Whenever I check out ENTP blogs and discussion boards, one of the questions that pops up a LOT is this: how do I choose the right career? Now the reason most ENTPs struggle with this question is twofold:
- We’re good at finding connections between seemingly unrelated topics. As a result, we don’t like being pigeonholed into a job title where we have to stick to our own private island of marketing or finance or HR.
- We’re usually good at managing things (that’s because we see connections between different stuff and use this knowledge to keep track of a great many things at once). However, most entry-level positions do not include management tasks and our direct and honest approach rubs enough seniors the wrong way that we often don’t make it to the management layer in the first place.
For me, this has been a huge struggle and more so because I didn’t know I was an ENTP. For years, I honestly believed something was wrong with either me or the world. It’s only recently that I’ve encountered some wonderful advice on choosing a job, and more specifically choosing your first job.
Pick a boss, not a job
The advice I read was a quote from a strategic advisor, William Raduchel, who said:
Don’t pick a job. Pick a Boss. Your first boss is the biggest factor in your career success. A boss who doesn’t trust you won’t give you opportunities to grow.
I guess this is good advice in general, but when it comes to ENTPs this advice isn’t just good: it’s critical. Let’s be completely honest: while we think we make perfect sense and are fairly easy to get along with, other people often think we have a manual. I’ve heard a great many stories of ENTPs who would get picked on by teachers or fellow students for their constant tendency to debate. While for us, debating is second nature and frankly just fun, others often take offence. That’s why we absolutely need a boss who sees us for who we are and doesn’t try to change us. Odds are, we will never focus on one very specific topic for the length of our whole career. And the moment we stop challenging our superiors is the moment we stop caring. Choosing the right boss is choosing to remain our wonderful (yet sure, sometimes annoying as hell) selves.
What will a great boss do?
A great boss will help you in a number of ways.
- A great boss will help you grow the way you need to grow. So many superiors will try to make you develop yourself in ways convenient for them. But a truly good boss will help you develop yourself in ways that fit you. He or she will provide you with feedback on your actions and help you achieve your personal goals, without pushing you in ways you don’t want. Since ENTPs have different aspirations and ways of working than most people, we absolutely need people around us who recognize us for who we are and help us get further in our career.
- A great boss will promote you. He or she sees your unique value, the things you bring to the table, and help you to utilize this value in the best possible way by promoting your skills to others. This is kind of critical for us, ENTPs, because our natural inclination to question everything and everyone naturally makes us enemies.
Honesty is the best policy
As most ENTPs, I too have a gut feeling that tells me what people want to hear. In the past, I used to try to pretend I’m the perfect employee. While that would get me hired, I would only be able to keep up appearances for so long. In the end, I would end up very unhappy in an environment that wouldn’t meet my needs for diversity and debate.
These days, I’m discovering that honesty really is the best policy. Yes, I might tone down my debating nature a bit in interviews, but when having an interview with my hiring manager, I’m open about my skills, aspirations and weaknesses. If they’re still interested in what I bring, we can talk. If not – I move on. It’s not always easy, but it also let me meet some absolutely amazing managers that really helped me forward.
What about you guys? Have you been struggling at work as well? How did you cope?