In this series of letters, we have been tracing the stages of life with a current focus on adulthood. The last two letters dealt with marriage and communication. In this letter, Jungian analyst Vanessa Prins looks at another important side of adult life: work.
As always, we welcome your comments and suggestions. jgj
By the time we reach retirement age, most of us will have spent forty years or more working. Although work is a very important part of our lives, resent research has shown that less than fifty per cent of workers in the U.S. are satisfied with their jobs (The Conference Board Job Satisfaction Survey).
Following the recent financial crisis, people are under increased pressure to work more but for less compensation or fewer benefits. This sort of economic squeeze generates stress, hinders motivation, and leads to job changes. Yet even in these more stressful times, we can gain satisfaction at work.
What brings satisfaction to work? The answer is not simple, but Jung's model of psychological types offers some clues. Our typological preferences correlate with what we enjoy doing. If we can do what we enjoy, we will likely find work more satisfying.
A person who favours extraverted thinking, for example, will likely find satisfaction in tasks requiring logical thinking, especially when used to organise things, facts, or data. Legal work, business management, or some types of engineering often engage extraverted thinking to a high degree.
A person who favours introverted feeling, especially when linked with introverted intuition, might enjoy creative writing and derive much satisfaction from engaging the attentive, imaginative gifts needed for that work.
Especially in the first half of life, finding work that correlates with one's preferred gifts not only brings satisfaction but also builds important ego strength and a sense of self-worth. The ego strength born in the first half of life lays the foundation for the edifice of individuation in the second, when the shadow types often play a larger role in finding satisfying work.
Orienting people to their best gifts and fullest potential
The Gifts Compass Inventory (GCI) articulates both the preferred types and the "inferior" least preferred types-or "shadow types." Knowing one's type preferences can help, both in the first and second halves of life, to discern the work that will be most satisfying.
Two new instruments recently introduced can also help: The Discover Your Passion exercise and the Job Profile. The first helps to move people toward a more passionate lifework, at any stage of life. The Job Profile helps to confirm that the gifts needed for the work are consistent with one's individual profile of preferences. Both are used in career development coaches, counsellors, and psychologists.
Copyright 2014 Gifts Compass Inc