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For those who are aware of these kinds of things, I’m an INTJ, and the descriptions fit me pretty well.

The job I’m currently doing is really pushing my boundaries as an INTJ chiefly because I’m not the generator or approver of the work I’m doing. I’m the cat herder. As a project manager my work has been pulling together the best recommendations of those in my group into a recommendation for company action going forward. This part has been great. I am very good at understanding concepts and synthesizing them into a cohesive plan of action.

What is really hard for me is when people expect me to defend those plans. Because I’m not an expert in much of what I’m putting forward (which is what my team members are), I don’t have a vested interest in the recommendation, I’m just putting forward what I’ve heard and validated with the team. I can tell you what the group has recommended needs changing, but I can’t tell you why. They can. But because I’m a project manager, I’m called on to advocate for the team’s position which I always feel really unprepared to do.

I tend to do okay, but I always come out feeling like a doofus because people who are also experts in what I’m presenting immediately dig into the weeds of detailed implementation that I know nothing about. Gah. Being an INTJ, this stuff kills me inside. When I talk in any depth about things, it’s usually because I’ve done a LOT of investigation into it. I don’t have that luxury here. I have to present things to strange people that aren’t my ideas, about subject matter that I don’t really have a strong grip on. Not my idea of a good time. I can’t memorize everything the team has said to lead to decisions, and I don’t have enough expertise to know what to remember and what not to. Things that seem important to me usually aren’t the things that people I’m meeting with outside the team are interested in.

The solution here is to let the subject matter experts present the material instead of me, but for some reason it never seems to work that way.

In many ways my project work has been very challenging, and very fulfilling. This is a good thing. Its been demanding of me in ways that working as a computer nerd never was, and forced me to grow a great deal. This has been great. But there are definitely times I feel like I’m pushing a rock up the hill and it’s really hard to go against my nature and keep at it. Thankfully my boss is the kind of person who enjoys that kind of challenge.

This is one of the reasons you know biblical prophets were not INTJs. They would have gotten everyone gathered up, laid down the good word in enthusiastic, impassioned, well thought out arguments. Then when people said,

“While that’s all great, we really like the shiny golden calf.”

the INTJ prophet would have said

“You’re kidding right?”

and the crowd would say

“What do you mean?”

And he or she would make some wild gesticulations, probably including some obscene hand gestures, and then wander off to find smarter people to talk to.

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