value. And this is, in his eyes, what lies at the roots of human motivation. And we all have this upward drive for perfection, that was his belief.

10:03 And I like to stay a bit longer by the strategy, because I have to say it speaks to me ever since I first read about it many years ago, as a student of psychology at the University of Warsaw; it spoke to me straight away. And I started digging deeper into this theory. Let’s talk about value. How can we create value and what value actually is? 

What Is Value?

10:29 Value is something quite intangible. It’s a concept of creating something that has value. It’s really hard to describe what value actually is, it’s something that is beneficial. It’s beneficial to another person. It’s beneficial to a legal person, like a company. Or maybe it’s beneficial to a whole society. And in our society, value circulates.

11:01 So first, we have businesses; businesses that basically combined value produced by your own employees. And then, distribute what they produce; they basically process this value. Produce a product or a service and distribute this product or service to their clients. And of course, get funds for it, because they have to have this operation funds to run.

11:27 Businesses as such are value sources. They basically pull value from their own employees to produce even more value for the clients. That’s the whole concept of a business. Then we have freelancers who don’t have employees, but in principle, it works the same. They produce value for the clients, they get funds back.

11:50 Then we have public institutions and public institutions pull value from their own employees, and then distribute this value to the society. And since they are nonprofit, then they have, of course, a deficit of funds because of this. But then we have the government. And the government basically pulls funds from the sources of value, that are for profits, such as businesses and individuals who earn considerable money and distribute them back to public institutions to compensate for this deficit.

12:24 Of course, as well as the supply under like the groups that are disadvantaged, such as disabled, retirees and unemployed. So basically, the government is like a pump that pumps funds from the sources of value for profit, to the sources of value who are nonprofit. Alright, so that’s pretty much how it works.

Value Comes First, Money Follows

12:51 What is really important here is that the value always comes first, the money only comes second. The value is the real currency that circulates in the job market, and the money only follows the value. And I have to stress it here because many job hunters make this misconception and make this mistake. They fully focus on looking for paycheck, like looking at the numbers and they’re thinking, ‘Where can I get the highest paycheck? Where can I get the most money for what I do?’

13:28 But perhaps, sometimes it’s good to ask yourself, where can I produce the most value? Because that really is something that triggers the money. Sooner or later, if you position yourself in the job market in a way that you produce the most value, then the money will come. It might come with delay, but it will it is forgiven, it is for certain, money will come.

13:51 Because the money reflects the value you produce in one way or another. How to discover your natural way of giving value? Since we all have our individual ways. How to tell what is your natural way of building value? That is a type of role that you should play or you should choose to make sure that depending on your own personality, working style, mentality, values, that you will produce the most value for other people for businesses or society.

On The Popular Aptitude Tests

14:30 Now we will talk a little bit about the ways of measuring your natural abilities. And if you have that question, what can I do to produce value? Which tools can you use to make this question easier for yourself? Is there any other self-help tools that you can use today to help yourself answer this question? What are the current options?

14:59 You can take some general personality tests, such as 16 personalities is actually based on the Myers Briggs model, which is based on Carl Gustav Yung’s model of human motivation. You can take the classic “Big Five” model and there are of course 1000s of other models. These are just the most popular ones.

15:23 What these tests are doing, is basically asking you a round of questions about your everyday behaviors and everyday decisions. And they will try to decompose your personality into independent dimensions; in 16 personalities it’s four dimensions, in “Big Five” is 5, 5 factors or 5 dimensions. And then, they will grade you on each scale.

15:48 Then we have Strength Finders, so talent finders, such as the famous Gallup’s Strength Finder, which basically will tell you what are your top strengths in a workplace. And then you will get a number of tips of how to use these strengths in your career. And again, this is a self-help tool, therefore, you will be asked the range of questions, and you will be given a list of like a ranking of top scores.

16:19 And lastly, we have 1000s and 1000s of online professional aptitude tests. I listed the two here but there are literally 1000s of them. And usually, they basically ask you what your skills are and they give you a list of professions where you would match. Such as for instance, they asked you, ‘Can you do medical writing? Or are you a strong writer?’

16:46 And if you say yes, then they will say, ‘Well, then you should probably be a writer.’ This is of course, a simplification. But just to give you the idea, they basically ask you about your skills and ask you to grade your skills. And then, they will give you some ideas for what types of professions you might consider. These are your options more or less of the moment.

What Professional Tools Are Currently Missing in the Market?

17:09 But to me, when I was looking into this, it seemed from the very beginning, that something is missing here; something more holistic. Something that will tell you what is your potential as a value builder in the job market. And that will take into account not only your personality, but also your working style. Something that you were working on for your lifetime and your type of professional ethics.

17:37 Everything that you are as a professional today, it will take the full description of you as a professional. And given that, it will give you a ranking of, ‘Okay, in what roles and in which working environments. Where in this landscape that the job market will ease, where do you fit best?’ And also, where in the job market are the people who think similar as you think?

18:05 Because just think about this. If you, let’s say, want to become a data scientist, and then you have a choice. Shall I go to a corporation? Shall I go to startup? Shall I start my own company? Your life will look completely differently depending on what you choose. So it’s a very important decision. Like, you really have to think about where in the job market is my tribe; where are the people who will understand me, who will see my value, who will let me work my way. That I can deliver my way and make my best my way.

18:40 Instead of trying to fit me into some box that I might not necessarily fit. And this will have a major influence on your level of satisfaction from work, and in the long run on your results and on your whole career. That’s actually a very important decision. That’s how it all started. That’s how I came to the concept that it’s high time to build a tool that will help professionals to find their edge in the job market, to find the right place. The right role, the right working environment.

How To Create a New Psychometric Tool?

19:15 How to create a new model in psychometry then? It’s not easy. It’s not such as a simple thing to do. Because if it was simple, it would already have been done a long time ago. So just as an example, how is it normally done? There are many ways to approach this kind of problem. Like, there are many different strategies that are being used in popular psychometric tools.

19:46 For instance, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator; so the popular 16 personality test. It was created by a mother and daughter; Katherine Cook Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers and it was based on a literature on the work by Carl Gustav Yung. And they did field research, they were researching their environment, their friends, their acquaintances. And they started developing gradually, before the test actually reached the final form where it could be put to commercial use.

20:24 But basically, the basis was the literature and the field research. It was not a strictly data driven method. It was more based on literature research and the field research. As opposite to that, Big Five was created differently. It was actually not just the one at one goal, it was developed over the years by many professionals in the field of psychometrics.

20:51 And it started from just two dimensions, and then the third dimension was introduced. And then in the end, today, we have five dimensions to the model. And this model is more data driven. It was developed through factor analysis. And that means that large number of questions was asked to large population of responders.

21:11 And then on the outcome data, the factor analysis was performed and components with that were explaining the highest proportion of the variance, were taken into the model as these independent dimensions. But well, the fact that this model was being created for 10 or 20 years, and it had to go through all these stages, that also is an indication that psychometrics is based on very noisy data. It’s a human psychometric data, there is no more noisy data than this.

21:46 And that’s why approaching models in this like fully scientific way and trying to analyze it using factor analysis and machine learning sometimes fails. No one knows how many dimensions in reality, a human personality has, maybe it’s five, maybe it’s 7, maybe it’s 16. It was a human decision to stop with five and say, ‘Okay, we are done with this model’, it could be as well 10 or 15, or any other arbitrary number.

Our Approach To Creating the Model

22:18 When I was thinking about the best approach, I thought for a long time, because human motivation is probably one of the hardest possible concepts to try to analyze in scientific terms and model. So first, I was thinking about factor analysis. But in the end, I decided to go more with Cook Briggs and Briggs Myers way.

22:46 And approach the problem similarly, as they approach creating the system for the 16 Personalities Test. It was more through analyzing the work of the source material from Alfred Adler and a lot of field research. That’s the basis that’s the pillars of the model, the categories, the dimensions that we’re working on; Then the rest was done, like in a purely scientific way. So fitting the model with use of psychometrics and machine learning.

23:20 That part I could actually do semi-automatically using classic methods. But I was also using my PhD in brain research as well. These are classic techniques from data science and machine learning. How many different ways can we possibly make a contribution? Or in other words, how many different types of motivation are there? As this is the real question here.

23:49 According to the results we got at least 8. And I’d like to briefly introduce you the sets of these profiles. Of course, the more detail you will find in the test, I’m now talking about and in the booklet to the test, it’s described in every detail. But here I would like to talk about the just the basic content.

Creator

24:14 Now a few words about these 8 main types of value builders in the job market. So first of all, we have the creator. And creator is a person who is a visionary, who is a creative person, an artist. Not necessarily working in arts, creators are everywhere, even on Stock Exchange or in politics. It just basically means someone who has this inner desire to produce new content and produce concepts.

24:44 And as for the strengths and weaknesses of creators think big; that’s the obvious strength. They are creative and they are also very dedicated. They have high perseverance. They can go on for years and years before they finally succeed. They have that strength in their guts to be successful.

25:06 But on the other hand, they rarely compromise on their ideas. Idea for them, idea is even more important than people. Ideas are everything. And they are often risk takers. They could risk a lot for their ideas and sometimes it ends up with broken careers as well.

Problem Solver

Then we have problem solvers, and the problem solver who is basically driven by solving problems for others.

25:12 It can be a programmer, it could be a carpenter. Problem solvers are everywhere. Problem solvers are in every company, especially in R&D departments, but also in academia. In every other environment, you will find on problem solvers. They have very deep knowledge about one particular subject. Also, they are adaptable, they can work with all kinds of bosses.

26:05 They’re usually really easygoing and they are rational. They have rational expectations from life, rational expectations from work and they are pleasant to work with. But weaknesses are that well, they are not born managers. If they are put in a role of a manager, they sometimes struggle. And also, they sometimes they lack this self-promotion skill that will allow them to thrive in the job market.

26:36 And they are vulnerable since they are so highly specialized, sometimes. Because there are of course, transferable skills such as programming that are useful everywhere. But some of the skills are that problem solvers have might be too specific sometimes. There is always a danger of just that your knowledge would get outdated in the job market.

Linchpin

27:03 Then we have linchpins. A linchpin is someone who is connecting people. Linchpin is basically, this middle part of the wheel, that people [don’t part.] And is also a description of someone who is the center of their environment and who is the heart and soul of the party, and who can connect people, negotiate, create communities, etc.

27:29 Of course, linchpins are very strong at communication and they also have a good command of chaos, which is very useful in today’s world. And they understand capitalism. They understand that there is no free lunch that to get something from someone, you have to give something first. They have a very good understanding of this social exchange.

27:50 But also, they often come across as too optimistic about the projects. That’s why we have so many hustlers, right, that hustle. Because they’re just optimistic about what they do, they don’t really see the caveats of the projects they hustle about. Sometimes it’s a matter of optimism, and not have bad intentions.

28:15 And, of course, they have this information overload, they have to process a lot of information every day and that’s extremely exhausting. And also, they only communicate and spread other people’s ideas. And sometimes they have this sense of void that they kind of, always work on accelerating other people’s projects. They don’t have their own legacy.

Manager

28:38 And then, we have a manager. And managers are individuals who basically, are driven by leading functional teams and making people speak to each other and work together. And managers are actually very good at managing both at work and at home; and well-organized and understands people.

29:00 But they have a lot of responsibility on their shoulders. And they have high expectations both towards other people and themselves.

Achiever

Next, we have achievers. And achievers are people who are kind of born to be role models. They want to be role models for others. And, examples are, of course, competitive athletes.

29:25 But also, content creators are often achievers. But also, you can meet them everywhere, you can meet them in business as well in every organization actually. And they have a message, they have a vision. They want to become a role model to convey a specific message. They clearly have like a vision and mission in their life. And they are resistant to stress. They are perseverant. They have high discipline.

29:57 But as for weaknesses, it’s a really risky path. They sometimes lack plan “B”, they have to take public responsibility for what they do and the work never ends because there’s always someone to chase after. This is the work that never really ends.

Missionary

30:17 Then we have missionaries. A missionary is an individual whose biggest drive is to help people directly. These are, of course teachers, but also many other professions across the board. And as for strengths, missionaries, first of all, they are like driven, motivated, independent, empathic and they care about the person whom they help.

30:42 They don’t care that much about their bosses or the rest of their environment. They are focused on building bonds with the clients, the patients; so, people whom they directly help. And that’s also often why many freelancers actually have mindsets like this. But as for weaknesses, sometimes missionaries lack the self-navigation skills and sometimes they don’t really understand capitalist mind as well.

Contributor

31:14 Next, we have contributors. A contributor is someone who prefers to build an infrastructure for others. We have contributors pretty much in every organization. They are good team players. They have negotiation, mediation skills, of course; they are very loyal. These are very, like demanded desired traits in the job market.

31:37 As for weaknesses, they lack salesmanship skills often. And they seek for safety, sometimes it’s not possible today. In today’s world, it’s hard to find safety, honestly speaking. And they also they can be dependent on their team, which is also a downside.

Investor

And investors, investors aim to achieve full financial independence and they prefer to do projects out of will not of need. And they treat money as a means to achieve that goal.

32:16 They are good decision makers, they are self-sufficient and they are very rational. Even when they risk, they make calculated risks. At the end of the day, its rational choices. But the weaknesses are that, it takes a long time to develop a career, it’s a very risky path and they are individualists, which is sometimes not the best trait to have today.

32:43 Because they everything is based like most working organizations is based on projects that are team projects. If you’re an individualist, then there is a limited number of professions where you can thrive. Do we have this one profile or can it contribute in more than one way? Yes, of course we can.

Our Individual Profiles Are Always a Combination

33:12 And in most professions, and in most working environments, the desired profile for an employee is a combination of a few of these different profiles. These represent the roles that you take in the working environment. But depending on the situation, you might take different roles. If you’re working, let’s say in academia, you are a researcher at the University, then you will have to be a little bit of a creator to create new concepts.

33:38 Then you will have to be a problem solver to design experiments to prove the concepts or to carry out research. And then you also have to be a manager to manage the younger students and self-manage your career as well. You have to be a missionary to, again, teach students and you have to be a bit of a contributor, because today researchers are also involved in creating research infrastructure.

34:07 You’ll be expected to be active to be a member of some professional associations. And to also do something on behalf of open science once in a while, this is like quite a standard career point today to be involved. And you will, of course, also have to talk about your work with other researchers presented at the conferences. You will also have to work as a linchpin some time.

34:34 You will have to swap between many different roles. And in most professionals, in most working environments, this is true that you need more than one role and you need to effectively juggle between a few. But is this all you need to succeed in the job market if you know your profile, right? The answer is “not necessarily.”

Know Your Tribe!

35:00 Because you also need to know your tribe, as mentioned before. The environment that you’re going to join is equally important as knowing what is your preferred role. It’s best to know both. It’s best to know what type of value builder you are or in which roles you actually are most efficient. But you also should know where in the job market are people who think like you.

35:27 According to this model, that we built, there are at least 8 different working environments that you could be considering and they have different culture. Of course, every company and every organization have their own microclimate and microculture. But here, I’ll be talking more in general about these 8.

35:45 So just very briefly, since I wrote the whole book about it, so it will be hard to review the whole book in just a few minutes. But let me just give you a few, just a few statements about each one of them.

Public Institutions and Non-governmental Organizations

So firstly, we have public institutions and non-governmental organizations. And the general structure is close to a corporation so that the departments are segregated into teams and the work is project based; you’ll have a lot of meetings there.

36:18 But usually, it’s very stable, you can work there for a lifetime. While it’s highly procedural, but it’s really safe as a working environment. Then we have corporations, the structure of corporations is very complex and multiple levels of management.

Corporations

And corporations have to have very tight strong management because it’s like a backbone that puts the company together, and it makes it alive.

36:45 It’s like a huge organism and management puts it in form, in shape. And daily life is also full of meetings. And also, you have goals and financial targets for every year to fulfill. But you also have a lot of opportunities. The company will invest in you, will invest in courses, in travels, in learning opportunities. Corporations are willing to invest a lot in their employees.

37:15 But also, you have to follow corporate procedures and the corporation will get you obsessed. There are a lot of manipulative strategies that corporations use to make you really struggle to be that employee of the month. You have to be prepared that, in a corporation, you have to be assertive to really keep your soul away. Don’t get your soul stolen by the corporation.

37:44 I know that it’s a stereotypical thing I’m saying, but from experience, this is what often happens. You have to really mind that you are not your company, your company is not you and just protect your free time.

Consultancy companies

Consultancy companies, we have next. And these differ a bit from corporations because in consultancy companies, you have one employee and multiple clients, and consultancy companies are all project based. So the client delegates a project to a company and the company executes this project, usually in a team. Either on the side of the company or the side of the client.

38:26 Usually the corporations like the large consultancy companies, like McKinsey or Boston Consulting Group, they usually carry out projects on their side. And small companies usually send their consultants to the client side, that’s like a rule of thumb. While you can learn a lot about industry in this way, because you will have projects from different clients.

38:49 So if you’re new in an industry, this is usually a good starting point to gain a lot of industry experience in the short time. It can be exhausting though; it can be very intensive. You have to be prepared that for a year or two, you might be very busy in such a place.

Small To Medium-sized Enterprises

Then we have small to medium-sized enterprises and well, these are small companies that have less than 250 employees.

39:18 The daily life usually has more stable dynamics than corporations. It’s more peaceful, it’s quieter and the atmosphere is more like a family atmosphere. You can feel more like important in a team because it’s usually a small team. And but of course, there are also downsides. There are some more limited promotion opportunities and you are more dependent on your boss and close colleagues. And of course, there is a probability that the company will get acquired as well.

Startups

39:52 Then you have startups. A startup usually has very flat structure. It’s more again, like family- like and usually quite informal, startup atmosphere; famous. And usually flexible working hours as well. Because at the end of the day, what matters in the startup is your efficiency, it doesn’t matter how many hours you work.

40:18 And it’s a real teamwork. People who work in startups usually enjoy it as a place where they can really feel like they work in a team. And what is not very good is that, again, you depend on your teammates to a high extent. And of course, you can flop together with the company; still at an early stage, so the company can fail. If the company fails, you fail too in a way.

Academia

40:45 And then we have academia. In academia, we have a module structure where in every department lab have their own budgets. And so, when you work there, you are kind of an employee of your lab, not necessarily of the department and that makes you dependent on your direct boss. And in academia, while usually you juggle multiple projects, the management is rather weak; rather non-involved.

41:16 And that creates opportunities or problems depending on how independent you are. But you get paid for learning and you could travel to nice places, work with friends, work on interesting topics. If you work out your career skillfully, then you can have a very nice lifestyle, doing what you really like doing. This is clearly an opportunity. But there is a very strong luck factor here.

41:43 And in academia, there are still high depression levels among academics. There is a lot of rat race and contracts are short. In general, a stressful lifestyle.

Freelancing

Then we have freelancing, which means that you work on your own, you work for yourself, basically. And your daily life looks as you design it, it’s your decision how you use it.

42:07 There is a high degree of freedom. And If you are good at what you’re doing, consequently, you can get to a high salary range which is great. But you also, can experience a lot of solitude on the other hand. And you will need to also be your own salesman, salesperson. And you will need to price your work, you need to hustle around for clients, at least in the beginnings. And so, these are like barriers to entry that make it hard for a lot of people.

Entrepreneurship

42:24 And lastly, we have entrepreneurship. And entrepreneurship is basically running between your investors, clients and employees. It’s not as much freedom, especially in the beginning, as you might think. And a lot of meetings, a lot of salesmanship, troubleshooting problems all day. This is how daily life looks. But the opportunity is to become financially free, that’s the reward.

43:05 And you can also choose whom you work with, because it’s your own decision and only your decision. And you only do important things, you don’t do unimportant tasks at all, in a startup. But the working hours are, of course, very long. And there is also a luck factor; there’s a lot of competition. There is a danger, you will fail as well.

43:35 Alright, one thing I wanted to say is that, as you can see, in any one of these environments, there are certain things that you have to accept. There is no Eldorado, there isn’t a place where everyone is happy, everyone makes the bucks. In every one of these environments, there are certain advantages and disadvantages.

How To Find The Right Environment?

43:57 Which one of these environments you fit best depends on your natural capabilities. In some of them, you might feel quite comfortable and it will all go easy for you. And in some of them, you will see this internal blockade that you’re not very appreciated and evaluated high enough for what you do and that you have tensions straight away. That’s why it’s so important to think about these cultural differences before you make a choice.

44:30 But, what does it mean “to fit somewhere”? Because when we talk about tribes, or working environments, we talked about fitting or not fitting them. When we talk about fit, it’s actually good to refer back to the most classic distribution ever, the Gaussian distribution. That basically means that every trait is distributed normally in a large population.

44:56 So how to determine if you are a good fit to certain working environment? That it is often good to compare with the general population. There are certain traits and certain attitudes that are preferred in that area, in that environment. Like, there is a population of white-collar professionals that represent or don’t represent those traits.

What The ODYSSEY Test Returns

45:26 And the question is, where do I fall in this population? Am I on the right side of the Gaussian tail or on the left side? Am I like fitting better or am I fitting less good than most people, right? Because the numbers, like absolute numbers, won’t tell you much. I think what is really important is to compare with the general population.

45:49 What this test that we build gives you, in fact, are two rankings and they both give you percentiles. And a percentile means a percentage of individuals, white collar professionals from our studies, that score lower than you. That means that for instance, in this example. If you have a percentile of 53.73% for investor, that means that you fit the profile of an investor better than 53.73% of all professionals.

46:24 Or when you have a result for entrepreneurship, that is of the level 15.51% that means your score is only better than 15.51% than the general population, etc. And it’s really important to have this full ranking. Because this is the overview of your potential where your potential really is and to what extent

46:52 Are you better than the average? Or are you may be quite low in the population? And I think this is much more telling than just raw absolute numbers, and can tell you a lot about the possible direction that where you might excel versus possible directions where you might perish in the job market.

The Methodology Behind the ODYSSEY Test

47:16 And now I would like to talk a little bit more about the methodology behind the test that we just created. First of all, what is an aptitude? According to Wikipedia, an aptitude is a component of a competence to do a certain kind of work at a certain level. Outstanding aptitude can be considered “talent”.

47:37 Aptitude tests – actually, we’ve mentioned some of them before. And examples of famous aptitude tests would be, for instance, Raven’s Progressive Matrices test, and Gallup StrengthsFinder, and also 16Personalities test. All these tests that we all know, that take some quantitative measures of our cognitive abilities or personality traits.

How We Constructed The Questions And Why

48:06 These were done in different ways. Raven’s Progressive Matrices, this is a cultural neutral logic puzzle. And Gallup StrengthsFinder is a set of 177 Likert scale questions. And 16Personalities is 60 Likert scale questions. Likert scale means that you evaluate yourself and evaluate certain sentence on a scale. Let’s say from 1 to 5, or from 1 to sound.

48:37 And we compose the questions in the following way. As mentioned before, Likert scale is basically, the most popular scale. It contains sentences, and you are asked to evaluate yourself on the scale. But in this case, we decided to introduce multiple-choice questions instead. The reason was very simple. Because, if you have a Likert scale, then participants will lose attention with time.

49:07 As soon as they start losing attention, then they start clicking the middle option. Because middle option means I don’t know or neutral. And so, you only get a good estimation for the first few questions. And then, the later, like the farther it goes, the worst estimation is. Versus if you have a multiple-choice question, you cannot skip a question in a lazy way. In any way, you have to choose one option out of four and you’re pushed to think. You cannot really skip a question.

49:42 You are pushed to think until the very last question and this was exactly the motivation. And also, what the motivation was to create an experience. Give participants a chance to contrast and confirm certain opinions or certain ways or thinking and certain motivations. And give them a chance to really spend time thinking about themselves about their professional past, about their preferences, about what is really important in life for them.

50:11 And it’s meant to be something more than just sitting in front of a computer, and basically choosing options for an hour or two. It’s supposed to be an experience of thinking about yourself and what is really important for you. It’s supposed to be something pleasant, something also challenging. But so, some of these questions are difficult, they’re hard to answer for a reason.

50:33 The reason is to challenge you and make you think really hard about your career so far. And just an example of such a question. This is a question that people dwell on in this test for a long time often. And this is a question, ‘If you could give yourself one warning at the beginning of your career, what would it be?’ This is just an example to show you that the questions, they push you to think and most of the questions in the set are like this. You cannot really skip them, in a lazy way, you have to give it a thought. 

The Types of Variables Used In The ODYSSEY Test

51:03 And in our test, we actually took into account for types of variables. First of all, we took into account the working style, and then the type of mind and resilience to stress. By type of mind, I mean, for instance, whether or not you are a specialist, or a generalist, or what type of problems you will particularly like to solve.

51:08 And third type of variable was your relations with people; with your bosses, with authorities, with your peers at work, and in general, all kinds of people with whom you have professional relations. And lastly, your values and beliefs as well.

The Research Pipeline

52:04 The research pipeline was classic. First, we did some classic cleaning of the data, according to the standard psychometric practices. You’re looking at correlations between different questions, and we’re just removing the redundant ones, or the ones that were not very informative. Because most participants weren’t giving the same response, so there was no variance in the question. So first, we started with a set of 140. And then, after the first round of the study, we reduced it to 128 combined into four groups.

52:33  And then, of course, we build the classifier first. We did the data science on this data. We built a linear classifier to build the whole model, of course. And then with this model, we validated this model on the second group of participants, and then we send them results. We ask them, do you agree with these results? Do they well describe you?

53:08 We actually got very positive responses. That’s also why I was confident to release this test. Because from the testing group, from the validation group, I knew that the model actually fits the purpose and meets the purpose and hits the marks. I was very happy hearing their reactions and listening to the participants from validation group.

53:38 And then, so that was the design. We did it in two batches. And then, after the whole process came to the end, we had a functional model that we then incorporated into the backend of our website to be able to provide with an automated tool, where the participant can just answer the full set of questions and get the results get the results right onto their screen.

On The Origins of the Name of the ODYSSEY Test

54:08 And lastly, I’d like to say a few words about the name of the test, the ODYSSEY. Because it was not really straightforward, it was quite a challenge to name this test. These few words will be more of a business development than science. Now I was talking about psychology, I was talking about human motivation, I was talking also about how to build a new psychometric test.

54:31 I was talking about more like factual things. And now I would like to say a little bit about business development part. As a fresh business developer, why it was so challenging for me to come up with a good name for this test. And for a few reasons, actually, because a good name for a task has to have many different features in fact.

54:54 It has to be memorable. It has to be something that once you hear it, it rings a bell. Or it’s so characteristic that you can easily remember. It also has to have some positive association. You have to know what types of values you want to be associated with, or you want to convey of, what type of message.

55:18 In my mind, like a professional career is a lifelong journey and you have to have a good self-navigation system in this journey. For me, the ODYSSEY actually hits the mark here, and it has that positive association that I was looking for. And it also conveys the right values, it’s a synonym of struggle and courage and perseverance. And also, it carries a positive vibration, I would say.

55:58 And it’s also like, again, from a business standpoint, you have to be trademarkable; It has to be something that we can protect. And also, it had to be something that we can even register as a domain. Because it’s important to be visible online as well, for people to find you. If someone hears ODYSSEY, they should be able while typing in Google, they should be able to find you.

56:22 And we were struggling with this a lot. Because every name that contains like, the usual suspects, such as Career Compass or Career GPS or anything related to career, like directly was already taken. And all these domains were already taken. I was thinking to myself, if I named the school Career Compass, let’s say, it will be very accurate because it is a career compass.

56:50 In fact, it shows you the direction in the job market, but there are already 50 other projects that are all named career compass. Even if someone hears about the test wants to take it, they couldn’t find it online. This was actually a challenge to come up with a name that has all these features on the list.

57:15 And it’s not without a reason that copywriters are well paid. It’s a well-paid profession. And in the end, we sat down with a friend of mine, Daniel Borek, who is now a PhD candidate at the University of Ghent. But he’s also a hobbyist copywriter and we made the mind map. We basically list them on one chart. we listed all the ideas we had, and all the associations we had, and all kinds of values and concepts that we would like to incorporate.

57:48 And we were thinking, ‘Okay, what would be that name or a concept that would embraced as many of those as possible?’ And in the end, we came up with ODYSSEY. And ODYSSEY not only represents the journey, but also according to the Greek mythology, those who had a good ending, which I guess is, what the ancient Greeks understood by a public massacre. Anyways, that’s how we came up with the name.

On The Future of the Project

58:00 And what’s the future of this project? Well, first of all, I believe in the gradual improvement, I believe that this is just the beginning. We have a working model, which there is the whole booklet that comes with it. the whole book that explains the model, explains the categories, list a lot of career advice based on the results.

58:44 It’s a part of the infrastructure, it’s a part of the test. But I’m, of course going to improve, gradually improve this booklet, and it will become thicker and thicker every time. Therefore, I’m planning to keep on improving. And I think every year we’ll have another version of this test that is adjusted to the current job market, because I think it’s very important to keep it actual.

59:11 So definitely, there will be gradual improvements. And what I especially like about this book, this is a quite a famous book, “What Color Is Your Parachute?” It’s a book about career development by Richard Bolles. I like the fact that it was re-edited and republished already, for 40 years, every year. It’s like a new edition is coming. Which basically, makes you know, this makes you confident that once you get this book, the book is actual; it’s updated information.

59:50 And I think this is a good ambition to have here so that once a participant takes the test, they can be confident that they’ll get results that well describe the conditions in the market today. I will definitely, I will keep vigilant about it and keep on improving to make sure that every point in time, this test is factual and give you the best estimation of your potential in today’s job markets.

Acknowledgments

1:00:19 And lastly, I’d like to make a few acknowledgments. So Roger Matthijs, wonderful graphic design that you can see on the website. And he’s super talented in visual arts as well. Cordial thanks to him! And Aaron built the whole back end for this test and he built the infrastructure. If you take the test, you might enjoy this easy, user friendly infrastructure. I like his build, it works great.

1:00:53 And I have only the best things to say about working with him. It was great and he did a great job. And Lukas built the front end. The website you see is his artwork and his job. He’s also done great. And altogether, I’d like to say cordial thanks to them. And of course, I would also like to thank around 600 other contributors that either contributed to the content, or took part in the study. And as such, were the participants and helped me to build the model. 

Ending

1:01:31 And of course, thank you so much for your attention. Thank you for getting to the end of this explanation and good luck with your career. I’d like to cordially invite you to take a look at the test and tell me if you liked it. Please, I’m curious about your opinions, about your impressions. And of course, visit our website as well. We have a newsletter as well.

1:02:00 I can also encourage you cordially to subscribe for our newsletter and good luck with your career. And of course, if you would like to get more of career-related content, then please subscribe to the channel. And I’m open to all your questions, please post below or poke me on LinkedIn. And till next time, have a good day!

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