The Enneagram has been a buzzword on our social media pages and beyond with increasing popularity the past few years. Many are surprised to know that it’s actually been around much longer. In fact, it originated in 1915 and was later ‘mainstreamed’ with the nine numbers we know today in the 1960’s by Oscar Ichazo, who placed them on the diagram.
While it’s fun to read the memes and social media posts about your particular number or screen capture posts about your friends numbers and send them, you may not have considered how the Enneagram can relate to your career! Who we are and how we interact, both with other people and the world, has a profound impact on our enjoyment of a career path and ultimately our long-term success. Ever heard the saying that if you love what you do you’ll never work a day in your life?
Thanks to the long history of the Enneagram, much information is available. There are great lists of potential career choices by Enneagram type, for example 1’s often make great attorneys because they excel at self-discipline, but dislike jobs such as waitressing because of the requirement of flexible hours. Type 5’s tend to be amazing in tech jobs because they’re naturally inclined to learn everything about a topic and like to work independently. They do NOT enjoy retail as they may frequently be blamed for things that are not their fault without a valid reason. See where I’m going with this? There are amazing tools for figuring out what jobs you may enjoy (or in fact, not enjoy at all) based on your number.
Slow to join the Enneagram bandwagon? Well, Indeed wasn’t. You can actually use Indeed, one of the top (and my personal favorite) job search engines to get information on the best jobs for you based on your enneagram type! Check it out here.
Taking is a step further, there are resources by your type for learning to love the career you’re in! I am an Enneagram 8, the challenger. This particular article talks about how 8’s love to work somewhere their ‘can do’ attitude is appreciated and this couldn’t be more true for me! I recently left a job where my boss regularly said he wished he had someone less ambitious and more willing to just sit and wait for tasks. In my current company, I am constantly finding ways to plug in an help out with my available time on a variety of tasks: from cleaning up our databases (I have a background in data, after-all) to lending a hand in HR since I have a social work background and enjoy people (note: my actual role is accounting).
Knowing yourself and what motivates you is the best way to go into a review discussion with your boss. When they ask, “How can I help you excel?” Be ready with answers about what motivates, drives, and fulfills you. Our workplaces are made up of people and let’s be honest – motivated people make the workforce go ’round. Know how to explain and come with honest, well-thought-out, productive feedback for how your boss can be in your corner.
The Lord gifts us all uniquely and wonderfully. He makes no mistakes. But hear me when I say: that doesn’t mean we aren’t responsible for how we behave! Don’t fall into the trap of using your personality, Enneagram type, or any other test to justify bad behavior. Enneagram 8’s, for example, are notoriously blunt communicators but the the Bible is very clear about words when it says in Matthew 12:36 that we will be held accountable ‘for every careless word we speak.’ These tools are to help you grow. We all have to play to our strengths, but work at our weaknesses as well.
If I can leave you with some encouragement today it’s this – enjoy learning about how God gifted you. Laugh at the incredible (and often hilarious) accuracy of some of these assessments (one of mine said that people with my personality are verbally startling). If you’re searching for a job, use this to give you fresh ideas about potential career paths. Already in a job but looking to be more fulfilled? As I mentioned, this is a great way to create an open dialog with your boss about your role and your desires for the future.
‘I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.’ – Psalm 139:14
Becca Christensen is a Crossroads Career Board Member & the editor of this blog since 2020. She works in automotive accounting in Tampa, FL. She is an avid reader, intense football fan, and an Aunt to 5. She’s also a textbook Enneagram 8.