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Monday, August 27, 2012

Getting to Work

By Patrick L. Kerwin, MBTI® Master Practitioner

Whether you are exploring a major or a career, the goal is the same: eventually getting to work! There are many factors to consider when exploring a career, or the major that will lead to a career—including your interests, values, and skills, and, of course, your MBTI® personality type! You can use information about your personality type to help you make a choice that will be a really good fit for you.

First, think about your preference for Extraversion (E) or Introversion (I). How much does the career you’re considering include your preference? When I taught a college Career Planning class, I would often hear students say, “I’m an E, and I love being around people and talking to people. So I’m going to be a marriage and family therapist!” And I would often say, “That’s great—except that as a therapist, you spend a lot of your time listening, not talking! How would that be for you?”

Now that’s not to say that people who prefer Extraversion can’t be therapists. But before making that career choice, they will want to think about what it would be like for them to operate outside of their preference (that is, in Introversion) for long periods of time. In addition, they will want to explore whether there are other ways to be a therapist that would allow them to spend more time actively interacting with and talking to people, such as being a community college counselor, or perhaps also teaching as part of their work.

Second, think about the middle two letters of your type. They will tell you a lot about how you’ll approach your career, whatever it is you do. If your two middle letters are:

• ST (Sensing and Thinking), you’ll likely want to work in a way that allows you to be practical and logical
• SF (Sensing and Feeling), you’ll likely want to work in a way that allows you to be of practical service to others
NF (Intuition and Feeling), you’ll likely want to work in a way that allows you to contribute to the growth and development of people or things
NT (Intuition and Thinking), you’ll likely want to work in a way that allows you to be strategic and contribute to the development of systems

When choosing a career, make sure that you’ll be able to express those two middle letters in your work.

And lastly, think about your preference for Judging (J) or Perceiving (P). If you prefer Judging, how much structure will be part of your career, and how much closure will you be able to get in your work? If you prefer Perceiving, how much will you be able to explore as part of your work, and how much freedom will you have to do things on your own schedule?

Join us Thursday, November 15th, 2012 for a free Ask an Expert webinar: MBTI® Type and Stress.

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