I’m a WHAT?

Two weeks ago we determined that I, an ESTJ according to the Myers-Briggs Type Inventory, have the same personality type as Darth Vader and Commander Riker on “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” Also several movie and TV cops, the lead character of “American Dad,” Wyatt Earp, and Richard Nixon.

The next obvious question to ask is: How does your personality type correspond to an animal? And according to this site, I am …

ESTJs are civic-minded workers who strive to improve society and like to be part of organizations and governments. They are often conservative and they are strong believers in the letter of the law, and the importance of procedures. They are practical and straight-forward, and have little use for “expanding their mind” or having new experiences. They are, however, outgoing, and they have no problem with clearly communicating their needs and desires to others.

“Civic-minded workers”? “Strong believers in the letter of the law, and the importance of procedures”? I’m sure my 1,000-plus regular readers (the Prestebeehive?) get a good laugh out of that.

Maybe another opinion is needed. According to this site, I am …

ESTJ- Hippo

Strengths: Handles criticism well, strong willed, stable.
Weaknesses: Tends to be stubborn, difficulties in expressing and understanding emotions.

This site agrees with Hippo, but with different characteristics:

Pros= Conscientious and realistic

Cons= Too rigid and detailed oriented

My coworkers would probably have a good laugh with these.

Back in the world of fiction, according to this site I have the same personality as another character played by Russell Crowe:


From Les Miserables …

Dominate Function: Extroverted Thinking
Javert is primarily motivated by taking control of the world around him and getting results. He categorizes and organizes everything, assigning blanket terms for “good”, “evil”, “just”, and “criminal”. although Javert is not amiable, he works with people efficiently as it relates to his professional world. He would rather do something just to see it done than meditate internally. It goes without saying that Javert cannot abide loose ends, and finds gratification on seeing a job through to the very end.


Auxiliary Function: Introverted Sensing

Javert is passionate about structuring his environment, and he looks to his previous experience to determine what this structure should be. He understands how things have been done before him, and strives to continue traditions and practices that he is accustomed to. He puts a high value on continuity and is resistant to change. He has an excellent memory, and accesses data through memory and quiet reflection rather than through immediate observations of situations or the connections between ideas.


Tertiary Function: Extroverted Intuition

Javert struggles with his extroverted intuition function, but it is important to support his introverted sensing. When he is observing in the moment, he looks for possibilities, and how his new data fits with his old data. He tries to fit new ideas into the mental boxes that he has constructed. Javert needs outside stimuli to think of alternative options, and he makes connections through observations. He can put things together and recognize how his world relates to his memory with effort, but it is an important aspect to his investigations nonetheless.


Inferior Function: Introverted Feeling

Clearly, Javert’s weakest function is introverted feeling. This intangible value system defines his ideals of right and wrong, but these sentiments lack subtly due to being underdeveloped. He has a hard time justifying his emotions, and tries to categorize them into a structured system rather than listen to them. When his sense of good/evil comes into conflict with his overwhelming extroverted thinking preference for clearly defined categories, Javert is launched into an existential crisis.


Well, I’ve been a fan of Crowe ever since “L.A. Confidential.” But “existential crisis”? Jeez.

That site also names as ESTJs Liz Lemon from “30 Rock,” Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter books and movies — though there is disagreement you will see presently — as well as Lucille Bluth from “Arrested Development,” and something that has its 50th anniversary tomorrow:

That’s right, Dr. Who fans. I’m a Dalek.

Related is the Huffington Post determination:

Attributes: decisive, results-oriented, straightforward, wholesome
Typical Careers: judges, business administrators
In literature: ESTJs are likely to assume the role of stubborn, albeit commendable leaders, be it bosses, parents, judges or military personnel, like Borimir from “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy.

Recall Gene Kranz from “Apollo 13” and, well, Apollo 13.

On a somewhat lighter note, Elias Scultori applied Myers-Briggs to Disney, and came up with …

(Apparently The Guardian can’t talk.)

How about the work of art that is Looney Tunes? According to this online thread, ESTJs could be …

While we’re at it, why don’t we throw in Harry Potter? So says this site:

I suppose we might as well finish with, yes, the Myers-Briggs Asshole Index:

ESTJs are the “other people” in “Hell is other people.” They are bureaucratic and sycophantic, they are the cultists standing in the middle of the town square selling you books on dianetics. They are the middle-managers with the smiles entirely disproportionate with how important they are for the company and their only job is to tell you to work harder, which they enjoy. They are the coach for your kids’ sports team who base their entire self-worth on the team and breaks down when it inevitably loses, and they are the aunts who “hold together” the family by silencing anybody who does not smile in the family portrait.

They cannot grasp that others might not value the same things they value, and the way they cannot grasp this is very very firm.

You do not have a relationship with an ESTJ, you have a deal. An ESTJ does not have a totem animal because ESTJs are awful and horrid, and animals are cute.

Bureaucratic? No. Sycophantic? Cultists? Read what I write about Republicans.

As for the author, he later wrote:

You know what’s amazing? Someone on the Internet psychoanalyzed this index and came to the conclusion that while almost all of these are insults, the INFJ ones are just whinings about how hard life is for me.

So what does this have to do with fiction? According to Paula L. Fleming, more than you might think (remember that unlike real life, fiction has to make sense):

Opposites attract — and conflict. Felix and Oscar; Jeeves and Wooster; Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser; Spock and McCoy; Mulder and Scully. Having sparks fly between two strong characters makes a gripping story. An easy way to differentiate two characters is, for instance, to make one exuberant and the other withdrawn. However, just as in real life, superficial differences cause only superficial annoyances and interest. It takes fundamental differences to create real chemistry.

If you’re writing about a middle-aged, by-the-book cop who teams up with a drug dealer to fight some larger evil, don’t just make the drug dealer young and impudent. After digging a little deeper into the backgrounds and personalities of these characters, you might profile the cop as follows:

Alysha, who joined the force to help people and society in a hands-on way (E), is finally burning out, her enthusiasm dimmed by the realities (S) of the job, especially the violence she sees and the lack of appreciation she receives (F). She takes refuge from the daily assault on her emotions in the structure of the job: the uniform, the regulations, and the group norms of the force (J). Alysha is an ESFJ.

On the other hand, our drug dealer looks like this:

Highly imaginative but an unidentified dyslexic, Chris tuned out of school, preferably by staring out the window and making up stories in his head (I). By high school, he was cutting class to walk down the railroad tracks, smoking a joint and imagining where the steel road might lead (N). Although quiet, he enjoyed the company of other people and strived to make them happy, and for this reason he tended to be susceptible to peer pressure (F). Because he needed structure but couldn’t find it in school, he eagerly joined a gang (J). Also, he could see the entrepreneurial possibilities in controlled substance sales and quickly became a leader in “community business development” (N). Chris is an INFJ.

As Alysha and Chris work together, they will mesh well in some ways and clash in others. Both will favor a systematic approach to their investigation (J), and each will be concerned about the other’s emotional state (F). This sounds cosy but may lead to conflict. Given their different backgrounds, Alysha’s systematic approach probably differs from Chris’. As Js, they will both be loathe to bend to an unfamiliar way of working. Likewise, their sensitivity to each other’s feelings may mean they fail to communicate when what they have to say isn’t nice.

In addition, their different sources of energy may make it hard for them to work together. As an E Alysha may want to talk through a complicated situation to understand it, while as an I Chris would prefer to think it through in solitude. Chris may see Alysha as intrusive and distracting, while she may see him as withholding and aloof. Furthermore, Chris may perceive the S Alysha as too bogged down in detail to see the overall pattern, while Alysha may view the N Chris as sloppy and forgetful about the facts in front of him. Their challenge as partners will be to use one another’s different strengths, while learning to tolerate the weaknesses.

Opposition to authority or “the system” is a staple of speculative fiction. In general the establishment is more likely to view Ps, with their hang-loose style and unwillingness to commit, as potentially seditious elements. However, unless pushed hard, many Ps are willing to do what it takes to get along. It’s the decisive, rigid Js who may be more likely to rebel, and when Js try to overthrow the system, they will have a plan.

Ts are more likely to be set off by something they see as unfair, while Fs are more likely to go into revolt over something that causes pain to someone they know. An S may confine himself to small acts with known outcomes, like sabotaging computer code to prevent rockets from being launched, while an N may envision overthrowing the world order to replace it with utopia. Es will usually work with other people, perhaps launching a populist movement, while Is will work alone, with a small group, or through a close group of advisors.

If your characters take an active role in shaping their destiny, then at some point in the story they will probably make an important decision. While a J may make this decision at the beginning of the story, then spend the rest of the story living (or dying) with the consequences, a P may delay to collect more information and change her mind several times. With a P as a protagonist, the story becomes about the investigation or deliberation leading up to the decision.

Ts will base their decision on abstract principles of what’s right or fair, while Fs will consider what will do the most good for people. Ss will work with data or observable facts, and their decision will address the current situation, whereas Ns will focus more on overall patterns and focus on future outcomes. An I may write in his journal before arriving at a decision, while an E would prefer to talk things through with friends.

So since police officers keep showing up in these lists, as an ESTJ who is far too nearsighted to be a cop, I should write police fiction with my protagonist who “would prefer to talk things through with friends,” and works “with data or observable facts,” then makes an important decision “to address the current situation” based on “abstract principles of what’s right or fair” at the beginning of a story, then “spend the rest of the story living (or dying) wiht the consequences.” Interesting.


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