In our series of interviews
with working professionals, this week we have Edilaine Guerreiro, partner of Evana
who works in a business incubation program in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Edilaine has been an advocate for 6 years. Here, she talks about what she liked and disliked about being a legal counsellor. In addition to why she feels that conventional psychometric tests used by career counsellors aren’t a foolproof method.
Q: Tell us a bit about yourself. Where do you come from? What do you do?
A: I am Edilaine from Brazil; born and brought up in Rio de Janeiro. I am currently working in a government program to help businesses grow and expand. Through a unique and flexible combination of business development processes, infrastructure and expertise new and small businesses are nurtured through their early and vulnerable stages of development.
Q: In your school days, what were your subjects? How did you choose those ones?
A: I studied law as I loved the intellectual vigour and dimensions that the field consisted of. The love for the field hence led me to the obvious choice of becoming a lawyer.
Q: How did you move from law to government programs helping startups and businesses?
A: I worked as a legal counsellor and advocate for 6 years. I loved what I did but however, I had a problem with how its systems work. This progressed into me being dissatisfied with the execution of my work. I wanted to work in a field that allowed me to be part of something bigger and where the results were noticeable and immediate. Therefore I decided to switch careers, but I didn’t know which career to switch over to. This got me thinking and made me ask myself, what do I really enjoy doing?
I’m a very organized and experimentative person. I love to look at the bigger perspective on various issues. Hence I tried different roles and jobs, this made me realize that I preferred change and hated monotony. I didn’t want to be doing the same thing day in and day out over a long period of time. Thus what I do now is similar to projects, where different things are done in different ways. Some projects last for 3 to 6 months, while others for over a year. After one project I move on to a different one. This variety and keeps my interest peaked.
Q: Did you consult any counsellors before choosing your career in law?
A: Not counselling, but I did take a psychometric test in school. I don’t think these tests work.
They (psychometric tests) can be manipulated. If I want it to say I will make a good teacher, I know what answers I have to put down.
Q: Why do you say that?
A: I realised that these personality, aptitude and psychometric tests could be influenced. The questions and answers could be manipulated. I could direct and influence them in whatever way I want rather than it directing me. If I want my results to say that I would make a good teacher, I know what answers I have to put down. The assurance of these tests is based on our honesty to the test itself. You must truthfully answer the questions asked. Relying on a person to be truthful in an exam is in my opinion, not a very assuring safeguard.
Q: Do you know of colleagues and friends who have also faced similar problems at work and have considered switching careers?
A: A lot of people close to me have faced the same problem. I think the biggest problem is that people get caught up on deciding a career for themselves. They do not pay attention to the lifestyle that those careers would require them to live. People need to first think about how they want to live rather than what to do as a career. As your lifestyle is a consequence of your career.
Edilaine’s current job requires her to work in different groups and environments for brief periods of time, and she finds that motivating. Another important point that she brought to light is that how students overlook the lifestyle they will be leading in the professions of their choice; how a typical work day will be for them. It is one of the most important parameters to analyze before making a decision. Stay tuned for more such interviews.
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