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  1. #1
    Member lilikoi's Avatar
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    Default Follow-up ISTP career questions

    I'm in the midst of a career search and I got into this type stuff as a way to figure out where the overlap is between what I like and what I'm good at.

    Do you or anyone you know of this type enjoy any of the following careers?

    Economist
    Scientist/biologist/physicist/chemist/botanist/crop scientist
    Civil/mechanical/electrical engineer/materials scientist

    I can see what the up-front draw to these fields might be for the ISTP, but I cannot understand how an ISTP would successfully get through the grunt work (undergrad, grad, and/or 'pay-your-dues' period of the real world) needed to get anywhere in these fields while simultaneously having a good time.

    As an ISTP in a university setting and in the mech eng industry, I found myself constantly surrounded by INTx's. NT's seem to be obsessed w/ information and theory to no end. I feel there is no way I can compete: I do not want to read tech journals on the toilet or dream about theoretical problems to the extent that they do. The 'S' makes me crave hands on activity and adventure and risk so that I cannot commit to equations, numbers, and information to the degree that NT's prefer to. I'd expect NT's have an edge in school?

    Can ISTPs love information as much as things? I just finished reading Freakonomics (which was recommended on the INTP book list), and loved it; finished it in a day. Yet I cheated my way through ECON 101 out of boredom. I've realized that I deeply enjoy learning about how the world works, whether in terms of economics, physics, or sociology; indeed this was mostly why I chose to study engineering. Yet, I've also realized that the technical nature of these subjects is off-putting to me; I can see the significance of the information and still have a hard time motivating myself to learn it.

    I prefer to learn by experiencing. It would seem this could be a useful trait once you have established yourself in a science field, but that getting established is damn well near impossible the way things are currently set up.

    So I am curious: Is there any ISTP out there that truly enjoys a career in any of the sciences? If so, what do you like and dislike? Were the early years a struggle and a sacrifice? How do you satisfy your need for working w/ your hands? How did you conquer your tendency towards being a jack-of-all-trades and come to specialize in a particular niche? Or maybe you didn't?


    Another question I have is about the ISTP income. While some personality types gravitate naturally toward high paying, highly respected careers in law, medicine, or whatever, the ISTP seems to prefer - aside from engineering - sometimes nontraditional, often low paying jobs that people don't always respect. Jobs in some kind of trade and farming come to mind. There are also the jobs w/ high risk and high reward like pilot and race car driver. Are we predisposed to being poor? How can one be an ISTP and make a decent living at the same time?

    I graduated a 4 year uni nearly debt free due to scholarship money, and made more (very likely double) starting out of school than I will starting any of the professions I'm currently considering (e.g. baker, commercial pilot, helicopter pilot, farming, ethnobotany, photojournalism...). When you consider the cost of additional training/education required to become qualified for an entry level position in any of these fields, the time, the fact that the benefits may not be as good, the stiff competition, and the cumulative loss of income over a lifelong career due to lower salaries, being happy is EXPENSIVE and a little hard to justify!

    Maybe I need to take a class in entrepreneurship as I've read ISTPs are good at capitalizing on opportunities, and I've got a feeling we can stomach financial risk well.

  2. #2
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    Wow! I don't know where to start.

    I love economics, not the theory bull crap...the real world stuff. Being able to spot a trend and assessing it's future impact. Just like Freakonomics, I haven't read the book but I like the material on their website. It's very ISTP oriented in that it's more practicle cause and effect vs. theory?

    As to education, took me forever to complete a degree. I was way too busy having a good time, and would get bummed out in fear of choosing something that would be boring and repetative as hell. Worse, being stuck working with sticks in the mud or folks who drone on forever and ever about impracticle ideas.

    btw...I CLEP'd Macro and Micro Economics because I thought it was boring as hell. I couldn't keep myself awake during the first week of class and dropped it like a rock. I think Freakonmics is more appealing to an ISTP because it's tangible as stated above.

    ISTP's are not pre-disposed to being poor. Well, consider the case of John McAfee. Sold his growing anti-virus endeavor for $200 Million. Became a real estate tycoon. Lost his butt in the housing bubble burst, what does he do now? He flys people around in planes and takes them down rivers as a tour guy in Beleze. He's 65 now, looks super and happy for his age...definate ISTP.

    As to entrepreneurship, both my father and grandfather are/were ISTP's. I'm the only one who hasn't yet taken the opportunity to start my own business. Maybe someday...

    I can't speak to an istp in the "sciences" but have noticed some mechanical engineers, etc on the forum. I also work with a bunch of ISTP's who are oddly enough Forensic Pathologist? go figure.

    Within ISTP's I've noticed a few similarities in writing style, among a handful of posters here and there. Other ISTP's although very similar in mind set seem to communicate differently. Curious as to whether you're one of the more "writing" intensive ISTP's, it seems to be a varying trait.

  3. #3
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    If you get a job that deals with applied science, you should be fine.
    Last edited by turtile; 01-06-2010 at 05:32 PM. Reason: never finished

  4. #4
    Member lilikoi's Avatar
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    Thanks for sharing.

    I am definitely a writer. It is a kind of mysterious SP trait... the NT forum threads seem to be often lengthy whereas SP threads are brief. There are other things about me that would seem very NT so I haven't figured out why those fit into an SP personality.

    Yes, I am currently an engineer and so have studied and worked in an applied science field. But, I cannot say that I've enjoyed it thoroughly. There are things I do like about it, but it is not hands on enough nor outdoorsy enough and getting through univ coursework was a terrible struggle probably because - I realize now - I don't enjoy pursuing knowledge for its own sake and engr curriculum was rarely hands on in my experience rather it usually consisted of reading a textbook and solving fictitious (sometimes unrealistic or not very useful) problems on a piece of paper. Now I realize that if they had given me the same problem in an actual real life scenario (where it actually needed to be solved in real life), I would have been interested, even obsessed w/ learning everything I needed to know to solve the problem. So I think maybe the trick to succeeding in the sciences for an SP is to realize this and then somehow work around it, but it is quite a struggle compared to the NT who simply loves learning in a setting like this.

  5. #5
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    I took the electronics field, but went towards electronics technology instead of eletronic engineering. The engineering or theory part bored me. The technology portion was more hands on. When I learned about digital gates I designed an alarm system using them in lab on the computer that day. We not only learned the theory, but had the oscopes out and had the ability to swap out components and see how things responded and reacted and the ability to modify what we built and expand on it. I get bored with labs that are follow steps 1, 2, 3, etc. Instead of a simple single digit counter I would build three and link them together so they fire off each other and counter to 999.
    Im out, its been fun

  6. #6
    Member lilikoi's Avatar
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    I definitely hear you. Elec technology sounds WAY more fun than elec engr the way you describe it. Our labs were the follow step 1, 2, 3 kind. I distinctly remember my N lab partners doing all the work while I took a nap in some of those classes. I'm pretty sure my college hated me because I kept telling them 'this is engineering! there are so many real world problems we could be working on! why are all of our labs pointless!' Discovering this type thing is definitely a life milestone for me - it explains so much about my life that always stumped me before.

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    Someday, I'd like to figure out the "writing" thing. Seems common those who share this characteristic often initially test and/or mistakenly identify as INTP.

    I found this link on the differences between type and writing style interesting:

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    INTP

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by lilikoi View Post
    Yes, I am currently an engineer and so have studied and worked in an applied science field. But, I cannot say that I've enjoyed it thoroughly. There are things I do like about it, but it is not hands on enough nor outdoorsy enough and getting through univ coursework was a terrible struggle probably because - I realize now - I don't enjoy pursuing knowledge for its own sake and engr curriculum was rarely hands on in my experience rather it usually consisted of reading a textbook and solving fictitious (sometimes unrealistic or not very useful) problems on a piece of paper. Now I realize that if they had given me the same problem in an actual real life scenario (where it actually needed to be solved in real life), I would have been interested, even obsessed w/ learning everything I needed to know to solve the problem. So I think maybe the trick to succeeding in the sciences for an SP is to realize this and then somehow work around it, but it is quite a struggle compared to the NT who simply loves learning in a setting like this.
    I am the same way. I think most SPs have the same experience in school. Did you ever get an opportunity to do research in college?

    Quote Originally Posted by sLiPpY View Post
    Someday, I'd like to figure out the "writing" thing. Seems common those who share this characteristic often initially test and/or mistakenly identify as INTP.

    I found this link on the differences between type and writing style interesting:

    ISTP

    INTP
    The test questions are flawed in regards to N vs S. I tested as INTP with the official test questions. However, with the way the official test works, I still came out as ISTP at the end.

    S = unoriginal and can't see beyond details according to the way the test questions are set up.

    The ISTP writing style matches me best.

  9. #9
    Junior Member 4everloop's Avatar
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    Although I'm not a Economist, I can say that it's an interesting hobby for me, and I could see myself being an Economist. Trying to solve any real problem to me is exciting. I think no matter what field you're in it has to be somewhat exciting to keep you interested. I'm sure you could have a very boring economist job or an exciting one.

    I'm a software developer, have been for 20 years now. I can tell you that the most fun I've had was when I had to travel to other countries as part of my job. It was still software development, but the locations and travel made it fun and interesting.

    If I'm at one place in a job for too long (stagnating), I start looking for something else to do - either on the side or another job. I did start commercial pilot training, but abandoned it right before training for my instrument rating because I had a child on the way and couldn't justify supporting a family on a starting pilot's salary. If I were single, it may have been a different story - who knows. At any rate I have a private pilots license out of it.

    I also started my own company and keep that as a sideline still. For me a few irons in the fire works best - that way if I get bored of one I can switch to another.

    I think it would be tough to just totally abandon one line of work and move solely into another - to be a specialist in any one field - it's much more fun to know a little about a lot - at least for me. So maybe you can try your feet in any of the careers you're considering part-time and not take the financial hit all at once. Then you can figure out which one really floats your boat.

    To answer the question how does one make a decent living and be an ISTP at the same time I'd say: work is work and play is play - or you have to work to live but not live to work. You've got to have other things going on that make life fun.

  10. #10
    Member lilikoi's Avatar
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    Omg, when I first tested years ago, they said I could be either INTP or ISTP. I didn't know myself that well back then. There are a lot of things I like that seem to be typical of an N, so I definitely agree that ISTP and INTP can get mixed up. Having revisited this type thing, I was also stuck on whether I was an N or S for several weeks. The defining question for me was whether I preferred working with ideas or objects - this lead to a realization that I have always loved working with my hands. Something clicked and everything fell into place.


    4everloop: What do you enjoy most and least about flying? How much did it cost and how long did it take to get your private pilot's license? Did you ever consider becoming an Air Traffic Control Specialist? It sounds boring in that you are stuck inside for long hours, but exciting in that you probably get to manage a few crises here and there. The starting pay is about $33k but can go as high as about $170k and if you have a bachelor's degree you're already qualified for the entry level job. I'm currently trying to figure out how one gets from the bottom tier to the top. It may not be that great of a deal since I read it is a lot of overtime...but at least you'd get paid for OT unlike my former job.


    "If I'm at one place in a job for too long (stagnating), I start looking for something else to do - either on the side or another job."

    I feel the same way. In fact this is one of my problems: if you are fully committed to a job you tend to excel faster, yet I could not fully commit because I have way too many hobbies. It got to the point where I needed more free time to pursue my other interests and couldn't get it out of my employer so I quit. 40 hr/wk at a job has always felt stifling to me. I'm wondering if other SPs feel the same....

    "I think it would be tough to just totally abandon one line of work and move solely into another - to be a specialist in any one field - it's much more fun to know a little about a lot - at least for me. So maybe you can try your feet in any of the careers you're considering part-time and not take the financial hit all at once. Then you can figure out which one really floats your boat."

    This is exactly my plan. I'm making a list of any job that is remotely interesting to me, researching it to death, narrowing the list down to about 5, and then getting a bunch of odd/part time jobs in these fields to test the waters. I hope it works before I run out of $!

    "To answer the question how does one make a decent living and be an ISTP at the same time I'd say: work is work and play is play - or you have to work to live but not live to work. You've got to have other things going on that make life fun."

    I was hoping I'd find a way that work and play would be one and the same. If I don't find this, my need for efficiency will not be satisfied and it will drive me crazy. Am I doomed or what?

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