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Find your Passion

Finding Your Passion or What Makes a Job Right for You?

The Baby Boomers publicized the phrase, "Finding Your Passion." As a career counselor, I've known people to be quite concerned because they couldn't find their passion. Certain types of personalities resonate to this phrase while others don't.

The most passionate types are the Artisan Performer (ESFP) and Composer (ISFP) plus the Idealist Champion (ENFP) and Healer (INFP). All are highly sensitive to values conflicts and many are willing to use their passion to fight injustices. Amy, a Healer (INFP), worked to set up an alternative high school since she found her town's high school so rigid that too many students were dropping out. She said, "I got so angry because all the administration was focused on was following rules and regs, not in helping the students become successful human beings. So I went to work to give students that didn't fit into their tiny box a real chance to learn and grow."

Rationals, especially the Fieldmarshal (ENTJ) and Mastermind (INTJ), may not respond well to the word "passionate," unless they are a member of the Baby Boom generation which frequently used the word. However, words like "interesting," "fascinating," and "intense" have a higher resonance with them. Says Rich, a Mastermind, "I'm not a Boomer and I don't like going off half-cocked with emotion, but when I find an area that is fascinating, I really immerse myself in it. I guess you could call it my passion, but I prefer to see it as intense interest."

Some people choose to have a career that just pays the bills and keep their highest interest or passion for their outside activities. Mike, an Artisan Crafter (ISTP), says, "I like my job as a mechanic well enough, but what really turns me on is when a disaster hits. I volunteer for the Red Cross and can be sent anywhere. I love the intensity and the need for fast action and quick decisions. The change of pace between the emergencies and the regular job is great!"

Sometimes the job market where the person lives is limited and they need to find other ways to make their life satisfying. Martha, a Guardian Provider (ESFJ), lives in a small town and works as a waitress. "I always wanted to go to nursing school, but we were poor and there just wasn't enough money. I'm a pretty good waitress and everyone in town knows me, but what I'm really known for is quilts and blankets. I formed a group to make quilts and blankets for children suffering from cancer. I can hardly wait to get home from the restaurant so I can work on my current project."

People want to have a life that gives them a sense of personal satisfaction. In the 4 articles below, we'll look at what brings personal satisfaction to each of the temperaments:

  • Guardians - Finding Membership and Belonging
  • Artisans - Finding Freedom and Action
  • Idealists - Finding Meaning and Unique Identity
  • Rationals - Finding Knowledge and Competence

Guardians - Finding Membership and Belonging

While Guardians would probably not substitute the words "Finding Membership and Belonging" for the Baby Boomer phrase, "Finding Your Passion," these are driving forces behind a Guardian's need to find life satisfaction.

The Guardian type most driven to show some type of leadership is the Supervisor (ESTJ). Many seek a career where they can either run their own business, or move up the ladder to positions of influence. Those who do not find this opportunity through work may show leadership in a volunteer position. Others are driven to give service to the community in such areas as government employee, military or police officer. Some are drawn to more technical positions such as engineer, or computer analyst. Still others find their sense of belonging in the professional community by becoming a dentist, judge, or physician. Says Gordon, "It took me a while to find the right place for me. After a bad car accident, I changed my focus and eventually became a building contractor where I could call more of my own shots."

The Guardian type most driven to perfectionism and detail is the Inspector (ISTJ). They are attracted to fields where accuracy and precision is needed. They are often found in business and/or finance in positions such as accountant, insurance underwriter, office manager, or bank examiner. Like the Supervisors, they may find their niche in civil service as a detective or an IRS agent. Professional positions in teaching or medicine and legal and technical occupations are also attractive. Says Benita, "I found that I wanted to work in a position where I had the time to make things right. As an estate planner, I enjoy helping people work toward a safe and secure future."

The Guardian type known as the Provider (ESFJ) is sometimes known as the "Santa Claus" personality since they are generally well-liked and notice whenever situations become "naughty or nice." They provide for the welfare of many and usually show well-developed social skills. They are happiest in positions where they need to deal with people. It is not uncommon to find them in health care, as a physician, nurse, or respiratory therapist. They also can be attracted to the field of education, social service, or religion. In business they may be a retail owner, receptionist, real estate agent, or sales representative. The common theme is their service to others. Says Alice, "As a teen I did hospital volunteer work, but decided I preferred education so got my teaching degree. I've been teaching elementary school for 5 years. I love helping children to learn."

The last Guardian type is the Protector (ISFJ). This is the Guardian least likely to seek positions of leadership since they may feel uncomfortable in the lime-light. They are often seen as the people who do whatever is necessary to keep things running smoothly. They do their best to prevent problems. Like the Provider, they can be attracted to fields in medicine, education or social service. In business, positions that combine some type of social interface with time alone are best for them. If they choose technical positions, they prefer ones with at least some independence, such as electrician, or photographer. Says Patrick, "I was attracted to portrait photography because I am able to help people look their best and celebrate significant times in their lives. I take time to create the best portrait I can."

Finding a place to belong, to contribute to society, and have a sense of security and confidence in their abilities, is key to the Guardian's sense of well-being.

Artisans - Finding Freedom and Action

While Artisans might not consciously substitute the words "Finding Freedom and Action" for the Baby Boomer phrase, "Finding Your Passion," these are driving forces behind an Artisan's need to find life satisfaction.

Artisans are usually pretty independent. However, some do seek leadership positions. The two most likely Artisans to seek leadership are the Promoter (ESTP) and the Performer (ESFP). In fact, the book Presidential Temperament by Ray Choinierre and David Keirsey (1992) names Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Ronald Reagan, and Bill Clinton as Artisans. The Promoter is a tougher negotiator than the Performer who manages with a great deal of charm.

The Promoter is drawn to action careers such as paramedic, military personnel, police officer, and pilot. Some have a fascination with finance and can become financial advisors or stockbrokers. They are also good in sales positions and love the competition for prizes. Some may become news reporters, sportscasters, auctioneers, fitness instructors, or skilled tradesmen. Says Roger, "I like meeting new people and negotiating the deal on a new car. I like the change of pace - some days fast and some laid-back."

The Performer, like the Promoter, can also be good in sales, sports, or entertainment. They usually spend a little more time with the customer than the Performer and enjoy the conversation so much that they sometimes have to be reminded to close the sale. They may find careers in the entertainment industry as a performer, promoter, or musician. In business they can be a PR specialist, a fund-raiser, or a labor relations mediator. Says Brigitta, an emergency room nurse, "Some people might find my job too stressful, but I like having to act fast. I'm good at calming people down while I'm dealing with their medical problems. Every day is different."

Probably the most independent type of Artisan is the Crafter (ISTP). This personality type has the fastest eye-hand coordination of all the types so it is common to see them using this skill. They may run their own business as a chiropractor or optometrist. They may be a computer programmer or technician. Any of the action jobs such as pilot, race car driver, marshal, intelligence agent may appeal to them. They may use their analytical skills to become a banker, purchasing agent, or securities analyst. In construction, they can be found in all of the trades. Says Bianca, "My dad was a marble mason. The pay was good. The guys said I couldn't hack it and gave me a hard time. But I've got a real feel for how the marble should match up. I got my union card!"

The most difficult to pigeonhole is the Composer (ISFP). They are driven by their values and usually have a strong aesthetic sense. If they have a driving force to do good, you may find them in medical or veterinary occupations or in social services or education. If they need to express their artistic talents, they may be a painter, a potter, a jeweler, a fashion designer, a carpenter, or a chef. Some are called to more technical occupations such as surveyor, botanist, or chemist. Still others are in the service industry as wait-people, beauticians, or retail clerks. Some do a variety of clerical services and may be bookkeepers or legal secretaries. Says Lorenzo, "Being a chef is more than making a good meal. The taste, aroma and presentation of the food must be perfect - like creating a great symphony."

Having a life of action and freedom is what makes an Artisan tick and gives them a sense of being alive.

Idealists - Finding Meaning and Unique Identity

Idealists are the most likely of all types to resonate with the Boomer phrase, "Finding Your Passion." Idealists strive to find Meaning and Unique Identity in their lives.

The Idealists are the group most attuned to values and seeking the greater good. Famous Idealists are Martin Luther King, Jr., Mahatma Ghandi, and Oprah Winfrey.

Of all the Idealists, the Teacher (ENFJ) is the most likely to seek leadership positions in the private or public sector. The Teacher is drawn to careers in education or social services, such as college professor, high school teacher, social worker, or non-profit director. In business they are often trainers, sales managers, recruiters, or executives. Since they are good at building relationships, they may be fund raisers or recruiters. They also are found in jobs such as a health advisor, clergy, facilitator, or counselor. Says Rene, "It's very important to me to really connect with my students. I need to feel that I am making a difference in their lives."

The Counselor (INFJ) is a more private person than the Teacher. They, too, can be found in the field of education as a professor , teacher, counselor, or educational consultant. Sometimes they feel a strong calling toward the religious life as clergy, nun, or director of religious education. Social service jobs, such as social worker, social scientist, or mediator can fit their needs. Some Counselors work in human services, marketing, or as a job analyst. Others are drawn to the arts as a novelist, designer, or artist. Says Benito, "My art is very personal. It expresses who I am at the same time reaching out to draw the viewer in. My art changes the viewer's perspective of reality."

People naturally confide in the Champion (ENFP). That's why they make such good mediators, counselors, teachers, consultants, and reporters. Any position that outreaches to others can fit the Champion. They can be columnists, journalists, publicists, copy writers, advertising account executives. In the arts they can be character actors, cartoonists, art educators. If they choose jobs such as restaurateur, be sure that their business sites will be unique and designed for a particular type of customer. Don't be surprised to see them as an inventor. This type of personality wants to experience the whole of life and may change careers more often than many other types. Says Charles, "I've had a number of jobs and when there is nothing left to create, I move to something new. I want my life to be spiced with newness, love, and joy."

The most sensitive of the Idealists is the Healer (INFP). While their list of jobs may echo that of other Idealists, they are more drawn to express their own unique vision of the world that all other types, so their work cannot help but be unique. They interpret their visions in the world of music, art, entertainment, or dance. As a professor or teacher, counselor or social worker, they often unlock the mysteries of life for those they encounter. In business they are drawn to organizational development and human resources careers. They may have a religious calling or seek work as a librarian. Their careers need to be in alignment with their personal values. Says Kay, "I chose health education so I could touch the lives of others to help them make better choices about their lives. I know I've done some good."

All Idealists seek to have a life of meaning, to help themselves and others grow to be the best that they can be. They do not want to be a copycat of someone else, but want to be seen as a unique and valuable individual.

Rationals - Finding Knowledge and Competence

Rationals may have a problem with the Boomer phrase, "Finding Your Passion." Many Rationals are suspicious of strong emotion. For them, life satisfaction equates to having Knowledge and Competence.

Many of our early Presidents were Rationals, such as John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and James Monroe. A common characteristic is a vision of the future and the ability to make that vision come true.

Of all the Rationals, the most driven toward a leadership position is the Fieldmarshal (ENTJ). David Keirsey said they cannot NOT lead. In business Fieldmarshals are often found as top executives and senior managers as well as heads of sales and marketing. Since they are driven toward reaching goals, they can be project managers, investment brokers, financial planners, labor relations leaders. Their analytic abilities are of advantage in positions such as business consulting, management consulting, stockbroker, and economic analyst. Professional fields attract the Fieldmarshal so they can call their own shots. If they enter the legal field, they may rise to the position of judge. Says Kent, "I'm very goal driven and I expect everyone who works for me to be aiming toward the same goal. If you focus your team, you can achieve what might once have seemed impossible."

The Mastermind (INTJ) is very focused as well, but more on an internal vision. They are good at solving problems and like to work on tough intellectual puzzles. They are often led into technical positions such as scientific researcher, design engineer, environmental planner. The developing field of genetics benefits from their intensity as does the field of medicine. In education they are most often found at the college and university level. In the professions, they may be a lawyer, a business analyst, or strategic planner. Some have a strong artistic/creative bent and may become an artist, inventor, or designer. Whatever they do, they do it with intensity. Says Kim, "I am constantly teaching myself something new in order to solve the problems that I encounter. My husband leaves me alone when he sees that I am caught in what he calls my "Thinking Time." I'm unwinding knots even in my sleep."

Usually the most out-going of all the Rationals is the Inventor (ENTP). That's because they love bouncing their ideas off other people and seeing their reactions. It is not unusual to find this type in any job that requires new ideas and people contact. You might find them in politics, in real estate development, in advertising, in marketing, or in public relations. They could be a venture capitalist, a management consult, or a sports agent. As long as they have the opportunity to invent a new product or a new experience, they will shine. Says Donna, "We'd never tried landing on Mars using air bags and bouncing, but we did it. We took the risk, then checked out everything we could to limit the risk and we succeeded."

The most reserved of the Rationals is the Architect (INTP). They store huge amounts of information in their heads and can analyze problems with great insight. They are often drawn to professions where they can be their own bosses, such as optometrist, plastic surgeon, neurologist, or scientist. They may become lawyers, architects, or financial analysts. Many are found in the higher levels of academia in such fields as archeology, chemistry, philosophy, or mathematics. They may show a strong creative bent as a musician, inventor, or photographer. Some restore antiques or old cars. Says Don, "I like having my own business as an optometrist. I am constantly reading about new advances in the field. My work must be of the highest quality. My reputation has caused many patients to come to me because they have problems that were not solved by other treatment professionals."

The drive towards constantly increasing their knowledge base and being highly competent is what gives Rationals a sense of personal satisfaction.

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