Paul Tieger, expert on personality typing and author of "Do What You Are," chatted with Boston.com users on Monday, Feb. 11, on choosing a career that fits your personality type. Here is the transcript.
Boston_com_Moderator: Hello everyone, and welcome to the chat with Paul Tieger, author of "Do What You Are" and expert on Personality Type. Paul is here to answer your career-related questions today.
Boston_com_Moderator: Welcome, Paul!
Paul_Tieger: Hi everyone! Welcome to the chat!
Lisa__Guest_: Currently, I am a legal secretary and am in school for Bachelor of Science in Leadership. According to Myers Briggs I am a ESFP. Any recommendations?
Paul_Tieger: Hi Lisa, Knowing you are an ESFP is a good start, but I'll need to know a lot more, such as what do you REALLY like to do?...any careers that you've already considered and why they appeal to you?
j990__Guest_: Is there a personality type for people who think they know everything when they in fact know nothing about how a business should run? And how come these types of people always end up in management?
Paul_Tieger: Hi j, good question. Well, there is no ONE type who is a know-it-all, but some type do gravitate to positions of authority because they have both a global vision and the ability to analyze thing logically...these folks are usually VERY confident, but their greatest weakness is often their inability to see their weaknesses!
Fennel__Guest_: Hi Paul -- how important is my relationship to my boss in my career? I love my company but constantly butt heads with my boss. I don't know if I can stick it out anymore under him. Should I look elsewhere, or talk to one of the higher-ups in my company? Should I just stick it out?
Paul_Tieger: Hi Fennel,
Paul_Tieger: One's relationship with his or her boss depends on many things, but from a Personality Type perspective, it usually matters much more to Feeling types, than Thinking types...do you know which one (as a result of taking a type assessment(, you are?
Paul_Tieger: Message to all chatters: My particular expertise is in helping people make satisfying and successful career choices by considering their Personality Type - not the ONLY, but a VERY important factor in each. I don't think that generic advice is particularly useful - after all, we're ALL different, right?...So the first step is discovering your personality type...then the rest becomes MUCH easier.
curious__Guest_: Hi Paul, is there a personality type that's naturally more likely to succeed? I have to imagine that many CEOs and elected officials have similar personality types.
Paul_Tieger: Success is a VERY relative term! Many people define it differently based on their own values. For some, success means money and power, to others (like Lisa, perhaps), it means making a difference in the world. To still others, it's living every moment to the fullest, and to still others, it's doing what's expected of them...having a stable job, providing for their family, etc. Different Personaltiy Types and Temperaments, have different core motivations and drives - one of the reasons knowing your type is so important in finding a satisfying career...
Kellbell__Guest_: I have recently finished reading Do What You Are, third edition, and understand that you have a more current one. Any employment trends of note?
Paul_Tieger: Yes,s there is a 4th edition of Do What You Are (thanks for reading the 34d, by the way!. In a nutshell, most of the new trends involve changes due to the aging Baby Boomer population...as their enormous group turns 60, this affects all kinds of things like housing and healthcare to name two of the biggest ones.
KatieHal__Guest_: Having just been laid off a few weeks ago, I kind of feel like I've got an opportunity to really look for something that will be more satisfying and challenging to me. What are some good general resourcesor tips for really figuring out what sort of career a person might pursue? Oh, and I'm ESFP.
Paul_Tieger: Well, (no surprise here), I'd recommend that you start by reading Do What You Are. Not ONLY a shameless plug, but I honestly feel it is the best book available for helping people make good decisions and factor in their type. If in fact you ARE an ESFP, you probably don't like to read very involved, technical books - rather those that are easy to digest, provide real, practical, easy-to-use, test advice. That's what we've tried to acomplish in Do What You Are.
Pyrra__Guest_: Hello! I'm an INTJ. Do you have any recomendations for careers in the social sciences? I'm very analytical, but horrible at math, chemistry, and "hard" sciences. Thanks!
Paul_Tieger: Knowing you're an INTJ is a HUGE advantage, in my opinion. But all INTJs (like all types) are unique. So, it's important to know what kinds of things INTEREST you before I can give you any specific advice. If you were give me a list of a few things you're considering, I could tell you - from a "type" perspectie whether they would probably be a good fit, and why.
ppm__Guest_: Hi Paul, I am an INFP. I've read your book, but none of the jobs you listed for my personality type appeal to me. In fact, my current job, which I like, is on the list for the opposite type, ESTJ. My question is this: Is it better to build on one's strenghths, or strengthen one's weaknesses?
Paul_Tieger: Excellent question! We list about 80 possibly satifying careers for each type, so the fact that NONE appealed to me thinks perhaps you have been mistypes. Is that possible? It is very rare for an INFP to really like jobs that appeal to ESTJs - anything's possibe, but I haven't seen that happen. Excellent question re: strengths. My answer is: career satisfaction occurs when you USE your natural strengths (so you already have those skills), AND to strengthen your weakness, but few people find satisfaction in jobs that require them to use their weaknesses a great deal. For example, a friendly outgoing Extravert, needs to be with people a lot! Focusing quietly on one task at a time (for a long period of time) might well drive them bonkers!...no amount of building is going to change that, Get my point?
Type_A__Guest_: Paul, as an employer, should I look to hire a variety of personality types or stick with one type?
Paul_Tieger: Good question and it depends on the tasks and functions you need from your people. Some types are decidedly better at some things than others. For example: if you have an accounting department where people have to pay a lot of attention to details, you "probably" want a Sensing type ("probably" because there are exceptions to every rule), and an Intuitive (someone who looks to the future and likes to consisder creative possibilities) in your marketing department. But we need ALL points of view to make the best, well-rounded decisons.
adam__Guest_: OK - are there common traits - personality traits that effective (or "succesful") leaders have?
Paul_Tieger: In my work with leadership development, I've found the key is "balance"...there ARE some types that gravitate to senior leadership positions - typically they are the Thinking Judging (TJ) types, but there are good leaders of all types...the key is using your strenghts and building competencies in your "blindspots"...an example: a logical, analytical, objective Thinking type may be a lousy leader if he/she doesn't develop their Feeling side and learn to be more sensitive to peoples' needs.
peggy__Guest_: Paul - how bizarre - i just logged on to see the boston weather. we were at the univ of hartford together in the 80s...i was chernak's assistant.
Paul_Tieger: Peggy, I remember you well - you were GREAT! Hope you're doing well...would love to catch up sometime! (sorry, the rest of you guys!)
a__Guest_: I've just made a career change from engineering into the education field, in particular school counseling. I'm an INFP. Do you think this move is a better fit for an INFP?
Paul_Tieger: My answer - theoretically - would be "yes", but the best expert is YOU!...I think that's why you made the change - because school couseling makes use of your most important gifts: empathy and perceptiveness about people and a strong desire to help (not to mention a need to do meaningful work!), while engineering requies a whole different set of proclivities and skills...good for you!
nppo__Guest_: Hi Paul -- I was wondering, what personality type are you?
Paul_Tieger: I'll show you mine, if you'll show me yours! Just kidding, I'm an ENFP (Extraverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Perceiving Type). How about you?
steph__Guest_: Hi Paul. What tests would you recommend for determining personality type as it relates to your career?
Paul_Tieger: In my opinion, taking the Myers Brigg Type Indicator (MBTI) or another reliable instrument are the most useful. But you all can quickly and accurately figure out your own types for free(BUT ONLY ONCE THIS CHAT IS OVER, PLEASE!) by logging onto www.personalitytype.com. It will also give you some great info on potentially satisfying careers, how to parent children of that type, and how love people of that type...good stuff, if I do say so myself!
nppo__Guest_: I'm an INFP -- i think ... although to be honest I change day to day :)
Paul_Tieger: Well, you might THINK or FEEL like you change every day, but I believe that type is inborn, and you've got that type your whole life. Need proof? If you (or anyone else on the chat) has more than one child, you know that they are not alike - even in utero!
KJ__Guest_: Paul, How would you relate the level of education and success in one's career? I am considering going back to school for a PhD in Computer Science and I am 27 years old. Sometimes I think I am little too old for it. It also involves spending 5-6 years in school for virtually no earning. These odds are making hard for me to make a decision! Is there anything I can turn to to get some motivation and decisiveness for resolving this!? I would really appreciate your opinion on this. Thanks.
Paul_Tieger: This is a big decision and I'd need to know a LOT more about your particular situation. I'd suggest you invest in an hour with a good career counselor - shouldn't cost you more than $100 tops - a good investment, given what's at stake, don't you think? Sorry I can't be more explicit - but without more info, it would sort of feel like "career mal practice"
Chicky__Guest_: Hi Paul, How important do you think it is to understand your personality type when searching for a job? And do you think it is unusual for personality types to change every few years?
Paul_Tieger: I think it is VERY important to understand your type! Having written five books on type, I better!...but seriously, I DO think, that while certainly not the ONLY factor, it is one of the most important! No, I don't believe people change their types, though there are many good reasons why they may LOOK different on type indicators every few years...sorry, not enough time to provide a thorough answer why, here.
steve_g__Guest_: paul, what the heck should i be doing with my life? i'm a project manager with a hi-tech company. i enjoy project management, but my passion is carpentry which isn't as lucrative. but with bills to pay, i feel stuck in my profession. help.
Paul_Tieger: Depends on lots of circumstances...your financial situation, obligations (kids, mortgage, parents, etc., age. If you possibly can, I'd advise you to follow your passion. First of all, you'll be happier and second, you're one luck dude if you even HAVE a passion to follow - most people don't! So, short answer is, I'd try to find a way...as far as we know, anyway, you only go around once (please let me know if you learn anything different with that regard) and good luck.
jpmura__Guest_: I am an ENTJ and work as a design engineer and have been doing so for 20 years. I feel now that I have to move on as my personailty type has makes the work dreadful to me. any thoughts?
Paul_Tieger: Sorry, but I'd need to know a WHOLE lot more about why your work is dreadful - whether you're and S (Sensor) OR and N (Intuitive)
concerned__Guest_: I have a friend who is basically treading water, and he doesn't know what to do. He has tried to go back to school but can't get accepted anywhere for the program he wants. I'm afraid he'll wallow in a part-time job in an industry he hates the rest of his life. Is there anything I can do to help him short of applying to jobs for him?
Paul_Tieger: Not sure why you're doing the work he or she should be doing...not judging here, just asking the question. If s/he can't make this happen for him/herself, then it raises some questions for me. It might make perfects sense why you're taking lead, of course...just raising the question.
Mark_2__Guest_: I am changing careers from computers to something to do with music like recording stage work or high-end audio, getting someone to hire you seems to be the hardest part for me, any sugestions
Paul_Tieger: This depends on lots of things...your age, mobility, proximity to recording studios, etc. If you can afford it, you might consider an internhsip with a company in an industry you want to break into...even an un-paid one, if you can afford it and it's a good enough opportunity
Mark_2__Guest_: I am an INFJ and sensing, music and audio is my passion and is where I am moving torward. Does that sound right?
Paul_Tieger: Sorry, not sure what you mean you're "an INFJ and sensing"...Sensing is not part of the INFJ type, so I'd need more clarity to attempt any type of recommendation
Lisa__Guest_: What type of jobs would you suggest for me as I am about to get my degree in Leadership?
Paul_Tieger: Any leadership job may appeal to sometypes, but others would definitely be happier using the same skills in a particular venue...for example, for one person, a not-for-profit organization that does "good works" is most important, for another person, more money-driven, ANY place might be just as satisfying...an important question to think about and discuss with others, I think
jpmura__Guest_: Paul, I am the guy that went from an S to a N through years of experience. I was able to break the bond of being a strong S and now have the freedom of the N. I feel like I should be running some big company, but being such a good design engineer, I often get looked over for promotions because my company doesn't want me to leave design.
Paul_Tieger: I think I understand your predicament, but (depending on your circumstances!), you may need to go someplace else where you are not sterotyped as only being a good design engineer...in reality, YOU'RE the boss of your future.
jz__Guest_: if you like your work, but have some very annoying co-workers, is it worth it to stay, or better to leave? this fellow is the sort that if he knows he bothers you, will only do this thing even more. how do you deal with the OTHER personality types? sometimes i think it's either him or me, but i don't think that's really my best option.
Paul_Tieger: A great question, and an opportunity to put in another plug for a fantastic book called The Art of SpeedReading People (oh, and I happened to write that one)...but it teaches you to SpeedRead (quickly understand) and SpeedREACH others (speak their language and become more persuasive)...there will ALWAYS be difficult people to deal with - SpeedReading can help enormously with all the important people in your lives at home and at work.
Paul_Tieger: Hey gang... I'm told we're about out of time...it really flew by for me and I hope I was helpful. Sorry if I didn't get to you questions, but as "general" advice, I'd recommend the following. First, determine your type - either through Do What You Are or from Personalitytype.com. Second, seek out a good career counselor - hopefully, someone who knows about type (ask him or her before), and third - try REALLY, REALLY hard to find a way to use your gifts...they're there for a reason!
Paul_Tieger: I thank you for your good, thoughtful questions and wish you all the very best. Paul
Boston_com_Moderator: Paul, thanks for the great chat, and thanks to all the chatters for the great questions!!
Boston_com_Moderator: And, if you're in the market for a new job, be sure to check out the Boston Career Expo this Wednesday, Feb. 13, at the Sheraton Boston
Boston_com_Moderator: And good luck in finding the career that's right for you.