When you are trying to change career, you do a certain amount of naval-gazing. After all how can you make a decision about what you want to do in life if you don’t really know yourself; your likes, dislikes, motivators and fears. Aldous Huxley had a few words to say about this; ‘If most of us remain ignorant of ourselves, it is because self-knowledge is painful and we prefer the pleasures of illusion.’ Deep.
There are many ways of getting a better insight into you and what makes you tick. One of these is Myers Briggs. I hadn’t done one of these for ages and it was interesting to see that nothing has changed in the last 15 years or so. I’m a ESFP – Extrovert Sensing Feeling Perceiving (although I’m borderline ENFP). Interestingly, my husband is almost the complete opposite to me; he’s an INTP. Explanations of the various personality types can be found here or here.
On reading the explanations, I recognise a lot about myself; I am motivated by other people around me and love social occasions (even though I can be quite shy with a new group of people, I’m desperate to be part of things). This part particularly resonated with me;
‘(ESFP)’s disregard for standard procedures will take the form of passive resistance and ESFPs usually develop many skills to annoy the people they blame for their loss of liberty. ESFPs are prone to neglecting time-limits and situations requiring organized goals; under such circumstances, ESFPs will become bored and restless, and will quickly develop a feeling of emptiness.’
That basically describes me in my last job as an accountant!
I know there has been a lot of discussion about extroverts and introverts over the past few years; there’s even been a book written on the power of introverts (currently sitting on my bookshelf waiting to be read). Like a lot of people I’m probably somewhere in the middle, with tendencies towards extroversion. I get energised by being around other people but I don’t necessarily like to be centre of attention. I find working from home on my own difficult (although working in an office can also be a lonely experience, as I’ve discovered in past jobs).
I also had a proper explore of this blog. Dilly-Tante has an interest in psychology (and has gone back to study it at postgraduate level at University). She has written a few posts on being a Scanner. It’s a term that’s been coined by Barbara Sher to describe a type of person that flits from one activity to another, never going deep enough to fully master it. I put my hand up to this one; I have the sewing machine and allotment books to prove it. I get very excited about new projects or ideas, but no-one would ever describe me as a ‘completer-finisher’.
There are also several websites and books which assist the career changer in finding their strengths. I did the online strengths survey on this website. And my top three strengths were: A Love of Learning (yep – see above), Curiosity and Humour. Now point me in the direction of a career that combines these strengths. Lowest in the list were Spirituality, Prudence and Perseverance.
None of this is going to change my life (or me). But I am enjoying a little delve into the world of self-knowledge and psychobabble. But maybe that’s because I’m a scanner?! And next week I’ll be exploring something different. Carp-fishing or jewellery-making perhaps…
Have you done a Myers Brigg test? Does it ring true?