Do You Prefer Having Fun at Work or Working at Work? Part II

This is Part II of a blog based on New York Times’ Op-Ed Contributor Oliver Burkeman’s article, “Who Goes to Work to Have Fun?” 12-11-2013. How Enneagram types fit into fun at work – or not—are my own additions. Burkeman wrote, “Psychologists have shown that positive-thinking affirmations make people with low self-esteem feel worse; that patients with panic disorders can become more anxious when they try to relax; and that an ability to experience negative emotions, rather than struggling to exclude them, is crucial for mental health.”

            One reader commented: “Last year, in a conversation with the young adult son of a friend, I asked him if he would like it if his generation just stopped with the ‘awesome!’ for a little while and was             able to express real feelings. He looked at me like he wanted to cry and nodded his head yes. As I see that generation with its forced cheerfulness I wonder if they know how inauthentic they’re             

            being with themselves.” – Lute, Broooklyn

The Burkeman article continues, “And these are just the hazards of trying to enforce happiness on oneself: Matters are surely more fraught when the person doing the enforcing is a manager with possible ulterior motives, such as discouraging too much focus on low wages or inherently unfulfilling work.”

These companies force you to go to happy hours and then use your “friendship” against you when “asking” you for things later on. When I was an employee, I knew very well what made me happy. Doing a good job, producing a quality product, receiving a fair day’s wages for a fair day’s work, going home each night believing I’d done something of value during the day and that both the customers for my efforts and my peers and supervisors recognized the value I added; earning my living and the respect of people whose own work I valued. What did not make me happy included pizza parties,      Employee of the Month and similar contests… – ACW New Jersey

The Eneagram types most likely to be managers are the 3-Achiever and the 8-Asserter. Of course, these types may or may not be ethical.

“Instead of striving to make work fun,” Burkeman said, managers should concentrate on creating the conditions in which a variety of personality types, from the excitable to the naturally downbeat, can flourish. That means giving employees as much autonomy as possible, and ensuring that people are treated evenhandedly.” The Enneagram 4-Romantic, a sensitive type, would especially appreciate this. “According to a recent Danish study, lack of fairness at work is a strong predictor of depression, and even heavy workloads don’t bring people down, provided their bosses are fair. 


            Another comment from a reader: “If a fungineer shows up at the water cooler at my job it will be very difficult to treat them with respect… If corporate thinks they can ramrod happiness down our             gullets with trite mantras they ignore at their peril our basic intelligence in favor of another device aimed at boosting quarterly productivity. A poorly dressed Trojan horse indeed; invading our emotional privacy under the guise of caring about employees feelings.” – Morgan S, Atlanta, GA

            And: “I suspect a lot of this “Fungineering” movement is aimed at Millennials who are extending adolescence to hitherto unrealized horizons. Work should be engaging, rewarding, fulfilling and             pay the rent. If it’s not that, a foosball tournament with microbrews won’t keep employees.” – NYC

Article: “Not that you’d necessarily want an office full of optimists” (3-Achievers, 7-Adventurers, and 9-Peace Seekers), “even if that were achievable. People who are oriented toward ‘defensive pessimism’ play a valuable role, preparing organizations for worst-case scenarios.” These would mainly be 6-Questioners in the Enneagram, who look out for safety.

“And if your business card describes you as Head of Fungineering, or Chief Cheerfulness Ninja, or Vice President of Wow, please skip the next company paintballing weekend, and use the time to ask yourself a few tough questions instead.”

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How Young Were You When You Chose Your Career?

Jack London, Adventure Enneagram type

Were you forced to take over the family business? Did you know you wanted to do anything but what your parents did? Did you want to join a circus when you grew up? What did you learn by good or reverse example from your family career-wise?

This may sound strange to some of you and logical to others: my psyche picked out my passion in life, which turned into my first career, by the time I was four years old. It informed me, without my knowing it, by means of a dream. I tell the dream in my upcoming book on death and dying so I won’t tell it here. Suffice it to say that the dream drove me into my inner world in waking life and to actively pursue my love for music. My second career of writing came much later. I’m an Observer in the Enneagram.

My Helper type mother was interested in art but didn’t have a career other than homemaker. One of her brothers, possibly a Perfectionist, worked for Lockheed Airplane Company. He knew he wanted to be an electrical engineer from the age of six. The other brother, a Peace Seeker, sold iron or steel. Their father started out as a clerk in a bank in Cripple Creek, CO. He was most enthusiastic about selling real estate, but wasn’t very successful.

My father, an Observer with a Questioner wing, was a metallurgist, figuring out how to extract minerals from ores by means of chemistry and physics. He worked for the Bureau of Mines. Then the University of California hired him as a professor and he consulted on the side for the Union Pacific Railroad. He knew from an early age that he wanted to be a scientist.

His brother-in-law, an Asserter, ran a successful business that manufactured flowerpots. He was protective of and kind to his employees. His wife, my father’s sister, was an Adventurer. She didn’t have a job. She did something naughty. She told us she played bridge a lot, but she was really going to casinos to gamble. My father’s other sister, a Questioner, was one of the first women to be an executive in a large clothing company, Lerner’s. This was in the 1930’s and 40’s and later. In fact, she’s my only aunt or grandmother who had a career. My father’s brother, a Peace Seeker, was an attorney for the Pentagon. He negotiated contracts with outside companies.

My father’s father, an immigrant from Odessa, Russia, started out selling junk in Omaha Nebraska. He moved his family to Salt Lake City around 1909, opened a bar with gambling in the back, and invested in mines. He made a lot of money and lost most of it in the crash of 1930.

When he was a little boy, my husband, Gus, didn’t want to work when he grew up as a reaction to his parents’ pressuring him to be successful. He ended up working hard, however. An Observer, he majored in art at Cal and loved to paint. He became a high school teacher of Educationally Handicapped students, preferring that to history, which he had started out teaching.

His father, a Perfectionist, started out as a teller during the Depression. Someone advised him to go to college, which he did, and he eventually rose to bank vice president. One of Gus’ grandfathers sold pianos. The other, a German immigrant, was a self-taught baker. When he had a bakery in Oakland, young Jack London delivered bread for him.

For more famous types, see my list on, my Psychology Today blog, and my WordPress blog.

Also, check out my videos on You Tube: The Happy Introvert and The Creative Enneagram

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 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.


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” (, 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


“Perfectionists” as Children (Type One)

Three fish from "The Enneagram of Parenting"

One parent reported his son would line up grains of sand in his crib in perfect lines as a baby. He grew up to become a Perfectionist airplane pilot, a good occupation along with dentist, surgeon and other careers where being exact is important. Some Perfectionist children become teachers’ pets for being obedient, turning in assignments on time, and encouraging their peers to do what’s expected of them. When I taught piano lessons, I tried to downplay the importance of getting every note right. Some children applied their own pressure to themselves, though, and I couldn’t convince them that a wrong note here and there was nothing to be ashamed of. I suspect it was most often the Perfectionists who were most likely to burst out in tears when they made mistakes.

Walter One from "Finding the Birthday Cake"

As is often the case in the Enneagram, there are two kinds of Perfectionists: the meticulous one featured in these two cartoons and the kind that pays more attention to principals, ideals, and causes. This second type might grow up to be an ecologist, consumer activist, or minister. Of course, both aspects can be combined in the same person. Perfectionists want to do what is right and usually strive to improve themselves throughout their lives.

In order to reduce the stress of Perfectionist children, parents and teachers do well to encourage creativity and free play. Creativity and having fun get children in touch with their own desires and beauty so they have less time to focus on what they “should” or “ought to” be doing. It helps to schedule in these times, especially for the most serious Perfectionists.

To Buy “The Enneagram of Parenting:” Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound

To Buy “Finding the Birthday Cake:” Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound

For more information about all of Wagele’s books and tape: http://www.wagele.

“I Hate My Job” – Guest Blog by Elizabeth Hui

What strengths do I bring to the workplace?

Awwww, this question again.

It’s often tempting to just roll your eyes and rattle off the typical list of strong points: punctual, hard-working, outgoing, etc., etc.

And yet, we’ve all met or heard of individuals who fail to challenge themselves in this way.

The middle-aged architect who drags himself to work, distances himself from colleagues, and tallies the days until retirement.  The educated homemaker who sends her children off to college then wonders, Okay, what now? The college senior overly-anxious about what career path to pursue and how to make the best impression on an employer.

Maybe any one of these people is you.

And if so, what are you going to do about it?

The Career Within You is a simple guide to matching your personality traits, perceived strengths, and fields of interest with specific careers. It also provides important tips on job-hunting, resume-writing, networking, and interviewing.

So whether you are dissatisfied with a job that’s become mundane or unbearable, unemployed, not sure how to sell yourself during job interviews, or even enamored with your current career, it’s always essential to recognize who you are as both a worker and a person.  Let The Career Within You help you do that!

Purchase it today!


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