I am frequently asked this question during my PCM sessions and PCM Profile Debriefs. Are there some “best career choices” for the different personality types? Well, yes, there are… but it’s not that simple 😊.
This is why, this article will come with a big disclaimer. If your current job doesn’t fit the options I suggest for your Base/Phase Personality Type in this article, it doesn’t mean that you don’t have what it needs to do that job well. Nor do I say that you will not enjoy aspects of it. Rather I propose that naturally, you would be equipped to do some of the jobs in the list that matches your personality type and that you may enjoy them more. The lists I present is not exhaustive.
If you are new to PCM, I recommend reading first the article on the PCM Personality Types and also the one explaining the concepts of Base Personality and Phase personality. I explain the main concepts below too. If you already know them, jump to the Disclaimer title.
Summary of PCM Concepts
To explain it briefly, the Base Personality represents the main filter through which we perceive life and events in the environment (perceptual frame of reference), the “currency” we use mostly in our communication, the most preferred communication channels, the words and the manner we use to communicate. The base personality is also the one who defines our strengths, the management/interaction style we prefer, the type of environment that is most comfortable to us and also, how we react to the day-to-day stress, that we are exposed to hundreds of times per day, most of the time without even realising it. The base will remain the same throughout our life.
The Phase Personality provides keys to understanding what motivates and also what stresses us. It helps us understand what is the main psychological need that we experience in that phase of our life. Satisfying the psychological needs of the Phase affects our motivation on a day-to-day basis and guides us on how to motivate self and others.
According to PCM, we all have each of the six Personality Types in us, and we use the metaphor of a condominium (apartment block with several floors) to visualise the composition of each unique personality structure.
Each of the six personality types is located on a single floor with the size of the bar within the floor indicating the level of energy available when the person wants to use the resources of the corresponding personality type. Because we all have all six types of personality, it is quite normal to recognize in us elements from multiple types. They will appear as part of our behaviour with a higher or lower intensity, depending on how close they are to the Base of our condominium and on the level of energy available on their specific floor.
The metaphor of an “Elevator” illustrates the person’s ability to reach all of the floors and use all of their resources. As with elevators in real life, “gravity” has an effect, meaning that it is more difficult (we require more energy) to activate the characteristics of a personality type that is on an upper floor, than it is to do the same for floors nearer to the Base – these are more comfortable for us to use.
End of PCM concepts summary
In the service of simplicity I am presenting suggestions of career choices below, based upon personality types where the Base Personality and Phase Personality are the same. I will therefore look at the Character Strengths of the Base Personality Types, as well as the Psychological Needs of the Phase.
Given that we can use our “elevator” to access all the floors in our condominium and spend time on those floors that provide a wide range of resources for communicating and dealing with our various tasks. In other words we can adapt and manage jobs that are not in the “typical career choices” list for our Base or Phase Personality Types.
It’s a matter of how much energy we use to do that job/task well because we need to use the elevator. This will also impact upon how long we can maintain that energy and still be productive. This is related to the level of energy available on that floor.
Let me give you my personal example:
My Base and Phase Personality Type is Harmoniser. This means that I have as character strengths being compassionate, sensitive and warm and my Phase psychological needs are recognition of person and sensory. On the other hand, the second floor in my Personality Structure is the Thinker, with more than 90% energy. That means that it’s relatively easy for me to take the elevator to my Thinker floor and to spend significant amounts of time there, i.e. I have a high amount of energy available there.
I have spent almost 10 years of my career in roles such as: strategy consultant, strategy analyst, strategy and planning consultant, commercial planning manager, etc. These roles required me to use my Thinker floor intensively, especially as I needed to “activate” its strengths: being responsible, logical and organised. And I’ve really enjoyed most of those jobs. I was happy to go to the office and motivated when my work was recognised, and the projects were successful. Yet, it was taking more effort for me to always “take the elevator” to be able to be efficient at my job.
I was taking care to charge my batteries by making friendships at work – some of them last even today, more than a decade since they started. In my private life, I was spending quality time with my dear ones, etc. By “charging my batteries”, covering my psychological needs, I was obtaining the energy I needed to “take the elevator” so often.
Nowadays, as a PCM trainer, I get to spend quality time with my participants, teaching them about a tool that I really believe in and helping them to improve their lives through increased self-awareness, improved communication and better stress-management.
In my training, whilst I take care to deliver the correct information in the right format, timeframe, quality, with the best-fit examples, etc – I also get the chance to really connect with people. And the recognition and amazing feedback I get at the end really charges my batteries. That is because, besides getting recognition of work i.e., for the quality of my training, I also get recognition of my person, one of the psychological needs of the Harmoniser Phase. Attendees comment upon the openness, compassion, sincerity, empathy and enthusiasm I bring to the sessions. They experience being seen and accepted for who they are.
I might be really tired, physically, at the end of a full PCM workshop, yet I am so motivated and grateful for having such an amazing job and meeting so many interesting people.
Conclusion: I held roles that called upon my Thinker strengths for many years and I actually enjoyed many of them. I was good at what I did. However, you will not find them on the “top choice” list for the Harmoniser. They will be on the list for Thinker. Being a trainer and connecting with people is definitely on the Harmoniser “top choice” list and I can really feel the difference: “I charge my batteries” while doing my job.
Now, let me finally introduce you to the list of suggested “best-fit career choices” for the different personality types. You will see that some career choices appear for more than one Personality Type – that is because each Type might be motivated and/or best fit for a certain job from a different perspective.
As said, this is not an exhaustive list, but it should help in giving you a starting point.
Strengths (Base): logical, responsible, organised
Psychological Needs (Phase): recognition of work, time structure
- Management/Strategy Consultants
- Scientists (in general)
- Investment Bankers
- Stock Brokers
- Project Managers
- Service Designers
- Organisational Developers
- Investigative journalists
Strengths (Base): dedicated, observant, conscientious
Psychological Needs (Phase): recognition of work, recognition of convictions
- Management/Strategy Consultants
- NGO leaders
- Religious leaders
Strengths (Base): compassionate, sensitive, warm
Psychological Needs (Phase): Recognition of person, sensory
- Social Services Workers
- Public Relations
- Human Resources
- Hospitality industry
Strengths (Base): spontaneous, creative, playful
Psychological Needs (Phase): (playful) contact
- Designers (fashion, interior, etc.)
- Freelance Artists (singers, painters, etc.)
- Copywriters (Advertising, etc.)
- Designers of computer games etc.
Strengths (Base): adaptive, persuasive, charming
Psychological Needs (Phase): incidence
- Real estate agent
- Stunt Person
- Investment Banking/Stockbroker
- Pop/Rock star
Strengths (Base): reflective, imaginative, calm
Psychological Need (Phase): solitude
- Freelance graphic designer
- Freelance artist (painter, etc.)
Let me know if you have any questions about other type of career choices. I know this list is quite short, but hearing from you will be a good opportunity for me to add new options.
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