“Long Lost Family”

OK Folks, did you happen to catch the other night’s episode of “Long Lost Family”
where the woman discovers that a co-worker is her birth mother?  The show“proves” a theory I’ve been seeing on for a while.  I refer to a theory of personality types where personality types “run” in families and result in similar careers and vocations showing up frequently in one’s family tree.The Holland Codes or the Holland Occupational Themes (RIASEC) lists 6types:
•    R = Doers (Realistic)
•    I = Thinkers (Investigative)
•    A = Creators (Artistic)
•    S = Helpers (Social)
•    E = Persuaders (Enterprising)
•    C = Organizers (Conventional) 
In the episode, titled “Your Mom’s Been Here the Whole Time” 40-year-old Jenny Thomas, spent 15 years trying to find her birth mother.  She signed up for help with the TV reality show and discovered that a co-worker, Nita Valdez, was her birth mother.  But here’s the thing.  When the two women were told (independently) that their family member had been found, they both had the exact same reaction.  In fact, they used the same words “is she happy.”  Both are hospital workers. Both caring and nurturing women, who by the way, actually liked each other as co-workers.
For some time now, in my work tracing personal and family histories I’ve noticed something interesting in the occupations and vocations of the folksI’ve researched; and that is, there are trends and patterns of vocational interests and personality traits within family.
I first picked up on this with my own family.  I was born out of wedlock and did not have any significant contact with my biological father until I was an adult.  Yet, in growing up, was constantly chastised by my mother for the things I did that were “just like your father” in her words.  I held my head like him, has similar reactions to him.  Even dressed like him. But all the time,never spent any time with him to learn these behaviors.
As I dug deeper, discovered that we both worked in similar industries.  He had worked as a mortician; I too had spent a lot of time around funeral homes.  In fact, 2 of my longtime friends are morticians.  I worked in a hospital for the criminally insane and one day while going thru some decades old records in an office I was setting up to use, discovered the records were from my father, who had worked in the same building before I was born.  He had worked with deaf, dumb blind children as a young adult.One of my first college jobs was on a hospital ward, caring for children with autism.  My point is, my father was a nurturing soul and though I did not grow up in his house – so am I.
There are some families, like my wife’s, that I label “entertainers.”   These folks’ family trees are filled with athletes, musicians, food prep and catering,singers and dancers.  For them to serve and entertain is “natural.”    The Holland list would call these “Creators. “
As I said in the beginning, this is NOT hard science.  But something to make you go hum.  What are the trends and patterns in your family tree?  If you were to draw your family tree and label the occupations and vocations of family members, would you have a tree of:
•             Doers
•             Thinkers
•             Creators
•             Helpers
•             Persuaders
•             Organizers 
Hum…Try it and post your findings.


  1. So much of our temperment comes from our grand parents. what did your grandparents do for a living?

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