Unusual Combinations of Holland Personality Types and Work Environments
Sometimes personality types (Holland Codes) combine in unusual ways in people. For example, if you read the descriptions of the Investigative (I) and Enterprising (E) types, you would not expect a person to have them both as his or her two strongest personality types. Investigative persons generally avoid leading, selling, or persuading people. Enterprising people are just the opposite; they like these activities. But, there are people who have this unusual IE or EI combination. The two other combinations like this are Realistic-Social (RS or SR) and Conventional-Artistic (CA or AC).
Does your personality fit together in this unusual way? Then,
you will be interested in a letter I wrote to a person who
had a Investigative-Enterprising personality pattern. He
wrote, "Do you see something abnormal with these results? And
more importantly, how do I go about choosing a career with
these 'conflicting' results?" This is how I replied,
"I can understand your confusion, but
your interpretation is exactly right: there are occupations
where 'inconsistent personality patterns' work especially
well. The example you gave of a sales person (E)
working in a technical field like science (I) or engineering
(I) is a good one.
I happen to have an inconsistent personality pattern
myself: Realistic (very strong) and Social. Patterns
like these are not seen very often. The theory (and
common sense) would predict that people with patterns like
these have more difficulty making career decisions and,
possibly, "fitting in" to a particular work environment.
For example, I worked as a counselor educator (primarily
a Social occupation), and was aware that I was different
from the other professors in my department who were strongly
Social and Enterprising. The same was true for the
students who were preparing to be counselors. They
were mostly Social. In other words, I was a Realistic
person working in a Social work environment.
At times, I did not feel as if I fit very well in
this job. The students rated me as a good teacher,
but not outstanding -- as they did for the other professors. Fortunately,
there is an Investigative side to my personality. This,
together with my Realistic side, motivated me to do research
directed to practical outcomes: 'How can I use counseling
psychology to help people?'
My personality has led me in directions and given
me opportunities in my work and life that my Social co-workers
did not have, or were not interested in -- like creating
practical career measures like the Career Key and career
guidance self-help books; enjoying books about nature
and science; and camping, fishing, astronomy, etc.
So, our patterns are somewhat unusual, but that makes
us a little more unique, gifted. There's nothing
wrong with us. It makes life more challenging, and
possibly rewarding. But, being aware of our personality
differences helps us understand ourselves and, then, valuing
who we are as persons.
I hope this is helpful. In writing it, I'm
thinking I should probably add it to the website for the
other "unusual" people like ourselves.
Wishing you well, Larry"
There are numerous occupations that attract, or are compatible,
with two of the three inconsistent personality patterns. Here
are some examples:
Teachers of agriculture, forestry, vocational education, and
Athletic training and sports medicine
Urban and Regional Planners
Managers in engineering, mathematics, and natural sciences
Editor of technical or scientific publications
- If your personality combines in an unusual way, keep in
mind: You are not abnormal; we all have differing
gifts; value your uniqueness.
- Choosing a career is likely to be more challenging, but
there are many jobs for which you are uniquely
qualified. And, once you are in a career, you will likely find
opportunities to do tasks, or related jobs, that better fit you.
- You may need to look for ways outside of work to satisfy
the other side of your personality.
- Professional career counselors are well qualified to help. You
may want to seek the help of one. Click
here for more.
Return to: summary of Holland's theory