The secret to career satisfaction, argue authors Paul Tieger and Barbara Barron, lies in doing what you enjoy most. Some people are lucky enough to discover what this is very early in life. I know a woman who at age 12 decided she would be an archaeologist, and proceeded to dig up the family yard. But this was no fleeting childhood aspiration. She went on to obtain a PhD in archeology, learned dead languages, worked on digs all around the world, and has now upgraded from suburban backyards to historic sites across the Middle East.
Not all of us benefit from such early career certainty. Instead we might wind our way through a broad liberal arts education, or an assortment of summer internships, or many taxing years in graduate school, all while asking: What can we do? What should we do? What do we want to do? But the authors of Do What You Are advocate a different approach, nicely summarized in the book’s title, which is to find out who you are, and then do that.
And just how does this book tackle the “who are you” question, one that has perplexed philosophers and hookah-smoking caterpillars alike, in just 400 pages?
Do What You Are bases itself in the work of a mother-daughter team, Katharine Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers, who nearly 100 years ago neatly divided all of humanity along 4 dimensions and into 16 distinct personality types. Certainly this is an oversimplification, as there are clearly more than 16 types of people. But by focusing on just four basic aspects of human personality, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) hones in on the “who are you” question, and since the 1940s has helped millions of people discover what best motivates and energizes them.
Many of you have likely encountered the MBTI before, and some of you may even know your Type. For those who don’t, the MBTI process is basically a questionnaire that seeks to place you along four different dimensions, as summarized here:Read More...