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Strong Interest Inventory®: Snowballing

Snowballing is the cumulative experiences in your career.  This phenomenon influences your career direction and choices.  When a person takes the Strong, we might wonder if the answers reflect his or her true interests, or what the person has learned over the years.

Snowballing is a good explanation why so many people find it difficult to change careers.  As we work, we accumulate experiences that reinforce certain behaviors, attitudes, competencies, and not others.  Over time, people usually continue in the same direction, whether that direction is a good match for their personalities or not.  Career continuity is very common.

Other factors, such as gender, ethnicity, education, disposition, age, and appearance also contribute to behavior that is either reinforced or discouraged.  People tend to continue down the path where they receive the greatest rewards.  Interestingly, snowballing also influences how people make decisions or solve problems off the job.  Skills learned at work are often used at home as well.  Those skills that are neglected often fade away.

Combined, it makes it harder for a person to change, to receive support for a change from friends or family, or even think about other options.  We tend to internalize those skills we use most frequently.  Likewise, when we receive rewards for our actions, we are likely to repeat them.  Our self-image becomes more focused and restricted.  When the process continues for a long time, it can be hard to see what our true nature is and what we have learned.

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