The Career Within You

Finding the perfect job for your personality

What 3 Elements Do Observers Look for in Jobs?

If they can’t sink their teeth into it, though, forget it.

Observer's wishes

Drawing by Elizabeth Wagele

In addition to having a job that they can focus on in depth, some Enneagram Observer types prefer a job where they can share knowledge. Others like to do work on important issues. Still others want to have abundant independence on their job.

No matter what your Enneagram type, however, according to Ingrid Stabb in The Career Within You, if you're looking for a new career or assessing your present career, it's likely that one of the following career needs will outweigh the others:

• the opportunity to work on your interests or passions

• the income it will provide, or

* successful affiliation with other people. Here's an Observer example of each:

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Following his passion and focusing on important issues.

In 1968, after finishing a degree in anthropology, while fishing on a causeway in Biscayne Bay, looking at the Miami skyline, John Weber had the realization that civilization as we know it cannot endure. He traveled around Mexico, Oregon, Hawaii, and the Ozarks and settled in Minnesota. There he studied energy; ran the first low-income weatherization program in Minnesota, developed, installed, and found dealers for a solar hot air panel; and was active in the Minnesota renewable energy scene. He lived off the grid for thirty years in a house he built in the woods. He practiced as a licensed psychologist until 2003, when he was diagnosed with lung cancer and given a few weeks to live. He survived, touched many students' lives campaigning in schools against smoking, and now is back working vigorously on renewable energy projects.

Working for income and sharing knowledge.

Diana is an expert on Internet search engine optimization (SEO), but this didn't always seem possible. Many of her relatives had worked only for the phone company, and no one had gone to college. Her first attempt at college was unsuccessful. Then she began reading voraciously and studied philosophy. She completed her Ph.D., but few jobs were available. Luckily, as a student employee, she fell into a documentary film project that had an Internet component, and figured out how to apply her knowledge about how humans think in an Internet career. She worked for Internet start-ups, and now she's an independent Internet marketing strategy consultant, has written a book about how people make sense of their universe with use of the Internet, and has created SEO kits to market to small businesses.

Affiliating and retaining his independence.

Gus majored in art in college and had talent as a painter but not the temperament to promote himself. He got a junior high school teaching job for two years, which was difficult because the kids had not chosen to be in art class. He then tried working on a Ph.D. and landscaping, then came back to teaching and realized he needed to do it in a way that would suit his personality. He wanted to develop relationships with the children instead of being a disciplinarian. His interest in the civil rights movement helped him connect with the African American students especially. Because he did so well with discipline problems, he was able to get a special education class in a new high school, where he could work individually with students. His classroom was located away from the hubbub on the far end of the school property.

(This is the 5th in series of career motivations.
See my Psychology Today blog of 5-17-11 for Perfectionists,
my WordPress blog of 6-14-11 for Helpers:
my Psychology Today blog of 6-7-11 for Achievers,
and my WordPress blog of 6-28-11 for Romantics:


Elizabeth Wagele is the co-author with Ingrid Stabb of The Career Within You: How to Find the Perfect Job for Your Personality.


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