I'm an IN T/F J/P. What?
April 21, 2010 12:59 PM   Subscribe

Based on an ask.me i found, i just took the JVIS. why does every single career inventory i have ever taken, from the age of 18 thru now at 31 always tell me I should be a nurse or a doctor? I don't get it. Am I doing these things wrong? I've taken them thru high school guidance counselors, various colleges, and on my own like this one.

I have no interest in being a nurse or doctor. I actually did investigate the nursing field and realized pretty quickly it was not for me. I'm terrible at biology and stuff like that. I even took a human bio class for fun last year at the community college. It was really hard. I found it interesting, but in the way I like to learn about pretty much anything.

I don't mean this as chatfilter. I really want to know. Are there any guidance or vocational counselors on the green? Maybe anyone who has done research on these types of tests?

When I did the Meyers Briggs, at the end, I was almost exactly even on both sides of two indicators, Thinking/Feeling and Judging/Perception. I had picked almost exactly the same amount of answers for each of those 4 categories, so it made me pick which I felt was more like me, am I more T or F, more J or P? I found that to be very weird. The I and N were very definite, tho.

So I'm just wondering if I do something wrong in these types of tests that I don't get either accurate or believable results. It's not like I looked at the results and a light bulb went off. It was more like, what? are they talking about me? This can't be the case for everyone or else no one would take them. Are there special snowflake tests for uncategorizable me?
posted by sio42 to Grab Bag (22 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I feel like I had/have the same problem with personality inventories. I think you should just do whatever you're doing until you're attracted by something. And if you're not, that's okay. Not everybody is "meant" for a career. It's sort of just a middle class American expectation that we somehow find a career that defines us or that a particular career will "click" with who we are. I think the best inventory would be to look at your past work experiences and determine what you didn't like, rather than starting from scratch.
posted by anniecat at 1:28 PM on April 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

You know, I've done the M/B test probably every few years for career reasons from about sixth grade on (I keep having changing results too, I've gone from INFP to pretty much borderline on every freaking area), and it's never helped me figure out a career path. So really, it doesn't matter. Tests are for fun, but they don't really help you with jack. You probably already knew you were introverted before this test, right?

I suspect what you're getting is that you have an interest in science, and thus the testing process assumes that you'd like to work in a science area, and saying "nurse or doctor" is pretty easy for them to say because those are standard/stereotypical jobs for that interest. However, these tests don't check to see if you've got the aptitude for it. I like science too, but I can't do math, so that isn't an option for me. But I could easily come up with that kind of result because I like reading about science, you know? All these tests really can do is figure out an area or two that you like, and say, "Get a job in that field." They tend to give you a list of "You like writing? You can be a journalist, author, newspaper reporter, film critic, da da da" list of remotely possible jobs, but don't/can't really account for the ah, financial or intelligence capabilities of said jobs.

I think you're just kind of on your own for this. Taking a billion aptitude tests that say that I like writing and art have yet to find me jobs in writing and art to earn a living by, now that journalism is going extinct. Aptitude tests mean nothing. If you truly don't have any other outstanding interests going on other than "I like to learn anything," maybe you're just gonna have to try random jobs and see how you feel about them that way.

People take these tests because they don't know what else to do. I don't think I know of anyone who suddenly figured out a career move because they took one. Or multiple ones.
posted by jenfullmoon at 1:38 PM on April 21, 2010

the temp agencies i worked with after college couldn't even get me a $10/hr recep job because the employer thought i was overqualified since i had a degree and that i would leave when i found something that paid better.

and then the jobs i really wanted, i was told that because i didn't have any professional experience, i was not qualified.

i've worked cust svc jobs and then admin jobs while i worked my way thru school. i couldn't do internships because they were all either unpaid or paid too little to make it worth leaving my job and losing insurance (i went when i was 25 so i was not on my parents insurance.)

i hate being an admin but i can't get a job doing anything except being an admin - and even then, now that i have a degree no one wants me for that either.

my degree is in Communications but not like PR more like rhetoric. i don't have experience writing press releases or anything, that's not anything i learned about.

i guess i was hoping these things would give me an idea of a direction. i just feel like i'm beating my head against a wall trying to get somewhere with a real job.

but i say that i would rather do an algebra problem for fun rather than teach kids how to read has more to do with me not wanting to be a teacher than liking math.

i'd still be interested in any studies anyone knows about on the relevance of these types of tests and case studies from objective parties on how test takers viewed/used results.
posted by sio42 at 1:51 PM on April 21, 2010

Every one of these I've ever taken has either told me I should be an undertaker, or a truck driver. I don't think I would be very good at either of these jobs.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 1:52 PM on April 21, 2010

thank you for making me laugh, Eyebrows McGee. i needed that.
posted by sio42 at 1:52 PM on April 21, 2010

I remember reading that there's some whole controversy with INTP/Js after my friend and I couldn't decide whether we were INTPs or INTJs -- that INTs historically have trouble being categorized between P and J, even when given the test by a licensed person. Or like the test-makers or givers can't decide. Or something. Someone who knows more can come in and say something more coherent. But yes, from what I remember reading and sort-of understanding, you are a special snowflake in this regard.
posted by thebazilist at 1:53 PM on April 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

"i just feel like i'm beating my head against a wall trying to get somewhere with a real job. "

Getting involved in a volunteer organization can be a valuable way to make contacts and gain experience in areas you would like to work in. If PR might be something you want to do, volunteering to do PR for a charitable organization will give you some resume-builders.

While there are many excellent organizations out there, two that I'm familiar with that both provide a great deal of training and development for their members are the Jaycees (Junior Chamber of Commerce) and the Junior League (women only). By serving in different areas of those groups, you can work on professional development in areas unrelated to your job -- PR, grant writing, events organization, fundraising, financials, etc. And of course some of the individual projects might be in areas that interest you.

I can't find a direct link for Harrisburg Jaycees, but the Harrisburg Junior League is here.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 1:58 PM on April 21, 2010

We are soul-peeps, me and you. I got a degree in English and worked through school (though I graduated when I was 22) adn thought that the degree would help me get a job and now I too am stuck in customer service / admin low pay land. Teh only way out I see is sales or marrying a rich dude so I can take a few years off to do unpaid bitchwork in some industry I actually want to work in.

These apptitude tests for me always told me I should be a film director, which actually does suit me. I would love to be a film director, if I lived in Utopia...

I really don't put much value in these tests. Tehy ask about your preferences, which you already know because...you prefer them... and then spit out a list of job titles ripped from a Who's Who compilation. Everyone that it says should be a doctor can't be a doctor. Nor can all the people who (according to these tests) should be undertakers, musicians, sports broadcasters...
posted by WeekendJen at 2:00 PM on April 21, 2010

If I took an apptitude test right now it would probably tell me to be a bitter cynic with poor typing skills.
posted by WeekendJen at 2:03 PM on April 21, 2010

I have this issue too, I think it might have to do with my adhd because apparently it makes me really bad at self-analysis and I overestimate my skills at some things an underestimate my skills at other things.

Also consider that being a nurse/doctor and studying to be a nurse/doctor or different, maybe you're reacting to the studying but would like the doctoring part.

As an introvert, though, I do not see you enjoying being a doctor or nurse.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 2:08 PM on April 21, 2010

Also, from what I know of tests like this, they are more developed for the testers than for the testees-- like, "would this guy be a good astronaut?" Not "would this guy enjoy being an astronaut?"

Personality wise, the Myers-Briggs isn't really all that great. There are personality traits that you can measure, but they're not those four. You can measure I/E though.

One thing about doctors, their success can be predicted by personality tests.

What do you like to do? Maybe we can come up with some things.

I know that I don't have consistent things that I like about jobs--it's a combo. I like 2 year olds, but not so much, 4 year olds, for example, so if I just tell people I like little kids they would suggest all kinds of jobs that I would hate. I just have to think about every job individually and see if it has aspects that I have hated before.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 2:14 PM on April 21, 2010

The last time I took one of these was in 8th grade. It said I should either be a nurse (I think every girl got that one) or a....forest ranger.

Yeah, I don't know either. They forgot to ask "are you afraid of the wilderness" on that test, for sure.
posted by emjaybee at 2:29 PM on April 21, 2010

They told me I should be a scientist, engineer (which I am), a photographer, or a food service worker.

I do like food...
posted by chairface at 3:32 PM on April 21, 2010

the one from the community college said nurse... or electrician.

i'm really glad it's not just me. i tried to do the Parachute book my senior year of college. i just could not wrap my mind around it.

i do not want to do PR. i have started volunteering and i used to in high school (as a flower delivery person at the hospital).

i think the problem with the tests is that is doesn't take into account WHY i chose an answer. i mean, i really like algebra because it's math with letters. and i love language and writing and all that. but i'm not a technical writer and did miserably in that class in college.

i think this also just a really bad time to try to find a new job that pays well and has good insurance. i would not want a job that involved me talking to people all day long. some people interaction is ok, but all day? i think i definitely did not choose any answer that involved talking to people at conventions or giving presentations etc.

i just want to have my own safe little bubble where i can be creative and hug trees. but that's a mental health issue not a career :)

i really don't want to derail into my own issues with the job search since i really was just more curious/mad about the stupid things that are supposed to help. i guess i really don't know if i'd like anything until i try it. i just can't afford to go about "trying" jobs tho.

(oh, and i do appreciate the tips about nonprofits, grant writing etc. i have been in nonprofits, started one, dealt with other nonprofits, and i honestly just don't have the patience or fortitude to deal with volunteers and board members that way anymore. only lowlevel volunteering for me.)
posted by sio42 at 4:11 PM on April 21, 2010

I think you need to think a bit more creatively. Being a nurse/doctor is not just about the science, but also about the fact that ideally you're HELPING PEOPLE. Healthcare is so much larger than just the people who are doing the diagnosing. Start thinking about what it is in your interests that would make you good in healthcare other than the bio stuff.

I work in an office next door to a bunch of career advisors and when I get to work tomorrow I'll shoot your question to one of them (if I remember) and see if they have any better answers. Generally, though, I think that you have to realize a lot of these assessments are meant to be read by you AND a professional - someone who can help you brainstorm other ideas (if they're any good at their jobs).

And, of course, as others have alluded to, relying on assessments does not work for everyone. For me, they pretty much confirmed/solidified/gave terms to what I already knew about myself (I'm an INFJ). If you can't actually do the jobs (because you don't have the schooling or the time or the money to goof off for a year), then start by talking to people. Talk to a few doctors or nurses and ask them what the job is like and what they like/hate. Find some people that have the same degree you do and find out what they're doing now. Alumni services should be able to help you with this and you should still have access to the career center at your alma mater.

Be prepared to be someone who does a lot of different stuff over the course of your life, which it sounds like you already have. There's generally nothing wrong with that as long as you enjoy it.

And if you have to have a label, I'm going to suggest that to me you sound like an INTP.
posted by bibbit at 5:45 PM on April 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

I've done a fair bit of reading / thinking about these tests. Some thoughts below off the top of my head that I think will help -

I think it's worth noting the difference between
1. Personality
2. Aptitude

I would say aptitude is more important and that's not something a personality test can tell you! As you've said you're bad at biology...

Personality is important to varying degrees. I'm not sure what the logic of JVIS is, as I haven't looked into it before, but I would assume that it measures personality attributes such as empathy, caring, attention to detail, meticulously, etc, and declares based on that that you're a good match to be a nurse or doctor "based on your personality".

So if you have the personality for something but not the aptitude, then obviously you'll be miserable in that job. Similar to if you had the aptitude but not the personality.

To some degree if a person has the aptitude for a job he / she has a shot at doing well there regardless of their personality type. Why I say this is that I think there's a niche for everyone in the ecosystem of each industry - you're joining an "industry" not pigeonholing yourself into a particular job slot. In every industry there's room for leaders, followers, introverts, extroverts, people who see the big picture, the tiny details, who don't stress much but are just perpetually happy and bring joy to others around them, workaholics, etc. Say if a particular job is suited to introverts - and of the 10 people in the job, there's 9 introverts and 1 extrovert (you). The nature of the job may grate on you somewhat, and your performance may be less than what it could be, but what you should find is that there will be tasks and roles in that area that require and demand someone with an extroverted streak - and over time, more and more of those tasks will migrate over to you simply because no one else enjoys them or has the capability to do them. I know this is an idealisitc view of of things, but it does happen!

I'd say pick something that you have an aptitude for, and try your best to make it work out if your personality isn't an exact match for it.
posted by xdvesper at 5:46 PM on April 21, 2010 [2 favorites]

By the way-- If you want to do more research about personality types, the Big Five are the actual personality dimensions that can be consistently measured and correlated with success in various professions, as with doctors in this interesting article in the NY Times.

This is a basic big five personality test. Obviously not being administered in a clinical laboratory, but it can give you a general idea of what and how it measures what it does. Of course keep in mind that personality psychology is huge, complicated, and I'm not doing it justice at all.

Myers Briggs is not useless, but it is not consistent or reliable. It is more like astrology than it is like science. Keep that in mind if you are trying to use it or understand it and becoming frustrated by vagueness or inconsistencies--it's not you, it's the test.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 7:01 PM on April 21, 2010

Nurse and electrician would probably suck for you, as an "N."

> i just want to have my own safe little bubble where i can be creative and hug trees

Um, that plus IN t/f j/p, plus rhetoric major pretty much describes being a communications professional at an environmental nonprofit. You sure you can't write grants, newsletters, and press releases? At the right place, you can be sheltered from the board members and volunteers. You sound like a strong I.
posted by salvia at 8:13 PM on April 21, 2010

You are definitely not alone in this, I have never been overly enthused by my results on career aptitude tests, and I am also stuck in low paid admin / secretarial jobs. (actually right now I'm not, right now I'm out of work, again. But that's by the by). I also have a very good degree from a very good university which has done me no good so far other than render me unemployable for anything but temp work because people think I'm going to leave when I get what I really want to do, when what I really want to do I'm not sure about, and what I may want to do is currently very closed off!

It is very hard, I know, the key for me has been to try and make money doing something else in my spare time, and make sure I have a really good hobbies base. And sometimes doing boring admin is fine if you are doing it in an organisation which you love (I have just left one of those and it broke my heart - the downside of temp contracts and recession!).

Feel free to mefimail me to share sob stories!
posted by nunoidia at 10:42 PM on April 21, 2010

There's a good book about Myers-Briggs, called Please Understand Me, by Keirsey and Bates. One of its strong points (IMO) is that it has narrative descriptions of all 16 personality types. So you can sit back, relax, and read about four types relevant to you: INFP, INFJ, INTP, INTJ. As you read, look for things that sound like you. Mull over the careers that are mentioned for the types and see if any of them sound like they might be interesting to you, and you might have an aptitude for. Could give you some ideas.

Also, don't feel discouraged because you're evenly split between T/F and J/P. Few people fit into exactly one personality type strongly and completely, since humans are, after all, quite complex creatures. What it really means is that you are lucky to have attributes of both T and F, and J and P, making you a versatile person.

If you're a strong I, then I suspect you'd do best interacting with another person one-on-one, or working alone and interacting with others only occasionally. And if you're a strong N, you'd do better with ideas, concepts, and words than with concrete objects. I could see you as a writer for sure. Able to work alone at a desk, coming up with ideas, phrases, sentences, able to write both logically and with compassion.
posted by exphysicist345 at 6:24 PM on April 24, 2010

hey exphysicist345 - i definitely wish i could be a writer all day long! too bad i need health insurance :)

i know some people make a go of it, but i've haven't reached that point yet.

i've really been leaning towards getting my MSW because i do enjoy one-on-one but groups give me the willies, at least for purposes of getting something done.

i think i saw that book at the library. i'll have to give it a whirl.
posted by sio42 at 5:49 AM on May 5, 2010

internet fraud DST9 - you are right, i would like the studying or some of the lab stuff the questions ask about, not the actual day in day out practice of medicine.

when they questions like "would you rather remove an appendix or teach 2nd graders how to read?" all i can think of is being alone in a room with 20 hyperactive children and i would SO much rather do surgery. ha.

teachiing ONE child to read would be rewarding tho.
posted by sio42 at 5:53 AM on May 5, 2010

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