This post was initially written more that a year ago when I was looking for jobs but now it has been updated after a very inspiring lunch discussion with a new friend and a like-minded person.
Some time ago a friend of mine has recommended me to complete a personality test. It's not just some average personality test. It is based on research started in 1971 by Carl Jung and developed further by Isabelle Briggs Myers in 1980. Sometimes companies would ask you to complete a similar test during the job application process (it actually looked very much like the test P&G asks you to do. Now I see why and what information they get about you).
So the idea is that each person can be characterized on four different scales: Intraverted vs Extraverted, Sensing vs Intuition, Thinking vs Feeling and Judging vs Perceiving. All the possible combinations generate 16 types of personalities. You complete a test that takes about 12 minutes and get a great 8 pages description of your personality that for me has proved to be so true that it hurts.
The reason why I've found this test so exciting is that some time ago during a job search process I was going through a hard self-reflection process. First of all, they always ask you about your strengths and weaknesses. It's a question that I never know how to answer. Then they also ask you about what you want to do in 5 years and I always feel very guilty when I say that I don't really know, that I just want to explore my passions and feel good. Another question with a similar answer is why you have chosen exactly us (company, function, role, industry whatever else). It always get very specific.
My problem is that I don't like bullshitting. I mean, I like it but only in the good sense, for the sake of fun. Otherwise I like being honest. The last year has shown that when I get to be myself, I thrive. And I believe that every person is actually like that. That's when we pretend to be someone who we are not the real problems start.
So I hate answering these interview questions in the way I'm expected to. I want to tell the truth. Then I tell the truth that I have a very broad range of interests and could possibly work in a bank or in the industry, in a small company or in a large one, with risk analysis or board game testing. I am just curious. About pretty much everything. Put me into a dynamic environment with nice colleagues and I will love it. I do have the skillset to do this job. And I am gonna be passionate about it until it gets suuuuuper boring. But they tell me: "There is a huge difference between liquidity risk and credit risk. You don't know what you want" and I get a rejection. Then I get depressed because I get a feeling that I don't know what I want. And then it goes in circles.
Anyways, so I did this test and it gave me all the answers to why I am feeling like this. Actually, not as much to "why" but more to "what to do with it" question. The way your personality is described in the results just makes you appreciate yourself exactly the way you are. Because there are so many nice things about you that deserve to be appreciated and because your weaknesses are apparently normal to the people of your type AND can be worked on.
The trick is to know who you are and make use of it.
“Can't I fly helicopters AND be an oceanographer who writes songs and cooks?” It's a big world out there - perhaps even a little too big. ENFPs are fascinated by new ideas, both in terms of developments in fields they are already familiar with, and when new subjects come along. The trick for people with the ENFP personality type is to take advantage of this quality, this wonder with the magnificent breadth and detail in the world, and to use it to propel themselves further and deeper than others are willing or able to go."
WHY has no one ever told me that this is normal? Or at least if it's not normal, that it happens to about 7% of the world population?
Another thing I have also felt a bit guilty about is that fact that in a job I always seem to appreciate the people around me more than the job itself. And saying that out loud really sounds like a bad answer to the question "What did you like most in your latest job?". The truth is that I like the people I worked with so much that now, 1,5 years later I hardly remember what I was doing in that position. But I certainly remember how great those people made me feel. Is it wrong? Was I bad in what I was doing? Certainly not! But probably a recruiter that likes putting people into (mutually exclusive) boxes will not like that answer. And the reaction you will get to your honest answer will make you feel really shitty. You actually have to find someone who will tell you this:
“ENFPs are people-people, and as far as the workplace is concerned, this quality shows through best among colleagues. More than just coworkers, ENFPs view their colleagues as friends, people who they take a genuine interest in, providing support and cheer when they're down or stressed. People with the ENFP personality type possess warmth, creativity, and an open-mindedness that makes them excellent listeners. If these qualities are recognized by their employers, they will always be able to count on their ENFP employees to innovate and boost morale."
To cut a long story short, if you have any unanswered questions about yourself (be it about your career, friends or romantic relationships), I suggest you do this test. It might give you some answers and tell you there are heaps of qualities other people appreciate about you. You will enjoy it.