February 13, 2017

What Career is Best for You?

Yael Morowati

Does your current job fit your personality?  Are you satisfied with your company or are is your professional life in need of a little tweak?  Spring cleaning is just around the corner so you may also be in the perfect position to let go of something old that isn’t working for you.  If you’re looking to make a positive shift in another direction, then you’ll want to take the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) personality test.  Chances are you’ve already taken it, as an estimated 2 million people take the test every year. 

Although the MBTI has several competitors, it’s deemed the gold standard of psychological assessments. The test is a multiple-choice questionnaire designed to indicate psychological preferences in how people perceive the world and make decisions.  More than 10,000 businesses, 200 government agencies, and 2,500 universities in the United States use the test. Today, 80% of the Fortune 500 and 89 of Fortune 100 companies use it to analyze the personalities of their employees in an effort to help them operate more effectively with fellow colleagues, identify strengths and weaknesses, and succeed in their internal organizations.

The MBTI traces its history to 1921, when  Carl Jung, one of the most famous psychologists of the 20th century and a Swiss psychiatrist, published his theory of personality types in his book Psychologische Typen.  Jung became well-known for his work in psychoanalysis and close collaboration with Sigmund Freud.  Jung speculated that there are four principal psychological functions by which humans experience the world – sensation, intuition, feeling, and thinking – and that one of these four functions is dominant for a person most of the time.   In 1926, Katharine Cook Briggs and her daughter, Isabel Briggs Myers extrapolated their MBTI theory from Jung’s writings.

According to Myers-Briggs, personalities are classified along four distinct axes: introversion vs. extraversion, sensing vs. intuition, thinking vs. feeling and judging vs. perceiving. A person, according to their hypothesis, has one dominant preference in each of the four pairs.  According to this mother-daughter duo, everyone fits one of the 16 possible combinations.

Extroverts learn best by talking and interacting with others. By interacting with the physical world, they can process and make sense of new information. Introverts prefer quiet reflection and privacy. Information processing occurs for introverts as they explore ideas and concepts internally.

Sensing types enjoy a learning environment in which the material is presented in a detailed and sequential manner. Sensing types often attend to what is occurring in the present, and can move to the abstract after they have established a concrete experience. Intuitive types prefer a learning atmosphere in which an emphasis is placed on meaning and associations. Insight is valued higher than careful observation, and pattern recognition occurs naturally for intuitive types.

Thinking types desire objective truth and logical principles and are natural at deductive reasoning. Feeling types place an emphasis on issues and causes that can be personalized while they consider other people’s motives.

Judging types will thrive when information is organized and structured. Completing assignments gives them closure. Perceiving types flourish in a flexible learning environment in which they are stimulated by new and exciting ideas. Judging types like to be on time, while perceiving types may be late and/or procrastinate.

Although Myers-Briggs is a widely used test, it’s also important to consider doing what you love and several other factors when shifting your perspective with regard to your career.  This is merely an extra tool in your toolbox to be used when needed.  I’ve personally taken this test half of a dozen times in a little over a decade and have found that my results haven’t shifted that much. So, whether you take the test today or tomorrow, chances are that having more information about yourself will help point you in a clearer, more focused direction.

After taking the test, refer to Truity’s personality infographic for ideal career recommendations according to your personality type.

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