Choosing the Right Career using the Myers - Briggs Type Indicator

Joseph Kolezynski, B.B.A., M.B.A.

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Today we are living in an ever changing world. The idea that a person chooses a career and exits that career 30 years later is no longer true. More often than not we hear, "This isn't the way it's supposed to be and certainly not what I ever had in mind" being echoed by adults who are finding their careers in a direct collision with their former expectations. Millions of adults caught in career shock and career collision are being forced to refocus, to restructure, and to change careers with little real insight, direction, information, or workable strategies. For many of these individuals, who were already unhappy in their chosen career, this reality presents an opportunity, to choose a career they will enjoy -- provoking them to ask themselves the question, "How can go about choosing a career that I will like?"

A tool that many career counselors are using to help individuals answer the above question is the Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) test. The MBTI designed by Katherine Cook Briggs (1875-1968) and her daughter, Isabel Briggs Meyers (1897-1980) provides clients insight into understanding their interests and how they may wish to live their lives. The test is based psychologist Carl Jung's (1875-1961) theory of psychological types. According to Jung, the differences in the way people use their minds results in predictable and differing patterns of normal behavior -- the MBTI categorizes these differences into 16 personality types that define an individual's preferences.

People choose occupations for many reasons including challenges, money, location, family encouragement, influence of charismatic teachers, desire to serve others, opportunity for leisure time, and liking for co-workers. The basic assumptions behind using the MBTI for career selection is that one of the most important motivations for career choice is a desire for work that is intrinsically interesting and satisfying and that will permit use of preferred functions and attitudes, with relatively little need for using less preferred processes. Once an individual understands their MBTI preferences, they can begin to build a picture of an "ideal job" that would let them fully use their preferences, with relatively little demand on their less developed processes and attitudes. Even though no occupation provides a perfect match between type preferences and work tasks, good occupational choices can prevent major mismatches.

When there is a mismatch between type and occupation, individuals usually report feeling tired and inadequate. According to type theory, the mismatch causes fatigue because its is more tiring to use less-preferred processes. A mismatch also causes discouragement, because despite the greater expenditure of effort, the work product is less likely to show the quality of products that would develop if the preferred process were utilized. Tasks that call on preferred and developed processes require less effort for better performance, and give more satisfaction.

For information on individuals in your area qualified to administer the MBTI call The Association for Psychological Types at (816) 444-3500. For information on publications and workshops on careers and MBTI types contact The Center for Application of Psychological Types at (800) 723-MBTI.

07/26/98

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Joe Kolezynski holds a Masters in Business Administration and is CEO of the Ascent Consulting Group serving the corporate and sports community while completing requirements for a Ph. D. in Sports Psychology at the University for Humanistic Studies in Solana Beach, California. Joe can be contacted by phone at (619) 457-4425.

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