The Career Guide For Creative and Unconventional People, by Carol Eikleberry et al | Literature Review

This was one of the books that my undergraduate experiential education course referenced in its bibliography, so I took the opportunity to read it itself and I was not disappointed.


Basically, it is about Eikleberry’s assertion that creativity impacts the way in which people in the workforce are able to find any satisfaction. The book also gets into detail about the nature of creativity and how it can easily apply to searching for the right career.


Since this book revolves around the individual, Eikleberry recognizes that there are plenty of personality and interest types that often intersect with one another in unique professions. She suggested that creative people disgruntled in their jobs should take the Self-Directed Search (SDS) test, which was invented by John Holland who organized the personality types into 6 letters, which then results in the three most dominant personalities ultimately determining the career path of interest:

  • A: Artistic
  • I: Investigative
  • E: Enterprising
  • C: Conventional
  • S: Social
  • R: Regular

Based on the check-marks in this book, I would classify as an AIR. The profession that most aligns with this path is an architect, which does suit because I did have interest in Lego buildings from an early age and I am endlessly amazed about the types of architectural technologies which could come about to combat climate change.

A major theme that Eikleberry discusses is the environment in which the creative type works in, which is usually not compatible with his interests. In this case, it can be pretty miserable and Sisyphean, since his natural artistic skills or his education in them are not put to use in any way. Eikleberry makes it perfectly clear that you cannot ignore your talents since they always influence how you perform in your job.

Even when the creative person sets out on his own, he would still need a community of mentors to be able to guide him the right direction; as well as a team of creative people who work on the same project, such as a film or a video game. Seeking out other creative people is also for that reason why marketing has become important in the age of social media for the creative person. Although S (sociability) does not have to be among the strong points in the SDS, Eikleberry makes it clear that seeking help is important for a creative career path.

There is also the interaction between the creative type and the rest of the world, in terms of identifying the problems that were not seen by any other person or personality type. In this way, the way to express creative problem-solving involves coming up with many solutions for problems that do not have single solutions for them. Of course, Eikleberry also acknowledges that there will be pitfalls that will come with every pursuit of a creative profession.

Also, since globalization took place, now the entire world is in competition with Americans for the same jobs. In this way it can appear intimidating, though Eikleberry assures the reader that digital technology has kept up with the trend, so there are more jobs that need filling than are already filled. There is also the use of social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, which can be used in order to gain connections.


Eikleberry mentions her own experience in working in psychology while also becoming a writer. Since she had experience being a career counselor, she shows it in this book. In understanding the motivations and implications of creativity, she also exemplifies her own ethos as a psychologist. She explains how creativity is born out of the desire to find connections between different concepts (such as synthesizing information), as well as recognizing an in-depth color perception and spatial relationship. She also recognizes that creative people are defined by their good or bad habits. Because of that, she understands that there is the issue of drug and alcohol addiction among creative types and has suggested that anyone addicted should seek help.

Writing Style

Although writing in a non-fiction book dedicated to career paths, Eikleberry writes in a casual tone. It makes it easier to understand, though it may be because the book acts more as a guide for a non-fiction book.

What piqued my further interest in the book was the Introduction explained that although there are 27 letters in the English alphabet, Holland focused on 6 and Eikleberry explained that those 6 letters, through many combinations, were able to conceptualize 12,000 unique jobs. It can really provide an insight into how careers in the future might be conceptualized from this simple Holland alphabet.

Eikleberry also notes interestingly that skills are words that are expressed as verbs, such as teaching, illustrating, or any other skill. It may sound like a no-brainer, though this fact can see that can link a hobby to a potential job hire into the same category.

What I definitely found shocking was when Eikleberry makes the distinction between job, occupation, and career. I always thought of job as being obligatory, while career was the dream job.

Real World Application

Eikleberry has made it clear that the SDS, and any other aptitude test, is not completely accurate to anyone who would be offended by the results. However, that type of testing would be able to make suggestions as to any future career for any creative types. Eikleberry is more interesting in recommending career paths, rather than prescribing them unto the reader.

As for the creative type’s standing, Eikleberry suggests many different paths in terms of achieving the ultimate success of landing their ideal jobs. She recommends doing conventional work in order to make money while doing creative work on the side; and she also mentions working a conventional job involving the creative field such as working in an art museum. Applying this book into the real world means recognizing that there is no singular path to success.

Suggest This To…

Anyone who is unsure of their career path or whether they can find the career most suitable to their interests. More specifically someone who is unsure of their own creativity or even how much it affects their own daily lives.


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