Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. INFP: Frodo Goes Job Hunting

 

My generation grew up in the era of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). I’ve honestly lost track of how many times I’ve taken this test, but my results are always the same: I am an INFP (introverted, intuitive, feeling, perceiving):

“Idealistic, loyal to their values and to people who are important to them. Want an external life that is congruent with their values. Curious, quick to see possibilities, can be catalysts for implementing ideas. Seek to understand people and to help them fulfill their potential. Adaptable, flexible, and accepting unless a value is threatened.”

This sounds quite impressive, but it has actually made me something of a square peg among my military officer colleagues. I just don’t encounter a lot of people like me in my current profession. It’s the FP part that’s different, according to a 2001 study of military officers in which the authors assert that:

“Ninety-five percent of senior military leaders are thinkers, leaving only five percent as compassionate feelers.”

In fact, I remember one staff psychologist looking at my MBTI profile in open astonishment and asking me flatly, “How on earth did you make colonel?”

She wasn’t trying to offend, and I wasn’t offended. I have long since come to terms with being a unicorn among my military colleagues. Every personality type has strengths and weaknesses as applied to various environments, so I have tried to capitalize on the former while taking steps to mitigate the latter. That’s not revolutionary; it’s really just simple self-awareness.

It does serve to point out one of the truisms of a military career: personality isn’t everything–adaptability is key. I’ve had dozens of assignments over 34 years, and have had to survive and thrive in a wide variety of jobs. Some were a more natural fit than others, but I had to deliver in all of them. There was no option to go to my boss and say, “This assignment really isn’t me.” In fact, I’ve generally found all of them to be interesting and enjoyable in various ways.

Moreover, just because Myers-Briggs thinks I’m intuitive and feeling doesn’t mean I don’t value the systematic application of logic and data analysis. I would say instead that I have a healthy respect for such things and deep admiration for people who master them, even as I personally gravitate more naturally toward context and narrative.

Every once in a while, of course, I really did fall into jobs that seemed to fit like a glove. 16Personalities describes my type as The Mediator and places me in the “Diplomat Role group”, which perhaps explains why I thoroughly enjoyed my time working in embassies over the past decade (well, except maybe the receptions–introverts aren’t much for large crowds and small talk). I’d go so far as to say that wife and I would have been perfectly content to continue doing diplomatic work forever, but that road isn’t very open to a transitioning military officer at my stage of life.

What does make this stage so fascinating is that for the first time in my life I am completely free to choose a career that suits my personality preferences. My financial and family situations are such that I don’t have to chase a paycheck. The road is wide open.

So, what exactly should I do now? Well, the MBTI gurus at 16Personalities have deemed Frodo Baggins as one example of the INFP type. So … does anyone have any problematic jewelry they need tossed into a distant volcano? I have a Top Secret clearance, so expect no issues with polygraphs, elf-queen magic mirrors or questioning by orcs.

I also have an extremely faithful companion who has proven willing to follow me just about anywhere. Happy 30th anniversary, Mrs. Jailer.

Published in General
This post was promoted to the Main Feed by a Ricochet Editor at the recommendation of Ricochet members. Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Get your first month free.

There are 26 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. Arahant Member

    Happy anniversary to you and the Mrs. and may God find useful employment for your skills in the future.

    • #1
    • September 20, 2020, at 1:24 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  2. Hank Rhody, Freelance Philosop… Contributor

    Jailer: Moreover, just because Myers-Briggs thinks I’m intuitive and feeling doesn’t mean I don’t value the systematic application of logic and data analysis. I would say instead that I have a healthy respect for such things and deep admiration for people who master them, even as I personally gravitate more naturally toward context and narrative.

    Interesting. I think I went the other way. Spent my first quarter century mastering math and physics and that sort of jazz, and spent the last decade studying people, interactions and things like, well, jazz. People are a fascinating subject, even if you couldn’t have told that to my twenty-year-old self without getting a sneer.

    The Lord bless your job hunt, and I’ll let you know if I hear of anything. 

    • #2
    • September 20, 2020, at 4:41 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  3. GrannyDude Member

    Jailer: Moreover, just because Myers-Briggs thinks I’m intuitive and feeling doesn’t mean I don’t value the systematic application of logic and data analysis. I would say instead that I have a healthy respect for such things and deep admiration for people who master them, even as I personally gravitate more naturally toward context and narrative.

    I accidentally “gamed” the Meyers-Briggs the only time I took it. Too many questions were framed as “do you value X” with X being “a firm schedule” or “a tidy home.” (Can’t remember what the actual Xs were, but those are close enough). Naturally I said, with enthusiasm, “yes!” I do indeed value a firm schedule, for example, though I have considerable difficulty either creating or following one…

    The guy administering the test knew me well enough to realize that the results were…inaccurate. So I don’t know what I am, though I would imagine I’m pretty close to whatever you are, @Jailer. 

    One of my Theories Of Life is that being a parent demands just about every possible personal quality. So the result of having kids is that introverts are forced to extrovert while extroverts gotta take it down a notch; schedule-lovers have to learn to flex and the endlessly spontaneous figure out (often the hard way) that things work better when bedtime is bedtime. And so on. 

     

    • #3
    • September 20, 2020, at 5:02 AM PDT
    • 12 likes
  4. Wiscosotan Member
    WiscosotanJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    My thought after your first post was that you would probably make a good teacher or trainer. I’ve always appreciated a teacher with “real world” experience. Well-placed stories can really enhance your lessons. A retired Navy captain I had for a graduate business class did it well.

    • #4
    • September 20, 2020, at 5:14 AM PDT
    • 11 likes
  5. Jailer Member
    Jailer

    Wiscosotan (View Comment):

    My thought after your first post was that you would probably make a good teacher or trainer. I’ve always appreciated a teacher with “real world” experience. Well-placed stories can really enhance your lessons. A retired Navy captain I had for a graduate business class did it well.

    Thanks. This thought has occurred to me more than once.

    • #5
    • September 20, 2020, at 5:15 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  6. Hank Rhody, Freelance Philosop… Contributor

    Jailer (View Comment):

    Wiscosotan (View Comment):

    My thought after your first post was that you would probably make a good teacher or trainer. I’ve always appreciated a teacher with “real world” experience. Well-placed stories can really enhance your lessons. A retired Navy captain I had for a graduate business class did it well.

    Thanks. This thought has occurred to me more than once.

    Try a community college. The people coming back for an upgrade are a joy to work with, and the bored teenagers who finished high school and aren’t quite sure what to do next aren’t that bad. It also probably gives you a better chance to teach something that you want to teach.

    • #6
    • September 20, 2020, at 5:20 AM PDT
    • 9 likes
  7. Arahant Member

    Jailer (View Comment):

    Wiscosotan (View Comment):

    My thought after your first post was that you would probably make a good teacher or trainer. I’ve always appreciated a teacher with “real world” experience. Well-placed stories can really enhance your lessons. A retired Navy captain I had for a graduate business class did it well.

    Thanks. This thought has occurred to me more than once.

    Playing off that theme, there are also ROTC and Jr. ROTC programs, or were at one time. They might need instructors.

    • #7
    • September 20, 2020, at 5:21 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  8. Hank Rhody, Freelance Philosop… Contributor

    Wiscosotan, how are you a charter member and I haven’t met you yet? Howdy from Eau Claire. I admire a man who wears a bowtie in this day and age.

    • #8
    • September 20, 2020, at 5:21 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  9. Hank Rhody, Freelance Philosop… Contributor

    Hank Rhody, Freelance Philosop… (View Comment):

    Jailer (View Comment):

    Wiscosotan (View Comment):

    My thought after your first post was that you would probably make a good teacher or trainer. I’ve always appreciated a teacher with “real world” experience. Well-placed stories can really enhance your lessons. A retired Navy captain I had for a graduate business class did it well.

    Thanks. This thought has occurred to me more than once.

    Try a community college. The people coming back for an upgrade are a joy to work with, and the bored teenagers who finished high school and aren’t quite sure what to do next aren’t that bad. It also probably gives you a better chance to teach something that you want to teach.

    I’m also given to understand (not that I’ve done this myself, mind you) that they’re more flexible and pragmatic than either high schools or colleges on hiring decisions. By which I mean you won’t have to have all the right boxes checked, if you have a good enough set of checkmarks they’ll want you even if they’re not in the expected spots.

    • #9
    • September 20, 2020, at 5:33 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  10. aardo vozz Member

    GrannyDude (View Comment):

    Jailer: Moreover, just because Myers-Briggs thinks I’m intuitive and feeling doesn’t mean I don’t value the systematic application of logic and data analysis. I would say instead that I have a healthy respect for such things and deep admiration for people who master them, even as I personally gravitate more naturally toward context and narrative.

    I accidentally “gamed” the Meyers-Briggs the only time I took it. Too many questions were framed as “do you value X” with X being “a firm schedule” or “a tidy home.” (Can’t remember what the actual Xs were, but those are close enough). Naturally I said, with enthusiasm, “yes!” I do indeed value a firm schedule, for example, though I have considerable difficulty either creating or following one…

    The guy administering the test knew me well enough to realize that the results were…inaccurate. So I don’t know what I am…

    I think by now you have a pretty good idea of what you are, it is Meyers-Briggs that has no clue🙂

    • #10
    • September 20, 2020, at 6:23 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  11. Stad Thatcher

    GrannyDude (View Comment):
    I accidentally “gamed” the Meyers-Briggs the only time I took it.

    At work, we were forced to take the Strengthsfinder 2.0 exam. I resisted, even filing a formal complaint (I lost). Although the results were supposed to be kept private and management swore the results would not be used to reassign employees, many test recipients posted their results outside their office doors and cubicles (I didn’t). I could hear employee gossip such as, “How can she be a manager if she isn’t a strategic thinker?” Furthermore, I don’t see how a short test can adequately measure my abilities at my job, especially because I could adapt my skills to fit the job at hand.

    I tried to game the test the first time with neutral answers straight down the middle. The system kicked back my test as “unanalyzable,” or something like that. I took it again, but this time I started in the middle, went one space to the right, back to the middle, one space to the left, then back to the middle. I entered this pattern for all the answers. Lo and behold, my results were accepted and analyzed.

    The results knocked me for a loop. My top five strengths were spot on, even though I gamed the test. However, this only reinforced my belief in such tests being highly suspect.

    • #11
    • September 20, 2020, at 6:54 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  12. Wiscosotan Member
    WiscosotanJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Hank Rhody, Freelance Philosop… (View Comment):

    Wiscosotan, how are you a charter member and I haven’t met you yet? Howdy from Eau Claire. I admire a man who wears a bowtie in this day and age.

    Yeah, I’m a long-time lurker living just up the road from you on the border. I’m commenting more now and even thinking about writing my first post.

    • #12
    • September 20, 2020, at 10:59 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  13. Hank Rhody, Freelance Philosop… Contributor

    Stad (View Comment):
    The results knocked me for a loop. My top five strengths were spot on, even though I gamed the test. However, this only reinforced my belief in such tests being highly suspect.

    Or maybe their system is so sophisticated it recognized your attempt to game it and printed out the standard form for “guy who think’s he’s smart.” 

    • #13
    • September 20, 2020, at 11:18 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  14. TBA Coolidge

    Jailer (View Comment):

    Wiscosotan (View Comment):

    My thought after your first post was that you would probably make a good teacher or trainer. I’ve always appreciated a teacher with “real world” experience. Well-placed stories can really enhance your lessons. A retired Navy captain I had for a graduate business class did it well.

    Thanks. This thought has occurred to me more than once.

    There used to be a ‘troops to teachers’ program but that might not have been an officer thing. 

    • #14
    • September 20, 2020, at 11:53 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  15. TBA Coolidge

    Stad (View Comment):

    GrannyDude (View Comment):
    I accidentally “gamed” the Meyers-Briggs the only time I took it.

    At work, we were forced to take the Strengthsfinder 2.0 exam. I resisted, even filing a formal complaint (I lost). Although the results were supposed to be kept private and management swore the results would not be used to reassign employees, many test recipients posted their results outside their office doors and cubicles (I didn’t). I could hear employee gossip such as, “How can she be a manager if she isn’t a strategic thinker?” Furthermore, I don’t see how a short test can adequately measure my abilities at my job, especially because I could adapt my skills to fit the job at hand.

    I tried to game the test the first time with neutral answers straight down the middle. The system kicked back my test as “unanalyzable,” or something like that. I took it again, but this time I started in the middle, went one space to the right, back to the middle, one space to the left, then back to the middle. I entered this pattern for all the answers. Lo and behold, my results were accepted and analyzed.

    The results knocked me for a loop. My top five strengths were spot on, even though I gamed the test. However, this only reinforced my belief in such tests being highly suspect.

    Analysis: Subject gamed the test which indicates he is a strategic thinker.

    Edit: Or what Hank Rhody said.

    • #15
    • September 20, 2020, at 12:30 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  16. Basil Fawlty Member
    Basil FawltyJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Read “The Personality Brokers” for some additional perspective on MB.

    • #16
    • September 20, 2020, at 4:51 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  17. DrewInWisconsin, Man of Consta… Coolidge

    I don’t put a lot of stock in these sorts of things. I think the opening bits of Walker Percy’s Lost in the Cosmos wrecked them for me. However, I am apparently INFP. “Mediator.” And it seems to fit. That’s certainly my role around the house.

    Our office staff used “Strengthfinder” once upon a time. I completely forgot what I’m supposed to be in that.

     

    • #17
    • September 20, 2020, at 4:58 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  18. Arahant Member

    DrewInWisconsin, Man of Consta… (View Comment):
    Our office staff used “Strengthfinder” once upon a time. I completely forgot what I’m supposed to be in that.

    Do they have an axe-murderer category?

    • #18
    • September 20, 2020, at 5:00 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  19. Old Bathos Moderator

    I think George Armstrong Custer also would have shown up as more of an intuitive/emotional type and he made the rank of brigadier general.

    • #19
    • September 20, 2020, at 5:04 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  20. Ontheleftcoast Member

    The MBTI is bogus. Its use is, however, highly diagnositc of pathology in HR departments.

    • #20
    • September 20, 2020, at 8:30 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  21. Roderic Reagan

    On the job, high intelligence and conscientiousness trump most other personality attributes.

    • #21
    • September 21, 2020, at 4:18 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  22. Old Bathos Moderator

    Roderic (View Comment):

    On the job, high intelligence and conscientiousness trump most other personality attributes.

    In a lot of organizations, the ability to fake admiration for a complete lack of intelligence and conscientiousness in one’s superiors may well trump actually having those virtues.

    • #22
    • September 21, 2020, at 7:32 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  23. TBA Coolidge

    DrewInWisconsin, Man of Consta… (View Comment):

    I don’t put a lot of stock in these sorts of things. I think the opening bits of Walker Percy’s Lost in the Cosmos wrecked them for me. However, I am apparently INFP. “Mediator.” And it seems to fit. That’s certainly my role around the house.

    Our office staff used “Strengthfinder” once upon a time. I completely forgot what I’m supposed to be in that.

    I’ve never taken – and don’t want to take – these kinds of tests. Do they have Do Not Hire personality categories such as Channel/Couch/Ocean Surfer or Unemployment Collector? 

    • #23
    • September 21, 2020, at 10:22 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  24. TBA Coolidge

    Ontheleftcoast (View Comment):

    The MBTI is bogus. Its use is, however, highly diagnositc of pathology in HR departments.

    Oh wait. I did once take the personality inventory that they print on those paper placemats in Chinese restaurants.

    • #24
    • September 21, 2020, at 10:24 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  25. DrewInWisconsin, Man of Consta… Coolidge

    TBA (View Comment):

    DrewInWisconsin, Man of Consta… (View Comment):

    I don’t put a lot of stock in these sorts of things. I think the opening bits of Walker Percy’s Lost in the Cosmos wrecked them for me. However, I am apparently INFP. “Mediator.” And it seems to fit. That’s certainly my role around the house.

    Our office staff used “Strengthfinder” once upon a time. I completely forgot what I’m supposed to be in that.

    I’ve never taken – and don’t want to take – these kinds of tests. Do they have Do Not Hire personality categories such as Channel/Couch/Ocean Surfer or Unemployment Collector?

    We didn’t use it for hiring. We used it to try to determine what skills or strengths we might be missing from our staff. I recall it being . . . interesting. But . . . well, . . . not much more than that.

    • #25
    • September 21, 2020, at 11:15 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  26. SkipSul Coolidge
    SkipSulJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I ended up self-employed because I hate job hunting deeply (I hate interviewing others too, which presents its own problems when I need to hire anyone). I forget my own Myers-Briggs thingy – Introvert… something something something. Depending on what time of day I took these tests, and how much coffee I had imbibed, or other factors at play, I could get 3 or 4 different results. Put simply, I’m the last person who should offer career advice to anyone, and so I’ll spare you that. I can however wish you good luck.

    The only personality thing I’ve found useful is the DISC assessment when coupled to Core Motivations and Emotional Intelligence. Maybe that might help illumine things? It’s a lot more complicated than the ole’ Myers Briggs, but then again, life is messy. This sort of assessment might not help point out a job you might like, but it can certainly steer you away from jobs where you’d be a poor fit, or help you figure out how adapt to a job you do land.

    DISC evaluates 4 axes of behavior: Dominance (how much you like to be in control of situations), Influence (how much you naturally work to persuade others), Steadiness (how easily you pivot from one task to another, or how easily you are distracted), and Compliance (how much you like to follow the rules). The evaluation also tests to see how adaptable you are on these axes – how much you move off of your natural inclinations when under pressure.

    Core Motivations look at what naturally drives you to do things in 6 areas: Aesthetic (you are motivated by beauty and order), Theoretical (you value knowledge for its own sake), Utilitarian (you are motivated by whether you thing something practical), Social (perhaps better understood as Altruism – you are motivated by what you think other people need), Individualistic (personal independence), and Tradition (valuing things because of their history and legacy).

    Emotional Intelligence then looks at Self Awareness (how much you realize about yourself), Self Regulation (how much you can control yourself), Motivation (personal initiative, basically), Empathy (ability to see others’ emotions from the inside), and Social Skills (can you actually interact with other people).


    I actually have a good case in point with a bad hire from a few years ago: Person scored almost off the charts on the Social motivator, and badly on Empathy, and turned out to have a very fragile self awareness, even though their other markers looked good for the job. But once on the job those Social and Empathy factors dominated everything – they were the quintessential nosy do-gooder busy-body, always school-marming others while “fighting the power” (i.e. ME). They didn’t last long – sacked them after 4 months. Should have sacked them after 2 months. I could totally see them today as a woke SJW.

    • #26
    • September 25, 2020, at 5:09 AM PDT
    • 6 likes