Like many of us probably have, I’d taken the Myers-Briggs personality test before. I took it originally as a class project in high school and, though it was interesting to compare my type (INFJ, or so I believed then) to my schoolmates, I didn’t glean anything else from it at the time. It was another busywork assignment among the multitude of busywork assignments that I quickly finished and then moved on from.
It wasn’t until I recently found myself a college graduate with no successful job interviews (and thus stuck with the job that I find neither stimulating nor worthy of my time) that I began to rethink my dream job field. Do I really want to be a copywriter? Am I suitable candidate for a writing job at all? Through all of my time spent at college, four whole years of my life, I believed, as I had always believed, that I wanted to be a writer. I majored in English, took classes, read books, and wrote stories. But by the end, I, of course, realized that writing by itself would not get me the job that I wanted. Per my high school English teacher: “You can either teach or you can write with a degree in English.”
But writing isn’t lucrative these days, if it ever was. Anyone can write, as they say. And many, many people are. More than the market can handle, really, especially with the current and impending switch from hard copy to digital. And maybe I’m not cut out to be a good competitor in this field. I knew that I would need to have some other sort of career to make a living. As an introvert with mild social anxiety, I realized that writing for a career might be more difficult than I originally perceived. Newspaper writing? With interviews? That’s out. Copywriting? While wonderful, I found out after an internship that Copywriting = Writing + Marketing, an area that requires skill with social media and conversation. Out. And most jobs like these require extensive experience, regardless. So doing something in editing and publishing is difficult unless you know the right people. I don’t.
This all led me, of course, to a book. Much like Hermione, in Harry Potter, I like to go to the library when I’m stumped and need more information. (Though my library turned out to be Amazon.com.) This is where the book review portion of this post comes in.
Do What You Are
Discover the Perfect Career for You Through the Secrets of Personality Type
By: Paul D. Tieger, Barbara Barron, and Kelly Tieger
And I was once again re-intro’d to the Myers Briggs Personality Test. Except… this wasn’t so much of a test. Instead of a 20-questions-or-so test that tried to guess my personality type based on how I would react or feel in certain situations, I was allowed to evaluate all of the personality types myself and then choose the one that I felt most suited me. Even the process was enlightening, as I was forced to consider my thought process, both at work and in my social life, as well as my true wants and needs in the office. In the end, I figured out that instead of an INFJ, I am in fact an ISTP, nearly the opposite of the type I had always believed I was. (Perhaps, if I had known this before starting college, I would have realized how little I focus on the “Intuitive” in everyday life – a quality that a writer usually possesses.) But no worries! It’s never too late to begin again, and it’s not like I can’t be a writer anyway. Screw the test! Haha. But seriously though, better late than never. If you’ve ever felt as though your job might not be quite right for you – this book could re-evaluate your work life for you. And it might not even mean switching companies, rather merely switching roles within the company you work in to better fit your needs and goals in life.
Okay, enough rambling on about myself. This book covers each of the sixteen different personality types presented by Myers-Briggs, using four different categories:
1. Extroverted vs. Introverted,
2. Intuitive vs. Sensing,
3. Thinking vs. Feeling, and
4. Judging vs. Perceiving.
You can find detailed explanations, examples, and evaluations in the book, enough that by the end of it you should feel perfectly confident of which type you are as well as what that means for you and your career.
I also found a certain inspiration in reading this book. I’ve found that not everyone falls into the job that they want; I’m not alone in having gone to college for something that I may not need for my career. This book allowed me to feel happy with who I am and what I want in a career. It gave me the motivation to continue looking for the right career for me, and push myself to excel, gain the skills I will need, and live my life the way I want to live it. It’s never too late.
The only concern I had with this book is that it can be difficult to choose what they would consider your one right personality type. You have to have a sense of who you are, at least, and be able to identify whether your more of a thinker, say, than a feeler. It takes time and, though they warn about this and about how hard it might be to fit yourself into one category when you might feel like both a thinker and a feeler, it can seem like your trying to fit all of yourself into a category that might not completely define you. At the very least, it’s important to remember that your career choices are yours alone, and that it’s very enlightening even to read the other personality type chapters that you feel similar to, and therefore round out your career options a little more, and hone in on your personality and the career you might be good for. More than prescribing which career you should take, this book focuses on giving you all of the information necessary to form a better, more informative opinion on your career options.
Have you read any books that inspired you or changed your life goals lately? Let me know in the comments!
May your life have many creased pages,