Tuesday, May 13, 2008

You're rubber, I'm glue

A number of years ago I took a personality type test. For WORK.

It was a difficult time in our group, and the powers that were thought that the people in our work group should get typed to figger out just why there was so much dysfunction. We took some kind of long-assed paper test that was sent away to be 'scored' and 'interpreted,' which resulted in much speculation and trepidation among the members of our little group, thereby forging an alliance of common fear and anxiety. Our shared angst brought us together for a moment, and it was good.

Schadenfruede being what it is, we all revelled in the secret knowledge that the other people in the group were in for a real surprise once the results came in. I was personally convinced that one of the two people that reported to me was going to blow a total gasket when she got her readout, because she was convinced that she was the only hard worker in the group and that she deserved all awards and accolades that were being handed out, whether or not anyone else thought she deserved them.

Yes, we all circled around one another, griping collegially about the 'test' while all the time knowing that everyone else was farked for sure and that we were the lone shining examples of how rational people ought to be.

When the day came to meet and discuss the results, you could sense that if we were a pack of wild dogs there would have been a shitload of teeth-baring and growling going on, just in the process of picking out where to sit. "is this the right place to put my corporate ass? Is it dominant enough without being overbearing? Is the middle of the room the place where well-adjusted people sit? Am I doing this right?"

The thick envelopes in front of each of us held portents of either doom or glory, and the time had come to find out just who we were that we didn't know about, and to try to figure out how to mesh that unknown 'me' with the mysteries and vagaries of everyone else in our group.

As it turns out, the group manager and one of his direct reports were EXACT OPPOSITES, which explained why they couldn't get along for love or money, and perhaps went far to explaining why the report quit the giant monolith not long thereafter.

My boss was very different from me, but not incompatibly so. I recall that she was NOT terribly happy with the results of her test. I thought it captured her quite well, but harsh truths are about as easy on the psyche as constructive criticism.

My direct report was some incomprehensible jumble of letters that wound up spelling 'trouble,' and a year later she too was gone from the company in a mighty huff.

For the record, I was an ENTJ, aka "The Executive." I happen to think that this personality type fits me to a 't,' even the ugly bits. Except...one thing.

My curiosity got the better of me, I re-took the test, and it appears that in the 10 or so years since I took the first test, I went and changed type.

Now it appears I'm an ENFP, aka "The Inspirer." What? I CHANGED? How can this be? I'm stable as a rock, never-changing in my outlook, firm in resolve and ability to lead! I can't go and CHANGE! The "Inspirer? What is that, like , someone who BREATHES? That doesn't sound very exciting or rife with possibilities, now DOES it?

And so, because I was maybe a touch huffy about the Inspiring, I did a little research in just what it means to be an ENFP.

Oh, snap.

This little gem just about sums the new me up in a nutshell:

ENFPs are basically happy people. They may become unhappy when they are confined to strict schedules or mundane tasks. Consequently, ENFPs work best in situations where they have a lot of flexibility, and where they can work with people and ideas. Many go into business for themselves. They have the ability to be quite productive with little supervision, as long as they are excited about what they're doing.

When I read that, I had a CLEAR 'ah-HA!' moment, because, really! That is SO me.

Also this bit (bolding is mine):

Because they are so alert and sensitive, constantly scanning their environments, ENFPs often suffer from muscle tension. They have a strong need to be independent, and resist being controlled or labelled. They need to maintain control over themselves, but they do not believe in controlling others. Their dislike of dependence and suppression extends to others as well as to themselves.

Um, yeah. That is also an 'ah-ha' moment of gigantic proportion. I can see those traits manifesting themselves frequently...

There is much much more information available online about this new me, and I really want to spend all day reading about me, and how awesome and flawed I am, but that would mean I'm focusing on exciting things and not on the trivial drudgework that needs to be done, which is just so ME I just can't take it and so have to something OPPOSITE OF ME in order to fight the predictable me.

And I've just confused myself, and so will leave you now. I'm off to drudge a while!

Take the test yourself, and tell me who YOU are, won't you? And have a nice day.

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