In 1981, Roger Sperry won the Nobel Prize for his work on the right-brain vs. left-brain theory. Sperry theorized that the right side of the brain was responsible for controlling emotions, motivation, and creativity while the left side controlled functions such as language, reasoning, and logic.
Even if you’re convinced that you aren’t a right-brain or a left-brain thinker, you might find yourself drawn to “right-brained careers.” These are roles that people associate with “creative,” but not every right-brained job is in art.
Right-brainers don’t get lost in details; they naturally visualize the whole picture and love work that requires visionary planning, motivating other people, and thinking outside the box. Right-brained people enjoy trying new ways of doing things and looking at problems from different angles. Many of the world’s most exciting innovations have been the result of the creative thinking power of right-brain individuals.
Tendencies of Right-Brained Thinkers
While everyone uses both sides of their brains in work (and in life), people who think of themselves as right-brained tend to be creative, emotional, and intuitive. They are more likely an imaginative and innovative thinker and are often drawn to fields where they can express themselves freely and help others.
Contrary to popular belief, being right-brained does not mean you are not analytical or logical. Even though right-brain people don’t love working with numbers, they do seek out patterns and like to group things together based on their similar attributes. Other right-brained characteristics include:
- Guided by their emotions
- Having a high level of emotional intelligence and empathy
- Seeing the “big picture”
- Prefer visual communications
Right-Brain Job Seekers
Because many right-brain job seekers are drawn to creative fields, people are often mistaken that becoming an artist the inevitable career path. However, that isn’t always the case. There are many jobs in high-paying fields that offer upward mobility and career progression.
While right-brain resumes may not have a lot of “hard” skills on them, right-brain job seekers can play up their soft skills, which can be just as important to hiring managers. And, during the interview, right-brain job seekers may have the advantage. Their ability to see the big picture and connect the dots of how their experience has led to results and ultimately improved the business is a huge asset.
Common Career Fields and Jobs for Right-Brain Thinkers
Right-brained people tend to dislike hierarchy and strict rules. While this doesn’t mean they should be their own boss, they may do better in jobs that lack a formal power structure or a lot of bureaucracies. Jobs that allow creative expression and encourage original ideas are a good match for right-brainers, as are visual careers like illustration, television, or marketing. Below are samples of jobs for right-brain thinkers.
Graphic designers use colors, shapes, logos, and even textures to mold the visual identity of a brand. This robust field can range from from print design, which may include working on book covers, packaging, and textiles or merchandise, to digital design, which may include working on products, website graphics, consumer-facing interfaces, and much more.
Why it works: Graphic design combines a lot of elements. The designer chooses specific design elements to help create a visual experience that emotionally connects with an audience. While the client may have rules about how their brand is represented, a graphic design professional is free to work within those boundaries and can be creative when designing the final product. This appeals to the right-brained “visual” needs as well, letting them not just see, but create, the big picture.
One of the higher paying jobs for right-brain thinkers, psychologists work with patients with mental health issues. Psychologists help develop treatment plans for their clients to help them manage their emotions and move toward a healthier, happier life.
Why it works: Psychology (like most jobs in the mental health field) appeals to right-brain thinkers because counseling taps into the emotional intelligence and empathy that right-brainers have. Specifically, psychologists and counselors help their patients identify their different emotions and help the patient understand their past trauma and current pains. This requires the counselor to see things from the patient’s perspective, letting the counselor flex their emotional intelligence and empathy skills.
Animators draw, create, and tell stories through moving art. Their creations may be part of a video game, an educational video, or a movie. While animators may create and sell their own work, many animators freelance for clients or work for content creation companies.
Why it works: Another visual field, animators feed their creative passions with this work. While a client may have certain goals for the content, the main goal is to create an emotional connection with the viewer through the use of visual elements.
Architects design buildings and other outdoor spaces (like golf courses and parks). These may be large projects or small projects, public or private projects. But, the end result is a space that is comfortable, safe, and functional.
Why it works: While architecture does require a fair amount of logic and analysis (you need to make sure both sides of the building can stand up), architects use a lot of visual and creative skills. However, as long as they don’t ignore the rule of physics, architects can design and create buildings and spaces as freely as they want.
Jobs For Every Brain
Regardless of whether you primarily use the right side of your brain or the left side (or both!), we’ve got fully vetted, legitimate job postings in more than 50 career categories.
Ann Rozier contributed to this post
Photo Credit: bigstockphoto.com
A version of this article was originally published on October 19, 2016.
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Ann Rozier, FlexJobs Staff Writer
Ann Rozier is a Writer as well as the mother of three wonderful children. Ann researches and writes about flexible companies for the FlexJobs Company Guide and the FlexJobs Blog.Read More >
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