Drawing from "Are You My Type, Am I Yours?"
Source: Drawing from "Are You My Type, Am I Yours?"

Time Alone

5-Observers ruminate on what they have observed and assimilate information in solitude.

• Psychologist Tom spreads out his client hours and structures his day to achieve this. Gus gets periods off as a teacher and goes across the street to the library to read. As a consultant, Diana has found a perfect balance between disappearing into herself working at home and interacting with people in an office. “I wouldn’t like being in a high-visibility managerial role where I had to interact with people eight hours every day. When work requires it, I can counter my natural tendencies and go into the office. In the meantime, I don’t mind being pinged by e-mail at home.”

• For Jeffrey, having time alone to enjoy his hobbies in peace “is not nice or helpful—it’s absolutely required.” At work, he doesn’t go to the water cooler; he doesn’t enjoy it. “I can be comfortable and contribute the most from my desk.” Observers don’t need outside stimulation; they need the lack of unpleasant outside stimulation.

Time to Respond

Bosses receive a more considered response when they let Observers take plenty of time to figure out what they think and feel and how to express it.

• Kirby can’t accommodate students or family members who request a swift response. He prefers a few days to think things over while he fits the parts into a larger panorama before he answers. “Even small questions, such as whether or not to have broccoli or turnip greens as the side dish, are not possible to decide right away. I have to go into a private space way down deep, and during that time I lose my ability to remain social. This is why I prefer to argue on the Internet rather than in person, even with close friends, students, and family members.”

• As a psychotherapist, Tom doesn’t have the luxury of taking time to respond. Sometimes in a session with a client he’ll say, “Give me a minute to think about that,” but he can’t wait beyond the hour. Actually, doing psychotherapy has helped him reduce the need for mulling over his responses.

Internal Satisfaction

5-Observers are interested in their internal success: the sense that “I’ve done a good job” or “I’m really fascinated by what I’m doing.” They want their security needs to be taken care of, but great wealth and prestige are usually not their primary values.

• When Jaki started writing, she had a friend, also a writer, who said she forced herself to write. Jaki said, “Don’t you just love to write?” When the friend replied she wanted to be rich and famous, Jaki was surprised. “People want to win the writing prizes. I never thought about it—I just wanted someone to pay me to write because that’s what I enjoy spending my time doing.”

• Chuck is not materialistic. “I don’t think about the money or recognition,” he says. “My boss tells me, ‘By law we have to pay you for extra hours worked,’ but I don’t turn in overtime sheets. I just enjoy doing what I do well. My wife and I don’t spend much or go to expensive restaurants; we’re pretty simple. When friends ask me to help them with building projects I do it. I don’t accept money. Once a lady from church paid me $400.00 for helping her with her house project, but I gave the money away to Build a Miracle in Tijuana, Mexico.”

This blog is based on Chapter 5 of The Career Within You by Elizabeth Wagele and Ingrid Stabb.

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