Discover Your Personality

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® and Careers for ISTPs and ENFJs


In this issue we'll look at two personality 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 appeals to each type. I picked opposite types to illustrate the differences and why one career could appeal to one type yet be a poor choice for another. Other combinations have been covered in past newsletter issues.

We'll start with ISTPs. For this type I selected the career of electrical engineer. What makes this career attractive for ISTPs? Some of the factors include practical application of science, the reliance on data and facts versus feelings, technical know-how, use of tools, and hands-on and sensory experience. A focus on details is important, as well as a firm grounding in the necessary skills. While ISTPs can learn theory when needed, they are more often attracted to the application of that knowledge than its pursuit. They tend to be more craftsman-like in their work as opposed to a researcher. ISTPs often enjoy pragmatic problem solving work, particularly if it involves critical analysis of facts. When studying electrical circuits, it matters little how a circuit "feels." More important is the ability to focus on complicated details and follow the pattern to find the error or logical next step. Being realistic is important. Idealism and fantasy are not required. The idea of building or producing a tangible product is often attractive to ISTPs, who can take pride in their achievements. Many are curious folks, who enjoy learning how things work, and how to use them for practical purposes. Many are also keen observers, which is a real advantage in working with highly detailed materials. As you can see, many of these factors are real advantages when working as an electrical engineer.

Let's contrast the above with a career suitable for an ENFJ: minister. I purposely picked a career that was not a normal office or corporate job. It's true that ENFJs show up in those careers as well. This time we're going to look outside the box that many people create for themselves when thinking about career possibilities.

Now this is a career some might never consider. However, there are good reasons it works for ENFJs. For example, ENFJs tend to be warm, sympathetic types. Often, they are good at organizing people, things, and events. They usually have a strong orientation towards people and their intellectual, spiritual, and emotional development. Compassion and energy are two other words often used to describe ENFJs. Many are good at promoting harmony and fellowship, and can be quite tolerant of a variety of opinions. Many are enthusiastic and work quite well with groups. As a group, ENFJs are likely to be good at understanding and working with others. Others have a good grasp of possibilities (Intuition), which can help them counsel others and solve problems. Many are charismatic communicators and public speakers, able to connect with many different people. They can be quite persuasive and influential and can be excellent leaders. ENFJs are usually quite comfortable dealing with abstract subjects (such as god). After reading the above, you can see how these qualities could be a real advantage for a minister. Helping people grow and develop frequently creates great satisfaction for ENFJs. Note the great contrast with the previous occupation of engineer. Ministers provide a service that is quite different from engineering work, which is one reason it's a good choice for ENFJs.

You might be one of these two types and never have considered either profession. That's perfectly okay. It's more important to see what makes these jobs attractive to these types. If you ask enough people, you're bound to find every type represented in every profession. For example, one study on Protestant ministers showed about 0.6% were ISTPs, while ENFJs made up about 16% of the group. Conversely, in a study of electrical engineers, around 9% were ISTPs and about 2% were ENFJs. Again, finding a career that matches your interests is more important than picking one from a list for your type.


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