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About Myers-Briggs® and Personality Types: Is there a "Home" and a "Work" Personality Type?


This question comes up frequently when discussing the Myers-Briggs: is my type different at home and work? The short answer is maybe. As many of you know, Jung theorized that type does not change during a person's lifetime. It will develop, and behavior will be influenced by the environment, but the four letters should stay the same. What about those who get different results on the test? Can there be a difference depending on the frame of mind a person is in when answering the questions? The short answer to that is yes.

A recent study asked 209 participants to take the Myers-Briggs Step II two times: once in "home" mode and another in "work" mode. The results confirm what many had suspected about how work influences people.

Surprisingly, there was no noticeable difference between Introversion and Extraversion in the study. There was a shift from Intuition to Sensing when going from home to work mode, although it was not that strong. There was a marked shift from Feeling to Thinking and from Perceiving to Judging when comparing home to work. There was a greater shift towards Sensing for men, and a greater shift towards Thinking for women. The work world seems to move people towards STJ and away from NFP. For those of you who are in the latter group, you likely understand why you sometimes feel like a chameleon at work, having to adjust yourself to fit the work place, as opposed to finding a workplace that fits you. You can read more about this topic in the Strong article below.

The authors of this study concluded the greater the difference between the home and work modes, the more dissatisfied people are with their jobs. This makes sense. It was interesting to note that stressful work environments increased the differences between the two results. It would appear that being under pressure tends to move people closer to the STJ pole of the scales.

Furthermore, remember that if your job requires certain behaviors of you, you might be so tired at the end of the day that you choose the opposite to recharge. For example, even Extraverts can get tired of being around people all day. They might behave as Introverts at home, just to recharge. Some might erroneously conclude they are actually Introverts who are acting as Extraverts at work. This does not mean they have two personalities; it's just that we use both sides of each scale all the time.


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