Tag Archives: Perceiver

The Perceiver’s ability to handle problems with ease and other facts about Perceivers

Cat eating food

And a story about my daughter and cat food.

When my oldest daughter was a toddler she had a tendency to stick dried cat food up her nose. The first time she did it it was no big deal. I simply fished it out with tweezers and then asked my frantic wife what we were having for dinner.

The second time, however, my wife insisted we bring her to the emergency room, where we waited a solid hour until we were seen by a doctor. (By then, the cat food had puréed and was running out of her nose.)

The doctor was nonchalant about this “emergency.” He took one look at the situation and excused himself  (I suppose to laugh at the young couple who brought their child to a emergency room to have cat food extracted from their daughter’s nose).

He returned approximately 20 seconds later with a paperclip, which he unfolded while humming all the while. Gently he stuck the U-shaped part of the paperclip up our daughter’s nose and pulled the gooey mess out.

I don’t know who was more embarrassed;  my wife for insisting that we bring our daughter to the emergency room, or me for giving in to her demand. “I didn’t want you to stick the tweezers into her brain,” my wife said as she held our daughter in her arms on the way to the car.

What does this story have to do with the Perceiver on one of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator’s spectrum, which contains those who prefer the dichotomies Judging or Perceiving? The doctor demonstrated the calm nature of the Perceiver.

Often times we focus mainly on introversion and introversion the first two dichotomies and not enough on the last two, Judging and Perceiving. This fourth preference pair describes how you like to live your outer life.

On the Judger/Perceiver spectrum,  my wife is a J. This is a good thing because she organizes the family affairs. I, on the other hand, am an off the chart P, which means I’m more likely to handle problems with more ease than the Js.

I once shared an office with a J who was the epitome of organization. She would remind me of workshops I had to do everyday, and I would say, “I remember, Ellen.” Ps aren’t that disorganized.

To add to my role in our working relationship, I would calmly handle any issues she had with, say her computer, or I would calmly tell her not to worry about the size of her workshops—for me the larger number the better. We Ps handle problems in stride.

She was an interesting J, extremely organized. I would walk in the morning of my workshop without having set up the night before, whereas she would have everything prepared; all the paperwork to hand out; the name tags set up (I don’t use name tags); her station organized to include exactly four Starburst candy, a warm mug of water, not cold, and four paper napkins.

How do my workshops go, you may wonder. If the majority of my marks are “Excellent,” I guess that’s a good indication of how well I do. Ps want to succeed as much as Js; we just do it differently. Another great trait of the Ps is spontaneity. This is why none of my workshops are exactly the same, another reason why my marks are very high. “Bob makes things interesting,” is a common comment on my evals.

One thing we are known to do is procrastinate. (Read my post on the curse of Perceivers.) We’re not proud of this. Many years ago I had to install a screen door on our house. After a week of patiently waiting, my wife put her foot down and told me to “get it done.”

A Judger probably would have had that screen door attached the day after the screen was ripped by our upstairs tenants. He would have written it on his calendar and made a list before going to Home Depot. The screen door eventually was attached to our house, which was a proud moment for me, but an irritant for my wife.

I’m glad the doctor extracted the cat food from my daughter’s nose with such precision and that I didn’t pierce her brain with tweezers (my wife and I still argue about the likelihood of that happening). Was the doctor a Perceiver? Who knows. All I know is that his calmness reminded me of my preference for perceiving and how proud I am to be a P.

Photo: Flickr, Trond Hagheim Kristensen

Procrastination: the curse of the Perceiver

I’m supposed to be writing a résumé for a customer but instead am sitting at Panera Bread at 8:30 pm checking my e-mail. After I check my e-mail, I’ll go to LinkedIn to see what my connections are up to. Most of my connections are connecting with others, some are posting articles, and others are  joining groups.

So I check if any of the articles are interesting. Cool, one of my connections  posted an article on…procrastination. Gotta check this out for sure. I read it and it’s a great article on how procrastination is not a desirable trait but not the end of the world.

One take-away for me is that one must avoid perfectionism, something I truly detest. I mean, if you can complete a task in one hour rather than three, all the better, even if the quality isn’t the best it possibly can be.

Another statement the author makes is that one’s way of not doing the important thing is to do something else. Like reading instead of completing their expense report before it’s due. In my case it’s perusing my e-mails instead of tending to this darn résumé I’m supposed to be writing.

My daughter recently took the MBTI for a psychology class she’ll be taking. She came out as an ENFP. When she told me, I told her she’s screwed. Why, Perceivers often tend to procrastinate even though they end up getting their work done. My wife and I are still waiting for her to complete a project she could have crossed off the list at the beginning of the summer. She’s a procrastinator for sure.

I often tell my MBTI workshop attendees that two very important dichotomies are Judging and Procrastinating…I mean Perceiving. Although we try to avoid harping on the stereotypes of each dichotomy, it is important to note that those who prefer Perceiving can have the tendency to procrastinate.

What this means in the job search is that Perceivers tend to produce and deliver their résumé, cover letter, and application later than those who prefer Judging. Those Judgers would never be turning to Twitter when they’re supposed to be writing a résumé. In some cases a Perceiver might fail to send in the necessary information and, thus, lose out on a potential interview.

I know for sure that the more demanding and more undesirable the work I have to do, the more I’ll tend to put it off till the 11th hour. I’m not racked with anxiety but, as you can tell, I am a bit uncomfortable having this assignment hanging over my head. So why don’t I just finish writing the résumé now, instead of waiting till the last moment? (Read this article about how difficult it is to “flex” between Perceiving and Judging.”

I’m much better at giving advice than following it. So I tell jobseekers who are having difficulty getting their résumé written to perfection to send in their best work when a deadline is looming. It doesn’t have to be perfect (because perfection doesn’t exist); it’s more important to get it in than miss the deadline.

The Judging types don’t understand this conundrum, as they’re prone to making lists and schedules and following their plans to a T. They wouldn’t be sitting at Panera Bread reading their e-mails and tweets, thinking of ways to avoid writing a darn résumé, wondering if a bagel is in order. No, they would be concerned about getting that résumé done and then ordering a bagel, which they’d eat in good conscience.

For all that’s great about preferring Perceiving, such as spontaneity, adaptability, a laid-back demeanor; it sometimes sucks procrastinating and putting undue anxiety on yourself. Take it from me.