Personality Typing

Not sure who that ISFJ is in the bottom left.

Not sure who that ISFJ is in the bottom left.

The Jungian Myers-Briggs personality test is given a lot of credence by career professionals.  The coach I’m seeing asked me to take it.  Like a lot of people, I’ve had different results over the years.  When I was just out of college, I scored as an INFP, or ‘The Idealist.’  How fitting — the cruel realities of the world hadn’t hit me yet.  This type is actually similar to Barack Obama’s, which is ENFP, or ‘The Inspirer’.  When I took the test last year I was an ISTJ, or ‘The Duty Fulfiller.’  I took it a few different times here in the last few days, and scored ISFJ, i.e. ‘The Nurturer’ each time.  I took it once here and once here and both times was an ISTJ (it seems I’m on the border between Thinking and Feeling — it’s almost poetic).

It’s interesting to see how my personality has changed from a type that is known for shunning facts and analysis to one that shuns theory and fancy.  This depresses me a little bit.  Has the working world hardened me?  Yes, it’s true, I like organization and value predictability and routine.  I like to see the fruits of my labor.  I find it much easier to grasp details than the big picture.  Perhaps I’ve even become more conventional, as most ISFJ’s and ISTJ’s are.

Is this why I’m considering library science as opposed to a master’s degree in English?  I really like the idea of a job with concrete responsibilities — not broad, unclear objectives.  As much as I love reading fiction and engaging with subtext in literature and in life, I suppose I’ve become a lot more of a literal person. Facts impress me more than emotions.  Perhaps this is why, for instance, I can’t really get on the Obama-train (i.e. the enthusiasm that has swept the nation) although I *do* like him and will most definitely vote for him.

What do you think about personality tests: are they a source of penetrating insight, or a bunch of narcissistic hooey?

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2 responses to “Personality Typing

  1. RenaissanceTrophyWife

    Interesting post… love the matrix, btw. I think personality tests are most insightful when you analyze someone’s (or your own) reaction to being categorized. Does that make sense?

    Apparently I’m an ENFJ– say I didn’t like it (although I’m fine with it), I’d think about why I’m uncomfortable with that label and how my perceptions of my behavior may differ from what I actually say or do.

    Like a lot of things, I think they’re most helpful when you take them quasi-seriously. 🙂

  2. Pingback: Semi-Hungover Thoughts on Networking and the Weird World of Business « Parenthetical Thoughts

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