June 29, 2005

Myers Can Bite me. So Can Briggs.

Do you know about Myer-Briggs personality types? It's a series of four letters that indicate how you make decisions and function in the world--which is a fancy way of saying it is a personality test. I generally ENJOY personality tests because they permit---no, no they downright encourage--- a long, satisfying bout of selfindulgent navel gazing. But I do not take them seriously because, COME ON! Most of the tests are so obvious that the results can be SO easily manipulated. Especially the kind of quiz you find in Marie Claire and Cosmo (example: WHAT KIND OF INNER HOOKER ARE YOU HIDING?) because even a crack-addled orangutan could pick the "right" answers to get the test to confirm that they have the exact kind of inner hooker they ALWAYS secretly hoped they had.

But this Myers-Briggs thing is different. I think it's useful to know your type. For one thing, it has a practical application in that you can use the types in effective team building if you are some sort of corporate paper-jockey who understands buzzwords like "team building." Many corporations base hiring decisions on these types. I admit I fostered a certain skepticism until my husband took it as part fo the hiring process for a job, and it PEGGED HIM. Completely. And you know how I am always saying I married a tall version of my dad? I found out my father and my husband test as the exact same type. SO I think this test is useful...to a certain extent.

I say to a certain extent because the test has offended me. No matter how many times I take that stinking thing (and I first took it I would say 15 or 16 years ago---my dad was in human resources and he gave it to me), if I answer even REMOTELY honestly, it INSISTS I am a ENTJ. I think I am an ENFJ (aka a teacher) or maybe an ESFP (a performer) but no. The test insists I am an ENTJ. Also known as...THE FIELD MARSHALL.

Oh sure, they say THE FIELD MARSHALL has good points---we are energetic and charismatic and goal oriented and logical, but on the other hand, we are bossy and overbearing and it is unwise to stand between us and something we want. Because we will kill you. We will kill you and eat up your flocks and burn your lands and harry those of your line down to into hell, yea unto the seventh generation. FAMOUS ENTJ's through history include Lucy from peanuts, Margeret Thatcher, EVERY despot dictator jerkwad who historically tried for world domination via genocide and who, in their personal ads, claimed to be into long walks on the beach, disco, and oppressing the masses, Bill Gates, The harpies of Greek Mythology, Attila the Hun, Douglas MacArthur, Napolean Bonaparte, most people who work as executioners, many serial killers, and the DEVIL.

Okay, I made some of those up. But all the actual people I listed are ENTJs. Except Attila the Hun. No one knows what Attila the Hun's type was, because he had the guy who asked him to take the test cooked and then he ate him. So. But I suspect MOST of the Huns were ENTJs, and I DO NOT SEE MYSELF THIS WAY. Perhaps I am being hypersensitive and unrealistic about who I am, but I repeat...I do NOT see it. In fact I actively resent it! And speaking as a person who should OBVIOUSLY be crowned Rightful Empress of the Known Universe I HEREBY order it BANNED as inaccurate and cruel, and both Myers AND Briggs (and whoever that KIERSEY guy is) must be immediately be staked out alive in a patch of carnivorous turtles. So has it been written, so shall it be. Because I said.

But you can go take an online version of the Kiersey Temperment Sorter before my new law goes into effect.

Posted by joshilyn at June 29, 2005 8:44 AM

I might have to take this thing again. I took it once and was deemed an ISTP and would therefore likely do well in a mechanical trade. I'm a career machinist. So. I was borderline on one of the letters that would have leaned me toward artistic rather than mechanical. Now that I'm scribbling a bit, I wonder if I've crossed the line. Oh, and just to stir the pot a little bit, show me a successful mother/homemaker who doesn't have the skill set to be a good Field Marshall

Posted by: David at June 29, 2005 10:19 AM

I just took the damned thing and was labeled a Guardian, which is total crap. "More comfortable working within the system" - HA! I am famous for toppling systems and inventing new ones, then reinventing them, and so anti-status quo that I dig up my garden every year and move things around, like furniture. "Guardians believe in following the rules and cooperating with others." COME ON. I never met a rule I liked, and have spent half my life breaking them on principle. So Joss; if the test was wrong for me, then maybe you're not a Field Marshall after all. (DH confirms that my test results are complete B.S., and he believes in that stuff.)

Posted by: Jilly at June 29, 2005 10:27 AM

LMAO - what a great demonstration of an ENTJ! Woohoo! You are probably right on the border of the T/F... with just enough T to be able to plot and just enough F to put some emotion in it. I am a total F so I cry at stoopid things and can't plot to save my life.... can we switch?

Posted by: Heather McCutcheon at June 29, 2005 10:45 AM

When I was younger and would take these things, I always came out INFJ (counselor). A few years ago though, I started consistently testing out as INFP (healer). Both are part of the Idealist category, as is the teacher you think you should've tested as. If you just use the labels, I don't think of myself as being much of a counselor OR a healer, but if I read the descriptions....yep, I see myself in there.

Posted by: DebR at June 29, 2005 11:44 AM

I also came out as a Guardian (total crap) which is very unlike the Bloginality test I took way back when, so I must conclude that the test is crap.

'Sides, the real Meyers-Briggs test is over 500 questions, I believe, so any of the abbreviated versions are just dumb. So saith ME.

Posted by: Mir at June 29, 2005 12:29 PM

Okay, I found the test hard. Quit rolling your eyes. Do you find that you fall inbetween the two answers? Or wanting to skip a question because the answers don't apply? That's me on so many levels. Plus there is the trait of wanting to chose one answer, but knowing that everyone always says the exact opposit about me. Argh... So I took what the voice(s)in my head said. So doesn't that make you feel good that a Guardian hears voices in her head?

Most fit me, I didn't buy so I've no idea my letters, but if you asked me I would have told you I was a nurturer or a healer. But, if I would have bought it would have told me I was a Protector or a Provider. I always have to fix everything and make it right for you. Hense I am darn good at critiquing. Just ask me I will tell you.

Ugh, this makes me sound so cookie cutter, run of the mill, yes ma'am, on the double ma'am. Ugh, I've tried so hard all my life (that's a lot of years) to not be THAT person. I want to be unique, instead I'm Jane Smith (I'm sorry Jane no offense intended.)

So sad. Darn, now I'll be blue, cookie cutter, run of the mill, feel sorry for myself, yes ma'am I'm on my way, but here let me fix that for you first...cover your shift, no problem, and while you're there here are passes to the musuem enjoy...I'll take care of every thing....doormat...all day long.

Zoloff anyone?

Posted by: Cele at June 29, 2005 12:35 PM

I'm an Architect, INTP. But I ALWAYS split the I/E questions 50/50. So I am both an introvert and an extrovert?

A psychologist friend of mine says that your Meyers-Briggs is not set in stone--it can change during your lifetime.

Joshilyn, regardless of your type, you are hilarious.

Posted by: Edgy Mama at June 29, 2005 12:43 PM

I used to be an ENFP. Now, apparently, I'm an ENFJ. Give it time. Things change, Atilla.

Just kidding. Don't have me killed and fricasseed, please.

Tee hee hee...

Posted by: Lani at June 29, 2005 1:50 PM

Welp, they say I'm a Guardian. The whole guardian description pretty fits me to a tee, except they missed out on all the procrasting and time-wasting I do. What do I need to do to get my four letters? How will I know if I'm a supervisor, a protector, an inspector or a provider? Do I have to pay my $14.95?

Posted by: laura at June 29, 2005 2:18 PM

I think I'm an LMAO. Or perhaps a PB&J.


Posted by: lizardek at June 29, 2005 2:23 PM

Well, as Mir said, the actual Meyers-Briggs is a MUCH longer test. Sure, everyone waffles on answers, but if the test is long enough, you collect enough info to know where you likely fall.

An abbreviated test such as this will give you a rough idea, but you may well fall into a "neighboring" category if you took the full thing.

Posted by: Mr. Husband at June 29, 2005 4:22 PM

I took the test last year - and was just as outraged as you at my ENTJ description (and how hard female ENTJs were to live with, etc. etc.) I decided though that what we needed was a description for Southern female ENTJs. Here it is: http://everythingandbutnothing.blogspot.com/2004/11/entj-southern-female.html.

I love your blog! Keep up the good work.

Posted by: Shawn Lea at June 29, 2005 6:53 PM

Wow, I haven't taken these types of tests in years. While I don't remember the exact casting, I was always an introvert type, which is very true to form. I'd like to take a mini-test again to see where they say I fall in.

Posted by: Cherlyn at June 30, 2005 9:52 AM

I am also a Guardian. Pretty accurate I think.

Funny when I was reading your description about yourself and killing anyone who gets in your way, I just pictured you eyeing up your perfect shoes on sale and someone else grabbed the last pair. Just sayin'........

Posted by: Peek at June 30, 2005 10:17 AM

I didn't send them any money, but the free part showed I'm an Idealist. That actually fits pretty well. Except they didn't mention my tendency to procrastination which keeps me from actually changing the world. :)

Posted by: Judith at June 30, 2005 12:02 PM

Several years ago I was doing some work in the Organizational Development department of a large corporation. One of my coworkers (who seemed to downright dislike me, but always with a fake smile on her face) was insistent that I should take the Myers-Briggs. She told me (as an OD consultant) that she could totally tell me beforehand what my results would be. She wrote down her prediction (without showing it to me)...I took the test...and the results were the opposite of what she thought they'd be. It was a truly gleeful moment.

Posted by: Marilyn at June 30, 2005 1:28 PM

I have taken this a dozen times at least over the past 15 years and always come out the rare and elusive INFP.
Portrait of an INFP
- Introverted iNtuitive Feeling Perceiving
- (Introverted Feeling with Extraverted Intuition)


Key is to realize NOT everything in the description has to BE you. But as a generality the test is fairly close about who people are in their core, even if the person actively strives to reverse something they see as an issue. I knew a person who had created a life entirely not themselves according to Myers Briggs and when Meyers Briggs 'identified' them, they broke down and cried. They had hidden their inner self, because they did not like what they perceived as negative aspects of themselves.

Posted by: Shawn B. at July 1, 2005 10:29 PM

Every type has its downsides and benefits. But remember that the types are just tendencies. Having a natural tendency to act a certain way, doesn't mean you have to act that way if you don't want to. I know it's easier said than done, but it's certainly not impossible.

The first step to change is awareness.

Posted by: Roo at July 9, 2005 4:51 PM