Dr. John Holland developed his Occupational Themes in the late 1950s based on the theory people’s occupational preferences reflect underlying parts of their personality. The six Holland Occupational Themes and primary activities reflecting those themes are:

  • Investigative – researching, analyzing, developing
  • Realistic – solving problems with hands
  • Artistic – expressing creativity
  • Enterprising – persuading, influencing
  • Social – assisting others
  • Conventional – maintaining organization
  • We are all drawn to engaging in our dominant “themes”. Each person is a blend of all six with 2 or 3 being dominant over the others.

    How do you identify your blend? Start with taking the Occupation Theme Assessment in CareerWorkBox. This instrument will present you sets of activities and ask you to choose which you would prefer to do. The results will give you a weighted score of Occupational Themes. However, this is often just the start of the process.

    Go further by identifying fulfilling activities in your past, those times where you lost track of time or were willing to persevere even when you were totally exhausted or times where you experienced great joy and satisfaction. Try to chart the frequency of themes associated with these fulfilling activities and assign percentages to your blend of Occupational Themes.

    As for me, my blend is Investigative – 50%; Realistic – 20%; Artistic – 15%; Enterprising, Social, Conventional combined – 15% .

    Knowing this information about yourself provides you an excellent framework to evaluate whether a job or activity you are considering will satisfy your top occupational theme needs – will it be motivating and satisfying over the long haul?