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By the Way--About Careers: Think Roles

Thursday October 4, 2018

Very few people arrive at a “right career” in advance, let alone at any point in their actual career.

The happiest INTJs I know are not thinking about whether they’ve arrived at the right career.

The happiest INTJs are the ones who are able to confront problems and solve problems. They are engaged in a problem-solving role. That effort and reasonable return-on-effort is what is making them happy.

In terms of career progress, I have observed that INTJs are happiest when they progress toward an effective and comfortable role, rather than progressing toward some kind of pre-labeled career. You want to be a “scientist”? Great! You can do that anywhere so start defining the role with more clarity. Not the job title, not the business sector—define the role.

The nice thing about “role-thinking” is that it applies post-retirement just as well as it applies to any other context. It’s not limited to the way you’re making money. You can describe your role right now (e.g. “chair-sitter-writer-thinker”, but it should be a lot more leverage-able than a simple one like that) and overlay that role onto any responsibility, for a view on how that responsibility matches your capabilities and preferred problem-solving mode, and how it will require you to stretch.

There’s a lot to be said about roles, but try thinking in those terms—a fitting role, or fitting roles, plural—next time you evaluate your career.

Filed in: Careers /39/

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