Personally, I love these suckers. I’ve even written a previous post on the topic: Fortune Cookies and Academic Horoscopes. One of the things people most often point out about the Myers-Briggs personality types is the inconsistency between taking it across time. For those of you who went and checked out my 2014 post, you might be surprised, given the class discussion, to discover that my Myers-Briggs “type” has been constant. I’m happy with who and how I am, and I don’t mind other people looking for those particular qualities in my work.
What is troublesome is the idea that this is the end all, be all of what I should be doing with my life. I don’t agree with the idea that all the “blues” should work over here, and all the “greens” and “reds” and “yellows” need to be similar grouped and marked off and isolated from developing meaningful connections and working relationships with people in other groups. But, that’s what seems to happen. We like categorizing and labeling ourselves, because it gives us a quick way to connect.
And this is not an inherently bad thing! We can look for similarities in others who are visibly different; it can be a way to connect beyond these observable surface features. But as we discussed in class, using them for employment reasons [and I’m not even getting into the potential discrimination around Disability or differences in cultural norms leading to bias] can be very, very problematic. Though some people might have a personality that leads them to specific areas, it should not hold that this is the end all, be all of what they can accomplish in life or work. Some people like to do the same type of work forever, and some people like to explre boundaries.
One of the things, at least with my experience, in engineering design is that we keep pushing the idea that you have to fail in order to succeed. That you have to try things that end up not working out, to learn from those experiences, and to keep moving. What happens when we decide that, if you have this “personality/this is your favorite color/you’re really this kind of snack chip”, all you should/can be doing is X type of work? What do we miss out with failing if we don’t even get to try out new things in the first place?
I know I would have absolutely hated being sorted into a specific group without the freedom to change and explore new things when I was a kid. If I was told that my future was all tied up in one single assessment that would decide what I would end up doing with my life. That’s where the danger of taking personality “quizzes” too seriously lies, I believe. They can become self-fulfilling horoscopes, because we have been led to believe that they always come true. I don’t want to be Prophecy Girl – maybe these things will happen, but I want to believe that I can have enough of an impact in my own life to make a difference.
Completely off topic
When I went back and reviewed the descriptors for my “top 5 Strengths” from the Gallup poll….I kind of realized that they pretty much perfectly encapsulate my Skyrim playing style. I tend to make sneaky mage characters who map out the world before really embarking through storylines. I ponder what would be the best course of action when presented with quests. I love “learning” new spells, collecting items (but seriously, I have containers full of gemstones, jewelry, and random pieces of gold. Because I can), and having a slow-but-steady plan to get through caves and forts, springing traps on my enemies to often hilarious visual results.
[Deliberative, Input, Strategic, Learner, Analytical].