5 Steps to successful reinvention. And a Melissa update.

The best way to get someone to call you from your LinkedIn profile is to put Confidential in the employer field. You might be wondering: Who does this?

Answer: Melissa.

For those of you unfamiliar with the story of Melissa, I will now summarize a hundred blog posts about her like this: Melissa, Queen of Reinvention, finds jobs almost anyone would kill for, they are disasters, she leaves. Then she repeats, but in a way that is different enough that I have trouble yelling at her for making the same mistake twice.

This is true with men, too. And this is a good time to tell you that the bankers in Melissa’s life—her former life, to be clear—are plagued by the idea that there is no difference between their porn life (very successful since they travel a lot with their laptop) and their real life (very unsuccessful since real women do not want to have their hair pulled out).

Are there any twelve year old boys reading this post? Listen to your mom! If you look at porn you will ruin sex for yourself.

(Oh, wait. The only twelve-year-old boy reading this post is my son: Don’t worry, Melissa is okay. She will be back on the farm for Thanksgiving.)

1. You can be known for lots of things. Don’t be known for the stuff about you that’s annoying.
Melissa speaks Chinese fluently. She is confident enough about her fluency that when she was working as a recruiter for a Chinese COO, Melissa said to her, “I know the way you tell Americans to pronounce your name isn’t correct—because I know how to pronounce it in Chinese.”

And the woman said, “No. I like it the American way. That’s the right way to pronounce it.”

And Melissa said, “No! That’s wrong!”

You’d fire her, too, right?

If Melissa likes you she stalks you. The way she stalked me made me first think she’s a weirdo but then I realized that I would die if I couldn’t have her around because she is so smart and interesting.

So she launched a recruiting business because she knows everyone, and so many startup founders wanted to hire her for their assistant and she couldn’t be everyone’s assistant. In fact, she couldn’t be anyone’s assistant because she can’t hold down a job for more than a few months, but she is great at knowing what someone needs in an assistant.

She first found this out because she put on her resume that she was my assistant. She left off the part about how I fired her three times, because really, you guys, your resume is not your life story. Use only the good parts.

Then people wanted to hire her. And because Melissa and I spend like 500 hours a month researching personality type, she always knew exactly what the person needed.

2. Find your secret sauce.
Melissa and I spend a gazillion hours studying personality type because it works. And knowing all that makes us look incredibly smart. Incredible even to ourselves. As soon as we know someone’s type we know enough about them to give them very good career advice (me) or give them a perfect match for an assistant (Melissa).

So Melissa was blowing through personal assistant jobs for startup founders, which, by the way, often pay in the low six-figures. She was starting the job, straightening out messes and then hiring the perfect person to replace herself. Then she stopped taking the jobs and just started hiring the perfect person first. She just gave people a personality test, met them in person, and made matches. And then she got this huge startup-founder referral business.

And this is a good time to tell you that the startup founders are such incredible egomaniacs. Melissa would never say this because they are paying her a lot of money to tell them that they are an ENTP and they need an INTJ to keep their life in order. The egomaniac startup founders are suited for their job, and crazy is a good trait, too, and Melissa would always say to the founder, “Oh, I’ve had really crazy difficult bosses. It’s my specialty.” And she’d always mean me.

The startup founders think their executive assistant is an accessory. Like a smart watch. Potential investors need to see that the founders have a good one. So the founder will pay a lot. Melissa charges $10K to find an assistant. And she has a waiting list.

3. Ignore sound advice.
But then one day, she got a call and learned that [a super incredibly famous person who you have for sure heard of] needs an assistant who speaks Mandarin.

I told Melissa, “Don’t take the job. You will ruin [famous person’s] life when you leave.”

Then Melissa gives my name as a reference. And I talk to the famous person. I try not to think about how I am talking to this person and definitely I should be pitching the person to get money. And then I’m thinking, “Oh God, I need a startup idea for China right now.”

But before I can formulate my pitch, famous person is asking me if I would recommend hiring Melissa. And I say, “Yeah. If you have a project that lasts six minutes. Because that’s Melissa’s attention span.”

I tell famous person that I love Melissa and my kids love Melissa but Melissa won’t keep a job. Everyone gets pissed when Melissa leaves.

Famous person is blown away by Melissa’s insight. About everyone. I do not tell famous person that you can just hang out at my house and learn personality type and then you’ll have blow-away-insight as well. I tell famous person to give Melissa big bonuses for staying.

So Melissa signs up to get a $50K bonus for every six months that she stays. Melissa is making $50K in a single month from her recruiting business. But even the fact that she doesn’t need the money does not keep Melissa from taking the job.

4. Expand your network in surprising ways so you can expand yourself in surprising ways.
The access Melissa has to famous people is now so huge that I stop calling her to find links, or find blog posts that I know are there somewhere on my blog but I can’t find. I stop calling her to remind me how to put a url in the save bar. Or whatever it’s called on the browser.

I really just wait for her to call. From rooms full of people who blow me away. I try to be calm though. “Whatever,” I tell Melissa. “I read about that guy. He’s a jerk to women. I wouldn’t want to be in a room with him.”

Then Melissa quits. Of course. I hope famous person remembers I told her so.

But famous person loves Melissa so much that famous person connects Melissa to more famous people, including someone I love so much that I actually stalk online like she’s my high school boyfriend or something.

Summarizing: Melissa is now hiring executive assistants to the biggest startup founders and the people you read about in the magazines in your doctor’s office. And she’s doing it by pegging everyone’s personality type and then matching them with the personality type that has the skills necessary for the job the job of compensating for the boss’s personality type. (Or working around it.)

Melissa had to pick between living close to New York famous clients or Silicon Valley famous clients. She picked the latter, packed up the NYC apartment and the dog, and drove cross-country with her boyfriend who is still her boyfriend.

I will remind everyone now that if you stop picking jobs that are horrible for you, then you just sort of naturally stop picking men that are horrible for you. And vice versa. It doesn’t come all at once. It comes slowly. But Melissa is running her own business, and she has a boyfriend who is smart and loyal and honest.

He is an ISTJ. Did you know that ISTJs hate personality type so much that most of the ISTJ information on the Internet is “what it’s like to date an ISTJ” instead of “what it’s like to be an ISTJ?”

5. Reinvention takes years, and it’s a process that never stops.
Remember how I said Melissa is so rich I can’t even ask her to do stuff for me any more? Well, I told her she has to do the my personality type master class with me because it’s so fun to do with her. But also, because Melissa was so incredibly lost. Really. I’ve been writing about her being lost for five years. And she found her perfect career by understanding first her own personality type and then all the peoples’ around her. She made herself extremely valuable.

And this is what I’ve done, too, with my coaching business. And we realize that anyone can do this in their career. Personality type is a secret key to the door to your perfect life. You can tell me that I sound like a crazy person. But Melissa and I have been sounding like crazy people for years. And we’re making a lot of money. And we love what we’re doing. And you can, too.

So join us for the personality type course. You will have so much fun. And if you are an ENTJ—a personality type that doesn’t care about fun—you will make lots of money. Hooray. And sign up now!

141 replies
  1. Dave
    Dave says:

    It is depressing to read about people who are so “lost” and yet money seems to fall in their laps as they bounce from one adventure to another. I’ve known I was an INTJ from the first time I heard of Myers-Briggs. When I read the profiles–it is spot on. But it’s not helping me except to know why I’ve eventually hated every job I’ve had for the last 20 years. My time for reinvention is long overdue, but I don’t think being able to spot an ISTP in a room full of ISTJs is going to be my ticket to happiness.

    • Cassie Boorn
      Cassie Boorn says:

      I have been studying myers briggs with Penelope for years, and loved this comment so much.

      The majority of information just gives you the basics of each type. The secret is understanding how all of the types work together.

      A room of ISTJs or ISTPs would be a terrible place for an INTJ to network. You would all just stand around trying to prove each other wrong.

      INTJs are usually happy when they have an ENTP or ENTJ to build interesting projects with. :)

      • dave
        dave says:

        sounds reasonable; in my current environment, there are no ENTPs or ENTJs. But again, this knowledge is not helpful, just explanatory. I need change, not understanding.

          • Dave
            Dave says:

            Change only comes from action. I need to identify actions I can take that will make a difference in my life while preserving the rest of the status quo that is good: e.g. paying the bills and supporting my family. I don’t mean to come off as jerk, but I have participated in Myers-Briggs exercises for years including one company where we all typed each other and then did little scenarios/role plays, etc. It is all very interesting, but it does not reveal a path to action–only rationalization and explanation about WHY you are uncomfortable in a situation where you do not fit. I guess I am jealous of Melissa’s opportunity to just flail away until she found something that worked.
            I actually took that opportunity also…1 1/2 years trying to make my own business while my wife and 3 kids lived in a 2 bedroom mold-infested apartment, collecting unemployment and food stamps at times…I cannot do that kind of thing again.

    • tryCoaching
      tryCoaching says:

      Hi Dave,

      I agree with you. Why don’t you do a coaching session with Penelope. If you are looking for action, she can certainly help you with that list.

    • Angie
      Angie says:

      By accident, I clicked on the comments link instead of on the “read more” link. I saw your comment and I agree so much with you that I’m not even going to read this post. I know it’s just going to make me feel bad.

    • Mel
      Mel says:

      Yes, my first reaction while reading this was jealousy of Melissa’s flailing, turned into a half-mil-a-year business. I would go on, but it would probably come off as catty. Props to Melissa, though.

  2. elena
    elena says:

    Hi Penelope. There is so much I’d like to share with you about how really understanding (and coming to terms with) my personality type is finally helping me making peace with myself. I could write pages and pages about it, if I just wasn’t an INTJ that gets bored oh so easily.

    That said, just a few details about myself: I’ve just turned 30, I’m Italian (like, from Italy, currently living in Milano – the real deal), I’m the best cook (vegetarian) and the best driver ever. I have two different Bachelor’s Degrees – the last one in Materials Engineering and the first one in Communication, and a Master’s Degree in Marketing – you were sooo right when you wrote in the quistic newsletter that INTJs are so eager to learn and ‘take classes’! Right now I have to restrain myself from enrolling in a second Master’s Degree in Project Management.

    I’m about to change career for the n+1th time and I have this crazy idea: I want to take a few months off between my current job and the next one and spend this period of time doing something I can’t do while I’m employed. So far my best two options are: going to China and learn Mandarin or come to the USA and work for you as cook/driver/aupair and pick your brain about a lot of topics.

    Let me know if one of the two interests you!

    [Even if it’s a no, I’d like to thank you anyway – I’ve found so many useful inspirations in your blog (I’ve been a long term lurker). Thanks for what you do and for letting us readers get a piece of your brain every time you post something, I know it isn’t easy]


    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      Hi, Elena. Honestly, if I didn’t just add one more person to the household roster I would say yes. You sound great. And I can always use another INTJ in my life — it’s that charming combination of the ability to do everything so well and the comforting lack of an edit button…


      • Elena
        Elena says:

        Thank you anyway :)

        on an unrelated note, I’d love to subscribe to one of your webinars(and at least three or four quistic courses) but being oversea (with an horrible internet connection) I don’t know how that could work… are the videos on live-streaming or is a link available for download?

      • Adrianne
        Adrianne says:

        “And I can always use another INTJ in my life — it’s that charming combination of the ability to do everything so well and the comforting lack of an edit button…”

        You know, I never understood why people tell me I’m charming, until now…!

  3. Anna
    Anna says:

    This is fascinating. As a lost soul myself for many years, who ended up doing a lot of undervalued work for other (wealthier) people, I love that Melissa has found a way to really profit from being in that situation and turn it into something that helps both sides. Total genius.

    Is the whole thing word of mouth? It sounds like the CEOs find her. But how does she find the new assistants?

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      Melissa is great at writing the ads for hiring assistants. I think this skill comes from Melissa spending a bazillion hours on Craigslist learning to parse wanted ads like other people parse dating profiles.


  4. Nur Costa
    Nur Costa says:

    This looks like the best written post about personal branding of all times.
    I’ve always been quite reluctant about Myers Briggs personality types.
    But yet I’ve read about it. I wanted to learn what it all meant and how consistent the information was.
    I am really curious to learn more about my type. I’m an INFP.
    I’ve read somewhere that I have the lowest paid job from all types and the least successful relationships. I hope it’s not true.
    I’m not successful in relationships. I am very exigent with my job searching and learning (does that mean that I am also too exigent with my partners?). And yet I get to have the least monetary compensation… why doesn’t it bother me?
    I hope it’s not true.
    Great post though. I can’t ever get enough of your writing. You’re like my Melissa. I’d be very pissed if I couldn’t read more from you.

    • Erin
      Erin says:

      I’m an INFP, too.

      I think the most helpful thing about Myers Briggs is it helps you see yourself and others more clearly. It helps you identify your blindspots. It helps you realize that the things you do well don’t just come easily to everyone, but are strengths unique to you.

      For instance, I know INFPs come across as aloof. So when I care about a relationship, I strive to wear my heart on my sleeve and let my defenses down. It’s hard. And I am scared when I do it. But I know this is my version of working hard to get the intimacy I crave.

      As far as money goes, you have to ask yourself: what’s truly important to you? Do you value money? Or is there something else you value more? As an INFP, as long as you are living consistently within your values, you can find happiness and peace, and you can love with a deep meaningfulness that may be elusive to others.

      Also, INFPs hate being pegged. :) So it’s not a surprise that you’re resisting the test. Meyers Briggs is an objective tool & way of analyzing people. And it works. Even though we might not like it.

  5. carol
    carol says:

    Am I the only one who has difficulty answering the questions on the Quistic personality test? That probably points to my type but I seriously struggle with many answers, not really “getting” the questions in some cases or having a clear “yes” or “no” preference when I think I do. It concerns me because I’m afraid of getting an inaccurate result (and therefore not getting as much out of the course if I decide to sign up). I’m known to be a decisive and opinionated person in day-to-day life so that adds to the frustration. Perhaps this combo of conundrums points to my personality type – ha. Just wondering if it is common to have difficulty with the questions. Love every single one of your articles, Penelope.

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      Thank you for bringing this up, Carol. I am really passionate about everyone knowing their type. Because when you understand it, the world lights up.

      So when people email me with the problem you have — they are never sure of their type – I offer to talk on the phone. It takes me only five or ten minutes to tell what your type is and explain to you why it’s your type.

      So email me. I’ll find your personality type on the phone. And this goes for everyone else.


      • Caralyn
        Caralyn says:

        Does the world really light up? Yes and no. I’m a cross between ISFJ and ESFJ. I’m a natural teacher and love being a stay at home mom who teacher ast home (have been at home for 17 years).

        My kids are getting older and I’ll eventually need to go back to work but at what? Most people with my type are teachers and I don’t want to teach in a school! I dropped out of university and I don’t understand business. What the heck is left? I have no skills other than what I’ve done for all these years at home. That doesn’t seem to translate to $$$.

        • Becky Castle Miller
          Becky Castle Miller says:

          Become a consultant/tutor to homeschooling families. Families with enough money and the desire to homeschool or unschool their kids would pay you good money to help direct their kids’ educations.

          • Caralyn
            Caralyn says:

            It’s a good idea, Becky, but I know as much about business as I do about brain surgery! lol Plus, all the homeschooling families around here are one-income, frugal, scraping by families. (Ask me how I know!)

            Penelope, how about I come and encourage you and tell you by following your gut your kids will be absolutely fine and you tell me what to do in my next career life…something that doesn’t involve teaching and can use my skills as nurse, principal, researcher, taxi driver, etc, etc. :P

      • Marie
        Marie says:

        Hooray! Just emailed you as I’m sort of stuck between INFP/J. Perhaps not understanding the difference is what’s been holding me back in my professional and personal life. Thanks for making this offer Penelope! You really are hardcore about Meyers Briggs. I may have to take this class again, if for nothing else then how fun they are.

  6. Grace Miles
    Grace Miles says:

    This is so sweet. I have a message for Melissa: Melissa, you probably don’t remember me, but I took a few courses with you and Penelope last semester. I’m so happy that you’re still doing something you enjoy (you do, right?) I think it’s so interesting that you’d correct someone on saying their name– if I’d noticed someone “Americanizing” their Mandarin name, I would’ve asked about it but not corrected them. That takes some bravery that I’m still trying to figure out, I think. :)

  7. Lizzete
    Lizzete says:

    This was a very enjoyable post Penelope, thank you!
    What would you recommend for a 26 year-old INTJ woman who now works as an audit senior for a Big 4 accounting firm?

    I enjoy my job because I’m in charge of complex projects and have the chance to lead teams. Also I find the work interesting because I always get new clients.

    The thing is, do you think I could work independently as I crave autonomy greatly? Or should I stay in the firm and continue climbing the ladder? Finding a job in a company sounds very boring to me because I would have to deal with the same issues and people all the time. I think I would become disengaged very fast.

    Any input would be appreciated!

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      INTJs are great in teams. As long as they lead the team. INTJs working alone is not the best use of an INTJ. You need autonomy, yes, but you want autonomy to run big projects to solve complex problems yourself. Autonomy isn’t always isolation.


      • Lizzete
        Lizzete says:

        Thank you Penelope for sharing your thoughts! I love leading teams but since I’ve always been an introvert sometimes I wonder if that is the best use of my time. At school I struggled socially (I was a nerd and magnet for bullies) but at work I feel like I (mostly) fit in. The problem is at school nothing real gets accomplished so you never see results of your effort and the popular kids sometimes make fun of you. At work I feel like I found an area of my life where I can succeed and achieve great results being myself.

  8. Etienne Toussaint
    Etienne Toussaint says:

    Based on Quistic’s test, I am an INFJ. I am not sure if it’s accurate or not, but the description seems right. I am a lawyer, but sometimes I want to just be a writer (but perhaps that is because it just seems sexy). Would I make a good assistant to someone?

    • karelys
      karelys says:

      Somehow I always confused myself being an INFJ and a gemini (I know I know…someone told me my sign when I was in junior high and it stuck with me).

      It feels like I have different people living in my head.

      But it could also be mental illness ;)

    • Becky Castle Miller
      Becky Castle Miller says:

      Speaking as an INFJ who considered becoming a lawyer and became a writer instead, I can tell you that you would probably love a career in writing. But the pay would probably be a steep cut from your current salary. Which is probably okay, because you probably don’t care about money. I think you would only make a good assistant to someone if you truly believed in them and the cause you were supporting together. And you would want them to listen to and heed your advice about how to make improvements. Otherwise you would be frustrated all the time.

      • Becky Castle Miller
        Becky Castle Miller says:

        Just realized how many times I used the word “probably” in my comment. That’s a different between INFJs and ENTJs. Penelope would have written the same advice without all the qualifiers I tossed in there. :)

  9. Karelys
    Karelys says:

    I hate my personality type (INFJ). It’s so…..mushy.

    I want to make money.

    If I have enough money for the things that are important I probably would automatically turn to helping people more. Otherwise I’m annoyed. But I’m up for helping those who need a hand in helping themselves. No way I’m about to nurture anyone who doesn’t want to do the hard work for themselves.

    • Cay
      Cay says:


      I feel the same way that you do about being an INFJ, so much.

      It’s so frustrating that dominant INFJ qualities (introverted, ethical, caring) are often overlooked in the workplace. I’m highly intelligent and extremely hardworking, but I fear that my personality type basically dooms me into being either chronically underemployed or a bored housewife.

      I’ve tested consistently INFJ over the past 15 years. So, I’ve pretty much accepted that it’s my heart and soul.

      However, it feels like my brain is ESTP and wants so much more.


      • karelys
        karelys says:

        Or worse, working for nonprofits GASP!


        I kid I kid….you explained the tug of war I got going on constantly.

        I am like “yeah I want to help humanity! but I also want to make a ton of money so we can have fun!”

      • Lauren Bishop
        Lauren Bishop says:

        Penelope: is Melissa teaching the course with you? (Sounds like it from this post but she’s not listed on the course description as an instructor). I am seriously considering enrolling, but am still on the fence. Melissa might just seal the deal…

        Fellow INFJs: amazing to see you here! I have requested that Penelope include more tidbits about INFJs on her blog. As a rare type, if we are quiet, she won’t even know we are here… so let’s keep the comments going on future posts.

          • R Lloyd
            R Lloyd says:

            Finally!! I too have found very little mention of my INFJ type on the posts or in the comments section. I imagine that’s because we are busy reading and not commenting as we prefer to be behind the scenes. :) Anyway, I’ve signed up and I am VERY excited for this course. I do make a decent salary, but fully intend to increase my earning potential beyond the typical INFJ realm.

        • Penelope Trunk
          Penelope Trunk says:

          Hi, Lauren. Melissa is doing the class with me. She told me to answer this by saying that it’s not her class per se, but she’s like the annoying kid in the class who won’t stop raising her hand and talking out of turn.

          That said, much of the time is a conversation between me and Melissa, and of course we will talk a lot about how each of us used personality type to launch successful businesses.

          As for INFJs, my driver, Carla is an INFJ, so we talk about her type in the car a lot. The bottom line about INFJs:

          The good: Genius about people. Can see the secret truth about anyone and any social situation.
          The bad: Annoyed with everyone. Least happy in their work of any type.


          • karelys
            karelys says:

            phew! at least it’s normal! or genetics…

            I am like Aubrey Plaza in Parks and Recs.

            I don’t like to do anything with anyone. I love my husband though. Probably because he’s just like Andy/Chris Pratt.

    • Marisa
      Marisa says:

      I’m an INFJ and used to wish I were an NT. When I finally let go and embraced my INFJishness, amazing things happened. I quit settling for all the jobs I disliked and took a chance on counseling–because that’s what Keirsey/MBTI casually recommended. Amazing wonders: I rock at counseling.

      Living in a small rural area, the income wasn’t great–but it was way beyond what I needed. And it didn’t exhaust me like other jobs did because I actually enjoyed so much of what I was doing. If I were intent on making a lot of money, I’m pretty sure I could move to a larger city, take on more wealthy clients, and turn it into a great career. As it is, I’m perfectly happy with how things are now.

      I’m not recommending you become a counselor, but I’d definitely encourage you to investigate MBTI career suggestions and explore your gut responses to them. I can imagine that I might really enjoy being a writer, but I can’t imagine really enjoying being a lawyer. After 15 years of hating my jobs, it’s fantastic to discover that there’s something I like doing which people will pay me for.

  10. Anne B.
    Anne B. says:

    I want to take this course and when I took YOUR Myers Brigg I came out INFJ after all these years of ENFJ and it totally made sense to me – Not E, but I! Yes.

    So here’s my dilemma – being somewhat dyslexic (probably an oxymoron, but I’m a high functioning dyslexic, likely because I’ve been playing piano seriously for over 50 years now which helps the dyslexic brain to organize itself) – I want to be able to use Myers Briggs in my business and life….but….all those labels (as in INFJ) are so hard for me to keep separate in my mind. What I generally do, and perhaps I’m answering my own question now, is create a visual image or an interesting word, which conjures up the label, and then I can keep it straight.

    But if you asked me right now, having not done that yet, what is my Myers Briggs, I couldn’t tell you – had to look it up for this email.

    So – anyway you can help with this? I’m sure I’m not the only dyslexic in the group….or am I on my own creating my own memory games to keep these (yikes, 16!) types separate?


    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      Hi, Anne. I think everyone starts out being overwhelmed by the letters. I remembered types more by a summarizing trait. Like, “the scientist” or “the giver” (INTJ and ENFJ respectively).

      So I’d read the letter results of someone and then look up what the word is that summarizes those letters, and that would trigger what I know about that type.

      I’ll teach everyone how to do that in the course. It was invaluable to me since learning all the meaning of all the letters in all the contexts is a lot at the beginning.


      • Anne B.
        Anne B. says:

        Thanks, Penelope, and I’m looking forward to the course.

        On another note:

        On the occasion of the Jewish New Year, I want to wish you, your family, and all your loved ones, a year of sweetness, inspiration, courage, hope and opportunity. It is traditional to say “May we be written in the book of life for a good year” but instead, this year, I am sharing the blessing of my two Rabbis: “May we inscribe and seal ourselves in lives fully lived.”

        Much love,


  11. Tracie
    Tracie says:

    Great post, thank you for sharing.

    You should start a LinkedIn type of networking website with the goal of finding complementary personality types. I’m on LinkedIn and I’m a former designer, so I’m linkedin with a ton of other designers….doesn’t do me much good, but if I could find the people that would benefit from my personality and past work experience that would be pretty great.

  12. Dana
    Dana says:

    I think I need to call Melissa and have her find one of those great jobs for an INTJ female. I’ve been picking wrong jobs for 35 years – I need someone to pick the right one for me!

  13. Satya
    Satya says:

    Why would an ISTJ hate personality type? I find it fascinating because its a system that can help make order out of chaos.

    Can confirm though – we are really not fun to date.

  14. Erin
    Erin says:

    I’ve know my type, INFP, for years and it’s been a source of frustration for me. I’ve tried a few of the jobs listed for my type, (massage therapist, tried studying language) but they never end up feeling right. Then there are all the artistic job suggestions that would be absolutely fantastic, except that I’m only minimally talented in a few arts, but not enough to make a career of it. It leaves me feeling lost.

    • Erin
      Erin says:

      I, too, am an INFP…and my name is also Erin! ^_^ I admit that I wandered for years, trying to find the right place to devote my energy. I think INFPs are fundamentally value-driven…so you have to ask yourself, at your core, what do you value? And what kind of work can you you do to build meaning around those values?

      For instance, I started creating art and using it to encourage people who are going through hard times (for example: http://ekwetzel.com/2014/new-portrait-breadcrumbs-of-hope/ ). When I create beauty to inspire people who are struggling, this motivates me. It is also creating a niche for me. Now people are coming to me to paint portraits for friends who need healing because of pain or loss. To me, being able to help people this way utilizes my empathy, my creativity, and appeals to my values. It makes me feel like I’m doing something important.

      But, also, I need to put my art on the backburner so I can get pregnant again and take care of another little baby. As an INFP, my strength is that I am ok with this open-ended, unstructured approach to life.

      I paint when I can. And, when I can’t, I just let the field lay fallow.

      I think one of the strengths of INFP types is we can work really really hard on something we are passionate about, then we can change it up and focus on something else. We do well with chaos and uncertainty. Our strengths are our flexibility and our compassion.

      My advice for you: let yourself embrace a degree of uncertainty. Put yourself in the position to work in areas, not based on what your skills are, but what your values are. And feel out the right place for you at these companies. If you are young, internships are a great way to explore this.

  15. Katherine
    Katherine says:

    Why is the Jungian type Myers-Briggs never explored on this site?

    And I find it interesting that people thinks “learning Mandarin = have access to China.” How well one fits into China’s mode of business is also very dependent on personality type especially if you are from a western country without Chinese roots.

  16. Jamie Lee
    Jamie Lee says:

    Interesting to see so many INFJs in this comment thread. I’m one, as well, and I’ve read that INFJ’s tend to feel bad about themselves for no reason — which happens to me. Understanding this about myself has helped me focus on not on the destructive thoughts but on positive action.

    I know a technologist INTJ who supports entrepreneurs selflessly — the scenario Penelope laid out in this article fits to the T. It’d awesome to put this INTJ in touch with Melissa. Is there a waiting list?

    • Kim
      Kim says:

      This is interesting…that INFJs feel bad about themselves for no reason. I think I fall into that category. I’ve done many good things but often feel I haven’t done enough.

      • Lauren Bishop
        Lauren Bishop says:

        Another INFJ here… I feel that way too. I have perfectionistic tendencies and am very obsessive about things. I see myself as “not good at dealing with details,” but when I’m being objective I wonder if I’m just normal at details, rather than the super human I try to be in all corners of my world.

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      Interesting tidbit about this blog. INTJs are the most popular type among the readers and INFJs are second. This is amazing to me since
      – INTJs are less than 5% of the world and almost all male, which means we probably have every female INTJ in the known universe reading this blog
      – INFJs are the most rare type in the world and (almost) the most common on my blog


      • Meghan
        Meghan says:

        Hi Penelope. How common are ENFPs? I am one, but I don’t see a lot written about them not many responding. I know that I am not the only one:)

      • bea
        bea says:

        I’m a female INTJ and this is one of a handful of blogs I read on a regular basis. I’ve noticed over the years that there’s a lot us around here.

        • bea
          bea says:

          Here’s something else that I’ve been thinking about: I rarely, if ever, comment on the blogs I read. Even the ones I read regularly and feel a sense of community towards, like this one. It’s not that I don’t find the posts or conversations provocative or interesting, it’s just that I just sort of work through things that pique my interest in my head, until I either reach some sort of logical conclusion with the topic or lose interest altogether. Any other INTJs like that?

          Since I’m being chatty I figured I’d mention the internet rabbit hole this post started me down yesterday evening: I ended up on a site that listed the best and worst careers for INTJs. There my career was about halfway down in the “best” list. It was good to see, especially in light of the fact I was a late bloomer who didn’t find my professional niche until my early 30s. So I got that going for me, which is nice.

          • Elena
            Elena says:

            “it’s just that I just sort of work through things that pique my interest in my head, until I either reach some sort of logical conclusion with the topic or lose interest altogether”

            bea, that’s EXACTLY what goes on in my mind every single time I find an interesting topic in a blog… and it translates in others fields as well – like when I have a minor medical condition, and I’d like to ask for advice on that, but I always end up with the whole conversation happening in my head where I have both the arguments and the responses…

      • Andrea
        Andrea says:

        I’m an INTJ female and aside from your topic attracting me (career-minded wife/mom with indie parenting views) I’m consistently attracted to this blog because you speak in abrupt and authoritative terms, and write in a brief and organized format. I despise the verbal foreplay most people require before I can move on to what I really need to say, so your whiplash-inducing style makes me smile. My brain is constantly scanning for ways to cut superfluous phrases out of communication and your blog doesn’t waste my time. It’s like being delivered all the premium cuts of meat without having to cut all the crap off myself.

  17. Val in Seattle
    Val in Seattle says:

    Wondering if there are any INTPs who plan to take Penelope’s personality type course? (See link at the end of the blog post above.) It’s my understanding the INTP is the rarest type, especially among females.

    I recently went to a meetup for INTPs. (Here in Seattle, where the NT abounds.) It was my first time interacting with people whom I knew to be fellow INTPs. We were six INTPs, four women and two men. People were reserved, and there were lots of lulls in the conversation. I enjoyed the cerebral nature of the talk, but the conversation lacked the quality of exchange. It was more like we were taking turns presenting our ideas. The meeting brightened considerably when two others joined us – an ENFP and an INTJ. The contrast of types livened the talk.

    Predictably the INTP meetup group fizzled out after two events. I assume we’re all off on tangents, and more tangents, until we become mired in fractals of tangents.

    I find I really like INTJs. I like their minds and admire their effectiveness. I find we can be friends, but they get exasperated with my tendency to be flexible and changeable.

    • Tracy
      Tracy says:

      Haha, this comment has made my day. Sounds like the ‘prayers’ for Myers-Briggs types, but with meetups!

      The INTP meetup group fizzled out after two events when all attendees became mired in fractals of tangents…

      But don’t worry, the ENTJ meetup hasn’t happened yet because they’re still arguing about who’s in charge…

      The ISTJ meetup is on hold as they are still coming up with a process and details for the meeting…

      The ENTP meetup will be held at the community hall, no wait the bar, no wait the hotel, no wait…

      But don’t worry because the ESTJs have offered to run meetings for all the types. Meanwhile, the INTJs are waiting for the other meetups to go ahead so they can go along and tell everyone how they are doing them wrong.

    • Andrea
      Andrea says:

      Holler back, INTP! I don’t know that women INTPs are in fact that rare…in my experience they tend to be very much out there. Or maybe the social aspect of femininity mixes with the INTP identity and the females are simply more likely to seek other like company.

      I’m not taking Penelope’s course because, like an INTP, I think I could probably just research it and do a better job. Doesn’t that sound like fun? And anyway, since we’re only 1% of the population, I have my doubts about how much coverage they/we are going to get in a broad course like this.

      • ruo
        ruo says:

        Andrea, intp female here… i took the last MB webinar with penelope as well as a coaching call about 2 years ago.

        saying this from experience. coverage of intp was very little last time. But then again, we can research the heck out of our own type or others. It doesn’t do much good if you can’t act on the information. what truly mattered was understanding the people around me helped me find my next job which was a better fit (and more money too). So, take the seminar not because you want to understand yourself better; but to understand yourself among others.

        i also improved relationships with my family. my dad is an esfp, so combined with my intp, we’d both have so much fun hanging out but he would never leave me alone. it drove me crazy that he couldn’t see I needed a retreat but now i see that he’s just being himself around me. i stopped being resentful and just started suggesting he take his phone book and get him to reach out to his overseas friends so that he can have others to talk to while i read my book. he even admits that he gets lonely when i don’t talk to him. =.=

        it would’ve took me 5 years to get there. it took me a week after taking the seminar with penelope. Information, knowledge, research is only useful if it can be applied to yourself.

        just try it. what do you gain from not attending? status quo. are you happy with being status quo?

        penelope does talk like a rock star. it was funny when her cheeks kept on hitting the mute button cuz she was so excited. :)

      • Marie
        Marie says:

        Fellow INTP here, trending toward ENTP as I get older. Or maybe I’ve learned to compensate well. I’ve often been the unusual one in my different circles. It comforts me to know that INTPs are rare, rare and not just weird. The research comment hit home for me. I’m restraining myself from researching several new things now.

  18. Harriet May
    Harriet May says:

    You helped me so much when I was lost. And perhaps I’m still a little lost, but I’m good at pretending now that I’m not at all, and people believe it. A lot of it is everything I’ve ever learned from you, like using my personality type profile to answer the “what is your greatest weakness” question in job interviews. I’ve been in London now for six months (!) and I’m just getting started– first I got a flat and I made friends, but unemployment was terrifying, so I found a startup to join, and then last week I nailed the interview for what I think could very well be my perfect job (marketing and business strategy and product development for a company that’s doing 20mil Euros turnover with a team of 6 people) and I got it!

    I never did figure out sugar daddies but now I shouldn’t need to. (Although maybe Melissa should match sugar daddies to sugar babies next, because chatting to these men online really is tedious.)

  19. Matthew Coppola
    Matthew Coppola says:

    It’s definitely tough out their in the market and you really do need to market yourself to the prospective employer. A good resume is half the battle to getting in front of employers!

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      Great. Thanks. Maybe every Monday I’ll just publish a list of questions I have for Melissa that I can’t ask her and then you guys can answer them.

      Happy to be putting stuff in my Bookmark Bar. Thanks.


  20. Cheri
    Cheri says:

    Very interesting that many INFJs are responding to this…I’m wondering how many of us read this blog vs. other types. We need our own blog…we’re special. :-)

  21. Kim
    Kim says:

    Another INFJ regular blog reader checking in just because it seems like I should. I’m interested in the comment above that many INFJ’s feel bad about themselves for no reason. I think I may be one of those!

    • karelys
      karelys says:

      Part of it, probably, is the gap between the expectations and the fact that you’re fully aware of reality and where you stand against your goal or standard.

      Also, it’s depleting emotional to be with people who are not straight forward. And many people don’t know how to communicate properly (never mind styles of communication). So being surrounded by people who communicate poorly, don’t live up to your standard, etc. can make for a combination of “I think they hate me” (reading between the lines too much) and being the obnoxious mean person that tells everyone off for being so mediocre (in which case, yes, they hate you!).

      I don’t know how but I ended up convincing myself I am awesome ;).

      No, really.

      It was so helpful to just get on with life.

      Also, refusing to believe I am so special and unique and that people are not going to understand me.

      I took it upon myself to believe Penelope when she says there’s more common ground among people than uniqueness and differences. Also, I took it upon myself to flat out learn to communicate in the language that other people best receive the message. To bridge the gap between myself and the others. Things became so much better.
      Then, I made a vow to always uphold great work ethic and high standards but not be ridiculous about it. Not with myself and not with others.

      I am much happier now. And most days I think I am pretty great :)

      • Melissa
        Melissa says:

        INFJ’s are the type that believe people hate them? As an INTJ, I think I’ve encountered quite a few and I’m always like, “people don’t care enough to hate you!” That’s the wrong thing to say, but so in line with my type.

        As an INTJ, I need to get better at dishing out the praise.

        • karelys
          karelys says:

          I think if you get better at dishing out praise it will make your life easier and get you things faster.

          I can’t stand that INFJ’s are so self-centered to think everyone is thinking about them. I used to be like that without knowing and then I suspected I was wrong when I started going to the gym sometime when I was 18. I was so nervous that people would secretly laugh at me until I realized I was so preoccupied with what I was doing and that probably everyone else was that way.

          I swear sometimes I feel slightly like a sociopath but I can totally be a nice person. Once in a while people annoy me like no other though….I have no idea what goes on.

  22. ellen
    ellen says:

    This blog reduces stigma about Aspergers, it would be good to do a post about stigma (in the workplace) and unconventional ways to reduce it.

    Are there any books about Myers Briggs personality types that have been particularly helpful that either you or Melissa recommend?

    Do most ISTJ’s work with numbers? Most workplaces value skills that ISTJ’s have, ENFP’s are screwed unless they can make a living using their creativity, if that creativity is dance then ENFP’s are especially screwed since the body deteriorates… besides, dancing for a living doesn’t pay and neither does teaching. ENFP problems. Office jobs pay, but the trade off is soul crushingly painful. Offices are places where people say, “think out of the box” but when someone actually does it it is met with confusion, silence and irritation.

    • Lindsey Cline
      Lindsey Cline says:


      There is a book called Do What You Are that I think is pretty good at explaining what types of jobs are good for each type, strengths & weaknesses as they relate to your work, etc. Although PT is really great at this in her coaching, too.

      My best friend is an ENFP and quit her “soul crushing desk job” (funny that you say that, because those were her exact words as well), for a personal trainer job then a physical therapist–both a much better fit!

      Good luck. There are opportunities for ENFPs!

      • ellen
        ellen says:

        thanks, i will read that. i considered being a personal trainer (last year). now i am considering sales. but i don’t know how to get into sales, or what type of sales, i do know that i could only sell something i believe in, i couldn’t fake it.

    • Mel
      Mel says:

      ENFP with a thriving career here. Some options (I’ve done all or some of these things):

      -Be on the creative team of an ad agency or marketing department
      -real estate agent/investor (as long as there’s an assistant to handle the paperwork)
      -Client service at an Ad/PR/Communications agency
      -Content marketing
      -Independent consultant (you have to be really good and have a nice pipeline of clients)

  23. Sebastian Aiden Daniels
    Sebastian Aiden Daniels says:

    FIrst off, you are absolutely right about the porn. I was addicted to that for years and it screwed me up for a while.

    Maybe I will have to look into personality types more. I am not the biggest fan of them since mine seems to change so often. I can be the most extroverted person in the room at times if my mood calls for it and then other times I am really introverted and hole myself up at home for days.

    Melissa sounds amazing. Possibly neurotic if you want to judge it as that, but amazing nonetheless. I love ignoring sound advice, but sadly I don’t have anyone offer me a 50k bonus for staying around.

    I agree that reinvention does take a while. Any permanent change takes a while.

    Thanks for the fun read.

    • karelys
      karelys says:

      I doubt anyone “offered” Melissa the bonus. I am pretty sure she either demanded it straight up or in a round-about way.

      And that’s the mistake many make. Wait around for someone to offer you something that you’re worth.

      I mean, you’re not standing around waiting to pay more if you can get it for less right?

  24. Rachel G
    Rachel G says:

    Hi there, I’m an ENFP, now a SAHM which is great but before that I was a tour guide, which was perfect for me. Until I found that job my poor soul was languishing in offices too. But trekking around sightseeing with 40 people in tow, that was fun like I never knew I could have!

    • ellen
      ellen says:

      how do you get a job as a tour guide? again, a job category where there are only a few jobs available. : ( ENFPs are screwed unless they luck out.

  25. John
    John says:

    Penelope, this is probably the single best salesletter I’ve ever read. It’s really a salesletter for a new generation, and it works largely because it’s just a true story, told so beautifully, authentically and intimately.

    It really made me want to take the course, as much for the chance to be connected with you and Melissa as for the material itself. (And I think belonging is a big part of why people buy a lot of things.)

    Beautiful, beautiful writing.

    • Etienne
      Etienne says:

      But isn’t any form of communication a “sales Letter” of sorts . . . whether your seeking money or simply some kind of validation . . . hoping others buy into your believe that what you say matters . . .

      • John
        John says:

        Etienne, I would say that you’re posting to seek validation. But what Penelope wrote is specifically a sales letter because she’s selling her course with it.

        Make sense?

  26. Karen
    Karen says:

    Is it possible to be different types at work and at home? I think at work I am an ENTJ but at home more of an ENTP…

    • Erin
      Erin says:

      Most of what I’ve read on type says not to go by how you are at work. A lot if adapt to what we need to be at work. Also, a lot if us use our inferior functions at work to try to balance ourselves out, but we’re not at our best when using it since it’s not as natural to us.

      I’d recommend, if like me you can’t afford Penelope’s class, check out the Personality Junkie site. They have a great test you can take for about $5 and their explanation of my type (INFP) is the most accurate description of my type that I’ve ever found.

    • Erin
      Erin says:

      Sorry, that should that a “lot of us” adapt at work.

      I hope to take Penelope’s class sometime, but the second best resources I’ve found so far are that Personality Junkie site and the book “Do What You Are”.

      • Penelope Trunk
        Penelope Trunk says:

        I love the book Do What You Are as well. There is a great primer at the front of the book to teach you how to figure out peoples’ types.


        • Lisa S
          Lisa S says:

          Penelope, are you mostly self-taught (in regards to your understanding of Myers-Briggs)? I ask because I’ve been tossing around the idea of taking the ‘official’ (read: expensive) MBTI training if I thought it was truly helpful. My guess is that you’ve taught yourself *and* have a natural understanding of how personalities work. I’m an ISTJ so I have to have someone else spell it out for me and *then* it makes sense. :)

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      Karen, you are an ENTJ who cares more about work than home, so you are more P than J at home. Everyone who scores a J is more P than J when it comes to stuff they don’t care about. You are only a real P when you are a P about stuff you care about.


  27. Marie
    Marie says:

    What’s the advice for ENFP’s? To give up on life unless that life is getting married and working in the kitchen? I feel like Adrienne has jacksh*t in the way of anything good to say about them.

    • Ellen
      Ellen says:

      Yeah…there isn’t much about ENFPs…but each type knows themself best. Maybe a big flow chart with each personality type would be helpful, one with questions, arrows to yes or no, then arrows to answers.

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      ENFPs need to commit to something. ENFPs are generally capable of doing things – lots of things. But if you don’t pick one thing and stick with it then you can’t make any impact. And ENFPs love making impact.

      Another ENFP tidbit: Most of the time when someone gets four or five different results on the personality test and they have no idea what they are – they are an ENFP because ENFPs can see anything as a possibility so they take the test differently each time.


      • Marie
        Marie says:

        Isn’t that the truth. I’m an ENFP and had one major passion. It didn’t worked out as I’d hoped, and I’ve been struggling to find a career venue I feel comfortable with since. I’ve had many options but am always waiting for perfect. I fall into the Renaissance trap but don’t want to be a drifter forever. I,too, came to the conclusion that I need to pick a path and commit. I think that unless the ENFP is REALLY passionate about something – they can be picky – they have so many ideas to choose from.

  28. Becky Castle Miller
    Becky Castle Miller says:

    Melissa: What type makes the best assistant to an ENTJ? I am helping my ENTJ husband hire a personal assistant. I have tried helping him with detailed personal tasks (like booking appointments or processing expense receipts) and I am terrible at it. (I am INFJ.) We make great marriage partners, but we can’t work together. Anyway, I have already turned down one candidate because she tested INFJ, and I think she would be miserable in the job. I am making all the applicants take the Quistic test. :) What type(s) should I be looking for?

    • Becky Castle Miller
      Becky Castle Miller says:

      So, I just found out that the top candidate is a female ENTJ. I don’t know what to do with that. Would an ENTJ do well working for another ENTJ?

      • Logan
        Logan says:

        I’ll give my 2 cents here. Don’t hire an ENTJ female assistant for an ENTJ male executive unless you want them to fall madly in love with each other.

        ENTJ + ENTJ develop a soulmate connection when in close proximity. If I were you, and my husband were ENTJ, I would choose an INTJ or INFJ woman for the job, whichever woman is the least attractive.

  29. Victoria
    Victoria says:

    I recently followed a link from facebook and then did some googling about support for Myers Briggs and the consensus seems to be that unlike some other classifications Myers Briggs is unreliable and not well supported by any studies or psychologists. Have you looked into the criticisms? What are your opinions on why psychologists don’t think Myers Briggs stands up well (mostly because the two choice model isn’t a good fit for the complexity of people) or how people’s types frequently changes.

    Super happy Melissa is doing well. You tell a very compelling story.

  30. Tracey
    Tracey says:

    This post surprised me a bit because I know probably about 30 recruiters and none of them are INTJ. They’re usually ExxP since it’s such a sales/people-oriented job. I guess if you already have the connections and everyone comes to you, then an INTJ could be happy doing this work. Or maybe just overseeing it all.

    I’m an INFP (a very social one -I often test ENFP) and I’ve done quite a bit of executive assisting for a variety of personality types. My first Exec was ESTP and we got on swimmingly. He had no moral compass and was constantly into white collar crime, but I still enjoyed him a lot because he bought me candy all the time and had a wicked abstract art collection throughout his office space. It was also fun to do things like wish Ivanka Trump a happy new years. We had a really good dynamic because we’re very easy going and got over any and all of our disputes immediately. I’ve read ESTPs and INFPs are “dual relations” and due to this very compatible. This guy was also off his rocker nuts, and I think my strength as an EA probably lies in the fact that I get on extremely well with crazy. In fact, I prefer it.

    I’ve also EA’d for a couple ENFJs. We also have a good dynamic because we tend to each others’ feelings so well. I help them have a backbone and not be so motivated by guilt and people pleasing. They give me compliments and always back me up when I complain that someone is an asshole. My only issue with EAing for ENFJs is that they feel embarrassed to let me organize their messy selves. They also are too considerate to work me to the ground, which weirdly enough I resent. The main fulfillment in EA work is being needed in a manner not too dissimilar to an infant needing their mommy. If you can’t become utterly dependent on me, I feel my work is meaningless and I can be replaced in 2 seconds.

    I have also EA’d for an ENTJ. This dynamic was probably the healthiest because she was a balanced individual with actual boundaries. I find that if you’ve made your way to the top of an institution as a woman you have truly earned your place and you are formidable. You are not some jackass man with connections up the ying yang or an eccentric personality that gets you places seemingly magically. So she was great and incredibly composed at all times. I tend to get flustered from time to time just from people being assholes, which comes with EA territory. I have been yelled at to fuck off and perish on the first day of an EA job by strangers who dislike my new boss. It happens. So ENTJ woman probably thought I was a bit too sensitive at times, but she really appreciated my passion and spunk. I can become very engaged at work and I think she enjoyed and fed off of that energy. I think it would be interesting to work for an ENTJ man, but ENTJ men adore me and they would probably want to marry me.

    I’d be curious to see who Melissa would match up with an INFP Executive Assistant. Based on all my experiences (ENTJ, INTJ, ISTP, ESTP, ENFJ), ESTP is best, with ENFJ as a close second.

  31. Tracey
    Tracey says:

    Actually if Melissa could also run a matchmaking service in tandem with her EA recruitment business, and set me up with all the ENTJ execs in her roster, that would be swell. I’d probably already be married to one now if they ever left work and weren’t like 2% of the population.

  32. Tracey
    Tracey says:

    Just had another thought – I read recently that Mensa and Match.com made a partnership for members of both to exclusively date each other through Match.com. This is only in the US at the moment (I’m living in Australia currently) so it doesn’t help me much, but wouldn’t that be a really effective way to meet NTs considering they’re such a tiny portion of the population? However, maybe just INTPs and INTJs, as introverts seem to use online dating more. ENTJs just marry someone at their work I assume. I should probably forget about trying to find a specific personality time. It’s hard though when you know exactly what you’re compatible with. Everything else seems like a waste of time. I totally get why you and Melissa are obsessed with this stuff. Gives such clarity and insight into others. I’ve already done the previous webinar with a friend, but I might sign up for this one as well just because I love the topic so much…

    • ruo (intp)
      ruo (intp) says:

      Hi Tracey,

      I totally used MB to help me find a boyfriend from online dating.

      I used to wonder why would there be so many ISTJs in this world if they’re so boring. I’ve dated all other types except ISTJs because I thought their systematic ways would be claustrophobic.

      Then, I went online, met the boyfriend there. Pinned him as an ISTJ before meeting up face to face purely based on how he writes. He helps me in all my weaknesses that I was previosuly too embarassed to admit. He loves helping me organize my pens and books. But, he never has any ideas on where to take me on dates. There was no sweeping off my feet on any dates – but that’s okay with me, now.

      For people who want to try online dating, I’d recommend the approach that you systematically go through all 4 temperaments on the MB spectrum. That way, you can stop wanting perfect and just accept someone else’s flaw can your biggest strength and contribute towards the relationship. What is the one flaw in someone else that you are willing to accept?

    • something else
      something else says:

      Okay, that’s interesting Jeff.

      The article ends with a call to stop using MBTI and move on to something else without saying what:

      It’s 2014. Thousands of professional psychologists have evaluated the century-old Myers-Briggs, found it to be inaccurate and arbitrary, and devised better systems for evaluating personality. Let’s stop using this outdated measure — which has about as much scientific validity as your astrological sign — and move on to something else.

    • karelys
      karelys says:

      Don’t leave stuff anywhere without your own take on the article. Otherwise you’re endorsing pretty much the whole thing.

      I read it last night during the insomnia bout I normally get.

      One thing that I find ridiculous about people who say they believe in science is that they claim something hasn’t been proven scientifically but they don’t differentiate whether or not enough studies (and what kind) have been made. They don’t scourge through the design of the studies. They don’t explain whether or not the funding for the studies has been extensive and whether or not they were reliable.

      It’s nuts!

      If the personality typing thing didn’t hit a nerve with people all over the world it would’ve died or be discredited the way tarot reading is.

      Sometimes people find that something is true whether it’s backed up by “science” or not.

      And the part about the article that talks about the test describing traits in positive light…..makes my eye twitch!

      Of course it uses positive descriptors! when talking about strengths. It uses negative descriptors when talking about weakness.

      Also, being lazy is not a personality trait. It’s a behavior.

      If we’re going to nitpick I’d say the author of the article makes a compelling case but once you look bit by bit, it’s obvious that the article is biased and the author chooses aspects of the personality test to back up the statements made but the author is not being honorable.

      He says the test has had this longevity because it uses only praising words. But that’s it. He doesn’t go on to explain that the results use non-praising words for the weaknesses. It uses examples of something that are not personality traits but behaviors that can change depending on motivation, whether or not you’re having a good day, etc.

  33. Elisabeth Beemer
    Elisabeth Beemer says:

    Hi Penelope,

    Can you take the course after the start date and not miss out on anything? I will be out of the country on the 13th and back on the 16th, but am interested in taking it. Otherwise, when does the next one with Melissa start? Thank you! I’ve been reading your blog for years and feel like I’ve been given and have taken a lot of great advice from it. Thank you for doing what you do!


  34. Emily
    Emily says:

    I am wondering if Penelope has ever heard of the Enneagram personality typing? How does it compare to Myers Briggs?

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      Yes, I’ve heard of it. And I’ve done a little research. I think you need to pick one type of test and stick with it so you get really good at it. I’ve found that MBTI is much more well known so it’s more fun to become an expert in it.


  35. mary
    mary says:

    For the past several years I’ve consistently tested as ESTJ. However I just took the Quistic test and my result says ENTJ. Does anyone know what might explain this? It seems to me that ESTJs and ENTJs are very different personality types, despite the one letter difference

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      They are very different types indeed. Here’s a way you might be able to sort through your results.

      ESTJs are dynamos at running down a to do list and getting everything done.

      ENTJs are great at inspiring people to run down their to do list.

      ENTJs love people to love them. ESTJs just want to get everything done.


  36. Sandra
    Sandra says:

    For anyone who has not done one of these with Penelope and Melissa, it’s fun! See if online you can coerce Penelope to drink some wine.

    As awful as this will probably sound, I don’t want to listen and chat about other types, except how they relate to mine. Yep, it’s true.

    I would however, pay for one of these where either a) Melissa can do a Q and A on what is the best model iPhone 6/6+ to buy for domestic and international usage and/or b) any online related questions I have–especially as they relate to social media channels.

    Could luck with this. I hope your post helped drive more people to signing up!

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      Thanks, Sandra! And at the end of the webinar we’ll answer any question. Of course. We have so much fun doing Q&As at the end.


  37. Logan
    Logan says:

    I’m finding it a little incredulous that an executive assistant to a startup founder has a salary in the low 6 figures. In fact, I call that BS in a nice way.

    Also isn’t there a case for potential discrimination when you assess a potential candidate via MBTI type during an interview or assessment? Unless of course, Melissa has those skills where she can automatically type people on the spot- but rarely do those methods work.

    In any case, if any of the content of this post is true, I say all the best to Melissa! Re-invention is one of those nice things about life that just gets better and better. We can live in an oversexualized and ageist society- but that doesn’t have to be our mindset. It’s good to let people evolve naturally.

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      Here’s something interesting about truth/lies about Melissa.

      It’s very difficult for someone to let me write about them on the blog. It’s hard to let everyone see you when you’re having trouble. And Melissa has given me free reign to do this.

      She routinely meets people who have read about her on the blog. So it would really mess with her life if I wrote stuff about her that isn’t true. It’s already hard enough for someone to let me write about them – if I started lying, that would make it awful for them.


  38. Novelist
    Novelist says:

    Penelope, I’ve been reading your blog for the past ten years or so. But I’m a Myers Briggs skeptic. I feel that it’s like psychics or horoscopes: it says generic things and then something or the other will fit.

    Maybe this is because I’m one of those people who get different results each time they take the test. I think I’m a very extroverted introvert, people frustrate me and dealing with them can be exhausting. However I do enjoy spending time with friends. Are you really doing five minute phone calls to determine personality types? I’m tempted to take your course just to learn more about typecasting people quickly. And of course, to maybe understand what I should do with my career (which is pretty perfect as is, I guess)

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      You can talk with me on the phone to find out your type – yes, really. It’s easy for me and it’s fun to make people happy. Send me an email to get time when we can talk: penelope@penelopetrunk.com.

      That said, I taught myself how to do this, and you will know how to pick out anyone’s type as well if you sign up for the course.


      • Novelist
        Novelist says:

        That’s a very generous offer, I hope some people take you up on it. And belated L’Shana Tova! (Hope I got that right, had to Google to find out how to say it correctly.)

  39. Erienne
    Erienne says:

    Does anyone else test as both INTJ and INFJ? I’m surprised by how many of both there are that read this blog.

    • Marisa
      Marisa says:

      I’m an INFJ and I used to test as an INTJ occasionally. Mostly it was during more stressful situations because I tend to get really critical and “hard core” when I’m stressed. I feel all out of control so I become overly analytical and tough-minded distrust the “mushy” aspects of myself.

      Once I understood myself better, I could see that my “INTJ side” never ran as smoothly or felt as comfortable or gave me as reliable results as a real INTJ’s would. It was too conscious, too aware and intentional to be natural. When I’m comfortable and allowing my INFJ-groove to manage things, I’m not aware of it. In fact, I’m hardly even aware of myself during those times; it’s pretty cool.

  40. Caitlin
    Caitlin says:

    First I wondered if I was the only ISFP that reads your site. Then I realized, no, we probably just don’t post very often because really, what do we have to say to someone we don’t really know and don’t feel entitled enough to ask any questions that don’t feel particularly urgent. And really, when is anything very urgent for an ISFP unless someone tries to argue with something we strongly believe in.

    That being said, I love your writing and advice and the wealth of things I learn about here. I love the career advice too, even though I care so little about careers, jobs, etc and feel that at the right time something meaningful will come along and when that happens in my life, I throw myself full force into it until someone starts micro-managing. Then I leave pretty promptly and move on without a second thought.

    • Rita
      Rita says:

      Hi Caitlin,
      Yay another ISFP! Hello!
      I love this blog, but seldom read anything about my type, or any comments from other ISFP’s.
      I am one of the top ceramicists in my country, but I’m shy and don’t like promoting myself which leads to some severe under achieving, and chronic under earning…
      While I’m proud of my work and am very gregarious around my friends I can’t stand “selling” my work, being told or asked to do things, or interference of any kind.
      Oop gotta run, it’s the middle of the night and my baby needs a feed.
      All the best finding your passion/path.

  41. Nikki
    Nikki says:

    If I’ve already done the first series on personality type, will I benefit from this next one? Or is there another one coming up where we could learn even more? What about matching personality type to start ups, or is that only helpful for me because I’m an ENTP and can’t actually decide what to pursue?

  42. bea
    bea says:

    Here’s something I’ve been wondering: Is there consistently a MB type or types that are more prone to seek out career advice from you, Penelope? Are there types that are less likely to do so? I’m an INTJ and I mentioned upstream that I typically don’t actively participate in the comment culture here, even though I value it. I’m also not inclined to seek out one-on-one career advice or participate in online courses, even though I’m certain I would find it interesting and fun. Over the years I have gleaned lots of useful information from this blog, information that’s helped me make decisions career-wise, but again, it’s in my nature to do my own research and come to my own conclusions about, well, everything. I wonder if this is an artifact of being an INTJ that translates to a lot of us congregating to read here, but few of us actively participating in career advising and courses, etc. Or maybe INTJs make up a good portion of folks who seek out your expertise and I’m just a double dose of ‘I’ and content to observe rather than actively engage?

  43. Cheryl
    Cheryl says:

    I am lost. I signed up for your personality class. I am an INFJ and totally stuck in a rut. Can’t wait to start!!!

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