Your Personality at Work

Bad Career Choices and the Enneagram

EnneagramAs stated in my earlier entry about the Myers-Briggs Type indicator and career choices, your personality is an important component to consider when choosing a career path.

Could it be that what you do for a living is just wrong for your personality type? Let’s find out! At the very least, you’ll figure out what field NOT to ever explore. If your type corresponds to one of the careers listed below, you might want to look for another line of work!

The first step is to find out what your primary enneagram type is. Go here to do this. If you already know your type, you can skip this step.

Type 1

enneagram1If you are truly a 1, you are more likely than any other type NOT to understand The Great Office Escape. What are you doing on my website anyway? You need job security! The 9-to-5 world is actually built for 1’s, so I don’t need to give you much help. But, I’ll do it anyway. Since you are great with details, fixing mistakes, getting to the bottom of what is wrong, you are suited to jobs that allow for these kinds of tasks. But anything open-ended where there is too much need for creativity and improvisation wouldn’t be as good. You like having guidelines and clarity. In fact, uou wouldn’t know what to do with yourself without them. (Admit it, it’s true!) Therefore you should avoid the following occupations:

Careers for 1’s to Avoid

  • Artist/Designer
  • Sales
  • Public Speaker
  • Radio Host
  • Entertainer
  • Writer (unless you are a technical writer)

Type 2

enneagram22’s need to love and be loved in the workplace. They want to make a positive difference in other people’s lives. Therefore, as a 2, you would hate doing something which might hurt someone else, like perhaps being a police officer. You’d also be unhappy working for a big, faceless corporation that was harming the environment.  Not exactly a warm and fuzzy career!  As a 2, you should do something where you can make others feel good, and you can see the results of your efforts. Don’t do the opposite. Avoid these occupations like the plague:

Careers for 2’s to Avoid

  • Law Enforcement (You would feel bad about having to hurt someone)
  • Tax Collector
  • Collections Agent
  • Auditor
  • Prison Guard
  • Prosecuting Attorney

Type 3

enneagram3As a 3, you like to know that you are getting somewhere with your life. Stagnation is your enemy, and so is feeling like nobody can see your progress. Part of the fun of success for a 3 is knowing that others are just a bit envious of your life. The world is your stage. And no actor wants to give their best performance to an empty theater. People are very important to you, so make sure that you head in a direction that gives you the ability to work with others, and especially allows you some degree of recognition.

Careers for 3’s to Avoid

  • Humble Office Clerk (Any office job where you aren’t at or near the top)
  • Librarian
  • Computer Technician
  • Mechanic
  • Factory Worker
  • Technical Writer
  • Lighthouse Operator (Ok, so this is WAY out there!)

Type 4

enneagram4This type has it tough. The working world isn’t the easiest place for a 4. A 4 can have a lot of trouble finding the right career, because they tend to be idealists and dreamers. They can find some sort of fault with almost any career path unless it is perfectly aligned to their ideals. Let’s face it; you’d hardly be happy working in an environment filled with abrasive or shallow** people doing work that is only for the money and isn’t personally fulfilling to you.  I’ll bet a lot of 4’s love this website!

Careers for 4’s to Avoid

  • Stock Market Trader
  • Accountant/Financial Advisor
  • Mid-level Manager (almost any occupation)
  • Police Officer
  • Paralegal
  • Military Cadet
  • Construction Worker

**In no way am I implying that everybody these professions is abrasive or shallow!

Type 5

enneagram5The most introverted of all the types, you probably are not going to be happy if you have to deal with a constant bombardment of people. In general, you have a certain kind of disdain for the public, crowds, and excessive noise. It would be wise to avoid these things on the job if you can get away with it. Also, you need mental stimulation and a sense that you are accomplishing something worthwhile in your profession. 5’s love to blaze trails of discovery within a field of focus. They do not like to be in boring, stale environments with little room for growth. Avoid these occupations, dear 5’s!

Careers for 5’s to Avoid

  • Salesperson (5’s are NOT persuaders)
  • Retail Sales Clerk
  • Telemarketer
  • Delivery or Bus Driver
  • Professional Athlete
  • Fashion Designer
  • Actor

Type 6

enneagram6Of all the types, 6’s may have the easiest time finding a job that fits. This is because a 6 needs to feel secure in their field and generally makes a great long-term employee. As a 6, you might rather know where your next paycheck is coming from than find the “perfect” fit. It’s a tough world out there and many people have difficulty making ends meet. You don’t want to be one of the “dreaded” unemployed. You also like working for a company that has a good group of people where you can fit in and attain a sense of belonging. Any job without any sense of camaraderie and security is likely to frustrate you.

Careers for 6’s to Avoid

  • Travel-writer/Journalist
  • Small business owner (too much autonomy for your type)
  • Investment Banker
  • Actor
  • Pilot (Too solitary)
  • Freelance Designer (or anything freelance, really)

Type 7

enneagram7Probably the type that this website would appeal to the most, 7’s need to be constantly stimulated, excited, or have some sort of ongoing adventure they are passionate about. 7’s have a deep need for fun, and this comes before almost anything else. Because of this, you probably have had a difficult time finding the right profession and have jumped around quite a bit. 7’s like to experience all life has to offer, and they will wear many hats in the process. They hate confinement and feeling like they are missing out on life. Therefore, as a 7, you should avoid these awful traps… I mean jobs:

Careers for 7’s to Avoid

  • Office Clerk, Secretary, Administrative Assistant, manager, or anything else office-like
  • Accountant
  • Lawyer (Too much detail/too much work)
  • Doctor (You’ll never make it through Med-school)
  • Customer Service Rep.
  • Debt Counselor
  • Librarian (You’ll want to tear out your hair)

Type 8

enneagram8Nobody can tell you what to do! 8’s hate being controlled, and they hate being beneath anybody. You probably are a leader in more ways than one, and for you to be truly content, you must have some professional influence. My idea of an 8 in hell would be one who went their whole life without making a difference in the world. You have a big heart and truly care about your cause. You also believe that your way is best and will go out of your way to make sure that others don’t impede your progress. After all, what do they know?

Careers for 8’s to Avoid

  • Low-level office clerk
  • Retail sales clerk (little room for advancement)
  • Delivery Driver
  • Inventory Checker
  • Food Busser/Cleaner
  • Insurance Agent (a dead end for this type)
  • Janitor

Type 9

enneagram9You are very laid back about work, and as such, prefer a slow-paced environment where you can dress as you like (and maybe even come and go as you like!) It’s important for you to avoid places where there are too many pointless rules and too many harsh people. Unfortunately, this is common in the working world. Deep down, most 9’s would rather not work at all. There is nothing inherently wrong with this, but unfortunately the rest of the world doesn’t seem to agree. If you can find a way out of the 9-to-5 life, you’ll be happier.

Careers for 9’s to Avoid

  • Investment Banker
  • Police Officer/Government Agent
  • Mid-level Manager at a large company
  • Administrative Assistant/Secretary
  • Short-order Cook
  • Construction Foreman
  • Waiter/Waitress

To learn more check out my other article: Career Choices for Enneagram Types



  • Nicola August 25, 2010 at 12:36 pm

    Hi 🙂 I’m a 4 and I do love this website! lol. Great article, and the other on which are good for each Type. Thanks!


  • Rach February 2, 2012 at 11:48 am

    Careers for 6?s to Avoid

    Travel-writer/Journalist – I would consider this, I love travel and different cultures.
    Small business owner (too much autonomy for your type) – Disagree again, I go out of my way supporting small businesses, I know they are going through a rough time right now not some large, greedy corporation.
    Investment Banker – I agree, not something I would want to get involved with, sounds dodgy to me.
    Actor – I would actually love to do this, some say I have a poker face.
    Pilot (Too solitary) – I would love to do this, what a way of breaking some fear.
    Freelance Designer (or anything freelance, really) – I would consider this although I may resent doing it for too long.
    As a type 6, my job interests are not just about settling for relatively being strictly safe. We need variation aswell, not just rule enforcers.


  • Mallen March 19, 2012 at 8:13 am

    I am an INTP; enneagram 5w6. I am a family practice physician. I would have preferred something more solitary like radiology but divorce took me in the direction of general practice–I had a family to support and a dead beat ex-husband. Although it took a great deal of effort over many years, I can actually appear personable and friendly and I find the diversity pleasant. I prefer a secure job that does not consume my life as I like to research so many different subjects–personality types being one of them. I like having breaks between patients and working as part time as I can afford.


  • Sidney May 9, 2012 at 11:40 am

    Yup, I’m another 4/INFP and am totally amused by this website. Can one make a living as a hermit?


  • emma July 12, 2012 at 12:43 pm

    I agree with everything Rach said (except for the pilot thing). I am a 6w7 and do not like to be bored. I’ll admit that freelancing would not be my best option as I tend to procrastinate, but I am a graphic designer. I also would love to be and actor or a travel writer/journalist. The idea of it makes me nervous but I like a challenge and I like proving that I can do something. I also want to own a small business someday.

    You obviously aren’t a six. I do like security, and I could deal with a boring, routine job, but that’s not what I desire at all. I like to entertain and be funny, not boring and rigid.


  • 999 July 17, 2012 at 12:37 am

    The part about 9s secretly not wanting to work at all, very true, lol. I’d gladly drop out of the work-a-day world if I could and just enjoy hanging out at home doing my own thing.


  • Mike July 19, 2012 at 7:24 am

    I wrote this article back in 2007 and it’s fun to look back now. I think it is a bit more difficult to match careers (and anti-careers) with enneagram type than one would guess, as these are personality traits and correlation with career choice is always difficult to measure – even in long-term studies.

    But it certainly is possible to make inferences regarding the daily tasks and overall job descriptions one must go through in their careers from day to day in what types are best fit.

    And to Emma – you are right – I’m not a six!

    However, I would revise some of my original career choices for sixes to include some more “exciting” and “unpredictable” work, though I think the stress and anxiety involved in such jobs may or may not, in the long run, not be great for this type. It certainly does not mean one cannot overcome their anxieties and succeed, however. If a six has a fear of flying it may, in many respects, make them more attracted to being a pilot for example (rather than repulsed by it).

    And some of the best air-force pilots in the world were afraid to fly!


  • abhin.v November 19, 2012 at 1:06 pm

    i belong to type 3, i my case the statements are 100% true since in compklated mechanical engineering but i never ever felt to be a professional like that


  • Liz March 21, 2013 at 11:04 pm

    Sorry Mike, but I have to look at this and laugh. All the careers you’ve suggested I “should” do as a 6 are things that like, totally bore me.

    Everything you’ve listed as “careers to avoid” are my ideal jobs–I live as a wandering English teacher in Southeast Asia, I’d love to be a travel writer, and I’d love to learn to fly. If I had money, I’d invest it, and I’m a natural actor.

    Being a 6 is far more about finding a solid foundation in life (not necessarily career-related; it could be intellectual, or revolve around finding reliable others) than it is about finding a “secure job”. This is the kind of reason it took me 10+ years to figure out I was 6–too many misconceptions around the type.


  • Roman May 8, 2013 at 12:54 am

    Totally agree that being policeman is not for nines. I’ve been military policeman and it was disaster.


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  • Pamela September 21, 2013 at 9:45 am

    I’m a 4 and was a nurse for almost 30 years, so I don’t know what thay says about me


  • Nebojsha October 29, 2013 at 7:47 am

    I am enneagram 3w2 5w6 8w9 sp/so and I am studying to become programer, also I dont like conntact with people.


  • Cherie September 4, 2015 at 1:14 am

    I just came across this – Type 9 w1. You have perfectly summed up my attitude to work! Twenty years in now – still looking for my way out of this stupid 9-5 system !


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