At the age of 28, Hal had been working as a professional trainer for a large corporation for three years. His job entailed teaching employee groups everything from changes in corporate rules and regulations to new management techniques. He loved his work, especially group facilitation, though he had not set out to be a trainer. Having earned his degree in the humanities, he really had no plan for what to do in terms of his career. College life was great fun--the people, the ideas, the freedom--and he hadn’t really thought about what he would do with his degree. This, of course, drove Hal’s parents wild! Whenever they raised the subject of a future career, he was always ducking the question. If he could explain his intuition about life (not easy at age 22), he would say that life was a series of opportunities and that you needed only to be open and willing to jump. Needless to say, his parents were greatly relieved when he finally landed a position as a trainer.
Training suited Hal just fine. There was always a new subject to learn and a new group to work with. He was a persuasive and articulate speaker and found training to be exciting and challenging. He especially enjoyed group facilitation--the less structured the better. He already sensed that solving organizational problems had more to do with relationships and feelings than procedures and products. He used his keen ability to read human behavior to find out what was really going on in a particular group. It was ironic that though he preferred everyone to get along, as a facilitator, he was also adept at resolving group conflict. He seemed to know just what to say to make individuals feel heard, understood, and appreciated. Having lots of ideas for possible resolutions, he was more focused on building consensus and harmony than on a particular solution. Groups generally rated him as highly effective and motivating.
Unfortunately, his boss did not always agree. He forever had to remind Hal to meet deadlines and prepare materials in advance. It was amazing that Hal could wait until the very last moment and put together terrific programs, but it rarely allowed his boss the opportunity to review materials prior to implementation. In addition to his desire to ensure quality programs from his staff, his boss did not always agree with Hal’s analysis and approach. From his view, Hal overemphasized people and relationships and neglected to recognize the importance of procedures and products. He was concerned that Hal ignored important data that logically needed to be addressed, forever insisting that organizational problems had more to do with people than processes (no proof necessary).
Hal’s support staff could also be fairly critical about his last-minute marathons, for they were always rushed to produce final materials for a particular program. He could charm and cheer them along, but on more than one occasion, one of his support staff would literally have a meltdown from the stress. Hal could never understand this reaction, being so stimulated and energized himself by last-minute preparation. It was all fun to him.
When it came to Hal’s employee reviews, it was not all rosy. Hal’s boss would repeatedly address what he saw as Hal’s weaknesses, but it never had the desired effect. Sometimes he wondered how committed Hal was to this career. The boss wasn’t really far off of the mark, since our young ENFP could not envision himself doing the same kind of work forever. He didn’t aspire to be in management either. In truth, Hal was considering going back to school to get a degree in family therapy. Just wait ‘til his parents hear about this!
Hal’s relatively satisfying life is quite typical for an ENFP who has found a good niche. He is enjoying what he does, but continues to look ahead to something else, something newer and therefore more challenging and exciting. For the ENFP, life is not so much about achieving logical goals, but rather being open to opportunities and following your Intuition. It is a journey of self-discovery, no road map necessary. Life is about relationships and meaning and finding your true self. For the ENFP, this is not a journey traveled alone, and the charming and perceptive ENFP will collect many co-travelers along the way. And though the ENFP enjoys a wide variety of people, he or she will nevertheless value most those relationships that have depth and meaning. Their journey will ultimately be defined by their search for true and authentic relationships, and an ever evolving quest for meaning.
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