I have made many references to my being an ISTJ personality type in previous posts. For those who are not familiar with it, check out the Myer Briggs Personality Indicator. You can take the test here.
I first came across the MB test when browsing through Early Retirement Extreme . There were many references to the MB personality types and also specific discussions on the relationships between the different MB types and early retirement. I was interested in early retirement and early financial independence, so I tried to see if I had an edge with my personality type.
It turns out that I am an ISTJ (Introverted Sensing Thinking Judging). And after reading the general narrative, I am a firm believer in MB.
“ISTJs are quiet and reserved individuals who are interested in security and peaceful living.”
That’s me in a nutshell. I am a homebody with not many friends, and no interest in partying to the hilt. I am not interested in the accumulation of riches for its own sake. I am interested only in the security and peace it can afford me. I want early retirement, but the retirement has to be secured one.
“While they generally take things very seriously, they also usually have an offbeat sense of humor and can be a lot of fun – especially at family or work-related gatherings.”
I am not boring, even though it may appear so to some. One just needs to be more than a casual acquaintance before I will share myself.
“ISTJs have tremendous respect for facts. They hold a tremendous store of facts within themselves, which they have gathered through their Sensing preference. They may have difficulty understanding a theory or idea which is different from their own perspective. However, if they are shown the importance or relevance of the idea to someone who they respect or care about, the idea becomes a fact, which the ISTJ will internalize and support. Once the ISTJ supports a cause or idea, he or she will stop at no lengths to ensure that they are doing their duty of giving support where support is needed.”
“…..they will resist putting energy into things which don’t make sense to them, or for which they can’t see a practical application….. ISTJ has little use for theory or abstract thinking, unless the practical application is clear.”
Again, that’s me to a T. And this aspect of my personality has hindered me in my career. It is hard for me to make snap decisions, because I need a lot of factual research, and this usually cannot be done in a short time. If I am forced to make decisions without proper support, I will be stressed and will often regret any decision I do make. And my work involves a lot of such quick decisions.
I am also having problems with my current boss because I can’t respect him and am having problems executing his ideas, which I also happen not to agree with.
That last part is also why I enjoy being an engineer more than a manager. Alas, my bosses won’t give me a demotion. Oh yes, I did ask for it.
“ISTJs are likely to be uncomfortable expressing affection and emotion to others.”
This is one of the main reasons why I find it so hard to manage a team. I find it hard to give encouragement and pats on the back. It feels kind of fake somehow when I try to do it. Possibly because I also feel the insincerity from my bosses when they do it, and I somehow projected it onto myself.
It also makes it difficult for me to make and keep friends. You know when a friend is sick or in trouble, most people will instinctively ask if they are alright and need help? I find it hard to express all that, even though I really do want to help. And when I am sick or having trouble, all I want is to be left alone. That makes me come across as very aloof.
“The ISTJ is extremely faithful and loyal. Traditional and family-minded..…”
Yes….to everyone from country to my political heroes to my family and friends, and my hairdresser. I have been at my first job for 10 years now; stayed with the same cell phone provider for about the same amount of time, voted for the same political party since I was eligible more than a decade ago.
So don’t diss my country and my government. I’ll scalp you. Or my hairdresser will. 🙂
“ISTJs have an excellent ability to take any task and define it, organize it, plan it, and implement it through to completion….They do not usually give themselves enough credit for their achievements, seeing their accomplishments simply as the natural fulfillment of their obligations. “
I have been told this by bosses….when I asked for the demotion.
ISTJs usually have a great sense of space and function, and artistic appreciation. Their homes are likely to be tastefully furnished and immaculately maintained. They are acutely aware of their senses, and want to be in surroundings which fit their need for structure, order, and beauty.
I don’t know about the artistic and beauty part, since these are subjective and lie in the eyes of the beholder. But I do need a lot of immaculate structure and order. I can’t stand things in a mess and out of their place.
“Under stress, ISTJs may fall into “catastrophe mode”, where they see nothing but all of the possibilities of what could go wrong. They will berate themselves for things which they should have done differently, or duties which they failed to perform. They will lose their ability to see things calmly and reasonably, and will depress themselves with their visions of doom.”
This describes my forays into the stock market exactly. I have yet to make a single cent after all these years.
So, do I have an edge when it comes to personality type? Maybe. Despite not being one of those elusive INTJs which abounds in the Jacob’s ERE website, Jacob thinks ISTJs stand a good chance at early retirement. Good for me, eh?
So, welcome to my inner world. What is your MB type?