How Your Right Brain or Left Brain Influences Your Career Choice

There’s right brain thinking and left brain thinking, and ne’er the twain shall meet. Right? Well, not exactly.

It’s well known that the left hemisphere of the brain controls and receives input from the right side of the body, and the reverse is true. It’s also true that the brain’s left side manages certain kinds of activities: reading, writing, speaking, mathematical reasoning and sequential information processing. The right side, though, is attuned to emotions, visual perceptions, spatial relationships, pattern recognition and music.

Information typically travels from one side of the brain to the other, so there’s a lot of interdependence between them. That said, though, it’s not uncommon for one side to be more dominant than the other. Recognizing if that’s the case for you can influence the direction in which you take your career, because some kinds of work will be more aligned with right brain dominance, and others with the left.

It’s actually more common to be right-brain dominant: those who are lean more toward the creative fields requiring empathy and insights into emotions. Three careers that are attractive to right-brained people:

  • Actors. People in this field use creativity and the ability to connect emotionally to entertain others. Some may earn degrees in drama from specialized schools or universities, others learn on the job. The job might be on stage or before the camera, but also teaching.
  • Therapists. Others use their sensitivity, intuition and creativity to help others, motivating them to heal or advance emotionally. Therapists must earn at least a master’s degree and many states require licensing.
  • Graphic Designers. These professionals use colors, shapes and designs to create images or looks for clients, like logos, advertisements, or signage. They usually earn at least a bachelor’s degree.

Left-brained people tend to be logical and analytical thinkers, and enjoy occupations with a substantial amount of processing and structure. Some likely professions:

  • Lawyers. Lawyers are analytical thinkers who are detail minded, tolerate stress well and are masters of their emotions. They enjoy problem-solving and investigating facts. Lawyers also are agile with some right-brained activities, such as expressing themselves.
  • Accountants. These numbers people dive into financial records and taxes, using logic and analysis, while remaining detail oriented. At the same time, they are strong at reasoning and comprehension, especially when it comes to the processing of sequential information.
  • Computer Programmers. These professionals use computer code and language to write software programs. Programmers are analytical and detail oriented, and do well when challenged with complex problems to tackle.

If you’re reasonably confident that you’re right-brained or left, or a balance of the two and want to delve further into suitable careers, a variety of online resources are available to help. O*NET OnLine (, features a database of occupations, sorted by categories like knowledge, interests, work values and styles. Another resource, CareerOneStop (, offers up a rich assortment of assistance, from self assessments to career descriptions and career planning tools, to tips on resume writing and networking.

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