The Best Jobs For Every Enneagram Personality Type, Because Your Dream Job Might Be Different Than You Think
When we choose our jobs, we usually take a lot of factors into consideration — pay, skills required, talents utilized, overall potential to help save the world (or at least convince our parents that we are slightly competent). But even if we've spent hours fantasizing about our dream career, or taking those goofy high school career assessment tests ("If you enjoy hiking and the scent of freshly cut grass...you may want to become a park ranger!"), most of us haven't given enough thought to the ways that our jobs work with or against our personalities. Which is why a lot of people find personality tests — like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, a questionnaire based on the works of psychiatrist Carl Jung, or the Enneagram, a personality inventory system that's popular with both business management execs and aura-reading types — helpful in sketching out a broad version of their personality, which can help make the search for fulfilling work simpler.
I mean, just think: what if all that job-related angst you're feeling isn't because you're a slacker or because everyone who works there is a jerk, but just because your personality and your job are a bad match?
So, in the spirit of reassessing all our lives in the new year, we've broken down the nine personality types covered by the enneagram (you can take a test to find out what enneagram personality type you have here), and then provided some ideas about the best and worst jobs for each type below.
1. The Reformer
Who She Is: Much like the Pilates device that shares her name, the Reformer is all about self-control and discipline. She's into rationality and clear sets of rules — but not in a creepy Spock kind of way; she just likes to work in situations that allow her to utilize her fine attention to detail and problem-solving abilities. She also loves jobs that give her a clear idea of whether or not she's actually doing a good job.
Possible Dream Jobs: Attorney, financial planner, manager, home design blogger, some kind of executive something-or-other.
Probable Nightmare Jobs: Improv comedy class instructor, kindergarten teacher, busker, bartender, any job that requires flexible hours and a loosey-goosey kinda attitude towards life.
2. The Helper
Who She Is: Warm, engaging, empathetic — The Helper is the person you want to be seated next to at a really awkward dinner party. Her heart is huge and her fascination with the lives of other human beings is genuine — which makes it important that she doesn't end up in a job that exploits her warmth or runs her sense of empathy ragged. Making other people happy makes her happy — which is why any job that involves constantly rejecting others will make mincemeat of her heart.
Possible Dream Jobs: Teacher, therapist, doctor, sales rep, publicist, bartender, blogger/vlogger, advice columnist.
Probable Nightmare Jobs: Tax auditor, college admissions officer, agent (literary, casting, sports, or otherwise), editor.
3. The Achiever
Who She Is: Your friend who somehow managed to turn knitting into a competitive sport? That's the Achiever. The Achiever isn't a jerk — she just has a sense of innate competitiveness, and feels her best when she knows she's striving to be at the top of her game. A job that allows her to advance up a clearly delineated ladder via hard work will keep her happier than a lot of the flashy stuff that passes for "dream jobs" — and if her competitive needs are kept healthy and fed at work, she may be less prone to somehow turning your afternoon Buffy binge into a competition ("Who do you think was the best Buffy boyfriend? The answer is Spike, and here's why...").
Possible Dream Jobs: Attorney, agent (sports, literary, entertainment, or otherwise), news journalist, producer.
Probable Nightmare Jobs: Freelance writing, running an Etsy shop, any self-employment situations that are more about free-form career growth than clear advancement.
Who She Is: The enneagram type most likely to be publicly moved to tears by Muzak or wear a vial of Billy Bob Thorton's blood around its neck, the Individualist is sensitive, artistic, and maybe just a touch temperamental. She thrives doing work that engages her capacity for self-expression, and for her, the hard work of a getting a creative career off the ground might be worth it — the struggle of getting by with a less-than-secure job might feel easy and breezy to her, whereas a secure gig with benefits at the world's third largest pen manufacturer might literally make her feel like she is dying (the Individualist should keep this in mind the next time her parents try to tell her that "going to law school is practically the same thing as becoming a professional writer!")
Possible Dream Jobs: Therapist, designer, artist, yoga instructor, hair stylist, tattoo artist, masseuse, creative writing teacher.
Probable Nightmare Jobs: Stockbroker, police officer, lawyer, anything administrative or focused on enforcing someone else's standards or rules.
Who She Is: You know your friend who wants to know everything about your new phone, your new romantic partner, the new condos they're building across the street from your house, and also the War of 1812? That'd be the Investigator. This cerebral type loves to guzzle information like a fine wine — and I am sure the Investigator has a specific preferred vintage of wine she'd like her passion for knowledge to be compared to. She may not know everything she wants out of life, but she learns everything she possibly can about the world around her.
Possible Dream Jobs: Anything tech, from app and game design to actual engineering, researcher, analyst, scientist, teacher, manager.
Probable Nightmare Jobs: Publicist, waiter, bartender, retail worker, any kind of job where people regularly ream you out over stuff that is not actually your fault.
6. The Loyalist
Who She Is: The Loyalist likes things the way they are, even if she doesn't like the actual things that are the way they are. The Loyalist is a worrier, which is why she's never been catfished or lost a ton of money gambling; it's also why she may have trouble leaving a job that makes her unhappy but provides very clear support and structure. The Loyalist has been your ride or die friend since a week after you met her, and conveys her love for you through worrying. She also conveys happiness, sadness, boredom, and occasionally gassiness through worrying. She always has an Ativan you can borrow for your plane ride tomorrow.
Possible Dream Jobs: Writer, teacher, analyst, college professor, stand-up comedian, comics artist, activist, or anything where she can create something positive out of compulsive worry.
Probable Nightmare Jobs: Investment banker or any other kind of job that requires being comfortable regularly taking huge risks (especially the kind of risks that might make other people angry at her).
Who She Is: You want to be seated next to a Helper at a bad dinner party, but who do you want to be standing next to at a combination rave/burlesque show/16 course gourmet tasting menu dinner held in an abandoned subway station? The Enthusiast (who, let's be real, brought you along to this as her plus-one). This is your friend who makes other friends everywhere she goes, is fueled by new experiences, and once, through a series of hilarious coincidences, spent Thanksgiving at Pitbull's house in Miami. The Enthusiast needs a job that can feed her lust for new experiences, cash in on her zest for living, and not crush her with its dullness.
Possible Dream Jobs: Travel writer, bartender, actor, photographer, DJ, music publicist, life coach, small business owner, fashion blogger, fitness instructor, bar owner.
Probable Nightmare Jobs: Customer service rep, accountant, lawyer, doctor, or anything else that's about maintaining a very consistent daily routine (and involves tons of paperwork).
Who She Is: If you're a Challenger, you kind of knew it before you even took the quiz, right? The Challenger loves to be the boss, but not because she's hung up on petty power trips — she just wants the autonomy and freedom of not having a bunch of other bosses breathing down her neck. And honestly, no one should be breathing down her neck — jobs that involve a boss constantly micro-managing are bad news for people who are as assertive, self-confident, and decisive as the Challenger.
Possible Dream Jobs: Manager/director of sales, head of publicity, freelance strategist, financial advisor, politician, real estate agent or developer, advertising exec, marketing exec, head of pretty much anything.
Probable Nightmare Jobs: Retail job with no growth potential, anything that involves being closely watched and filling out a lot of pointless busywork (i.e. most entry-level business jobs — don't worry, you'll get promoted soon, Challenger!).
Who She Is: The friend who was able to talk you out of fighting that guy at pub trivia who won by secretly looking at his phone? That's the Peacemaker. Optimistic and enthusiastic, the Peacemaker believes that we don't all have to act like assholes just to survive. She also believes that human beings have an innate capacity for goodness, and she doesn't care how alienating cynical folks might find that. She knows who she truly is, which is why she can be so chill about everyone else. She may also be your only friend who never had a screenname like "xDARKNESSREIGNSx" in high school.
Possible Dream Jobs: Therapist, human resources manager, mediator/counselor, editor, activist, non-profit director, social worker, creativity coach, writer, teacher, youth group leader.
Probable Nightmare Jobs: Attorney, investment banker, anything that requires being aggressive to the point of antagonizing others.