The term "personality" refers to a person's patterns of thinking, feeling and acting. Some aspects of personality are useful in thinking about career development.
Four themes for describing personality have been developed from the work of psychologist Carl Jung in a model and tool called the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). The model describes four areas of personality, with two possible preferences in each area. People have a natural preference in each area. These preferences are NOT about knowledge, skills or abilities, and there is no right or wrong preference.
Every person uses all of the preferences at times, but one preference or the other on each scale usually feels more natural. Try signing your name with the opposite hand from the one you usually use. What did it feel like? What differences do you notice about your signature itself?
People often say that it felt unnatural, and that it required all their concentration. The result may appear awkward, even though their name is recognizable. The preferences described here are like that. For example, some people generally prefer to make decisions with an eye to harmony and what's best for themselves and others (Feeling preference). In some situations, they might make decisions based on an objective assessment of the logical consequences (Thinking preference), but they might not feel as comfortable in the process, or as confident in the decision.
The combination of a person's preferences in these four areas comprises their personality type. There are sixteen types, which are referred to by the initials of the four preferences (e.g. INTP, ESFJ).
People tend to be attracted to and experience more satisfaction in careers in which they can express and use their preferences. For instance, work that requires the type of perception or decision-making that comes naturally to a person may lead to more effectiveness and confidence.
The Learning + Organizational Development (L+OD) offers a series of career development workshops; one in particular explores personality type and its relationship to work and career: Assessing Personality Type and Your Career with the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. Register at the UCB Learning Center through blu.