What's Your Work Style?

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Are you in a job that suits you? How about your work environment?

Is it one that allows you to shine for who you are and recognizes the unique contribution that only you can make? If you take your quest for job satisfaction seriously these are questions you might want to ask. Knowing a bit more about your "work type" can help you feel more at home in your current job. It's also useful if you are considering going back into that vast -- and sometimes scary -- place known as the "job market."

Take this quiz to help you determine your work type. It is designed at a very basic level to help you better know who you are. It's then up to you to leverage that knowledge to create a career that helps you thrive. The quiz will help you "think out of the box" as you consider your many options. Based on the well-known work of a mother-daughter team, Katharine Cook Briggs and Isabel Briggs-Myers, career counselors and others use quizzes like these "to help people make their perceptions clearer, their judgments sounder and their life closer to [their] heart's desire."


How to Take the Quiz

Answer each of the four questions. After each answer is explained you will get a "key letter." Write that down. At the end, these key letters will correspond to a "type" that relates to your personality.


Question 1: How Do You Recharge?

Which option sounds more like you? When I get home from a busy day, I:

A. Take a relaxing walk alone on a quiet street or nature trail near my house or curl up with a best-selling novel.

B. Get right on the phone or start emailing to schedule a night out with friends, or head out to engage in my favorite team sport, church committee or community meeting.


Answers:

A. You're most likely an introvert. At one time in the workplace, this may have earned you the label of "shy." Today it may just give you what you need to succeed in an information economy. Solitude is where introverts get their energy. They thrive on reflection and time alone. They develop ideas through reflection, think before speaking, learn by reading and reflection, work best alone in a quiet environment. They need time to contemplate ideas, and have good powers of concentration-often working on one project for long periods of time without interruption.

Key letter to write down: "I"


B. Hello extrovert! Your ideal job is socially oriented and full of people-centric activities. You're energized by social interaction. Extroverts develop ideas through discussion, speak before thinking, learn by talking through matters, work well with distractions, and like varied tasks. The rapid-fire pace of today's business culture provides the kind of work environment extroverts excel in naturally.

Key letter to write down: "E"


2. How Do You Like to Receive Information?

I work and learn best when:

A. Communication from management gives me the facts and details I need. This information is key to my realistic worldview. I'm practical, like dealing with facts, and need specific answers to questions. I'm happiest when the work assigned to me has me getting the job done through a well-established project. I like working in a step-by-step process.

B. Communication from management focuses on the future and its possibilities. I need any person I see in a management position to be able to engage my vivid imagination. I like brainstorming on the different possibilities that may be possible on any given project and relying on my inspiration to solve problems.


Answers:

A. Consider yourself a Sensor-a realist of the world. You're practical and present-oriented focusing on the "here and now." You like facts, need specific answers to questions, and enjoy the continuation of established patterns.

Key letter to write down: "S"

B. You're an Intuitive-a visionary dreamer. You like to think about the future and envision its many possibilities. You are good at seeing patterns and trends and like working with theories.

Key letter to write down: "N"


3. How Do You Make Decisions?

I make my decisions in the workplace based on:

A. People first. Insight into human character is the key to making a good decision-especially in a workplace with wide variety of people and so many diverse concerns.

B. Logic first. Each situation holds a right answer based on fairness and respect for rules. People and their whims can confuse things. It's good to be able to think objectively.


Answers:

A. You're a Feeler. You base your decisions subjective factors and the colleagues involved in the decision. People see you as compassionate, sympathetic, desiring harmony and supportive in the workplace. You avoid criticism and conflict and prefer harmony to clarity. You'll choose tact over the hard truth any day.

Key letter to write down: "F"

B. You're a Thinker. You base decisions on logic and make objective conclusions. Co-workers see you as reasonable and desiring of respect. You're adept at giving constructive criticism. You prefer clarity to harmony and truth to tact.

Key letter to write down: "T"


4. How Do You Order Your Life?

Work's over-it's the weekend! Which is your dream getaway?

A. I'm taking off to a destination I've wanted to visit for a long while. I already know what I want to see. I've researched my destination on the Web and spent my lunchtime in the bookstore reading up on the best places to stop on the way and the restaurants serving the kind of food I like. I've mapped my journey to maximize my opportunities for getting everything I've planned done. After all, a weekend's pretty valuable.

B. After the structure of the workweek, I'm hitting open road. I'm looking forward to having the best type of weekend possible and for me this means flexibility, spontaneity and variety. Knowing me, I'll probably pack at the last minute. I'll leave myself plenty of time to stop at any farmer's market, beautiful view of nature, antique or junk shop, or car rally I might see on the way. Keeping my options open is what's important. I won't book a room just yet, but see what options are available when I get there. Last-minute cancellations are a way to get great deals!


Answers:

A. You're a Judger. In life, you thrive on organization, plans, schedules, structure and closure. Your strengths are in our ability to be decisive, systematic and methodical. You make lists to accomplish your goals and focus on the completion of a project.

Key letter to write down: "J"

B. You're a Perceiver. You feel confined by structure. Schedules drive you nuts. You're adaptable. You like to put off making decisions as long as possible to receive maximum information and operate best "under the gun," often leaving tasks to the last minute to complete in case more information appears.

Key letter to write down: "P"


Determine Your Work Style

Combine the key letters you received from these four answers. You'll have an acronym such as ESTJ or INFP. Using this, you can find more on your "work type" below.

1. ISTJ, ISFJ, ESTJ and ESFJ

"SJ" or Sensing Judger Type-The Guardian or Duty Seeker

You perceive information with your five senses without going deep into your insights. You prefer an organized and peaceful atmosphere over adventure. You take things as they are. Your sharp memory and past experiences help you handle new situations with a lot of competence.

Jobs to consider: administrative assistant, chief administrator, paralegal, military officer, police officer, physical therapist, teacher, counselor, public administrator, database administrator, public relations officer, interior decorator, home economics specialist, nurse, child care professional, human resource manager, lawyer, income tax officer, accountant, auditor, medical practitioner, computer programmer or analyst, biologist, pharmacist, real estate agent.


2. INTJ, INTP, ENTJ and ENTP:

"NT" or Intuitive Thinking Type-The Analyzers

You are an analytical type-a rational knowledge-seeker. You perceive information primarily with your intuition but heavily depend upon logic for making your decisions.

Jobs to consider: event planner, trainer, media planner, sales manager, marketing manager, advertiser, technical writer, editor, new business developer, strategic planner, scientist, inventor, engineer, lawyer, judge, military officer, computer programmer, professor, medical doctor or assistant, dentist or dental hygienist, organizer, economist, environmental planner, psychologist, financial planner.


3. INFJ, INFP, ENFJ and ENFP:

"NF" or Intuitive Feeling Types-The Idealists

You heavily depend upon your intuition to understand information, situation and surroundings. When you need to make a choice you go for feelings instead of logic. Your fertile imagination is a source of strength that challenges you to find a job that can best harness it.

Jobs to consider: human resources developer or manager, social worker, educator, event coordinator, sales representative, psychologist, psychiatrist, writer, playwright, poet, novelist, editor, photographer, musician, actor, artist, entertainer, religious leader, medical doctor, consultant, librarian, translator, comedian, journalist, small business executive, politician, diplomat, scientist.


4. ISTP, ISFP, ESTP and ESFP:

"SP" or Sensing Perceiver Types-The Artisan or Action-Seeker

You perceive facts primarily through your five senses and love adventures over routine life. You can adapt to new situations very quickly.

Jobs to consider: physical therapist, fire fighter, emergency medical professional, teacher, radiologist or radiology technician, insurance agent, athletic coach, race car driver, mechanic, social worker, community activist, psychologist, private detective, fashion designer, musician, surveyor, consultant, budget analyst, stock broker, public relations representative, supervisor, pilot, news reporter, insurance agent.


This is a very simplified form of a much longer questionnaire. Yet, seeing how you respond and noting the differences in how someone else might answer is important. It helps us understand co-workers who we may see, literally, as "living in a different world." Remember that there are 15 other personality types out there who see things differently than you see them.

For example, Perceivers who take their time and consider all the options in making a decision sometimes drive "Judgers" mad. Likewise Perceivers see Judgers with their "cut and dried" approach to decision-making as a bit narrow. Try to identify other people's types. This may help you understand their perspectives.

Next: What's Your Job Search Style? >>


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