Do What You Are

Discover the Perfect Career for You Through the Secrets of Personality Type


By Paul D. Tieger

By Barbara Barron

By Kelly Tieger

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Finding a career path that you’re passionate about can be difficult—but it doesn't have to be! With this bestselling guide, learn how to find a fulfilling career that fits your personality.

Do What You Are—the bestselling classic that has helped more than a million people find truly satisfying work—is now updated for the modern workforce. With the global economy's ups and downs, the advent of astonishing new technology, the migration to online work and study, and the ascendancy of mobile communication, so much has changed in the American workplace since this book's fifth edition was published in 2014. 

What hasn't changed is the power of Personality Type to help people achieve job satisfaction. This updated edition, featuring 30% new material, is especially useful for millennials and  baby boomers who are experiencing midlife career switches, and even those looking for fulfillment in retirement. This book will lead you through the step-by-step process of determining and verifying your Personality Type. Then you'll learn which occupations are popular with each Type, discover helpful case studies, and get a full rundown of your Type's work-related strengths and weaknesses. 

Focusing on each Type's strengths, Do What You Are uses workbook exercises to help you customize your job search, get the most out of your current career, obtain leadership positions, and ensure that you achieve the best results in the shortest period of time.


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How This Book Will Change Your Life

Since its first publication in 1992, Do What You Are has helped over a million people find satisfying careers and conduct more successful job searches. We've heard from hundreds of people who report that by helping them discover the kind of work they were meant to do, Do What You Are forever changed their lives and made them feel more productive, more appreciated, and more satisfied.

In the seven years since the fourth edition of Do What You Are was released, the world has changed in profound and myriad ways. We experienced the Great Recession, and its historic impact continues to be felt in almost every aspect of American life. High unemployment rates and a slow economic recovery have given many Americans a sobering reality check. Millennials graduating college and baby boomers alike—and everyone in between—are trying to find stable yet satisfying work in a very unstable world. And perhaps it may seem like a luxury to try to find a career that allows you to "do what you are" when so many people are struggling just to put bread on the table.

The good news is, this book can help.

You hold in your hands a tool that can set you apart in an increasingly competitive market. This book can help you to identify work that is satisfying and that you can excel at, even in a changing world. We can point you toward industries that remain resilient in the face of an economic downturn and jobs that are evolving to become indispensible in the coming years.

Dozens of books have been written to help people make good career decisions. But Do What You Are is different from every other guide in a fundamental way. It does not offer generic, one-size-fits-all advice. For as certainly as people are different from each other, advice that's right for one person often is completely wrong for another. Our expertise in the well-respected, scientifically validated system called Personality Type enables us to truly individualize the career discovery process—to give you invaluable insights about yourself, and to enable you to find a career that makes the best use of your natural talents.

Technology has continued to influence—and even define—the means by which people identify and procure employment. Increasingly, the job search has moved online, with social and professional networking sites, job postings, and career websites becoming the primary ways people find employment. However, technology has had surprisingly little effect on the equally important need for people to find work that is intrinsically satisfying—work they are naturally designed to do. So the primary goal of Do What You Are—to help you find the most satisfying career—remains decidedly low tech. In fact, the only tool required is the book you are now holding in your hands!

Yes, We're Talking to You

We're assuming that you picked up this book because you're at a turning point in your work. Maybe you're a student just about to choose that first important job, or perhaps you're re-entering the workplace after some time off and are considering all your options. Maybe you're dissatisfied with your job and believe there must be a better alternative. Or perhaps you're finishing up one career and thinking about starting on another. Congratulations—you've come to the right book!

Some special encouragement is in order for job changers. If you're wondering about the wisdom of trying to change horses in midstream, you should know that millions of people change jobs every year. In fact, it is estimated that most people will have five to seven different careers in their lifetime. These statistics don't provide much solace, however, if you find yourself stuck in an unfulfilling job that you feel you can't quit.

There are some very practical reasons why people can't just impulsively leave their jobs and strike out in a new direction. You have bills to pay, maybe a family to support. It takes a lot of courage to give up a steady paycheck, even when it comes from an unsatisfying job. It's difficult to look for a new job while you're still at an old one—anyone who has tried it can tell you it's like having a job on top of a job—and yet the idea of actually being out of work while you conduct a job search can be terrifying. Most of us don't have the financial resources to carry us over a period of unemployment, especially when there's no guarantee that we'll be successful in finding a new job quickly.

It can also be extremely difficult to go against what others expect of you. Even if you're unhappy in your job, you may feel pressure from others to stay right where you are. During a career change, support and encouragement from family and friends is an important resource. If those close to you disapprove of your making a change, you're more likely to keep doing what you're doing.

It's also true that once you've established a particular lifestyle, it's difficult to imagine a different way of life. The longer you've been living a certain way, the more invested you become in keeping your life the way it is. If you've attained a certain level of success and are accustomed to being regarded as successful, starting all over can seem unimaginable.

To make matters worse, most of us don't really know what we need to satisfy us. We know what we don't like—that much we've learned from experience—but we don't know how to think up, much less find, a fulfilling alternative.

Changing careers can be extremely stressful, and it's not uncommon for the process to take several months. Many people compare the experience of changing careers to a very scary roller-coaster ride. There are plenty of ups and downs, and even though you know a steep drop lies ahead, your heart still pounds when you start to descend. We've been through this process with hundreds of clients, and we know how hard it can be. However, we also know how wonderful the rewards can be.

Here's the "good news." By unlocking the secrets of your personality type, you can find a truly fulfilling job that enhances the quality of your life. Even though changing jobs is frightening, and even though it's easier to keep doing what you're doing, we hope you'll use this book to discover exactly what you need to be satisfied in your work and how to find the right work for you. It can be done, and it's well worth the effort—we promise!

How This Book Will Help You

Do What You Are is designed to help you make better career choices, conduct a successful job search campaign, and be most effective in any job. We're excited about what we've learned about the relationship between Personality Type and career satisfaction, and we want to share our most important discoveries with you. Please know, however, that we aren't going to rehash a lot of information you can get elsewhere, such as how to write a résumé or dress for success. Our main interest is in helping you figure out what career satisfaction is for you and in helping you go about finding work you'll love.

Since a full career spans many years, you'll want to use Do What You Are to make sure you and your career continue to grow together instead of apart. We hope you'll revisit this book periodically to reevaluate where you are, how you've changed, and where you want to be. We think you'll find this book a valuable ongoing resource, one you will refer to often and will want to share with family and friends.

As you read Do What You Are, you'll start to enjoy many of the "fringe benefits" that come with an understanding of Personality Type. Recognizing and understanding your personality type can change the way you see yourself—which in turn affects everything you do and every aspect of your life. Personality Type is so well respected that the majority of Fortune 500 companies use it daily. Over the past twenty years, we've used Personality Type to help managers motivate and communicate with their employees; teachers to reach very different types of students; work teams to understand their strengths and weaknesses and to communicate more productively; and, of course, we've used it to train thousands of career counselors and outplacement consultants to help their clients make the best career choices. If you are a parent, Type will give you a whole new perspective on your family dynamics and help you understand and communicate better with your children. If you are part of a couple, Type will help you understand, accept, and appreciate the similarities and differences between you and your partner. In short, we're confident that the knowledge you gain from this book will forever change the way you look at yourself and others.

How to Use This Book

Reading Do What You Are requires some active participation on your part. No, nothing painful! But we do hope you'll read this book during quiet moments when you can pause to think. The fact is, we aren't interested in telling you what to do. Instead, we want to introduce you to a process that works and that will be useful to you all your life. So although we ask you all the right questions and provide you with as much information and as many examples as we can, ultimately the answers must come from you because you know you best. We see this as a collaborative effort: we supply the expertise and experience, and you supply the essential information about yourself. Together we'll be successful in finding the best possible career match for you.

We've divided Do What You Are into three parts. Part 1, Unlocking the Secrets of Personality Type, will take you step by step through the discovery and understanding of your own personality type. Part 2, The "Fourmula" for Career Satisfaction, will introduce you to the four ingredients you must have in your work if it is to be truly fulfilling. In Part 3, Getting to Work, we'll show you how to put to good use all that you've learned about yourself. This part of the book is divided according to personality type. In your section you'll meet other people of your type and will learn what kinds of jobs they find fulfilling. Reading about their experiences, likes and dislikes, joys and frustrations will help you clarify what you need in a job for it to be really satisfying. To assist you further, we provide a type-specific list of key ingredients for career satisfaction, suggestions for your ideal work environment, a rundown of your work-related strengths, some exercises to highlight your basic values, and a list of potentially satisfying career options. Finally, we provide you with job search strategies that are designed specifically to be effective for you and people like you. We will show you how to make the most of your natural strengths and how to minimize your innate weaknesses as you engage in information gathering, personal marketing, interviewing with prospective employers, following up, and decision making. And finally—should you choose to stay in your current job—we will outline specific things you can do to be happier and more successful.

A Glimpse into the Future… Where the Jobs and Careers Will Be

Some people's choice of a career is dictated by their passions. They simply have to create art, or make music, or seek the cure for cancer. And certainly we are all better off for their efforts. Other people are more pragmatic and give more weight to practical concerns when making career decisions. Regardless of what camp you fall into, all career seekers can benefit from looking down the road at the careers the experts predict will be most in demand in the future. With this in mind, we share some new information about a few important trends.

According to the latest edition of the Occupational Outlook Handbook (published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics), employment growth from 2010 to 2020 is projected to be highly concentrated in the health care and social services industries. In fact, it is projected that by 2020 nearly one in nine jobs in the United States will be in the health sector. The technology industry is also on the rise, with mobile application technologies leading the way and changing paradigms within the field of technology and in almost every other field as well. Franchising offers many opportunities for success and growth for people with an entrepreneurial spirit looking to minimize their risk. And jobs in construction are expected to grow as the housing market recovers and energy-conscious technologies continue to rise in demand. The green construction industry is estimated to reach $122 billion in 2015!

Personal care aides 70.5%
Home health aides 69.4%
Biomedical engineers 61.7%
Veterinary technologists and technicians 52.0%
Physical therapy assistants 45.7%
Meeting, convention, and event planners 43.7%
Occupational therapy assistants 43.3%
Interpreters and translators 42.2%
Market research analysts and marketing specialists 41.2%
Marriage and family therapists 41.2%

Other occupations expected to grow at a rapid rate include physical therapists (39.0%), dental hygienists (37.7%), audiologists (36.8%), health educators (36.5%), medical scientists (36.4%), cost estimators (36.4%), mental health counselors (36.3%), and veterinarians (35.9%).

Mobile Technologies… the Wave of the Future

If you're reading this, chances are that you own a cell phone. And whether you upgrade once a month or once a decade, it's clear that the mobile technology economy is growing fast, driven by a pervasive "upgrade culture" that makes many technologies obsolete in a matter of months. The field of mobile technology includes both the hardware for cell phones, tablets, and laptops as well as the extensive software design of operating systems, applications, and network systems. Whereas once a cell phone had exactly one function, the phones of today and tomorrow are sophisticated handheld computers, replete with GPS navigation, web browsers, state-of-the-art cameras and video recorders, and much more.

The good news is that opportunities in this trillion-dollar industry are growing as fast as the new product lines. For instance, the demand for mobile application developers is still far greater than the supply, and the industries calling for them range far and wide, including video game studios, advertising and marketing firms, media firms looking to distribute content via mobile apps, and government agencies and financial institutions that want to adapt their services to mobile users. Not to mention actual software development firms!

Jobs in the field of mobile applications are expected to skyrocket by 32 percent from 2010 to 2020—an increase that ranks among the highest for any occupation. Close to 300,000 new jobs are expected to be created, the majority of these in application development for Android and iOS, which account for almost 90 percent of all smartphones in the United States. And with an exploding market expected to reach seven billion people in the next five years, it's easy to see that mobile technologies are not going anywhere soon.

Franchising… Not Just Burgers and Fries!

There's a huge difference in the success rates between people who start a new business and those who buy a franchise. Why the disparity? One of the biggest issues revolves around uncertainty. New businesses—almost by definition—are fraught with uncertainty, while established franchises leave very little to chance. For starters, they have a systemized way of doing business that ensures quality, uniformity, consistency, and a well-known brand. In addition, franchisees receive a tremendous amount of support and advice from people who have a long history of success, and they save significantly by sharing marketing and material expenses.

No wonder more and more people are trading traditional work arrangements for the chance to take charge of their own destiny. For the business-minded among them, franchising is a popular and profitable alternative. According to the International Franchise Association (IFA), there are more than 785,000 franchise units in the United States, which generate over $782 billion annually—that's about 4 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product!

Most of us are familiar with the most common form of franchise—the ubiquitous fast-food restaurant—but there is so much more to the franchise picture than burgers and fries. In fact, there are dozens of categories of opportunities, including pet day care centers, estate planning firms, tanning salons, and assisted living centers. Although franchising is not the right career option for everyone, there are many reasons why it is attractive to a wide array of people, especially baby boomers who have the resources to make the required financial investment. For instance, many people already possess the skills and temperament necessary to be successful franchisees, and there are no specific educational requirements or specialized training for most opportunities. While many personality types can and do thrive on owning a franchise, there are three central qualities that most successful franchisees have in common: they are enthusiastic, hardworking, and able to follow an established system and set of procedures.

Construction… Building a Bright Future

Another of the fastest-growing industries for the coming decade is construction. Population growth, deteriorating infrastructures, and aging buildings are estimated to cause the construction industry to grow by 19 percent through the year 2018, compared with 11 percent for all industries combined. As the housing market recovers from the early 2000s and the oldest children of the baby boomers reach their peak house-buying years in the coming decade, jobs in specialty trade contracting, subcontracting, and construction labor will flourish. Other related professions, such as electricians, plumbers, pipe fitters, and steamfitters, can also expect a higher demand, as can remodeling specialists like carpenters, brickmasons, and blockmasons.

Nonresidential construction is also predicted to grow, and civil engineers and urban planners will see a bump in demand as development spreads, especially in the South and West, with new highways, bridges, and streets to be constructed. And with an aging population, the need for medical treatment facilities will continue to grow as well. In fact, the large number of workers anticipated to leave positions in the construction industry will add more jobs than economic growth will as replacement needs skyrocket.

This boom in construction has a huge impact on jobs in related fields. For instance, architects who design these many buildings and structures can expect to enjoy job growth of 24 percent. Transportation is also expected to see a bump, with jobs for heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers as well as hazardous material movers growing by 21 percent. So if one of these hands-on, action-packed jobs sounds good to you, the odds are in your favor!

The Doctor Is In… Health Care Is King!

There's no doubt about it: if you plan to pursue work in the health care industry, the opportunities are both varied and plentiful. And as the fastest-growing sector of the American economy, health care is the most stable bet for the next decade. The health care industry is projected to grow by 30 percent between 2010 and 2020, compared with only 13 percent growth for jobs in all other employment sectors.

Increased demand for health care services is being driven by an upswing in both the volume and quality of medical technologies, paired with an aging baby boomer population. In short, as boomers age and life expectancies get longer, health services will continue to provide many of the job opportunities in this country, outstripping even the computer industry—and occupation growth projections—since the last revision of this book! In fact, health care was the only industry to grow during the recession.

In such a vast industry, there are many different types of positions and work environments. For example, of the 4.2 million jobs in health care expected to be added by 2020, 63 percent are outside of hospitals—whether in offices of practitioners, nursing homes, or people's residences. As increasing numbers of aging baby boomers wish to live in their own homes, the personal care services sector is exploding, with occupations as home health and personal care aides growing the fastest and adding the greatest number of new jobs. And as baby boomer practitioners retire, their jobs will need to be filled. In fact, seven hundred thousand positions for registered nurses, home health aides, and personal care aides are expected to open up because of attrition alone. It's easy to see that the health care industry has something for everyone. Variety and opportunity are the name of the game, and the impact will reach far into the next decade.

Education and Training… Finding the Right Fit

In an age of escalating costs for higher education, the degree and training requirements for a chosen occupation are no small consideration. Even people who pursue a degree full-time often need to earn an income simultaneously, making short or flexible programs a necessity. Add to the mix the increasing prevalence of career changers—those of us who have the need or desire to pursue a different field of interest—and you have a whole population balancing new schooling and professional transitions with responsibilities to life partners and kids! Luckily, the way we pursue education is changing, too. Options like accredited online universities can offer a cost-effective and flexible path to the degree of your choice.

The following table from the Bureau of Labor Statistics sheds some light on the education and training levels required for occupations growing the fastest through the next seven years. As you begin to identify the type of work that suits your personality type, this table may prove a helpful reference about how you might get there from here. In fact, if you find yourself interested in education and training itself, you can choose to pursue one of the 1.7 million projected job openings in the education, training, or library occupations!

Education or training level Fastest-growing occupations Occupations having the largest numerical job growth
Master's degree or higher Physical therapists Physician's assistants
Medical scientists Postsecondary teachers
Marriage and family therapists Physicians and surgeons
Bachelor's degree Biomedical engineers Accountants and auditors
Interpreters and translators Civil engineers
Market research analysts and marketing specialists Network and communication system administrators
Associate's degree Veterinary technologists and technicians Registered nurses
Physical therapy
Dental hygienists/assistants
Diagnostic medical sonographers


  • "This is one of the most popular career books in the world. It's easy to see why. Many have foud great help from the concept of Personality Type, and Teiger and Barron are masters at explaining this approach to career choice. Highly recommended."—Richard N. Bolles, author of What Color is Your Parachute?
  • "A revolutionary way of finding the right job. Every job hunter or career changer needs this book."—Kevin Harrington, Career Services, Harvard Graduate School of Education
  • "Do What You Are offers an easy way to discover some extremely useful information about your Personality Type. When you are armed with this new self-awareness, the directions toward your own job and career satisfaction become clear."—William Corwin, Office of Career Services, Princeton University

On Sale
Apr 13, 2021
Page Count
384 pages
Little Brown Spark

Paul D. Tieger

About the Author

Paul D. Tieger and Barbara Barron are internationally recognized experts on and the authors of five breakthrough books about Personality Type, including the one-million copy bestseller Do What You Are, which changed the way career consulting is practiced all around the world. They have been training professionals in the use of Personality Type for thirty-two years.

Kelly Tieger graduated from Sarah Lawrence and has been exposed to Personality Type her whole life. She contributed research to the fourth edition of Do What You Are.

Learn more about this author

Barbara Barron

About the Author

Paul D. Tieger and Barbara Barron are internationally recognized experts on and the authors of five breakthrough books about Personality Type, including the one-million copy bestseller Do What You Are, which changed the way career consulting is practiced all around the world. They have been training professionals in the use of Personality Type for 32 years.

Learn more about this author