If you take a quick look at my profile on the right-hand side of this page, you’ll see that I mention that I am an INTP. As best as I can remember, that description has been there since this blog began in March 2004. Some of the other words have changed with time, but I have always described myself as an INTP.
What does it mean? Well, I’m sure some of you already know what it means, but for those of you who don’t, it’s one of the 16 personality types identified as part of the Myers-Briggs type indicator test. You can read about it in detail here, but suffice it to say that this is a fairly detailed and well-respected form of personality profiling that enables your colleagues at work to identify the box they should put you in.
Back in 1998, I first sat the test and came out as an INTP (Introverted Thinking with Intuition). Cynical though I was (and am) about this kind of thing, I did quite like some of the things that I read about the characteristics of this personality type:
“Rational, curious, theoretical, abstract and prefer to organise ideas rather than situations or people”
“They approach almost everything with scepticism”
“Logical, analytical and objectively critical”
“Mentally quick, insightful and ingenious”
“Quiet, contained, calm and detached observers”
Hell, I even liked some of the negative stuff:
”May become cynical and negative”
“May be sarcastic and destructively critical”
“May engage in verbal sparring and arguments”
It was all quite interesting - C. in particular found it hysterically funny when she read the detailed description of my profile and agreed with every point.
As part of the whole kerfuffle around my transfer at work, I have been asked to sit the test again as part of a team exercise. It only takes about 30 minutes to take the test, and it consists mainly of choosing between words and different scenarios (“Would you say it was better to be a) hard or b) soft”, “When faced with a deadline do you a) complete the work well in advance or b) work best at the last minute”, “Justice or Mercy” etc. etc.) I had a hunch that I might have changed in the last 8 years, and apparently I have changed.
I’ve moved boxes. Where once I was an INTP, now I am apparently an INTJ (Introverted Intuition with Thinking).
“Independent, individualistic, single-minded and determined individuals who trust their vision of possibilities regardless of universal scepticism”
“Decisive, intellectually challenging people focused on implementing long-range visions”
“Conceptual, long-range thinkers”
“Rational, detached and objectively critical”
Again, there’s some truth in the negatives too:
“Can be aloof and abrupt”
“May appear unyielding”
“Engage in ‘intellectual games’, quibbling over abstract issues and terms that have little meaning or relevance to others”
I can see myself in both descriptions (and if you are interested, do go and read the detailed descriptions of all the types) and I actually had a sense that I had changed over the last few years.
There may be a small kernel of truth in it, but it’s basically all cobblers though, isn’t it? (although I like the fact that INTJ is apparently the rarest of the personality types. I'm so vain!)
You can try the test (or one like it) here (I came out as an INTJ again, so it must be half-decent). What do you come out as ? Does it sound like you?
In the meantime, perhaps I’d better change my profile....