One of the worst things you can do is choose a career, or accept a position for a job, in a field that is not a good match for your personality type. On the other hand, if you are aware of your unique personality and strengths, you can choose a career that showcases those assets and leads to great success.
Before we go any further, are you an introvert or an extrovert? If you are like most people, you probably lean toward one extreme or the other, but we all possess a unique mix of introverted and extroverted personality traits. Online personality tests may seem silly, but if taken seriously, they can provide powerful insight about how we interact with others, and what kinds of jobs we’d be best at.
Loosely defined, an introvert is someone who generally enjoys solitude and works well independently. An extrovert draws their energy from being around others and is usually sociable.
When it comes to careers, there are stereotypes about what kinds of people gravitate toward certain jobs or fields of study. It might seem odd to interact with a quiet, mild-mannered salesperson, or a loud, overbearing librarian. Generally speaking (and of course there are exceptions), extroverts tend to do better in jobs that allow them to use their naturally sociable, outgoing natures. They thrive on teamwork, collaboration, and social interaction. Jobs more suited to extroverts might include:
– public relations specialist
– construction worker
– sports announcer
– registered nurse
Introverts tend to enjoy jobs that allow them to be self-directed and not dependent on constant communication with others. Jobs might include:
– computer programmer
– laboratory technician
– mail delivery person
– factory line worker
The same logic applies to starting a new business. Choose a new venture that plays to your strengths; for example, a web based software business will require an endless amount of time sitting at a computer. Is that what you really want to do? Will that time be stimulating or lonely for you? Only you can decide.
These categories are not set in stone, and the most important thing is to find a career that energizes (rather than drains) you. Know yourself, your strengths, limitations, and preferences in terms of a working environment.
John Bradley Jackson
Director, Center for Entrepreneurship