I know personality tests aren’t very credible, but they fascinate me. At the beginning of college, I took a class that was supposed to be about professionalism; it turned out to be a little more like a let’s-talk-about-our-feelings type deal. We were instructed to articulate who we are, our goals, our career ambitions – basically a dramatic résumé building class. In order to explain who we are, we took a series of personality tests – anything from the Myers–Briggs Type Indicator to StrengthsFinder -in the hopes of uncovering “meaningful” explanations about ourselves to use in job interviews. The results of these tests never surprised me: outgoing, confident, bold, methodical, dedicated, strong-willed, organized, direct, honest. As a guileless college freshman, I didn’t doubt the accuracy of such descriptors. The adjectives were directly indicative of my high school laundry list of involvement and achievements. I was all the cliché things – Class and Student Council President, Environmental Club member, Prom Queen. Heck, in 2011, I was named the Youth Leader of the Year for my reasonably-sized city. I was that kid. Who is she? Anyways, the class required us to place the traits the tests yielded in our LinkedIn profiles as skills to be endorsed. (Progressive, right?) My descriptors which allegedly translated into skills were: Achiever, Relator, Self-assurance, Focus, and Arranger. I’ve since removed these from my professional profile due to the, ahem, egocentric vibe they exude.
While I don’t think that achiever tendencies are so far removed, I observed sweeping changes in how I perceive myself and how others perceive me in the past few years. These days, I don’t particularly love commanding a room, delegating responsibilities, or organizing social events. I don’t find myself as fixated on accuracy, on grades, or on performance evaluations. I like to pretend that I’m still meticulous about the way I learn, study, or clean, but my house and car are usually disaster zones and I am the laziest meeting note-taker. I can’t remember the last time I read a book all the way through, nor can I stick to much – be it a budget, workout plan, diet, you name it. My newfound lack of discipline and overall lax attitude didn’t show up overnight.
A lot has changed since I graduated college. I started working in a university position that thrust me in what I used to love most – event planning. In less than a year, I found myself on the job hunt after feeling drastically burnt out and ultimately tired of people-pleasing. I slid ever-so smoothly into my current position as an IT Specialist. I’m very passionate about what I do, but I’ve learned that stereotypes of working in tech are sometimes true. Now, I spend most of my days tied up at computers, troubleshooting network and software issues, developing my department’s website, and researching the latest products to keep my unit modern. I don’t say many words in a given day, have dramatically fewer meetings, and dress just about however I want. It also makes a difference that I work in an environment where at least 75% of my routine interactions are with individuals 20+ years older than me. It’s a little hard to find common ground and thrive as a social butterfly. Frankly, the general workplace changes a person. Post-grad life changes a person. Adulthood changes a person. Maybe there is wisdom in age?
Amidst my noticeably changing habits and interests, I thought it might be fun to retake some of those personality tests. Here’s a comparison of my old results with the new:
ESTJ: The Old Me
Some of the basic descriptors of this personality are: Loyal, reliable, creates order, honest, judgmental, uptight, inflexible, stubborn. In this “executive” personality type, idle time is the enemy and competition is key. By projecting authority and maintaining the highest quality of work ethic, sh!t gets done with ESTJs. Some well-known alleged ESTJs include: Sonia Sotomayor, Judge Judy, Sarah Michelle Gellar, and James Monroe – all boss ass, take charge type A people.
ISFP: The New Me
Some of the basic descriptors of this personality include: Imaginative, passionate, curious, artistic, independent, stressed, competitive. In this personality type, ISFP’s can’t handle feeling micromanaged and work independently, but often feel uncomfortable in management positions. Creative and carefree in nature, ISFPs are tolerant, down-to-earth, and striving to ground their focus. Some well-known alleged ISFPs include: Avril Lavigne, Lana Del Rey, Jessica Alba, and Joss Stone – aka chill chicas that I’ve kinda always aspired to be.
My thoughts? Frankly, I don’t feel like I fit wholly in either category – not “old” me nor “new” me. And that’s okay. Personality is supposedly like climate and attitude like weather, but ever complex. It’s completely fine to feel like your interests, dislikes, habits, and routines are changing as you grow and mature. I still feel inclined to seek out leadership positions, but I definitely don’t hyper obsess on details and long-term planning anymore. I, like many people, enjoy embracing identifiers because categorization and compartmentalization bring me comfort. At the end of the day, you’re you. Complex, intriguing, intricate you, and that’s enough.