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Thread: Hi! An ISTJ looking for advice

  1. #1
    Junior Member Array Shadow496's Avatar
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    Jan 2008

    Unhappy Hi! An ISTJ looking for advice

    Hey everyone, I'm new here and this is a long post so be warned!

    I think I've known for a long time that I was an ISTJ even before I took the test in college. Even back in middle school I was the teacher's favorite because I was the reliable quiet one who always did her work and turned it in on time. I was always early to class. My favorite books as a child were the encyclopedia set from which I would assign myself 'reports' from when I felt in need of extra work (which was most of the time). I ended up skipping pre-algebra in 7th grade after my math teacher recognized I wasn't challenged enough in the 'regular' and let me study it on my own instead of his class. I hated art class because it was so unstructured (and for the life of me couldn't cut a straight line as a child).

    The thing I'm looking for advice about is what's happened since I was about 19. When I was in school I had a purpose, y'know? I was never a perfect student but I did fairly well (just missed being in the top 10&#37. I started university wanting to study engineering and go on to medical school. That crashed brilliantly second semester when I found the course load too difficult. Ever since I've felt a bit lost. My parents mean well but I ended up being pushed back into the old major after a year of trying other courses and I dutifully complied. I crashed again and nearly got kicked out of university for it. They finally relented and let me pick a major that I was interested in (although it has done nothing for a career). I really enjoyed my last year of college and found myself getting fairly good grades considering I was taking 300 and 400 level courses in a major I'd only taken 4 other classes in (I do admit it was History and once I realized most teachers wrote the same type of exams and expected the same type of essays I did alright).

    It took me 9 long months to find a job afterwards (can't tell you how bad I felt being a mooch at 22). I loved everything about my new job at first. As cashier I did some of the basic accounting work for the office, rang up purchases and restocked the store. Unfortunately this is where my coworkers started becoming a problem. They started acting in a very inconsistent manner towards me, not following what I understood to be procedure. The women who trained me would teach me 'the right way' to do things and then 'the fast way'. I never liked it but humored them and eventually found their way to be preferable (as it got positive result and I got good reviews on my performance and left me time to do other things like read when no customers were around). When I had been hired we had an interim manager who was rarely checked in on us. About 4 months into working a new manager was hired. She knew what she wanted and she seemed to think I wasn't doing my job right (like she knew what my job was!). She would redo things I would do on the floor, berate me for small errors in accounting that I knew the head office found acceptable and treated me very differently (less respectfully) than she did the other office employees. I found myself becoming more and more dissatisfied with my job at this point (her treatment of me fed my coworkers mistreatment of me). I was tired of doing the same thing over and over (how very un-ISTJ of me, huh?) so I asked to transfer to another office where there was an opening for a different position. Through some manipulation by my boss (I think she recognized my tendencies by then and knew how to get to me) I ended up at the other office she managed in a position that was the virtual Siberia of the company. I had double the duties (I was acting cashier and counselor) but she never deigned to give me any type of compensation for these new duties and I felt it wasn't my place to ask the boss "please sir, may I have some more?". This location required double the commute time for me and had no back-up in my position. It was around this time I decided I wasn't going to stick with the company any longer than I had to and began planning for graduate school (I took a law school entrance exam study course and then the exam). I worked at the other office for 7 long months with co-workers who were even worst towards me than the old ones had been. I talked to HR about my dissatisfaction but it came to naught.

    Late July through Princeton Review I heard of an opportunity to get an MBA in 1 year and have it be in London to boot! I saw the light at the end of the tunnel and jumped at it. I found my self paralyzed at recognizing that I had initiated the change. It was almost like I was in denial up until I had to turn in my two-week notice. I couldn't even bring myself to tell my family I was giving up full-time employment with benefits up until that point either. Luckily they responded positively and made me feel alright about this change.

    My problem is...I feel like that self-implosion I had in college hasn't stopped. I still don't really know what I want to do. So I'll have an MBA and hopefully go on to law school and get a JD. I still don't feel like I have a direction, really (kind of weird, considering I have goals isn't it?). I feel like my main goal in life right now really is to just get away and keep away from my parents influence (my goal is to get into a law school on the other side of the country). I feel like I've lost what I used to have and I feel really bad for it. Before university I was happy with who I was and how things were. Now I rarely find myself satisfied with the way things are and always find myself looking to the next thing and the next thing instead of being satisfied. I feel lonely and long to be in a relationship (I'd love to have a boyfriend) but find myself apathetic to the idea of what most 25-year-olds do in order to gain a relationship. I'd rather not get so drunk I can't remember what I did last night, thank you. I have no idea how I'd go about meeting a guy really (aside form an online dating service) and I have hardly any friends anymore. I long to share things with people (I'd love to have someone to watch TV with) yet resist being around other people (If I hear someone's in the kitchen of the flat I will avoid leaving my room). Does that make any sense?

    I guess what I'm wondering is does this relate more to being an ISTJ who's 'gone wrong' or is it something more like a quarter life crisis? Does it really matter? Sometimes I wonder if any of this matters because these little 'traumas' in life won't mean anything 100 years from now. Any advice? Anyone else gone through this? Thank you if you've made it reading this far.

    Oh...and I apologize for the ranting tone of this post. This is something that's just been eating me for a long long time and it feels good to write it all down in one place. I feel like such a bad person for feeling this things sometimes and I don't like it.
    Last edited by Shadow496; 02-23-2008 at 06:21 AM. Reason: wanted to add something

  2. #2
    No me digas, che! Array Recoleta's Avatar
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    Aug 2007


    As an ISTJ female who is also working toward a Masters, I can relate to certain things that you said in here. When you said, "I was tired of doing the same thing over and over (how very un-ISTJ of me, huh?)" I don't think that is un-ISTJ at all. I despise mindless routines that I don't enjoy...especially when I feel my work goes unappreciated. I think you absolutely did the right thing by quitting. I also think it's great that you struck off on your own and went to sounds like a great opportunity!

    Even in my Master's Program I'm not always 100% sure it's the right place for me to be...but hey, degrees can open up different doors, and who knows where having the knowledge you obtained from those programs can land you. I've decided I can't put full stock in what I "think" I'm gonna be doing, and instead have decided that I'll be open to different things as they come along. I find that a future is a very hard thing for me to plan even though I keep thinking about what is going to happen next and work hard towards my goals. I just kind of see where life takes me. I can prepare for the future, but like you, I also don't feel like I have much direction or that I have any strong roots holding me in any one place. It's ok to try different things in life.

    If you feel your goal for now is to get away from your parents, then do so. Hey, you're already in mission is already accomplished! I studied abraod a few times during undergrad and they were some of the most fun, difficult, self-revealing, and personal growth times I have ever had. Honestly, take advantage of the fact that everyone around you is new and does not know you! If you crave to be around people, then find some extroverts and get them talking about're bound to have something in common with someone there! Or, find someone else who is kinda a loner and just start talking. I find talking to people much easier when it's one-on-one rather than group interaction. All you need is 1 friend to get it started. You don't have to go out and get drunk if that's what they do...let them know from the beginning who you are and what you're about. Don't be ashamed if you're not like them, but be accepting of new people who do things differently.

    I feel that in a Master's Program, yes, the bookwork is important, but moreso, the connections you make with people are more important. If you don't want a bad job situation like before where you knew no one and ended up isolated then you have to network yourself. Make friends in class. You never know if you might need or want to work with those people again. Your peers and teachers are your best resources! Especially if you want to be in Law. I think you're being too hard on yourself. Don't let your past dictate what you think of yourself. You have a whole new start in London. And if you want to meet guys, then bake some cookies and bring them to class!

  3. #3
    Senior Member Array alcea rosea's Avatar
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    Nov 2007


    Shadow, I'm not ISTJ but I just wanted to write to you little something.
    It seems you have lots of bad experiences and I'm sorry for that.

    It might help if you tried to figure out what you want to do with some career counsellor or study guide person (don't know what they are called in English, sorry). Try to figure out what YOU want! It might be good to think what were you favourite subjects at school and maybe also check out some of those MBTI book that are about types & careers.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Array Snowey1210's Avatar
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    Jan 2008


    I think that you are putting far too much pressure upon yourself, and it's making you stress out about your need to give your life some direction. Life is not a cliche, don't feel pressured into a particular path. I can see how it could be difficult as an ISTJ because you to get things done and completed, however sometimes I think we all need time to step back and smell the roses somewhat. In reality, life is but a series of moments that we attempt to negotiate by making the best decisions that we can at each present moment.

    Will it all matter in 100 years, who knows? But I suggest that you cast aside this doubt, and learn to do simply whatever makes sense right at the present moment (without undermining your goals). Sure plan for the future, but don't allow to be inflexible. It's good that you are asking these questions as it allows you to identify what you really want from life. Good Luck!

  5. #5
    Free-Rangin' Librarian Array Jae Rae's Avatar
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    Nov 2007


    Quote Originally Posted by Alcearos View Post
    Shadow, I'm not ISTJ but I just wanted to write to you little something.
    It seems you have lots of bad experiences and I'm sorry for that.

    It might help if you tried to figure out what you want to do with some career counsellor or study guide person (don't know what they are called in English, sorry). Try to figure out what YOU want! It might be good to think what were you favourite subjects at school and maybe also check out some of those MBTI book that are about types & careers.
    Great advice!

    I second the career counselor idea. I've been seeing one about once a month and she's been really helpful. When I get stalled, I see her and then I'm off with a bunch of new ideas. She's a great springboard for action and direction.

    Good luck,

    Jae Rae
    Proud Female Rider in Maverick's Bike Club.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Array Hirsch63's Avatar
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    Dec 2007


    Well, I have been through a quarter and mid-life crisis. What I write below is an honest description that I hope will show you some pitfalls to avoid. I'm not "proud" of all these traits...they are just my traits and have not always served me well and since we share preferences I thought they might be useful for comparision. Much of what you wrote resonates with my experience.

    Purpose is very important to me as someone who exhibits IStJ preferences. Once focused on a acheivable, useful goal I can ususally plough straight ahead. If I can't find a useful purpose my mind flounders, sometimes wildly accelerating like an engine disengaged from it's transmission. When I say useful I mean beyond mere utility...something with a benefit to my convictions, a task rooted in my beliefs about personal responsibility/history/nature/environment. This is of course, impractical in many respects. It has led to frustration when I am engaged in what I might consider meaningless work. I am not a follower; I cannot delude myself into accepting the authority of an institution or charismatic. Unless an entity can demonstrate a comprehensive vision or egalitarian purpose I am highly skeptical.

    The amount of compensation I am given is less important to me than the quality of the work I produce. If you ask me to do something I consider myself skilled at, I will bring my best efforts to bear. This makes me S-L-O-W. If I produce a poor quality project and am very well paid, I take no joy in it, my mind cannot let go of a less than top quality result. This is very frustrating for me and occasionally, my clients. Having control over my environment and product with autonomy is important. If I find that these conditions are not met, my motivation slips measurably. When things are "out of my hands" I don't want to be associated with the results of short-sighted, imcompetent, second-rate judgements of others. I know that sounds bad.

    Try being a mooch at 42...I think I am in complete sympathy with how you felt. I find that I too have difficulties with co-workers. I like to focus on my job and tend to ignore the social aspects of work. I am there to work, not to gossip, or politic. My co-workers have seen this as aloofness or hostility. I don't care what anyone else does as long as they do their job and don't get in the way of my work. I have been trying to improve my patience and perceptions in this area. It is hard. Employment for me is not a social experience; it is a task that I need to complete to the best of my ability. If I don't have the necessary tools or supportive environment, I cannot be responsible for the results and I find it very difficult to maintain focus and motivation. At the same time I do not enjoy being a "boss". I realize one way to fix this is to take charge and start bellowing orders...but as a manager I wanted the same considerations for my staff as I would for myself, causing me a great deal of frustration when their good efforts were not rewarded by raises or benefits or even recognition. Personality collisions with superiors are common with me. I say what I mean to them and they are apparently not used to this. Frank discussions of quality and procedure are usually not welcomed. I believe that I can sometimes make bosses insecure. Perhaps you too intimidate superiors.

    Once you do find a "direction" it is easy to get overfocused on it. This makes relationships difficult. I find that once I have achieved something (finished a project or undertaken a relationship) I suffer a loss of close association with it....I feel no sense of pride or ownership of a project; it is as if I can't remember doing it...and I feel vaugely detatched from relationships once I have immersed myself in them. I find this strange and disturbing. I sympathize with the idea of always looking towards the "next thing"...especially when things aren't bad.

    Relationships can be great...and maintaining one to the benefit of all concerned is an art form. Letting my traits possess me instead of me possessing my traits has led to serious difficulties in many of my relationships. For the last couple of years I have been with a fine partner, who drives me nuts. We met on-line (that was new for me) and she is really great, I am lucky. Still, I am given to distraction. What a dope.

    These "traumas" are your traumas and to the extent that they disallow your happiness or functioning, they are important now. Being the best we can be matters now, because that may matter 100 years from now. there is much good we can do for ourselves and others if we learn to manage our traits.

    Anyhow, you are not alone. Hang in there.
    Patriotism is the last refuge to which a scoundrel clings...Steal a little and they throw you in jail, steal a lot and they make you a king

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