Academic journal article Career Planning and Adult Development Journal

THE MBTI and the CASE of HILLARY

Academic journal article Career Planning and Adult Development Journal

THE MBTI and the CASE of HILLARY

Article excerpt

Case Summary

Hillary is a 54 year old single Caucasian woman who was steadily employed in the same field for more than 30 years. She remained at each of her places of employment between two and seven years and while she was looking for a new job in her most recent position, she was terminated prior to finding one. Although she found her field and work to be intellectually stimulating, it was extremely stressful and she wanted to find another career path that would provide the same intellectual stimulation but within a less stressful environment. She noted that "after a day of work, I'm exhausted and I know it's not because of the actual work." Hillary noted that she preferred to work independently and that, despite holding a supervisory role in some of her prior positions, she avoided the social elements of work. She recalled an incident with a prior supervisor with whom she was fairly friendly who commented that Hillary was a natural when she participated in a professional development seminar. Hillary explained that she did not like being social and recalls her supervisor "looking at me funny" and commenting that she "did well." Hillary responded by indicating that it wasn't that she could not be social but that she did not feel comfortable being social. She offered that there were times she was accused of being aloof, not being involved, and not caring about what was happening in the office. Hillary took offense to these assessments of her character because she was passionate about the work she did, received verbal and written praise repeatedly and demonstrated a strong work ethic. She indicated that she was accused of being disconnected in her discussions with her supervisor and that her lack of response demonstrated her lack of concern for the topics being discussed. Hillary explained that her lack of response was because she was listening to what the individual was saying and reflecting on what was being communicated to her. It is important to note that these conversations were not regarding her work product, which was considered exceptional, but solely about how she related to others in the work environment.

Hillary came to counseling to "find out what I'm doing wrong" after she was terminated from her most recent position, and to "changefields" because she no longer wanted to work in her current field. She indicated that she is a creative person who loved to read and that she is tired of feeling "out of place." She noted that she was happiest when she was by herself and also shared that while she did like being with people, she did not like it as much as her colleagues. She indicated that she sought counseling over the years because she was easily overwhelmed when socializing with family and friends. Hillary felt they were "boisterous" and "outgoing" and she didn't understand why it was so easy for other people to "socialize" when she struggled to make "small talk" with others, even when those people were family members she had known her entire life. She recalled that the generic response she received from several counselors was "you just need to do it more because the more you practice the easier it will get." Hillary noted that she would comment about how socializing never seemed to get easier and was continually told to "keep practicing."

Rationale for Choosing the MBTI®

Hillary struggled with understanding the disconnect between her own comfort level about how she felt about herself and her difficulty in her interpersonal relationships in the workplace and in her personal life. Her difficulty with work did not stem from the work itself and she wanted to understand why socializing was such a challenge for her. In addition, she wanted to be sure that she was correctly revising her resume to focus on transferable skills so that she could seek employment outside of her current field that would be a better fit. Given that the focus of the MBTI® is a strengths-based instrument and was developed based on a non-psychopathology perspective (La Guardia, 2013; Swanson & Fouad, 2010). …

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