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


Richard Branson, Enneagram Adventurer, OWS Backer

Richard Branson

Sir Richard Branson (born 1950 in England), is the multi-billionaire, risk-taking entrepreneur of the Virgin Group (including Virgin Records, Virgin Airlines, and hundreds of other ventures). He’s an Adventurer in the Enneagram personality system: “My interest in life comes from setting myself huge, apparently unachievable challenges and trying to rise above them.”

         Adventurers are often idealists. Branson protested the Sudanese government expulsion of aid groups from the Darfur region. He joined the project Soldiers of Peace, a movie against all wars and for global peace. He’s a signatory of Global Zero, a non-profit international initiative to eliminate all nuclear weapons worldwide.

Branson pledged to invest the profits of Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Trains (about $3 billion) in research for environmentally friendly fuels.

Though he belongs to the wealthy 1%, he says he identifies with the 99%. He said, “A few greedy people in the banking community nearly brought down the world, and that’s made people angry. I think not just the banking community, but the whole of the business community needs to make sure that capitalism puts on a genuinely positive face and gets out there and helps change the world to an extent that the Occupy Wall Street demonstrators can feel they’ve done their jobs and go home. It’s up to every single person who works in business to play their part, even in a small way, to rectify the damage that’s been done. What they’re campaigning for is for businesses to become forces of good. If businesses can become forces of good and can grow hearts and get out there and not just be money-making machines, then, you know, I think that will be all for the better.”

Hmmm. That statement sounds a bit naïve to me. Adventurers are known for their optimism and sometimes their over-optimism. Given how entrenched the corporations and banks are with the government and the rest of the powerful, a superficial change of face isn’t relevant. As of now, capitalism has failed. A genuine change must take place deep down in the country’s gut. That’s one of the reasons we need a prolonged period of turning inward to percolate new solutions. They may include many of Branson’s ideals: non-violence, empathy, ecology; but a new way of managing our money is needed. I’m not going to hold MY breath waiting for businesses to turn kind so the demonstrators can go home satisfied. We need patience and time to think. We need to use our introversion: contemplation, planning, thinking things through. We need to do research and use our logic. We need to be in the streets talking and demonstrating, and at home (if we’re lucky enough to have a home) writing about these things. We’ll make our lists and demands and act on them later.

In 2006, Branson formed Virgin Comics and Virgin Animation, an entertainment company focused on creating new stories and characters for a global audience. The company was founded with author Deepak Chopra and others. Branson launched the Virgin Health Bank in 2007, offering parents-to-be the opportunity to store their baby’s umbilical cord blood stem cells in private and public stem cell banks.

In 2007, Branson also announced a new Global science and technology prize—The Virgin Earth Challenge—to encourage technological advancements for the good of mankind. It will award $25 million to the individual or group who can demonstrate a commercially viable design resulting in the net removal of anthropogenic, atmospheric greenhouse gases each year for ten years or more without harmful effects, contributing to the stability of the Earth’s climate. Branson will be joined in the adjudication of the Prize by Al Gore and others.

Adventurers are sometimes called Epicureans: Branson and the Natirar Resort development in New Jersey opened in 2009 with the Ninety Acres Culinary Center. It includes a restaurant run by chef David Felton, cooking school, wine school, working farm, luxury resort and spa.

Adventurers love fun and excitement: In 2010 Branson became patron of the UK’s Gordon Bennett  gas balloon race, which has 16 hydrogen balloons flying across Europe.In January 1991, he crossed the Pacific from Japan to Arctic Canada, 6,700 miles, in a balloon, breaking the record, with a speed of 245 miles per hour. In 2004, Branson set a record by travelling from Dover to Calais in a Gibbs Aquada in 1 hour, 40 minutes and 6 seconds, the fastest crossing of the English Channel in an amphibious vehicle. In 2010 he tried for the world record of putting a round of golf in the dark at the Black Light Mini Golf in The Docklands, Melbourne, Australia. scored 41 on the par 45 course.

Richard Branson lives the life of a 1 per center but he says he’s with the 99%. He’s contributing to make the world a better place on many levels. He’s a good example to other super wealthy people, who often think they’re above concerning themselves with the problems of the world.

See my website, and my blog on Psychology Today for more famous Enneagram types.