Today, our HR department sent out a link to Myers Briggs tests we were supposed to take today so we can discuss the results in our department head meeting tomorrow. It's been years since I first took a Myers Briggs test, and I used to think it was a nifty way of figuring out people and how to communicate with each other. Recently, though, I've read about how unreliable and unproven they are, and how they shouldn't really be used in hiring or career-placement decisions. The Powers That Be at my office are not likely to use personality profiles as a basis for employee advancement and retention, so I'm not really worried about their finding out I'm an introvert trying to make do in an extrovert's job. They probably know all about my being an introvert already, just like They already know about my keen ability to say the wrong thing at the wrong time ("This one is not destined for a lengthy career in public service," They must say to each other). What I'm worried about is that They might figure out just how much, really, I am unsuited for my job. Even if Myers Briggs is generally inaccurate (and I have no way of knowing if it is), the results from my taking their test did hone in on a few key characteristics.
(1) I'm not deadline-oriented.
(2) I'm not detail-oriented. I hate worrying about details, and I often miss little things with major importance.
(3) I'm an introvert (as mentioned above).
(4) I like to spend my time coming up with new ways of doing things, or ways to improve existing processes, and then leave the implementaiton of those new ideas to someone else. [Question: who *wouldn't* prefer to come up with the ideas and leave implementation to someone else? Isn't coming up with ideas the fun part of any project?]
(5) I don't like conflict.
Here are a few characteristics about my job:
(1) Deadlines are very, very important. By law, I have to put notices in newspapers, send out letters, post agendas, and post signs on a regular basis, all by very strict deadlines, or we can't move forward with a project when we're supposed to do so. We have had to cancel public hearings because I've missed these deadlines.
(2) Details are very, very important. Accidentally leave out one important detail in the aforementioned notices, letters, agendas, etc., and we can't move forward with a project when we're supposed to do so.
(3) Introverts lose energy by spending a lot of time around a lot of people, and I work in the public sector. People drop by unexpectedly, my phone rings and I'm supposed to answer it, and other things that drain my energy because they involve dealing with people are part of my job on a day-to-day basis.
(4) My boss hires consultants to do the creative part of my job and leaves me to do the implementation, with all the details and deadlines included.
(5) Conflict? I work for local government. My work involves telling people what they can and cannot do with their property. My work involves reviewing cases for natural gas permits. My work involves telling people why part their property is being taken for right-of-way for a new road that someone else decided we needed, but I happened to be the person they could find, so I'm the one who gets an earfull. Conflict is a regular part of work in local government. No matter what decision we make, someone is going to be unhappy, and some of these people are at the come-down-to-the-office-and-yell-at-someone level of unhappiness.
Fortunately, I've restructured my life to fit my job--everything, every little task goes into a To Do list program, everything gets broken down into mini-tasks with due dates, everything gets a calendar reminder and a checklist. Everything goes by the rules. So when I took the Myers Briggs test, it spat back at me the personality description that does fit my job, except for the introvert part. Now that I think about it, maybe I don't have to worry about the discussion after all. I may be completely unsuited for my job, but no one needs to know...unless I open my big mouth and say the wrong thing at the wrong time. But They're used to that.