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Student Careers

Understanding personality type: How do you like to live your life? Judging and perceiving

BMJ 2005; 330 doi: (Published 01 February 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;330:050262
  1. Anita Houghton, careers counsellor and coach1
  1. 1London

In the fifth article of her series, Anita Houghton sheds light on how we like to live our lives in the external world, whether organised and scheduled, or spontaneous and flexible

There were once two administrators who were responsible for supporting a large training programme. Now this programme had grown over the years, and it had reached the stage where there was too much work for two staff, but funding was such that additional help was out of the question. The one administrator coped with the situation by drawing a very clear line around his responsibilities: This is what I do, please don't ask me to do anything else. This person was very efficient in getting his work done, and whatever his managers asked him to do (within the parameters), they knew it would be done quickly and competently. When it came to new or unscheduled tasks, though, he was very reluctant to take them on, and that meant that the managers tended to ask the other administrator to do those jobs. Because, you see, the other administrator made no such delineation, and said “yes” to any job that came her way. She was always willing to do anything, and was brilliant in an emergency as she was prepared to drop everything to get a big job done in a hurry. Trouble was, jobs piled up on her desk, and when the managers gave her non-urgent jobs, they never knew when, if ever, they would be done.

Develop your non-preferred skills

Perceiving types will often have done a lot of this already, and learning to schedule tasks may be helpful when they find themselves overloaded with work, or not reaching deadlines. Perceiving types also need to learn to say no sometimes. Judging types, on …

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