Some people with the Romantic personality
prefer a career where they can use compassion for their fellow humans. Others focus on their own creative work. Still others may use their interest in aesthetics and beauty, as art critics perhaps. No matter what your Enneagram type, however, according to Ingrid Stabb in The Career Within You, if you are looking for a new career or assessing your present one, it’s likely that one of the following needs will outweigh the others:
- the opportunity to work on your interests or passions
- the income it will provide, or
- successful affiliation with other people. Here are Romantic type’s examples of each:
Working for money and contributing compassion.
Ron wouldn’t have picked law naturally, but his insistent parents groomed him from early childhood for this field. The long hours of studying necessary to get into the best universities, through law school, and to pass the bar exam meant he didn’t have time to express his compassionate nature. In middle age he had enough money to afford a stylish lifestyle, but he yearned for more meaning to his life. He became a Buddhist and volunteered at a hospice many hours a week. Forming relationships with the dying helped him make use of his naturally compassionate nature, which he did in an unusually creative way by introducing activities that were innovative at the time, such as taking his clients on interesting outings. The clients appreciated the individual attention and the opportunity to feel that they were among the living.
Affiliating and following a meaning profession.
Sylvia was skilled at working with payroll and other office jobs because her grandfather had trained her to do the bookkeeping for his shop. After college, she worked in the city tax collector’s office for ten years but longed to do something more creative. When things didn’t go well at work, she’d feel sensitive and start crying. She had great emotional needs and couldn’t get close enough to people in the large impersonal office. Finally, she became a psychotherapist and developed a respected practice. It was only after she learned the Enneagram and began to understand herself that she realized a different career would be more rewarding than office work.
Following one’s passion and creating beauty.
When Kate was in high school, her father wanted her to be the next great woman scientist, but it was her interest in spirituality that ultimately made her a female pioneer—at a time when ministers were almost all males. After seminary she spent twenty-six years as an ordained head of a church, expressing both spirituality and originality. Her inspiring services included carefully picked liturgical music, dance, lighting, and banners as well as interesting sermons. Instead of reading the same Christmas story over and over, Kate focused on a detail of a parable that would help her parishioners understand the parable in a new way. They would say, “Wow, I’ve never thought of that. Your sermon touched me and made me think.”
(This is the fourth in series of career motivations. For the first, second, and third, please see my Psychology Today blog of 5-17-11 on Perfectionists, my WordPress blog of 6-14-11 on Helpers, and my Psychology Today blog of 6-7-11 on Achievers.)