I know you think you heard what I said

I next stumbled into the study of temperament. Suffice it to say you're born with your temperament and you can work with it, but it remains constant. I'm Goldilocks (or the Princess and the Pea) and my porridge has to be just right so does the music, the temperature, the lighting, my coffee. (Look up the word temperamental - my picture is there.) Meanwhile hubby is blissfully unaware that the same CD has been playing continuously for three weeks. I don't mean to be temperamental any more than he means to be lost in space it's just the way we are .

Studies have shown that doing work not suited to your temperament can create a low level of dissatisfaction and even mild depression. Imagine the Chinese torture of being mildly dissatisfied or depressed with your work for thirty years. So my interest in temperament relates to how it impacts our chosen fields. My extroverted husband is an accountant while I trained to be opera singer and I'm a serial introvert? What was I thinking? Me on stage? No way, no thank you. But who knew? We both went into the same careers as our parents. Sadly, personality traits we're not commonly understood waaay back then, and neither one of us selected work that suited our individual temperaments.

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David Keirsey's ground breaking book Please Understand Me, along with the Myers Briggs Type Indicator, brought personality typing to the forefront of career counseling. MBTI is now the most widely used instrument to better understand the 16 personality types which fall into 4 groupings called Rationals, Idealists, Artisans and Guardians. They are further broken into 4 subgroups each. But even within the 16 types, there are wildly varying degrees of preference and non-preference functions. No two people are identical and the study is very complex. We use MBTI in our Careers By Design department and Abigail Adams, our certified MBTI consultant, fascinates us with her descriptions of what can happen when one gets stuck in an incompatible career choice.

As I continued to get my head around this complex study of personality traits, temperament, left/right brain preferences, Grergoric and other psychometric tools, I recognized the trends and threads that dominated our business culture over the last half century. Until very recently, I would have declared that our left brain culture would be The business model forever. Now I don't think so, but more on that in a second.

Applied to my human resources practice, it was readily obvious that certain personality groups gravitated towards particular careers and exhibited certain behaviors. Conflicts within organizations we're predictable and understandable - which meant they we're fixable. Part of my job was to identify styles of work, learning, and communication, and to facilitate individual improvements.

Our non-profit clients are generally peopled with Idealists like Joan Baez or Albert Schweitzer, while our business clients are predominantly Guardians like Harry Truman or Rationals like Bill Gates. Artisans Bob Dylan or Ernest Hemingway found satisfying careers in the Arts & Entertainment world, but there are exceptions in all groups. In career counseling, understanding these preferences allows us to encourage folks to seek positions that best fit their personality profiles, or coach them towards a better understanding of how to work more harmoniously and productively in existing positions.

Now comes the latest ah ha . I do have a point to this post, and I'm sorry it's taking so long to get there, but it's my linear thinking, and this is important so hang in there with me.

The last several months of economic upheaval have presented some great challenges. Our office has been inundated with folks who see options for employment dwindling. Some are relocating; others have lost their jobs; everyone is fearful of the future. Can psychometric tools help when entire industries are disappearing?

Frustrated, my answers no longer felt relevant. (If you saw my temperament you'd understand.) I started paying closer attention to news pundits, bloggers, journalists and authors, to bring you the best thinking. I felt we we're in the midst of a sea change, but I'm not visionary enough (my Gregoric confirms that) to see the big picture patterns that intuitively we're just beyond my reach. (My MBTI indicates a very strong Intuition.)

Then came along Daniel Pink's book A Whole New Mind - Why Right-brainers Will Rule The Future and it wowed me with a capital W. I felt myself nodding as I devoured his words, underlining salient points. These answers rang true.

This is the most significant book you must read to navigate your future. It's all good news - but there's a seismic shift coming in the things we know.

(For you instant gratifiers, click on the highlighted book title above and magic will transport you to the Amazon website where you can even buy a used copy.)

According to Pink, we've come from the 18th century's Agriculture Age (farmers), through the 19th century's Industrial Age (factory workers), to the 20th century's Information Age (knowledge workers who we're predominantly left brain), which we are now concluding. Today Pink says we are entering what he calls the 21st century's Conceptual Age :

"creators and empathizers who will compliment the left brain's linear functions with the right brain's creative and artistic functions."

In his view it's a whole new mind and this latest transformation is being driven by abundance, automation and Asia, which is moving us towards "a society of creators and empathizers, pattern recognizers and meaning makers."

He goes on to identify six new senses that will play significant roles in our future: Design, Story, Symphony, Empathy, Play and Meaning. Ya gotta read the book.

But one last hors d'oeuvre -

Several of the career blogs I follow have recently tackled the challenge of how to write resumes that get results. One such idea suggests abandoning the accepted format to just tell your story - in story form. (See second sense listed above) Trusting the tried and true, I immediately nixed that idea, thinking I knew our conservative market.

HoweverPink illustrates a significant point in defining his second sense - story - which has whipped me around 180 degrees. The mind doesn't remember facts nearly as easily as it remembers a good story because stories are how we remember. Pink quotes cognitive scientist Mark Turner: "Narrative imagining - story - is the fundamental instrument of thought. Rational capacities depend on it. It is our chief means of looking into the future, of predicting, of planning, and of explainingmost of our experience, our knowledge and our thinking is organized as stories."

Pink then goes on to paraphrases E.M.Forster's famous quote: "Afactis 'the queen died and the king died.' Astoryis 'the queen died and the king died of a broken heart.'"

Tune in soon for my thoughts on " your story " as a 50-word mini saga turned resume format.

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Sources For This Article

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Posted in Home Post Date 02/12/2019


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