What 3 Elements Do “Questioners” Look for in Jobs?

Questioner's wishes

Drawing by Elizabeth Wagele

Some Questioners like a job where they can fight for a cause. Some like a job where they can use their gifts of loyalty and compassion. Others want to use their intellect. Still others care mostly about things like safety, security, and having a boss they can trust.

No matter what your Enneagram type, however, according to Ingrid Stabb in The Career Within You, if you’re looking for a new career or assessing your present career, it’s likely that one of the following career needs will outweigh the others:

  • the opportunity to work on your interests or passions
  • the income it will provide, or
  • successful affiliation with other people. Here’s a Questioner example of each:

Affiliating and fighting for causes

Ouklemedao worked to foster developing governments in Ethiopia and Palau after graduating from law school. Then he joined a nonprofit called the Consumers Union, where he discovered a discrepancy between what the group sought to accomplish as a civil rights organization and how it was treating its own lower-level employees. The group’s terminology was an example of the problem. There were “the professional staff” (the lawyers) and “the nonprofessional staff” (the workers, who were all women of color). The professional staff acted surprised when a nonprofessional came up with a good idea. Even though he was seen as a troublemaker stirring things up, Ouklemedao pushed for and held a series of meetings to help employees resolve problems such as this in the workplace.

Working for money and gaining knowledge

Hailey joined a start-up after college, learned accounting on the fly with her college textbooks, and got an accounting degree in her off hours. Three years later her company had millions in revenue and employed over a hundred people, and she was fulfilling the role of company comptroller. Accounting wasn’t stimulating enough, however, and her hard work wasn’t yielding the rewards she expected. She then got an MBA and chose a traditional path at the Clorox Company in order to best obtain classical brand management experience. At such a large corporation she didn’t like having to go through seven layers of bosses to get decisions made. She realized start-ups were better environments for her to use her strong problem-solving skills. Once Hailey moved to a product marketing position at a more entrepreneurial online photo company, she was pleased with her career choices.

Following her passion and expressing loyalty

Arlette’s career path didn’t look like it would end up where it has. After college, she studied in France on a Fulbright scholarship, then came back to New York to pursue acting and get a graduate degree in French literature. After getting married and having two children, she became interested in social welfare and worked one-on-one with kids with extremely serious emotional problems. She student taught in East Harlem and got a special education credential. When she substituted in high schools and in difficult fourth to sixth grades classes, a principal heard about how well she worked with difficult children. Children respond to her enthusiastically because of her humor, compassion, and loyalty to them.

(This is the 6th in series of career motivations.

See my Psychology Today blog of 5/17/11 for Perfectionists:             http://www.psychologytoday.com/

my WordPress blog of 6-14-11 for Helpers: https://ewagele.wordpress.com/

my Psychology Today blog of 6-21-11 for Achievers,

my WordPress blog of 6-28-11 for Romantics,

and my Psychology Today blog of 7-5-11 for Observers.)


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Career Within You e-book


What 3 Elements Do ROMANTICS Look for in Jobs?

Some people with the Romantic personality

Drawing by Elizabeth Wagele from "The Career Within You"

prefer a career where they can use compassion for their fellow humans. Others focus on their own creative work. Still others may use their interest in aesthetics and beauty, as art critics perhaps. No matter what your Enneagram type, however, according to Ingrid Stabb in The Career Within You, if you are looking for a new career or assessing your present one, it’s likely that one of the following needs will outweigh the others:

  • the opportunity to work on your interests or passions
  • the income it will provide, or
  • successful affiliation with other people. Here are Romantic type’s examples of each:

Working for money and contributing compassion.

Ron wouldn’t have picked law naturally, but his insistent parents groomed him from early childhood for this field. The long hours of studying necessary to get into the best universities, through law school, and to pass the bar exam meant he didn’t have time to express his compassionate nature. In middle age he had enough money to afford a stylish lifestyle, but he yearned for more meaning to his life. He became a Buddhist and volunteered at a hospice many hours a week. Forming relationships with the dying helped him make use of his naturally compassionate nature, which he did in an unusually creative way by introducing activities that were innovative at the time, such as taking his clients on interesting outings. The clients appreciated the individual attention and the opportunity to feel that they were among the living.

Affiliating and following a meaning profession.

Sylvia was skilled at working with payroll and other office jobs because her grandfather had trained her to do the bookkeeping for his shop. After college, she worked in the city tax collector’s office for ten years but longed to do something more creative. When things didn’t go well at work, she’d feel sensitive and start crying. She had great emotional needs and couldn’t get close enough to people in the large impersonal office. Finally, she became a psychotherapist and developed a respected practice. It was only after she learned the Enneagram and began to understand herself that she realized a different career would be more rewarding than office work.

Following one’s passion and creating beauty.

When Kate was in high school, her father wanted her to be the next great woman scientist, but it was her interest in spirituality that ultimately made her a female pioneer—at a time when ministers were almost all males. After seminary she spent twenty-six years as an ordained head of a church, expressing both spirituality and originality. Her inspiring services included carefully picked liturgical music, dance, lighting, and banners as well as interesting sermons. Instead of reading the same Christmas story over and over, Kate focused on a detail of a parable that would help her parishioners understand the parable in a new way. They would say, “Wow, I’ve never thought of that. Your sermon touched me and made me think.”

(This is the fourth in series of career motivations. For the first, second, and third, please see my Psychology Today blog of 5-17-11 on Perfectionists,  my WordPress blog of 6-14-11 on Helpers, and my Psychology Today blog of 6-7-11 on Achievers.)

Purchase: The Career Within You. Purchase Kindle: Career Within You

What 3 Elements Do “Helpers” Look for in Jobs?

Helper's wishes

Helper's Wishes from "Career Within You"

Some Helpers want to be needed and appreciated primarily by helping someone else shine, some thrive by offering advice wherever possible, and some prefer being an essential hub for the organization (Joan on Mad Men). If you are a Helper in the Enneagram personality system, Ingrid Stabb, career expert, believes one of these fundamentals will probably outweigh the others in importance as you assess what you need to fulfill in your work situation:

  •  the opportunity to work on your interests or passions
  • the income it will provide, or
  • successful affiliation with other people. Here’s an example of each:

Following his passion and counseling others in relationships.

Going to a psychotherapist himself inspired Peter to follow a career in therapy. The field is a perfect fit because it combines intellectual challenge with the opportunity to interview clients, encourage them, and watch them grow. After working in the inner city with a clientele of chronic addicts, he now runs his own psychotherapy practice working with adults on careers and relationships. Peter takes pleasure working in a field where he can feel genuine love and compassion for his clients.

Working for income and serving as an integral part of the organization

Charles considered several career paths, including foreign service and nonprofit work. Deciding he could make the biggest impact as a major donor, her pursued a career in investment banking. After achieving financial success, he entered public service and helped congressional candidates raise campaign funds. Then he helped Homeland Security by coordinating the deployment of six thousand National Guard troops and improved information flow between the department, the White House, and Congress. Charles became the department’s chief of staff, the trusted right-hand man to the top boss, and helped competing departments work together.

Affiliating and helping others become successful

In high school, Clare was impressed by a journalist who spoke at career day, but it was not until much later that she realized she could become a writer too. First she authored a large resource book while working for a business that helped kids develop confidence in their academic skills. Then at a software firm she helped marketing directors to express promotional content more eloquently. After building up a solid resume of writing, she became an independent consultant. Her task now is to listen to her clients, write what she thinks they want to say, and then double–check them to make sure she has captured it to their liking.

Once you’re aware of your preferences for these three elements, you can apply this knowledge to assessing your past jobs and those you are looking at applying for in order to decide which one will be most satisfying to you.

(This is the second in series of career motivations. Please see my Psychology Blog of 5-17-11 http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-career-within-you/201105/what-3-common-elements-do-people-look-in-jobs for the first–on Perfectionists.)

P.S. Please see “About Elizabeth Wagele” on this site to find out about my upcoming presentation at the Fort Lauderdale IEA Conference, Sunday, July 31.


Cal Student Votes for Enneagram! (Guest author Theresa Hoang)

Enneagram figure

The Enneagram ("Any-a-gram")

A Vote for the Enneagram!

To start off, this is not a blog entry to bash on people who do not believe in the use of enneagram. My goal is not to change your mind (whether or not you believe in the enneagram) or anything; this is just to express my feelings and opinions about it.

As a college student, I have, and still, many times wondered and stressed about what I would major in (and even worse, what I want to do for the rest of my life). There are so many choices out there! Of course, there are the subjects I know I definitely do not want to major in. Like computer science (Where’s that “print” button?! I just saw it a moment ago…) and art (What do you mean that’s a cool abstract painting? That’s my self portrait!).

Then there are the subjects I think might want to major in, but am not sure. Like sociology, music, integrative biology… and of course, psychology. I mean, who hasn’t considered psychology as a major? Psychology is the most popular major in my university. Whenever I talk to people about psychology, I always hear “No way! We’re twinsies! I’m doing it too!” and “Dude … do it! It’s interesting!” But it’s not always positive comments I hear. I have heard comments that psychology, and more specifically, the enneagram, is not all it is hyped up to be. That all it does is try to “label” you and put you in a box. That it is just common sense and shouldn’t even be called science. However, I disagree.

The enneagram isn’t trying to put you in a box. The purpose of the enneagram is to help you find more about yourself. I mean, if you deciding which of the 9 types of people you are means putting yourself in a box, then other numerous things that many people think about in everyday life are also restricting. For example, labeling yourself as a “morning person” or a “night person” would be putting yourself in a box. It’s just human nature to distinguish certain characteristics and how to best use those to your advantage. Just as a “night person” would rather stay up into the wee hours into the night to be creative or to do work, an “Adventurer” would rather be up and doing something interesting [active] instead of, say, watching paint dry.

It also isn’t telling you what to do nor is it restricting at all. The enneagram doesn’t say “According to these bullet points, you are a Helper. So now go help people 24/7.” It is just showing that there are many other people like you out there, and based on some of your characteristics, you seem to be like a Helper (or any of the other 8 personalities) and you might benefit from the suggestions specifically made for people like you.

So this is just my opinion of the enneagram. I love to hear all these contrasting opinions on topics and subjects. It gives me a more well-rounded and less biased view on it and it makes me think about what I really think of certain subjects. And apparently, despite all the statements that disagree with certain points of psychology, including the enneagram, psychology is still definitely on my extensive list of “maybe” majors.

And continuing on, there is the subject that I know I will major in. Now on to figure out what that is…

Another “Career Within You” Testimonial

I might have done it. I could make it the most creative periodical ever published. I would solicit articles that would be so far out and compelling to read, the subscriptions would triple in two issues. The philosophy I espouse would be reflected in every word, at the same time as I would make sure all points of view would get equally expressed. They’d be knocking down the door to serve us with the Pulitzer Prize because of me.

I followed our own advice from our book, “The Career Within You” (www.careerwithinyou.com), and measured all the parts of the editor’s job to my strengths and my needs. Yes, I could do it. Yes, I’d work hard at it. I was already thinking about whom I’d hire as the movie reviewer, the illustrator, the this, and the that. This was making me a nervous wreck and I hadn’t even made up my mind yet whether to take the job.

But did I really want the job, given the other projects I’m involved in right now? Did I really want to read volumes and volumes of other people’s writing when I couldn’t even get to my top reading priorities on my desk right now? And worst of all, how many arms would I have to twist to fill an issue? How many rejections would I be able to endure? How many resources did I have to call on for material? Besides, I was beginning to realize how dreadfully my own creative writing and drawing and music commitments would suffer. This challenge would subtract from my life instead of adding to it.

“The Career Within You” worked. I got my imagination into the job I was offered and went with it. I applied my best strengths and my work needs to it and came up with a worthy decision and I’m now the most relieved person I know. Thank you, “Career Within You.” You just saved my life. After I said “no” I started to appreciate editors more than ever. They are supermen and superwomen who can withstand colossal demands. Let me praise all editors wherever you are.

Buy “The Career Within You” at Amazon


Does the Beloved MBTI Mix with the Enneagram?

When Renee Baron and I were doing research for “The Enneagram Made Easy,” we asked an esteemed therapist who knew both the MBTITM and the Enneagram if she would tell us her ideas about using the two systems together. She essentially said that they are both so precious that it would be blasphemy to combine them. I didn’t agree with her then, and now, 18 years later, I love both systems even more and continue to use them separately and combined, in my private life and in my writing.

In editing the chapters of “The Career Within You,” Ingrid Stabb and I used the MBTITM as to check the accuracy of the distribution of Enneagram traits, just as Renee and I had done in “The Enneagram Made Easy” and “Are You My Type, Am I Yours?” and I had done in “The Enneagram of Parenting” and “Finding the Birthday Cake.” This was especially important, because the traditional Enneagram literature and Enneagram lore has the nine types skewed toward a preponderance of intuitives or visionary personalities. The reason for this is that those interested in systems, such as the Enneagram and the MBTITM, are mostly intuitive types. Therefore, the subjects most Enneagram authors base their conclusions on (themselves, their students, and their friends) are also mostly intuitives. People of the opposite type, sensate, are rarely found studying systems like the Enneagram and the MBTITM. The MBTITM is also a valuable resource because it has statistics of how many of each type occur in the population:

Distribution of MBTITM Types in the US population

Source of General Population Data: Myers et al, 1998

51% Extraverted, 49% Introverted

73% Sensing (down to earth), 27% intuitive (visionary)

Thinking 40%, Feeling 60%

54% Judging (wanting closure), 46% Perceiving (keeping options open)

Based on the MBTITM statistics, then, Perfectionists, are made up of about half and half introverts and extraverts. Almost three quarters of them are sensing, and 60% feeling. Knowing what we know about Perfectionists, we might change the percentage of feelers (60%) and thinkers (40%)—there may be more thinking type Perfectionists than 40%. The U.S population is 54% judging. Judging is one of their basic traits so that should be raised to much more than 54%. Asserters probably reflect the statistics above, so there might be, for example, 27 intuitive types to 73 sensate types. Romantics will have fewer than 40% thinkers, however, because feeling is a common trait of theirs, and Observers will have more than 40% thinkers, because thinking is something they are known for. Still, there are thinking type Romantics and feeling type Observers (I’m a feeling type Observer myself).

I think the most misunderstood number by Enneagram writers is the Adventurer. They are almost always portrayed as intuitive types but I don’t believe it! My Adventurer son is a sensate type and I believe he’s one of 73% of Adventurers of the population that are sensate. It may be a mistake to portray more than 27% of Adventurers as visionaries.

In conclusion, I wish more people would apply the beloved MBTITM to the Enneagram in order to reflect the population more accurately. It’s inaccurate to present a picture of the kind of people who want to read about the personality system instead of a picture of the real population of the country.

Reminder: please send me a story of an interesting or uplifting dying or near-death experience along with the subject’s Enneagram type for my current book project. See my post of August 10, 2010 on Psychology Today http://bit.ly/psychtdy for more details. ewagele@aol.com

Learn about the books mentioned at http://www.wagele.com and http://careerwithinyou.com

NEW Psychology Today post 3-16-10 on the “Perfectionist” Personality

NEW Psychology Today blog by Elizabeth Wagele http://bit.ly/b1a5Zn
on the Perfectionist Enneagram personality. Al Gore, Michael Pollan.

Just in time for St. Patrick’s Day.

Other Perfectionists: Hillary Clinton, Ralph Nader.

This post is also about Theodore Roszak, ecology, and eco-psychology.