Does Your Personality Predict What Field You'll Go Into?
Have you ever taken a personality test? Maybe its 10 questions that tell you what your Spirit Animal is, or a complex one that gives you weird words like sanguinous or melancholic... There are a lot of weird tests out there that you can take to learn about yourself.
In undergrad, I got really into these personality tests during my time in student government. Nowadays they aren't much use to me, but they are fun little distractors when you want to take your mind off of school. So, below is 3 tests, my personal results, as well as who is most likely will go into which field based on personality type. Enjoy!
BECAUSE, SPIRIT ANIMALS
Do you know your spirit animal? Both the cutest and most useless personality test coming up! I have yet to see a legitimate study that compares a medical student's or physician's spirit animal to their future field. I guess I am a Tiger! I thought I would get Lion to be honest, but who knows which animals are in these different tests. Apparently, I'm very emotional...
Getting To The Nitty Gritty: Myers-Briggs
Ok, these next tests are actually legit. I got quite into Myers-Briggs and evaluation of people in college. If you know someone pretty well, you can probably guess what their profile will be. I think that Myers-Briggs is actually an accurate and legitimate personality test.
After taking a bit of a longer test, you get 4 letters that make up your personality type.
Extroverted or Introverted: The first letter in your Myers-Briggs profile describes how you energize. Do you need to be sitting alone to recharge? After a long day's work, do you want to go out with your friends or watch a movie alone?
Intuition or Sensing: This letter represents what kind of thinker you are. Intuition people will describe themselves as having their "head in the clouds" or being a "big picture" person. Intuition people are often sarcastic, while sensing people tend to find slapstick humor the funniest. Think of the person that sits on YouTube for hours watching fail videos- thats a Senser. Sensing people like details and are focused on the concrete.
Thinker or Feeler: Although the last set of letters was about the way you think, Thinker vs Feeler is about how you make decisions. Do you lead with your heart or your head? At the end of the movie, when the protagonist is lying there in Asystole and his or her lover is desperately trying to revive them, are you holding back the tears/getting that ball in your throat or are you thinking "You can't shock asystole! That doesn't work!"
Judgment vs. Perception: This is the hardest to decipher between. A judger sees things in black and white. A perceiver sees things from all perspectives and is slow to come to a final decision. Judgers are very scheduled and "Type A." Med school attracts a lot of Judgers because you have to pretty disciplined to get accepted into med school these days. My favorite way of describing it is that judgers are planners and perceivers are spontaneous. Unfortunately, judger just sounds so bad! "Don't be judgy!" "Don't judge me!" Well, unfortunately, that is just how a large proportion of people think.
There is data that shows what field of medicine you might end up in based on your Myers-Briggs personality type. There is actually studies on PubMed about this stuff! Here is the original data. If you don't have an extra 30 minutes, I'll summarize:
- People who score as Introverted or Feeling are more likely to go into Primary Care
- Feeling types chose Family Med much more often than Thinking
- There are more Judging types in medicine in 2000 than there were in the 1950s.
- Male, Thinking types are much more likely to choose a surgical subspecialty
You Can Be Enneagram You Want!
This test is how this whole journey started. I was on my Family Med rotation last month when a Family Med intern recommended this test to me. Having an interest in personality tests, I thoughtI would give it a shot. I can't give you as much of a background on this test as I am still getting familiar with it, but I can say that there are 9 personality types. Everyone has a main type and a "wing" which is your secondary personality type. My personality type was 3- The Achiever. Seems about right. I'll be honest- I need to read more about this test and my "personality."
There is test has some pretty soft data on medical specialty selection. I found this in Psychology Today. It is super quick read- less than 1 minute. Follow this link to read more about the Enneagram test and medical specialty choice.
Additionally, here is a good piece of information about doctors and burn out and some insight based on your Enneagram type.
Ok, But What Field Should I Actually Consider?
The fun is over. Eventually, you have to make this decision about what field you should go into. It was recommended to me to check out the University of Virginia School of Medicine Specialty Aptitude Test, which I also recommend. It doesn't give you much insight into your personality, but moreso examines your values around medicine. Here's my top 10!
No personality test is perfect. There aren't only 9 types of people. There aren't only 16. There are infinite types of people. Some of these tests make people feel uncomfortable because they feel they are being put in a box. You have to do what is right for you. You have a duty to yourself to pursue what you think will make you happy. I don't believe there is only one specialty or one job out there, and if you end up in a different one, then you'll be unhappy your whole life. Happiness is 10% your circumstance and 90% your response to your circumstance.
Have a great summer and PLEASE let me know your types and what you're interested in going into! I'm applying to Anesthesiology. Even though I am an "E"!