The MBTI is often used as a career counseling tool. It can be an effective way to explore strengths and blind spots leading to increased clarity around career choice. It is not meant to be limiting but often the findings are taken literally even if the individual is explicitly advised to see the exercise as explorative not prescriptive.
I know an INFJ who is a teacher by day and a bartender by night. It is true that her main occupation is in the field of education and that she is a very talented writer as well. Still, she enjoys being a bartender and does not “hate it” as some psych type websites might suggest. Steer clear of bartending! Too many details! Remember, you’re an introvert!
When using MBTI to discuss career choices, it’s important to tap into an individual’s essential motivation. For instance,many bartenders like the excitement of crowds and the party atmosphere. Some like the opportunity to create a new drink. Some like the idea of serving.
In the case of this INFJ, she likes bartending because she works for a high end catering company so she gets to see new places and beautiful buildings. She gets to practice the art of social chat, something that doesn’t necessarily come easily to many INFJ types, but she likes to work on it in this setting. She also likes to create drinks and serve them in a new way. Finally, she sees this as an opportunity to create balance in her life, and to step outside of intense, complex energy that comes with being an INFJ.
The take-away? The MBTI is an instrument that helps you identify career options that are likely to be a good fit. It can help you identify essential energizers in your cognitive make-up. I like to think of the career choices suggested for each type as the “favorite” in a horse race, not a storyline that will play-out exactly the same way for everyone of that type. Always leave room for the dark horse. It’s critical to tap into motivation. What makes you want to explore that job or career? A conversation with a counselor or coach can help an individual identify those factors.
Always look at assessments as an opportunity to learn more about yourself. They aren’t meant to tell you who you are but to help you find out what is true for you. Even if a job or career seems like a mismatch, take a second look because maybe it isn’t.
What career have you wanted to try but convinced yourself that you were the wrong type to pursue it?