Friday 28 October 2016

A personality test exposes my true self

Published 05/09/2016 | 02:30

According to an online personality test, Brendan should join the army
According to an online personality test, Brendan should join the army

A friend sent me an online personality test. Apparently it was uncanny how accurate it was. The test placed you on a scale for things like introversion versus extroversion, thinking versus feeling, emotional stability and so on. And then it designated you as one of 13 personality types.

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So I did it and they told me my personality type was 'the architect' - not literally speaking. And some of the traits they ascribed to me seemed familiar, and also flattering.

I did it again the other day for the purposes of writing about it here, assuming I would get the same result. But when I did it again, it turned out I am not an 'architect' at all, but a 'logistician'. I was still about three-quarters introverted and I am also apparently roughly half and half intuitive versus observant. I am about two-thirds thinking to one-third feeling and I am two-thirds judging to one-third prospecting. So an unfeeling, judgemental loner. Apparently Sting, Condoleeza Rice and Hermione from Harry Potter are also logisiticians.

I wasn't so taken in this time. As a logistician, I am apparently honest and direct, strong-willed and dutiful, very responsible, practical and, best of all, I enforce order. And they were just the good things. The downside of being a logistician is that I am stubborn, insensitive, judgemental and I blame myself for things. As friends, logisticians are neither spontaneous, talkative nor playful, but we are committed and we have a sensitivity that many fail to see. Then again, who would want to be friends with a logistician? As a logisitician I am suited to working in institutions that respect tradition and authority like the military or police. I would also be a good lawyer, judge, accountant or auditor. I am a dutiful employee who can always be relied on to finish a project on time.

That's clearly not me, so I'm going by the result I got the first time I did the test - 'the architect'. The self-confidence and mystery the architect apparently has are not the first two traits that come to mind when I think of myself. But I like the notion that I have insightful observations, original ideas and formidable logic. Rules, limitations and traditions are anathema to us architects. We find social conventions, white lies and small talk stupid.

We are hard-working, determined and open-minded. On the downside, architects are not great at relationships - friendships or romance. Also, architects can be arrogant, judgemental (there's that word again) overly analytical and we have a loathing of structured environments. I'm not sure those are all faults but maybe that's the architect in me speaking.

I freaked when I saw that, as an architect, I am emotionally turbulent. It's not that I am very emotional apparently, it's that my emotions are underdeveloped, so I actually feel them more acutely. Apparently I am difficult to read and get to know and I prefer having fewer friends because I value the freedom that confers more than I need the social validation of having lots of friends. But in my comfort zone I do relax a bit more.

In terms of work, architects prefer to work alone or in small groups and we hate people who get ahead by political nous or social skills or connections, rather than merit.

We like to do interesting work with minimal outside interference. We have little time for management techniques like team-building getaways. And we need a liberal manager to thrive. We also can't abide hierarchy. But despite all that, we are natural leaders.

You can see why I prefer being an architect: a much more interesting character than the logisitician, who is happiest upholding tradition and whose greatest asset is getting projects finished on time. Imagine my obituary as a logisitician: "He could always be relied upon to get a project, however dull, over the line on time. After his stint in the Gardai, where he unswervingly upheld tradition, he studied to become an accountant, which was a whole second act for him."

No, I'm much happier being the architect, with little time for convention. Which just goes to show, if you want to set up an online personality test, tell the people what they want to hear and they will marvel at how accurate it is.

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