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Personality Types and The Quest for The Ideal Job

personality types
19 Apr 2014, by Prof. Chandra Kant in Blog

When people quit after working for only a few months in a job, with the hope of find their ideal job in future,  some of the reasons they cite are listed below.

  • I was bored!
  • I was overworked!
  • It was not what I was promised!
  • The organisation is not good!
  • I did not like the profile!
  • I could not handle the job!
  • My boss was not good!
  • The culture is not good!
  • The salary is too low!

Typically we join a company because of 3 reasons:

  • Job Profile (what we do in the company now and will do in the future),
  • Company Brand (which improves our personal branding and provides longevity in employment because the company is doing good)
  • Salary (which allows us to satisfy some of our needs).

We give “salary” the highest priority when starting our career, then “brand” and last, the “job profile”.

Most of the reasons listed above for quitting are emotional and related to what we are expected to do (job profile). We are capable of hard work if we are motivated. If there is a future in the job, we remain motivated.  We find something to do if we are bored. We can tolerate or handle our boss if we want to stay. We will take a low salary (within reason) if I enjoy the work and there is future growth. However, hard work is not s substitute for enjoying our work. We stick around if we enjoy our work.

What creates enjoyment at work?

If I look at the reasons above, I also see issues of personality clashes. For example,

  • when the job requirement does not fit my personality
  • the company culture does not fit my personality
  • I have a personality clash with my boss.

The clash is also about what I do, compared to the expectations by the company and by my boss about what I am supposed to do.  What I do is determined by what I am… in terms of my personality.

The Myers-Briggs Test (a simple version of the test can be found here) analyses us in terms of our extravertism or introvertism, whether we use our 5 senses to gather data or our intuition, whether we use logic or emotions and how much data do we need to make decisions. Evidently, certain jobs require certain personality types.

For example, I am an INFJ. By definition:

INFJs are idealists. They work hard, but are stubborn about their ideals and the type of work they would like to be doing. They’re also often unconventional, complex, and warmly interested in people. They are insightful, perfectionistic and principled. Typical careers for such people are: teachers, counselors, artists. They are the rarest type in the population.

Here is another site that explains more about MB personality types.

More details of personality type, careers and relationships can be seen here. The same site talks about careers related to each personality type. Another site that talks about careers for certain personality types is here.

So according to the analysis, I am good in advisory roles and am good as a consultant. If I am asked to execute a project within a given deadline, I may not do a good job. Similarly, I can help in a sales process, but cannot be made directly responsible. I can theorise, understand others’ issues and can give advice, linking a lot of possibilities and perspectives. I would be successful in such careers.

A stakeholder may tell me to go into Information Technology Sector and run a software project because the company profile is good or the salary is good. It does not mean I will do a good job at it.  I may be technically capable of fulfilling my duty, but that is what it will be: a duty, not a joy.

Nor am I a chameleon. I may be a good actor, but actors change personalities for a short period, not 8-12 hours a day for the rest of their lives. hence, we cannot say that we will behave in a way that is contrary to our intrinsic personality. That is very strenuous.

To summarize, if we do not know who we are, and therefore what is it that we would enjoy doing based on our personality, can we really adjust all the time to the environment and live a life of “quiet desperation?”

———–

Myers Briggs Test is one way of looking at personality. The way we see the world (that is, the filters that we have) is another way of looking at our personality. Such filters comes in the ambit of Neuro-Lingustic Programming (NLP.) An example of this is given here. Taking some aspects of this methodology:

If I are motivated “away from” which means avoiding pain / “stick” rather than “towards” which means going towards pleasure / “carrot”…then I cannot be a sales person, because a sales person is motivated by what he will get, not what he wants to avoid.

Time referencing is about whether you remember and stay in the past or we are more focussed on the future. Again, people who focus on the future tend to be better sales people than those who stay in the past – who are better in operations since they remember the mistakes or past precedences to determine what to do next.

———–

The Cattell’s 16PF personality type also gives some indication of our personality in 16 aspects. An on-line questionnaire can be filled here. However, its relationship to careers is not readily available in the public domain.

Chandra KantProf. Chandra Kant is a Professor at IBA and has over 25 years experience in Strategic IT implementation for the Banking and Financial Services Sector. He has held the post of Head, Asia Pacific Technology for Credit Suisse, CIO of JM Group, Head of Financial Services in Perrot System India, Vice-President in Merril Lynch and Head of Marketingin Quintegra Solutions. He has been consultant to various companies advising them on Technology and Strategic Alignmwent.

 

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