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Elizabeth Wagele
Elizabeth Wagele

The Enneagram and Picking a Medical Specialty

Doctors choose specialties depending on their “career strengths.”

Cartoon by Elizabeth Wagele

Ideally, by the time you have finished reading "The Career Within You," you will have decided on your own Enneagram type. We ask you to then go back to your type's chapter and take its "Wagele-Stabb Career Finder." First, you'll select your favorite two strengths from five career strengths we've listed that are typical for your type. Then you'll see which careers your strengths fit the best - and which appeal to you the most - out of about 180 careers that are most compatible with your type.

When Ingrid Stabb and I devised our Career Finder, we looked for how doctors' specialties might differ throughout the nine Enneagram types. Dr. James Campbell and others helped us with this.

We found that Perfectionists easily make use of all five of their career strengths as doctors: "courteousness, logical thinking, making improvement, meticulousness, and responsibility." They're most likely to specialize as anesthesiologists or cardiologists; or to work in the fields of endocrinology, hematology, radiology, surgery, plastic surgery, emergency, or public health. Some prefer being on the medical faculty.

Helpers as doctors especially enjoy using three out of the five strengths we've chosen: "perceptiveness, problem solving, and reliability," as general practitioners, internists, ob-gyns, pediatricians, or working in physical medicine or rehabilitation.

Achiever doctors especially like to use their "drive to win and problem solving" strengths in emergency, ob-gyn, plastic surgery, or surgery.

Romantic doctors prefer to use their "ability to discern, compassion, and sense of meaning" in emergency, internist, pediatric, physical medicine, plastic surgery, or rehabilitation roles.

Observers as doctors use their career strengths of "complex thinking, objectivity, and sensitivity" in cardiology, endocrinology, hematology, internal medicine, neurology, radiology, or research; or they join the medical faculty.

When Questioners become doctors, they enjoy using all five career strengths: "critical thinking, exactness, identifying with others, skepticism, and taking precautions" to become anesthesiologists, or specialize in ob-gyn, neurology, pediatrics, public health, neurology, radiology, research, surgery, or join the medical faculty.

Adventurers as doctors are often found in emergency rooms, ob-gyn, physical medicine, rehabilitation, surgery, or as general practitioners. They use the career strengths of "idealism, seeking challenges, and synthesizing information."

Asserters use all five career strengths as doctors: "competitiveness, leadership, logical thinking, protectiveness, and self-reliance." They are most likely to choose working in emergency, orthopedics, or surgery.

Peace Seekers who become doctors tend to use two of their five career strengths: "empathy and synthesizing information" and choose anesthesiology, GP, ob-gyn, pediatrics, or public health.

Lawyers and other professions vary in their specialties depending on their Enneagram types as well, so learning the Enneagram can help you select the branch of the field you're interested in early on instead of going through a time-consuming and possibly expensive process of trial and error.

Order "The Career Within You - How to Find the Perfect Job for Your Personality."

About the Author
Elizabeth Wagele

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

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