Sunday, December 04, 2011

Determining my Myers-Briggs Score

In my post Penelope Trunk Gives a Wake-Up Call I mentioned one of the first steps to achieving career satisfaction is to know your Myers-Briggs score. My problem was I had taken six different on-line Myers-Briggs assessments and had received six different scores.

How I discovered my real score?
I googled "best" Myers-Briggs book and discovered Paul Tieger and Barbara Barron-Tieger's book Do What You Are. Unfortunately this book does not include the assessment. Apparently the authentic Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Test is copyrighted and available only through organizations, counselors and therapists approved by the Myers and Briggs Foundation. The book does describe each of the 8 personality traits in detail along with providing examples. After a process that included comparing my previous six Myers-Briggs scores with the examples in the book and asking my husband for his opinion I came up with ISFJ.

The book includes profiles of people who enjoy their jobs for each personality type. While reading Monty’s profile (a stressed 44-year old ISFJ who was an over-worked tax accountant with an inability to say no until he became a sole practitioner CPA, working exclusively for nonprofit organizations), I had an aha moment I am an ISFJ. In addition to reading the strengths and weaknesses for ISFJ in the book I found Portrait of an ISFJ on the Personality Page website to be quite helpful.

What did I learn?
I discovered I prefer working in a highly structured, traditional organization with a clear mission. I am more comfortable working one-on-one, helping others or with other people who share my personal values and beliefs. I am hard working, loyal sometimes to a fault and prefer staying in my comfort zone. I also don't like presenting my work to a group without adequate time to prepare well in advance, have a hard time saying no and am a reluctant manager.

I found it interesting how many of the above items I touched on in previous blog posts:
What is next?
I am considering getting a certified professional to interpret my score. I’d like to discuss whether I should pursue an alternative job in accounting that better fits my personality, make a complete career change or just stay where I am at. Have you done this? Did you find it helpful? Do you feel knowing your Myers-Briggs score has made a difference in your life and career?


  1. Anonymous7:29 PM

    I had to take the Myers Briggs in high school. I failed it! So did my husband! So I guess we're perfect for each other.

    How do you fail the Myers Briggs? The instructions clearly say that you don't have to answer questions if you don't have a preference. But they don't say that you have to answer a minimum number of questions.

    So I retook it, and got very close to the middle on everything, except one of them, I forget which (either the N or the T). I'm INTP or INTJ.

    I don't think knowing has made any sort of difference in my life. I have a pretty strong personality even if it isn't boxed up neatly in the Myers Briggs format.

  2. N&M
    I've never heard of someone failing the Myers-Briggs. Thanks for the comment though. You are correct sometimes work is just work and you can't your personality or your life into a perfect box with a pretty bow on top. I am curious to see what others think.

  3. Savvy, it's been way too many years, but in grad school I actually studied Myers-Briggs.

    First, congratulations. You appear to be using it the way it is intended to be used. It was developed thru extensive interviews with people who were HAPPY in their work and workplaces. Myers and Briggs then categorized the four factor pairs so that a person who was looking for a good "fit" [that would be you] could identify those work situations where other people with similar characteristics are happy.

    For the past 20 years, the M-B has been abused [in my opinion] by using it to look at groups of people in the workplace and figure out why they work well together - and more often, why they do not. That seems like the same thing, but it is not!

    Secondly, your self analysis appears to be pretty good.

    I am not licensed to counsel based on M-B and have forgotten way too much, but if you can find a career counselor who understands it and is licensed (perhaps it's more like certified), by all means follow up. It's an excellent career counseling tool, and can probably help you to identify accounting positions or "locations" that might make you more confortable and be a better fit to your - I hate to use this word - personality. Good luck!

  4. I've never taken an official Myers-Briggs test, just the ones you can find online. I usually have an I and a J, but the middle two tend to switch around. I'll be curious to hear what you find out if you go to a professional.

  5. Webb,
    Thanks for providing additional info on M-B and for including the pitfalls. Reminds me of the Accounts Payable seminar I sent my co-worker to last fall. She returned saying she had analyzed everyone's personality including mine (I liked to talk) and how now she will “finally” be able to work with us all. I asked what she learned about A/P. She said nothing. This cost the company $140

    You have inspired me to search for a certified M-B counselor. If I find one, I will write what I discover.

    “I” stands for introversion and the “J” means you prefer a more structured and decided lifestyle. The one consistent letter I had in all my personality tests was the “I”. Makes me question my A/P employee’s analysis, if I was truly a talker I would have been an E. Thanks for the comment.