How to Develop a Job Personality

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Artificial Personality Types vs. A Life’s Calling

Particular personality types are a rather arbitrary categorizing of sets of behaviors in individuals, in my experience. The types have proved too limiting.

Several systems of these “types” include Myers-Briggs; The 4 Temperaments, Zodiac Signs; Moon Signs; somatotypes (like thin, fat, or muscular); Type A/Type B/Type C; Block’s Types; Ayurvedic Types; Ancient Greek (“humors”); types stemming from Phrenology (the study of the bumps on the head); types based on skull structure other than the bumps on the head (wrongly used for defining criminals); the sanguine-phlegmatic-melancholic-choleric continuum; Star Trek characters; Star Wars characters; Wizard of Oz characters; and a lot of others. In over 20 years of performing and interpreting personality and vocational tests, I have found these type systems listed above often to be not very accurate overall.

Any of the type systems may provide a starting point for discussion, but an individual must get to know oneself in order to be matched with an appropriate career. People also mature over time and so does personality. It develops across the lifespan.

Purportedly, different types of personalities are suited to particular kinds of jobs and this is correct to some extent. Tendencies toward specific talents, skills, and the enjoyment potential for an individual in a particular career field and its tasks all contribute to one’s Dream Job. This is the job one is created to perform and which creates both professional effectiveness and personal satisfaction.

The Dream Job is one’s Life Calling, whether a person is of a faith-based or religious bent, or not. The Catholic Church has long spoken of callings for priests, nuns, and lay workers, and workforce development has incorporated this type of system into itself. It has been useful in welfare reform programs in that it has encouraged some people to graduate from the welfare system to happy gainful employment.In addition, most people do seem to have a special calling to fulfill – a job that is optimal for that person in productivity and satisfaction.

World societies have exercised similar ideas and systems in the past. Particularly, Native Americans did so, beginning hundreds of years ago; an example being the male Two-Spirit that was assigned to care for and train children rather than to hunt and to war. Such a person was useful and happy in his role. Through time in large portions of China after Communism, as individuals have retired from work, they have often been assigned volunteer tasks in their post-working years, this work often based on their talents and enjoyments. Matching people appropriately to activities such as these makes sense.

Once an individual knows him(her)self well enough to recognize wherein lie his strengths and satisfactions, he can pursue his Calling or Dream Job more effectively. Seeking and working in a job, career, and field where one can excell and also feel satisfaction is one measure of integrity. It is being true to oneself. At times, the Dream Job may not be available, but one can pursue it and work towards it all one’s life. This can be a measure of satisfaction in itself.

Work Readiness and Work Maturity

A lion is not born full grown and powerful; and neither is an employee…or any human being.

Just as humans pass through stages of development (Piaget’s or Mazlow’s or others’ systems), people progress through stages of integrity as well. Integrity matures over time and is a daily work. Most people are not in their own full personality and integrity 100% of every hour, but they often improve with life experience and age. Some do not, but a lot do.

An effective Job Personality takes ones’ skills, giftings, and natural talents, matches them to an appopriate a job and career as possible, and combines all of this with continuous ongoing professional development training.

As early as middle school or elementary school, Work Readiness Training helps youth learn what is expected in a good employee and what they can expect from as good job. Additional training can be called Work Maturity Learning in which an individual acquires the skills needed to advance on the job, earn raises and promotions, and to secure an ever-improving career in terms of productivity, pay rate, benefits, increased responsibilities and satisfaction. This may include office seminars or in-service training on the job, conferences, workshops, vocational classes, college credit courses, CEUs (continuing education credits), and short term courses at training institutes connected with many fields of work. Other topics covered are often related to health and wellness, investments, team building, creative problem solving, how to work with difficult people, and several other subjects.

The further an employee pursues effective ongoing professional development, progresses in a job via appropriate avenues, and moves up the success ladder in a career in an honest manner, the more fully that worker can be in integrity and true to himself. Employers would benefit from encouraging this in order to retain current employees, while be willing to promote and replace good employees with new ones that will also benefit from training. People held back are often peple that use counterproductive behaviors on the job.

While some workers are stuck in a position because ti seems the boss does not want to train someone else to do the job, I feel that employers an demployees should view the career and jobs as a flowing river of people. People should continually move in, move up, and move on to better opportunities as long as they are able and wish to do so.

Enforced Job Burnout Erodes the Job Personality

It has been found that Job Burnout is caused in an employee that is continually forced to perform tasks that he or she does very well but does not enjoy, or even dislikes. This is an important part of Job Personality that must be considered – As an employer, if you make an employee do something repeatedly that they don’t like only because they are best at it and you don’t want to train anyone else should they be promoted, then you will lose that employee, anyway. You will loose them through resignation or through lowered productivity.

It was one American food chain’s method to burn employees out so that they could be replaced at the same minimum wage. The comapny philospophy was that the corporation and stockholders received the most production for their wage dollar in this manner. Actually, they received slower service times and poorer qualities of food production, not to mention increased employee theft and its negative impact on unit costs.

Planned burnout is not cost effective. It is also inhumane. Job Personality must be attended for the good of the company as well as of the worker. Training replascement worklers is costing industry 10% more each year than it did the year before before of burnout and related factors. Part of this can be avouided by placing workers in the right jobs and offering them continuing training and advancement. One effective, experienced, happy employee is worth 3-4 untrained, partially trained, or less-then-happy newcomers.

Creating Job Character

I believe somewhat against the grain of social science thought in the 21st century. This thought says that personality is the set of behaviors of a person, isolated from the whole person, or Self.

It has been popular to teach that “personality is what you do” and “character is who you are”; however, it is not possible to separate and isolate personality and character from each other any more than it is possible to sever mind from body.

I say this, because of the preponderance of Character Training Programs in American schools today that have been instituted in order to change negative behaviors into more positive actions. If character is distinct and unrelated to personality (behaviors), then these programs are raising a bunch of actors, posers, and phonies that learn only to manipulate others with scripted behaviors.

I maintain that personality and character are related, character increasingly giving rise to effective behaviors/personality in an individual as the person learns and physically matures.

The concept that “you are not your behavior” too easily relieves an individual from personal responsibility in that it gives rise to the attitude that “it doesn’t matter what I do, because that’s not me.” In contrast, the world tells people to “Walk the Talk”, which means to act the way one speaks (believes) and this admonition is, for example, often aimed at Christians (even by other Christians).

Further, it seems that for eons, children have been taught that the following concept in adults is bad behavior and morally wrong: “Do as I say, not as I do.” Agai, this is telling us to match our beliefs, attitudes, and values (character) to our behaviors (personality). It is evident to me that a concept of personality and character not linked is an excuse for lack of accountability. This can be very damaging in the workplace, where job performance is an accountability factor and Continuous Improvement is the hallmark of increasing numbers of American business goals. The following quote from some 100 years ago illustrates this point:

It doesn’t matter if you’re on the right track if you aren’t going anywhere. – Mark Twain.

Continous improvement can proceed long-term on the job, in the personality, in character, in integrity, and in evey ongoing process of life.

Asian Proverb: To stop growing is to die.

My Company Motto: When you reach the top of the Mountain, climb higher!