Friday, August 23, 2013


For my seminary class on Servant Leadership this summer, we’re taking a lot of self-assessments to better understand our spiritual gifts, aptitudes, temperament, etc.  This is in hopes of understanding our ideal areas of ministry service, but also to develop an awareness of how to interact with others who are and aren’t just like us.

One of these tests is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI).  I took this back in my freshman and junior years and FPU.  Both times I registered as an extreme ISTJ (Introverted Sensing Thinking Judging).  I remember so well because a fellow ISTJ at FPU that I also ended up working with in our first job out of college was shocked at how extreme my scores were in comparison to hers.

MBTI really seeks to avoid pigeon-holing people into a certain temperament type, but rather give general tendencies of one’s temperament, and that includes a list of potential careers that might suit that MBTI profile.

I took the test again last week.  I was just barely still an ISTJ per that test.  My “I” (introvert vs extrovert) and “T” (thinking vs. feeling) scores were still pretty weighted, but I was just off the center line on the other two categories.  The book we’re reading recommended following up the assessment be reading the eight classifications to affirm our calculated MBTI profile.  Surprisingly, my “I” and “T” scores were the ones I wasn’t so sure on anymore.  The descriptions of the other two (that calc’d in the middle range) seemed to describe me pretty well.

So I decided to look up the “what-if?”  MBTI offers a lot of descriptions on the 16 various profiles that exist.

Portrait of an ISTJ – Introverted Sensing Thinking Judging – The Duty Fulfiller

ISTJs have one character trait which puts them at a definite advantage in terms of career success - Perseverance. An ISTJ can do almost anything that they have decided to do. However, there are areas in which they will function more happily and naturally. An ISTJ will do best in a career in which they can use their excellent organizational skills and their powers of concentration to create order and structure. ISTJs seem to fit extremely well into the Management and Executive layer of the corporate business world.

Possible Career Paths for the ISTJ:
   Business Executives, Administrators and Managers
   Accountants and Financial Officers
   Police and Detectives
   Medical Doctors / Dentists
   Computer Programmers or Systems Analysts
   Military Leaders

Portrait of an ESFJ – Extraverted Sensing Feeling Judging – The Caregiver

The ESFJ has two primary traits which will help define their best career direction: 1) they are extremely organized and enjoy creating order, and 2) much of their self-satisfaction is gotten through giving and helping others. Accordingly, they will do well at tasks which involve creating or maintaining order and structure, and they will be happiest when they are serving others.

Possible Career Paths for the ESFJ:
   Home Economics
   Child Care
   Family Practice Physician
   Clergy or other religious work
   Office Managers
   Counselors / Social Work
   Bookkeeping / Accounting
   Administrative Assistants

I know that no temperament test is a complete or true picture of whom one is, but I found it pretty interesting that I’m probably more attracted to the breadth of the careers in the ESFJ list than the ISTJ list.  Blew my mind a little.  Maybe I have more extrovert tendencies in me than I thought.