Psychological type is the formal term given to Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung’s theory which is the principle behind the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. For some, use of the word Psychological may trigger thoughts of abnormality. In this instance, however, it’s about the strategies we use to process and address situations. Jung theorized that “Predictable differences in individuals are caused by the unique ways people prefer to use their minds.” (Brock, 1994). Identifying your own preferences plays an important role in identifying the career direction that’s right for you.
The impact of the poor economy has forced many people to change their career direction. As a Career Counselor, I worked with former Polaroid employees, many of whom had never been employed elsewhere and expected to retire from the company. A grant established by the U.S. Department of Labor provided funding for Polaroid workers to train for a new career. Some people welcomed the opportunity to branch out in a new direction, while others were at a complete loss about what to do next. However, once they began to connect their own interests and strengths with new work options, it was great to see my clients’ fear and concern turn into excitement and optimism.
In his December 19, 2014 article “20 Smart Moves for Career Changers in 2015”, published on careers.com, author Gilbert Dawson states: “Whatever the reason (for a career change), it is important to remember that, while you can always develop new skills, you can’t change who you are. That’s why it is vital to select a career path that will suit your personality, fulfill your professional needs and hopefully provide financial stability.”
After working in State government since graduating from college, I found myself in a situation similar to people from Polaroid. Working as a Career Counselor or Case Manager in State services is quite different from the private sector. My particular experience was not what employers were seeking. So, I began to explore new career directions.
Having always been fascinated with anatomy and physiology along with my interest in helping others, I enrolled in a Massage Therapy training program. Research on careers and personality type shows that massage is a field that individuals of my type often find appealing. Shortly after beginning the program, I realized that “hands-on” work is not for me. Also, being an Extravert, I probably would not shut up long enough for my client to relax! The MBTI and Psychological Type provide a broad range of options for each of the sixteen types. I learned that all of the careers I’ve considered are often appealing to my particular type. But, they are by no means the same type of work. I’ve yet to see a journalist offer a massage to someone if they agree to an interview! The MBTI provides insights, not answers, about the career that’s right for you. In the end, it’s up to you to decide the road you wish to take.