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Me versus the MBTI

Me versus the MBTI

It’s not often that I write about myself personally; I guess I find it
a little embarrassing. However I have recently been taking an inward
look at myself (which is something I don’t do nearly often enough) and
I thought I’d write about what I’ve discovered.

I’ve just retaken an online version on the MBTI
test
. The last
one I took was more geared towards blogging
than the
workplace but it provided an interesting enough insight. Back then (in January) I was classed as ISTP, now I appear to be ISFJ.

I was quite surprised that I was still in the “introverted” group. The
past 8 months or so has seen me undergo quite a drastic change in terms
of personality (well, I think I’ve changed at any rate, whether others
see the same is a different kettle
of fish).

The past few months has seen me build up confidence that I never
thought I’d have. I’m still working on it but I am getting there. As an
example, if a client called me a few months ago I would have made
any excuse not to talk to them. Not because I didn’t like that
particular client but because I was nervous about speaking with them.
Now I merrily chat away and actually look forward to some clients
calling me – of course there are the odd few that make me groan but
that’s only natural in any workplace!

When I was out, I would only talk to the people I already knew. This
made meeting new people virtually impossible, I wouldn’t talk to them
even if they were introduced to me by a mutual friend which was
rather pathetic when you think about it – especially as I
don’t even consider myself shy.

So why was
I like this?

I was afraid.
Simple as that

I was scared of embarrassing myself, coming off looking like an idiot,
putting my foot in it, not being good enough, being too good – you name
it, I was afraid I’d do it. Which is a rather sorry state of affairs
for a person in their late twenties. This is the time of your life when
you’re supposed to be so full of confidence that you don’t care what
others think – ha!

I think part of my inferiority complex was
in some way due to my Mum. Sure, it’s easy to blame your parents for
your own shortcomings but I think I am justified in this case. The way
she interacted with people, especially those she had just met, was
amazing. She’d talk to anyone not caring what they thought of her.
She’d be the first one to agree to help out on a committee or the first
on stage at the Drama Group and everyone was always saying how nice she
was, or brilliant, or funny, clever, friendly, caring…. the list is
endless and that’s a heck of a lot to live up to.

When she died people assumed that I was going to step into her shoes
and take over her responsibilities which I did in a family way but not
socially.

A couple of years ago, my Dad decided to get involved in the local
community and became treasurer of our village hall. The problem with
rural communities at the moment is that a lot of people move in,
forcing locals out (and I some may class me as one of “those” people) and they
rarely use village amenities or take part in village life, they merely
use their house as somewhere to sleep but at least they can say they
have a house in the “country”.

Anyway, I digress. The village hall was short of committee members and
my Dad asked me to join, which I reluctantly did. I mean, here I am
sitting with people I’ve known since I was a child, knew them as “Mrs
So-and-So”, would never dream of calling them by their first
name,  and viewed them through an 8 year old’s eyes.

It was difficult, it was daunting, and it was the best decision that I
could have ever made. It gave me the confidence to talk to people; made
me realise that now, finally, I am a grown up that is capable of
interacting with people on their level and not looking like a complete
nonce after all.

That’s
why I was so surprised to still be considered “Introverted” by the MBTI
test. I wonder if I will always be classed as introverted even though I
personally feel very extrovert (considering what I used to be like).

I
also wonder why employers and human resources departments put so much
stock in these tests, quite often people can’t even get an interview
based on information from something that may not reflect their
personality or way of working at all.

And that’s a real shame.

You can take the MBTI test here.

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2 Comments

  •  

    “Hey Katy,

    Yeah, I see what you mean! We’re going through similar processes of going from I to E, or thinking we are, as we lose our various fears. One thing I’ve read about the MBTI is that as we get older, the weakly-expressed parts of us start to come out. So even though we type as “”I””, that doesn’t mean that we have no “”E”” whatsoever; it’s more of a continuum. You might check your I vs E score…even though you are still typing as I, you may find that you’re 40%E 60%I versus some more extreme balance from before.”

  •  

    “Hi Katy,

    I agree with Dave, it’s a continuum for all the types. None of us are discreetly one thing or the other, and also I think it can be context dependent. Introvert/extravert was described to me as where you get your energy from – you can still enjoy talking to new people now, but it still might take more energy for you to do that than be talking with one or two close friends, whereas an extravert would thrive on buzzy social occasions and actually feel drained by having to entertain themselves, alone.

    I think you’re right that some people will miss out on chances because of tests like Myers-Briggs, although I think provided they are interpreted well, they are probably useful in speeding up the recruitment process. I don’t think such tests allow for exceptional people who don’t conform.”

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