Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Annotation - Do What You Are

A friend gave this book to me one day after I told him the nature of my study: Authenticity, Voice and Vocation. He said it was similar to the book What Color Is Your Parachute1 and in fact the jacket quote is from Richard Bolles, who wrote that book.

The two books are similar in that they are both career books, how to get the job you want in the career of your choice. The difference between them is that “Parachute” relies on stories you tell about your life to point out to you the patterns in your most fulfilling experiences in order to help you choose a job that will likely replicate those experiences, whereas Do What You Are relies on “personality type” which is an adaptation of the Meyers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) test developed in the 1940’s.

The MBTI is a personality test that uses a long list of multiple choice questions to determine where you fit with regard to four categories. The “Personality Type” adaptation in this book essentially does the same thing, but it uses a much shorter, anecdotal process to classify the reader using four areas of personality. Those classifications are:
- Introverts vs. Extroverts (“I” or “E”)
- Intuitive vs. Sensing (“N” or “S”)
- Thinking vs. Feeling (“T” or “F”)
- Perceiving vs. Judging (“P” or “J”)

Based on how you fit into these four classifications, you end up with a personality type identifier. Mine is “INTP” or: Introverted, Intuitive, Thinking, Perceiving. (As a side note, I took the MBTI about fourteen years ago with the same results.)

Acccording to Tieger & Barron, here are some of the characteristics of an “INTP”:
“INTP’s are conceptual probem solvers. They are intensely intellectual and logial, with flashes of creative brilliance. Outwardly quiet, reserved,and detached, INTPS are inwardly absorbed in analyzing problems. They are critical, precise and skeptical.”

INTP’s: “… are ingenious and original thinkers… prize intelligence… have a strong drive for competence and are interested in challenging other people to become competent as well. … are highly independent, enjoy speculative and imaginative activities, are flexible and open-minded, and are more interested in finding creative yet sound solutions than that are in seeing those solutions made into reality.”(Tieger 43)

I found this book very helpful as I examine the “Vocation” aspect of my study. There was great information on what types of environments to search for, including possible career fields that would be particularly well-suited to my personality type. They also presented excellent information on “blind spots” for a person of my personality type to avoid, such as dismissing the input of others who might not function in the same way, and getting frustrated with those who don’t “figure it out” as quickly.

Although it’s more of a resource book than the others in my study so far, it gave me good insight into myself, how I work, and ways I can use that information to build a more satisfying future, both in terms of employment and personal relationships.

Bolles, Richard Nelson. What Color is Your Parachute?: A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers. Berkeley: Books In Print, (c) 2008 R.R. Bowker LLC; Ten Speed Press Publisher Record, Oct. 2007.

Tieger, Paul D., and Barbara Brown. Dow What You Are: Discover the Perfect Career for You Through the Secrets of Personality Type. New York: Little, Brown & Co., 2007

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