Saturday, October 20, 2012

Personality Test

The other day at work I took the Myers-Briggs test.  Well, they say it's not a "test".  They kept calling it an "instrument" since there are no right or wrong answers in the thing, therefore making it not a test.  Well.  Anyway, my results indicate I am what is classified as an ISTJ.  This stands for Introverted, Sensing, Thinking, and Judging.  Basically, it makes me sound like an asshole. 

The results weren't a surprise to me.  I've taken the test, sorry, instrument during freshmen year of vet school and I remember then I was also classified as an introvert, although I couldn't remember the other three categories.  What surprised me was my extremeness in a few of the categories.  I am EXTREMELY introverted and EXTREMELY judging.  This makes me sound like even more of an asshole.

This got me wondering.  I am engaged in two different professions: veterinary medicine and writing.  Sometimes these professions cross, like when I write articles about canine cognitive dysfunction, and sometimes they don't, like when I make another fruitless attempt at a novel.  How does an ISTJ personality fit with each profession?

An interesting blog from Banfield, the Pet Hospital (2010) states the traditional vet personality is the ISTJ/ESTJ - either introverted or extroverted individuals who would rather analyze data, make lists, stick to schedules.  However, more recent polls of new grads indicate more I/ESFJs - these are the more feel-y type people, being more influenced by feelings than logic and data.

Excuse me while I get my science on
I can understand ISTJs in the veterinary workforce.  We want to look at bloodwork, analyze glucose values of a diabetic cat, make decisions on antibiotic therapy based on cultures, wound contamination, and owner compliance.  We like our scheduled exams and the fact that we can make decisions on our own.

But, what about writing? I have always felt that no matter what kind of writing you do, except maybe grant proposals or really technical writing, like drafting a manual on the construction of carburetors, there is creativity involved.  And if there's something that doesn't fit well with an ISTJ, it seems to be creativity.

Reading about this further, though, it seems I'm thinking about this in the wrong way.  It's not that ISTJs can't be creative.  Rather, it's more about how they go about being creative.  In a blog about writer personalities, Andrea Wenger writes that ISTJs are efficient writers.  We ISTJ-ers prefer writing about demonstrable facts and usually have a set writing plan (guilty as charged).  Maybe this is why NaNoWriMo appeals to me: give me a plan, force my hand with a deadline, and (theoretically) I'm off and running.  Now to put theory into practice....

I'm curious about other writers out there - do you know your Myers-Briggs' personality type?  If so, do your writing habits match what your personality type indicates? 

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