Myers Briggs: an eye opening assessment

By 10:53

Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is a personality type indicator that is taking the corporate world by storm. Everyone is doing it these days to help people identify their personality types and understand how to best work with other personalities. I find these things so fascinating but recently it actually served as a personal eye opener for me.

I always felt like I didn’t fit in with my work colleagues from personality to type of work that we do. It wasn’t until our team did one of these assessments and when we were sorted into our personality types that I realised, sitting in a corner, that I am the odd one out in my department.

And then today, when I announced to a group of people, I hadn’t met before, that my type is ENFP, the questions about why I’m in audit kept coming up. Why, is a free spirit like me, in a role that values detail, structure and rational thought?

I was one of those “intelligent” kids. I was good at all my academic subjects from mathematics to drama. So naturally, I wanted to do everything after I was done with school. I wanted to be an actor. I wanted to be an astronomer. I wanted to be a journalist. I wanted to be a mathematician. And of course, career guidance, is all about people telling you to go into a well-paying profession that you’re good at. A job is a job – no one is supposed to like it anyway. So what did I do? I graduated from university with a degree in applied mathematics and computer science.

And that is how I ended up stuck in an office full of by-the-book, quiet and focussed people. I’m competent in all the skills I need for my job and I do it well but there’s something inside me that just isn’t satisfied. Now I know why I value my life after work so much. I want a creative outlet on my blog and the fluid interaction with people that I don’t get at work.

Now that I know my personality and how it affects my interaction with other people, I can make better decisions. I know how to deal with being in a job that drains me. And I also realise the other avenues available to me – like switching careers or creating some sort of fulfilment either in my current job or outside of it.

We really should be using MBTI as career counselling at school. MBTI doesn’t talk about competence but it gives you a good idea on how to best use your strengths and overcome your weaknesses. With job satisfaction ranking high on people’s priority list, gone are the days when being good at accounting signals becoming an accountant. Now that I’m wiser, it makes sense – being good at English doesn’t mean you’ll love being a journalist – it sometimes just means that you’re just really good at reading and writing. Journalists require a whole other range of skills and being routine-driven might cause you to hate your job no matter how good you are at English.

Let’s start to groom kids into understanding their areas of strengths and weaknesses and how to gravitate towards a career best suited to them. If you’ve never heard about the assessment, go check it out -  It’ll tell you what you already know about yourself but it’s packaged in a very insightful way. 

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