Personality Profiling

continuing explorations of career options
prompted by concerns about what to do upon relocating
the need to identify credible prospects for rural living
is taking us on a different kind of journey
through abilities and priorities around income generation
~

Communicating with others about one’s interests, abilities and traits requires a certain amount of common language. Some personality tests and skills profiles provide points of reference for that communication.

There are a variety of profiling models out there, from astrology and palm reading to enneagrams and Myers-Briggs surveys. I’m not persuaded by any of them, but each does provide a set of reference points. Of the examples I’ve looked at, most ask a buch of context-free questions and do some magick on the answers, then announce my character type. That’s not very helpful, because I need some context in order to choose my answers.

For example, one test asks me to rank this question on a scale between –2 and +2.

You often think about humankind and its destiny.

Um, no. I’m not even sure what that question is about. Multiply that by several questions on a given survey, and then consider that different surveys pose their questions in other ways, and each then produces a different result. I end up being an ENFP on one, INTJ on another, and INFP on a third.

So it was with some relief that I found this set of grouped questions:

Am I more inclined to Group A, or B?

Group A

Have high energy
Talk more than listen
Think out loud
Act, then think
Like to be around people a lot
Prefer a public role
Can sometimes be easily distracted
Prefer to do lots of things at once
Are outgoing & enthusiastic

Group B

Have quiet energy
Listen more than talk
Think quietly inside their heads
Think, then act
Feel comfortable being alone
Prefer to work “behind-the-scenes”
Have good powers of concentration
Prefer to focus on one thing at a time
Are self-contained and reserved

While I identify with several elements in each group, I’ve got more affinity to the Group B traits. Easy!

That still doesn’t mean I like the overall outcome. There’s still some magick going on in there. That’s true regardless of which Myers–Briggs result I get. Their personality types just don’t click for me. So I’m inclined to put aside the results and just look at the traits as identified.

There’s no point in me going round saying I’m ENFP or whatever. That’s meaningless. But there is mileage in saying I’m more self-actuated than group-minded; that I am about equally balanced between the abstract and the experiential, am much more about adapting to circumstance than sticking to routine; more about openness than closure, and slightly more analytical than intuitive, a nearly equal measure of both.

From all that, my aim is to find a bunch of traits that resonate with me, and which I can put into my own narrative context. Things like that I value autonomy, and am happy to just get on with stuff, but also enjoy working with groups, preferably in a partnership or leadership role. Teamwork is best for me when it’s shared among peers. From that, I could say something about egalitarian values. But before doing that I’d want to find a context for it: where does sharing fit in as a character trait, a skill, or a strength?

So, back to the profiling…

What Does Caring Look Like To You?

  • continuing explorations of career options
  • prompted by concerns about what to do upon relocating
  • and the need to identify credible prospects for rural iving
  • is taking us on a different kind of journey
  • through abilities and priorities around income generation

This bit starts with the question above. I want to distinguish caring as it seems to exist in the wider world from caring as a way I do something. There are related questions to go along with it. What do I care about; how do I do caring; how do those differ from the normative use of the word?

For example, I care about the environment. It matters to me that the natural world is respected, cared for, tended, and appreciated. In this case, caring = mattering, and mattering means I’m doing something about it. I care about a lot of things that way. Interactions between people, for example. Conservation of resources. Choosing words carefully also.

There are constellations of things that I care about jointly. A big one has to do with landscape. Another has to do with sharing resources and fostering community. Others have to do with graphics, photography, creative expression, DIY, wordplay, and so on. There are overlaps, of course.

Some examples would help, so perhaps they’ll get inserted here. But not yet.

~

So when I think about caring as a profession, it has more to do with habitat management, upcycling, campaigning around public space or resource management issues, facilitating people’s engagement with greesnspace, public space, and community infrastructure than it does with working in a school, hospital or rest home per se. Caring about someone else’s needs, in exchange for something else, isn’t what I have in mind. That’s an indirect sort of caring, once removed from the things I care about enough to do on my own, compensated or not.

At a guess, my sense of caring has more to do with land than with people, but I’d rather see a mix. This might show up as facilitating group activity outdoors, like I have been doing for over a decade. Even more, I would prefer to be working on a more collaborative activity, like managing a woodland together, or designing and building an amenity space with others. Tending a community orchard. Building and managing a community playground. Managing a park, even a village square.

For a while, the idea of developing a town centre sensory garden seemed like a really good ambition. A place for people to explore and connect though sight, smell, texture and taste, where short courses in identification, cultivation and use could engage a broad range of people. Demonstration projects involving plants and landscape are a recurring theme in projects I’ve undertaken. Beyond that, interests of community and resource management come into play, particularly around notions of shared space, the commons, and making use of public open space in ways that support community.