The heiress problem

Sarah had my number right from the beginning. Rather, she had my letters: ENFJ. She said so within an hour of meeting me. I disagreed. Once I had a little more information, I said I was probably ENTJ. She nodded her head slightly and filled my hands with printouts.

ENFJ translates to extraversion, intuition, feeling and judgement and is one of 16 personality types in the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). The questionnaire that categorizes us humans was developed by the mother-daughter team of Myers-Briggs and is based on the work of Carl Jung. He believed that we all have specific preferences in the way we perceive our experiences, and that these preferences inform our interests, needs, values, and motivations. Scientists just can’t help but want to categorize everything into tidy little groupings.


To F (feeling, which sounds wishy-washy to me) or to T (thinking, something on which I pride myself). It turns out that four percent of the population is ENFJ and another four percent is ENTJ. That’s not the whole story, though. There are gender differences in that ENFJs tend to be women and ENTJs tend to be men. Is it a chicken and egg thing or a self-fulfilling prophecy that the shorthand for ENFJ is ‘mentor,’ while the shorthand for ENTJ is ‘chief.’ I don’t want to be a mentor. I want to be a chief!


To prove to Sarah that I am a chief and not a mentor, I took that silly test. And learned that I am an ENFJ. I also learned that ENTJs can be real jerks (I’ve probably worked for a few of them) and that ENFJs are natural-born leaders, full of passion and charisma. I can live with that.

It was all the more disconcerting when she and I were taking the subway home together one night and she asked me what I did. Now we all know that that question means what do you do for work. I can easily tell you what I did do for work. At the moment, however, I am in the process of creating my own work where I can be a leader and harness my passion and charisma. The challenge is that the passion and charisma of the future are currently in a formative stage.

At the end of my, sad to say long-winded, explanation, Sarah turned to me and asked me if I am an heiress. Oh dear.

If you want to find out what Carl Jung thinks of you, you can take the MBTI here. As far as the heiress test, I suspect that you already know if you are one—and know if you aren’t—without any test at all.

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