Einstein can’t do Mathematics?

Can the Myers-Briggs personality test help guide you towards a fulfilling career?

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) assessments are used to categorise people into psychological types based on answers to a set of multiple choice questions. Theories about psychological types are based on a book by Carl Jung who suggested that we experience the world using four principal psychological functions: thinking, feeling, sensation and intuition.

I first encountered the Myers-Briggs personality test, as part of an internal performance review, whilst working as Online Marketing Executive for DFDS Seaways. Since then, I’ve completed the test a number of times and each and every time I come out as an ‘INTP’.

  • Introversion (I): INTPs prefer to socialise with a small group of close friends.
  • Intuition (N): INTPs tend to think about the big picture, rather than focusing on every tiny detail.
  • Thinking (T): INTPs are logical and base decisions on objective information rather than subjective feelings.
  • Perceiving (P): INTPs like to keep their options open and feel limited by structure and planning.

Courtesy of About.com

I mentioned personality tests, briefly, in my earlier post about going back to university and I can laugh about it now but, only a couple of months ago I was all set to commit myself to a three year university degree based almost entirely on the results of a personality test! I have to admit that, since my first encounter, I have become a little obsessed with them in their various forms. I have been known to get potential partners to complete the test to find out whether we’re compatible but, I’m pleased to report that, so far, I’ve stopped short of joining some of the online cult-like communities.

A couple of months ago I thought the Myers-Briggs concept was a water-tight strategy for deciding which direction to take my career, especially considering I could really identify with some of the online descriptions of an INTP. However, what I have never really been able to identify with is the list of suggested careers and any reference to being a genius or ‘being found in higher levels of academia’?!

Suggested Careers (Taken from Keirsey)
They store huge amounts of information in their heads and can analyse problems with great insight. They are often drawn to professions where they can be their own bosses, such as optometrist, plastic surgeon, neurologist, or scientist. They may become lawyers, architects, or financial analysts. Many are found in the higher levels of academia in such fields as archaeology, chemistry, philosophy, or mathematics. They may show a strong creative bent as a musician, inventor, or photographer. Some restore antiques or old cars.

Over the last couple of months, since reading Screw Work Let’s Play, I still believe my core personality falls loosely in to the INTP category, however: my IQ is most definitely lower than Einstein’s, he and I grew up in a very different times and our personalities, no doubt, have been influenced by many other different factors.

In contrast, what the process has helped me to understand and really absorb is what doesn’t motivate me which, has enabled me to really focus on my strengths when considering where to take my career. Like most INTP’s, I’m creative, I’m drawn to being my own boss, I’m good at generating ideas and analysing problems.

So, to conclude, I think personality tests such as Myers-Briggs, Wealth Dynamics and some of the many others out there can provide a very useful insight into what drives you at a very basic level but, and it’s a very big BUT, we’re all individuals and the magic formula for ultimate career happiness cannot, sadly, be worked out by a set of standard questions.