Discover Your Personality

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® and Careers for ISFJs and ENTPs.


In this issue we'll look at two types and specific jobs for both. The purpose here is not to list all the jobs that might be interesting. Instead, we're going to focus on what about the jobs is appealing to both types. I picked opposite types to illustrate the differences and why one career could appeal to one type yet be a poor choice for another.

We'll start with ISFJs. I selected nurse as a career to illustrate good job characteristics for ISFJs. If you're an ISFJ and never wanted to be a nurse, that's okay. The point is to see what characteristics of the job make it appealing to this type.

What are some of the aspects of nursing that appeal to ISFJs? Well, nurses often work in large, stable organizations with a clear hierarchy, plenty of rules to be learned, and in support of people. Nurses provide care and comfort to those in need. The work can be less prominent than that of physicians, which appeals to ISFJs and their desire to be number two and out of the limelight. Nurses often have a lot of patient contact, but it's in a structured and limited way. The ISFJ nurse usually does not have to reveal a lot of personal information about him- or herself to the patient. The conversations with patients tend to follow a set pattern and to repeat (e.g. how are you feeling). Nurses have to learn a lot of standardized procedures and facts about medicines, treatments, courses of diseases, and more. There is often a right way and a wrong way to perform a procedure, so the ISFJs will quickly learn what works and what doesn't. This is factual, here-and-now information, as opposed to some distant theory. Having a good knowledge of facts while paying careful attention to details, combined with a warm and personable style is an advantage in nursing. Likewise, the structure and schedule appeal to ISFJs. Many ISFJs are good organizers, and have a strong sense of duty and commitment. They frequently like the idea of a fixed start and finishing time for work, instead of a "work until it's done" kind of schedule. However, their sense of duty will often compel them to do just that: stay until the job is finished. Many ISFJs are quite loyal, respect tradition, and frequently are the people who keep things running smoothly behind the scenes.

Now let's contrast this profession with one that is appealing to ENTPs: photographer. What is it about this job that makes it a good match for ENTPs?

Well, many photographers are self-employed, which has inherent appeal to ENTPs. If you're the boss, you don't have to do lots of things you're forced to do as an employee, such as go to long, boring meetings. Photography is a combination of art and science. There are few rules. Many ENTPs are non-conformists who chafe at rules and structure. Sure, there are laws of physics one must adhere to for properly exposed pictures, but the photographer has tremendous freedom in composing the picture. So the creative, improvising, rule-breaking part has free reign in many kinds of photography. Many ENTPs like technology and gadgets. Photography is full of both. Photography can provide variety and excitement, depending on the field. Wedding photography is probably lower on that scale, while advertising likely has a lot more. Many ENTPs enjoy interacting a great deal with people from all walks of life. Being independent and competent is often a goal for ENTPs. Innovation is quite appealing to them. Unlike our ISFJ friends, ENTPs generally dislike details and prefer to leave them to someone else. Instead, they tend to be more action-oriented and focused on the outside world of ideas. Starting new projects energizes them, and they are quite comfortable with complexity.

The message to consider in both these cases is the pattern these careers illustrate. The specifics of the individual job can vary. It's more about the kinds of things a person has to do, the setting, the amount of structure, and the people you work with than about job A or B.


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