Coming out of college, every graduate is confronted with the choice of a career.
Aside from financial aspects, one tries to choose a career path that suits him or her.
Some, being more open and outgoing, can easily engage people and coordinate them. Others, more introspective and prone to written, more than verbal, forms of communication, make great analysts. The unspoken supposition is that choosing a job suited for you will result in job satisfaction.
Employers especially know certain types of people fulfill some tasks better than others, despite having received identical training. It is a matter of personal features and innate abilities.
Numerous tests have been devised to determine what job each person would best fulfill.
The most widely used test by United States employers was the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI).
This test divided people into 8 personalities based on a series of features such as teamworking abilities, focus, outlook and decision-making. Then, the test mixed the personalities, renouncing the “ideal types” and becoming more flexible.
Another test was that elaborated by John Holland in 1959 and later developed by professor Terry Tracey. It separated participants into 6 types based on their interests and abilities, gaining the acronym RIASEC. In 1999, the United States Department of Labor even adopted the RIASEC test in order to help jobseekers gain a position suited for them.
While there is extensive scientific proof that certain key features have an essential – almost definitive – impact on career paths, the connection between career and personality is still debated.
MBTI especially, being the more popular test, has been repeatedly criticized as being the product of a number of MBTI-specialized trainers and coaches who insist on its relevance.
One of the problems of MBTI is that it ignores a person’s ability to deal with pressure and stress.
The two are basically permanent residents of a modern, competitive office.
Introverts are thought of as thinkers who move at their own pace, while extroverts are usually considered as not being organized enough to deal with deadlines.
Where does the effective difference lie? The test preferred to eliminate the problem altogether by simply ignoring it.
Above the relevance of personality types and future careers, an indicator of the larger domain of activity is naturally the studies taken in college.
That is the time when the preference for certain areas is discovered.
For example, a student of social sciences following the University of Glasgow obviously will most likely have a career in the humanities. In the same fashion, a student at the Lanier Technical College will develop the skills and abilities that are vital for more technical positions and domains, such as engineering.
Beyond technical skills, personality still remains the focus of career-oriented tests.
How one tackles challenges and deals with problems remains a problem of personality.
In 1999, a study by Judge et all. proved that personality is an indicator of career success and job satisfaction. The debate on the relevance of such studies, however, continued unimpaired.
There a few examples of people who have found their calling molded on their personality type.
Limor Fried runs Adafruit Industries, which deals in IT products and electronic kits. The MBTI would probably label her as an INTJ – an introvert, intuitive, thinker, judge. Organized, prepared, independent and pattern-oriented, she graduated MIT and founded her own company which prioritizes innovation and open-source data.
Scott Harrison of Charity was a marketing expert before he turned his life completely at the age of 30. He began using his marketing abilities as tools for humanitarian purposes. The same MBTI test would probably say about Scott that he is an ENFJ – extrovert, intuitive, feeler and perceiver.
Driven and spontaneous, he was able to handle the switch and bring aid to people in need. Scott did so because the same requirements of marketing – being friendly, open, people-oriented and cooperative – were also fitting for charity.
Personality types certainly hold a certain degree of truth and uncover key features about a person. Using those explicit features, one can guide him or herself to a job which has demands that can be fulfilled by that person. However, they are not definitive indicators of one’s path in life and nor can they ever be.
What’s clear is that personality types signal the way in which people prioritize and approach certain problems. This in turn makes them more suitable for certain jobs. A personality test therefore offers valuable guidance to a future career.
About The Author
This is a guest post by Amanda Wilks, an ex Boston University valedictorian and a regular guest blogger. She wants to inspire the reader to inquire deeper about and into oneself. Education and self-education are a life-long goal.