Career Choices for Enneagram Types

After I wrote my article Bad Career Choices and the Enneagram, I realized that there weren’t really all that many websites/books/studies done out there that linked this exciting personality type system to various compatible careers. And many of the ones that are out there are very general and give very “obvious” answers that may not always be accurate. So, I have put together a list of careers by type that really examines where the skills of a particular type can be put to work. Some of these careers will be new to you, if you’ve read other guides. There are a few surprises in here!

Once again, if you do not know your enneagram personality type, click here to figure it out.

Also, if you are interested the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, check out my series on self-employment and the MBTI here.

enneagram1Type 1 – Ones often flourish in environments that are consistent, stable and with a good degree of structure. Where structure doesn’t exist, they will be happy to create it! Your average one has an incredible ability to remember facts, useful information and have a good degree of seeing “what is wrong and what needs to be fixed” in a given situation. They will rarely make mistakes when it comes to details. Ones don’t necessarily want to tear their hair out in the typical office job (which makes me wonder if life would be easier if I were a one!) While they will thrive “at the office” Ones can also make good entrepreneurs because they are so organized and consistent.

Suggested Careers for Ones: Anything where there are plenty of clear rules, opportunity of advancement, a pecking order, and consistent people to work with!

  • Secretary, Administrative or Executive Assistant
  • Manager (Mid or Upper-level)
  • Accountant
  • Financial Planner/Advisor
  • Law Clerk/Paralegal
  • Broker
  • Urban Planner
  • Attorney (1′s make some of the most effective lawyers of all the types because of a keen attention to detail)
  • Technical Director
  • Computer Programmer

 
enneagram2Type 2 – One of the common misconceptions about twos is that they will flourish in “helping” professions. In reality, twos spend so much of their time thinking about how they can make others comfortable, that a career in such a field could possibly push them over the top! Twos don’t need a career where they help people directly. They need to feel that they are helping indirectly, by working for a group that shares a cause they believe in. If you are a two, save the selfless behavior for outside the office. You’ll be happy you did, as this enables you to separate your work life from your home life. 

Suggested Careers for Twos: Work for any non-profit organization, or a career working with volunteers are good for this type.

  • Teacher (especially middle school and below)
  • Fashion designer
  • Retail and salesperson
  • Waiter/waitress/bartender
  • Sous-Chef
  • Graphic designer
  • Firefighter
  • Paramedic
  • Caterer
  • Wedding Planner
  • Stay-at-home parent

enneagram3Type 3 – While it is true that threes enjoy professions in which they can rise to the top and run the show, what they really need is to feel admired and respected by their co-workers and peers. It is less important than you might think for a three to be “uber-successful.” Threes want to enjoy their jobs, like anyone else, but they also want to shine and make a contribution in their field. Getting employee of the month at a fairly menial job might be more important to a three than making a high salary but being ignored and taken for granted. They do, however, love to be around important and influential people.

Suggested Careers for Threes: A three will feel the best in a career with potential for promotion, advancement, a chance to shine, and a high salary ceiling.

  • Performer/Entertainer
  • Agent (sports, travel, literary or insurance)
  • Public Relations Director
  • Attorney
  • Executive Assistant
  • Personal Assistant (but only to someone who is influential!)
  • Gossip Columnist
  • Salesperson
  • Political Activist (or even a straight-up politician)
  • Inspirational Speaker or Writer
  • Life and Business coach

 
enneagram4Type 4 – As stated in my earlier article about bad careers for the enneagram types, fours often have trouble finding meaningful work. There are “good” careers for a four, but since they are so idealistic, it’s never easy to find the right fit. Such an idealistic type is most suited to work with a great deal of flexibility and where there is some room for self-expression. They would be miserable in a stiff environment where every day was the same and there was no room for opinion or alternative suggestions to problem solving.

Suggested Careers for Fours: It is possible for a four to thrive in a variety of careers as long as self-expression and some degree of creativity is a possibility.

  • Psychotherapist
  • Holistic Health Practitioner
  • Yoga/Dance Instructor
  • Masseuse
  • Artist
  • Writer
  • Relationship/Couples Counselor
  • Life Coach
  • Crisis-line operator
  • Missionary
  • Web/Graphic Designer
  • Actor/Musician

*side note – check out this great new book on the Enneagram and Careers:


 
enneagram5Type 5 – Fives are similar to fours in many ways. They are deep, independent, and not mainstream. However, their range of interests trend more toward the cerebral rather than the emotional. Fives love science and technology of all kinds, and a career in one of these fields would definitely be optimal. Fives also have the gift of being able to work independently, which is critical in research positions, which they would also enjoy. Long hours of study and alone-time with something gripping and engaging will appeal to this type. More extroverted types would shy away from and/or become bored with some of these positions. Fives can really make a difference in the world through pioneering (and sometimes isolating) research!

Suggested Careers for Fives: Science and technology are areas where Fives will thrive.

  • Risk-Management Advisor (financial)
  • Chemical or Electrical Engineer
  • Architectural Drafter/Engineer
  • Astronomer
  • Physicist
  • Environmental Planner
  • Game Designer
  • Medical Researcher
  • College Professor
  • Software Designer
  • Technical Support
  • Web Developer/Designer/Database Administrator

 
enneagram6Type 6 – I have read a lot about phobic/counterphobic sixes in various enneagram books and I must say that it’s hard to buy into the hype. A “counterphobic six” is really just a mood they might go through on a bad day. And certainly when considering a career, a six should think about who they really are, which is friendly, adaptable, cautious, meticulous, loyal and a great team player. By nature, they are not daredevil lawbreakers and, in the long run, would not be happy in occupations with high risk, no matter how “counterphobic” they may be feeling!

Suggested Careers for Sixes: There are plenty of great careers for sixes, providing there are plenty of jobs available.

  • Paralegal
  • Elementary School Teacher
  • Child-Care Worker
  • Administrative Assistant/Secretary
  • Credit/Loans Officer or Counselor
  • Escort/Security Guard
  • Financial Aid Counselor
  • Public Notary
  • Actuarial Scientist
  • Health and Safety Inspector
  • Banker
  • Technical Support
  • Insurance Underwriter

 
enneagram7Type 7 – One place you will not find a happy seven is in an office on a beautiful summer day. In fact, you might not find a happy seven in an office on a nasty, stormy day either. They are more likely to be out there chasing the storm, taking pictures of it. But only for a week or two when they will happily go by the title “storm-chaser.” Sevens change direction, focus, and career so often that it’s difficult to even write this section for them. Unlike the other types, a “career” for a seven is often just a passing fancy that will change from one moment to the next, like the weather.

Suggested careers for Sevens: A seven will do well in self-employment or a “fun” job of some kind

  • Small Business Owner (multiple businesses are often good)
  • Tour/Travel/Adventure guide
  • Travel-Writer
  • Artist/Musician
  • Food Critic
  • Comedian
  • Park Ranger
  • Professional Athlete
  • Dancer
  • Photographer
  • Professional Gambler
  • DJ
  • Nightclub Owner
  • Cruise Ship Entertainer

 
enneagram8Type 8 – Eights love to be successful, but what they need even more is autonomy. Like sevens, eights hate being told what to do, and love coming up with their own answers to problems. Eights are natural leaders because they are willing to shoulder the responsibility and make the decisions that others are reluctant to make. They are also dead honest because they are unafraid of criticism. This gives them a lot of integrity, and they can be trusted on the job. This trait makes them awesome candidates for managerial positions.

Suggested Careers for Eights: A good career for an eight allows for plenty of scope to make decisions and make a difference in the world.

  • Event Coordinator
  • Financial Advisor
  • Career Counselor
  • Organizational Psychologist
  • CEO/CFO/CAO (any size company)
  • Marketing Manager
  • Director of Sales
  • Restaurant Owner/Manager
  • Politician
  • Healthcare Administrator
  • Market Strategist
  • Advertising Executive
  • President of the World

 
enneagram9Type 9 – When you ask a young nine what they want to be when they grow up, he may give you an answer like, “myself” or “I don’t care.” Don’t be surprised. Nines often aren’t “career” oriented, especially at younger ages. Sometimes they are so laid-back about life that they can be content anywhere. That doesn’t mean that they will be happy with or succeed at any old job, but it does mean that this type has some career flexibility. It’s important that a nine do something productive so they don’t end up sitting around all day and letting life pass them by.

Suggested Careers for Nines: The more stress-free the career, the better.

  • Product Tester
  • Electronics/Automotive Salesperson
  • Retail Clerk
  • Delivery Driver
  • School Counselor
  • Teacher/Professor
  • Animal Trainer/Veterinarian
  • Film Editor
  • Musician/Musical Instructor(9′s almost universally love music)
  • Writer
  • Clothing Designer
  • Artist

Also see my article: Bad Career Choices and the Enneagram

What is your enneagram type?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

     25 replies to Career Choices for Enneagram Types

  1. Ross's Gravatar Ross
    October 9, 2007 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    I just took the 36 Question enneagram test and came out as a 7, and it looks like I’m a “storm chaser”! Haha. That’s perfect! My second highest score was 2.

    By the way, is it bad that the cheeseburger you put in your last entry made me really hungry?!?

  2. Annette's Gravatar Annette
    October 9, 2007 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    Hey Mike,

    You’ve written a lot about Ennegram types, but how stable are these personality types? Can a preson’s number change over time? Does a child’s ennegram type stick with them through to adulthood or does it change with time and experience?

    Annette

  3. Julie's Gravatar Julie
    November 15, 2009 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    Sorry but I don’t agree. Have spent the year studying the enneagram and being initially typed as a 7, then an 8 then a 9 now have had patterning work done and have been labelled a 6. I relate to a counterphobic six but do not to the phobic side at all. The positions you described as ideal for all 6′s just don’t fit. I like risky, self-employed jobs, and can’t stand being confined in a secure, clerical type position or be in a situation where someone has authority over me. YUKK! so yes I agree with the split in sixes – counterphobic and phobic.

  4. January 28, 2010 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

    I’m a #4 and work as a counselor and writing coach. I have 10 books in print and a memoir coming out in the fall 2010. I add hypnotherapy when there’s a block or when focus needs to be better. I love the enneagram for a helpful way to understand yourself and the path to healing. I use my’ #2 to help and my # to be careful of details.9 I disagree with integration and disintergration theories…when healthy we use both well and when unhealthy we use the underbelly of those numbers.) My experience is we grow and change within our number and can feel profoundly different after doing work on ourselves. By the way, different #’s write the books you’d expect by their enneagram numbers.

  5. January 28, 2010 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

    Wonder how a #9 on a #l wing son who is a new attorney could use his law degree? He’s hates the conflict of the attorney role although loves the law and the thought behind cases. Antalytical introvert, Mediation is too much stress too. He’s quiet although he has good people skills. He did like paralegal, the support role.. Any ideas of what to do if you “want to run away from the law?” He likes younger and older folks, probably a social #9.

  6. Lori's Gravatar Lori
    February 4, 2010 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

    I myself, an “The Epicure” or “Storm Chaser” and I have done my research on myself and everything has been right on target! The career choices are many that I have already experienced, and left for lack of entertainment. As a small child I always have had the desire to work in the travel industry, but have never had the means to do so. I have managed a pool & spa store for three years, and it is a FUN place to work, but I have grown bored with this job as well, and feel like I am a big loser that cannot hold down a job! I have been doing alot of soul searching, but thus far have not been able to pinpoint my next endeavor?! HELP!!!

  7. Teresa's Gravatar Teresa
    September 9, 2010 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    I got a 7. I wish I knew what to go to school for. Now I’m scared that I’ll never find my calling, LOL! (Seriously).

  8. Carl's Gravatar Carl
    January 6, 2011 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

    Hi, I’m pretty sure I’m a type 9 with 1 wing and ofcourse I then have some serious problems deciding what to become. I’m know 27 and have a possibility to start studying for both a doctor and psychologist. Do you have anything to say about this or things i should think of. I’m afraid the work of a Doctor will be to low intellectuall stimulation/stressful but are afraid the job as a psychologist will be to lonely/boring/calm. I’m really interested in the mind but feel i also need to do something practical/logical. I’m confused (no surprise ofcourse)…

  9. Carl's Gravatar Carl
    January 6, 2011 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

    Maybe I should also mention that i am a ISFP.

  10. marie's Gravatar marie
    January 11, 2011 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    Thanks for writing about careers and the enneagram types. Your couple articles are pretty consistent with things I’ve read by Riso and Hudson of the Enneagram Institute (www.enneagraminstitute.com) at least as it relates to 9′s, and I loved your remark about 9′s deep down not wanting to work at all. It’s so true!!

    I totally stumbled into a job a few years ago as a court reporter with a freelance firm with about 50 employees statewide. The central office has one location while the reporters are situated around the state, working from their homes so to speak. We communicate with the office via phone and email, receive our assignments and travel to those locations, where we record depositions, examinations under oath, hearings, etc., then type up the transcripts at home (in our pajamas, if we want). The central office handles all the printing, billing, scheduling, etc. It combines things I’m good at (I can type awfully fast, enjoy producing a tangible finished product and meeting new people) with an unpredictable schedule that keeps me from getting bored and snippy (i.e., administrative assistant – UGH). I see my co-workers a few times a year as we get together for the company christmas party or regional lunches. These are always just to spend time together and hang out, much like you would with family (well, if your family doesn’t suck).

    It’s funny being able to look back at past jobs now with a better grasp of my personality to understand why I was so unhappy in them. Before I just thought there was something wrong with me! To anyone else reading, Socrates’ advice is the best: “Know thyself.”

    Marie :)

  11. miisuna's Gravatar miisuna
    January 21, 2011 at 1:17 am | Permalink

    same here – i’m a 7, trying to decide what career path to pursue. this confirms my suspicions and fears buy does not do much to alleviate them. what is a 7 to do?

  12. Casper's Gravatar Casper
    May 27, 2011 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    Hi everyone, i am 35 years old and i recently learned about the enneagram from a 6 week intensive course at my lokal competence centre. My teacher was trained in the american enneagram model, and had an education in NLP and coaching aswell. It all started out very easy, even before i joined the 6 weeks course, in some of the other courses i had earlier i was sure i was a (4).

    But no no, everything unfolded as i started on the course… I had already taken the test and it placed me as a (1) At the first day in the class of the course my opinion was that our goal was to be the dot in the middle of the enneagram, to be able to be all types at once.

    The first week passed by and i ended up converting to (1), but that gave me a headache, so i came back the next day in class as a (4) and by the end of that day, when i left class, i had converted to (7)
    After the weekend, on the first day in the second week i converted back to (4). And then i stopped. As the weeks passed by, i stopped, i simply just had to stop, because everything we learned on the course, i could relate to, every type. And not just a bit, but enormously.

    The weeks passed one after another and it was not until only the last two weeks that i found out who i really was. I had to go back to my childhood to find myself. And when i did, it was like coming home from a long journey, everything was covered with dust, but left untouched as when i left. I kept my jacket on and would not tell anyone on the course, that i had found home, until the last week.

    I am (6) but with a wing in both (5) and (7) and i have used many years in (3) with a wing in both (4) and (2) and when im leisurely im always in (9) with a wing in (1) and (8)

    It is not easy, that is for sure. My zodiac is lion and my zodiac ascendant is scorpion. And i had an 8 year long foreign upbringing, from i was 5 years old. So this explains most of why i am so adaptive.

    But bottom line is, im very… Very frustrated!. I dont know what to spend my life on. Everything goes from clear to blur, and when i think i have it, i lose it again. My wife knows me better than i do myself and she knows all of my “personalities” and have helped me a lot.

    I get an idea and i get them in tons, but not just (7) ideas, but from every enneagram type. When i go into a thing im hooked for a week or two, then its boring or doesn’t give me any meaning in life, but im struggling to achieve and maintain a structured life, but then again not to structured. I want an education, but then again i have dropped out of so many, because i find the learning not sufficient enough. I see the holes and bring them up and dont get feedback on my question. A lot of my learning, visions, ideas and wisdom tends to slip out of my hands and drop down my own black (5) hole to be forgotten and never see the day light, so others can benefit from it.

    It might all sound exaggerated my hey! thats really me. (6) tends to exaggerate when telling his or hers story.

    Best regards
    Casper – Denmark

  13. n's Gravatar n
    September 20, 2011 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    2

  14. Nick's Gravatar Nick
    December 8, 2011 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    Hello, I would like to tell you that you are bad at this, and bad at understanding people, thanks.

  15. Deb's Gravatar Deb
    January 30, 2012 at 10:46 pm | Permalink

    Well DANG it, actor? Muscian? Writer? That is like getting struck by lightning or walking on Jupiter as for the odds…what else you got for a 4?

  16. AnneC's Gravatar AnneC
    March 26, 2012 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    I’m a Enneagram 1 wing 2 (INTJ) & have spent years flitting around from career to career. I’ve finally settled (I think) into a career in health care. I think what is important for me (apart from feeling like my career fits with my personal values) is that I’m stretching myself in my career — in a way doing something that doesn’t come naturally to me — in an attempt to become a more fully rounded Enneagram 1. I don’t buy the list of careers that suit (I don’t think any of the ones listed for type 1 suit me) but I do think that what different Enneagram types want to achieve through their career would have similarities.

  17. candyfloss's Gravatar candyfloss
    June 16, 2012 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

    Im a type 6 and pretty phobic and those are exactly all the jobs I avoid. As always, the type 4 jobs looked very appealing.

  18. Seira's Gravatar Seira
    September 26, 2012 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

    I am 5w4 that also scores high in 1. I have decided to divide my time between accounting and art. That frees me up to just do my own thing creatively and also helps me stay organized/frugal. I also am very interested in being an entrepreneur. =)

  19. Shauna's Gravatar Shauna
    December 24, 2012 at 2:12 am | Permalink

    I’m a 6 and every single one of those jobs listed for 6s sound awful. Just because our focus is security doesn’t mean we literally want to work IN security. We just like careers and work that mean financial and job security, that we can count on to support ourselves comfortably. For example, as a creative type, I chose to study graphic design instead of art, because the latter would make it far easier to gain employment.

    As my type 6 fiance says, “The need for security would actually discount most security fields, since that’s the field that’s placed in harms way by enforcing security.”

  20. jpizz's Gravatar jpizz
    April 20, 2013 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    It’s much different than type… a type 5w6 is quite different than a type 5w4…The type 5 you describe is the type 5w6, which is more common. I used to work in IT, and yes it was easy, but I HATED it. Hated the routine, AND I hated the office environment. Best option for 5w4 is to freelance or work for a not for profit company where they have tangible results or seeking a good cause. Academia could also be a good fit.

  21. plwanti's Gravatar plwanti
    October 27, 2013 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    I love the idea of this article. That’s how I found it. …but I’m disappointed that more research wasn’t put into this. Maybe the research wasn’t possible for a short article by an individual. A whole institution could easily grow out of this idea.

    I’m an enneagram type 9 workaholic, so it’s an understatement to say that the blurb above about this personality type is oversimplified.

    I’m also an architect. I question if people actually know what it is that we do, and I suspect that the personality type this profession is associated with above is based on the TV version or high school guidance counselor version of the profession. Same goes to other professions listed above. For example, if a type 9 wants to avoid stress, why the hell would he/she go into the political hell of academia?

    This idea has great potential. Please look into it more! Or maybe, this is the big project I’ve been destined to take on. As you can probably tell, I wouldn’t have found this site if I weren’t currently going through a career crisis! Thanks for the article.

  22. February 7, 2014 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    I find this interesting. I am a professional executive coach and life strategist. I’ve been doing this work for over 10 years. Prior to that, I was an executive leader in many non-profit organizations….. My Enneagram type is 2…. yet the career choice for my current profession lies with type 4….. My current career doesn’t even come close to type 2…

  1. By on May 13, 2011 at 3:18 am
  2. By on February 14, 2013 at 12:55 am
  3. By on March 18, 2013 at 12:33 pm
  4. By on March 21, 2013 at 11:12 pm
  5. By on July 1, 2013 at 12:49 am
  6. By on July 1, 2013 at 12:52 am
  7. By on July 1, 2013 at 12:55 am
  8. By on July 1, 2013 at 12:57 am
  9. By on July 1, 2013 at 12:58 am
  10. By on July 1, 2013 at 1:01 am
  11. By on July 1, 2013 at 1:04 am
  12. By on July 1, 2013 at 1:06 am
  13. By on July 1, 2013 at 1:08 am
  14. By on September 11, 2013 at 2:50 am
  15. By on November 15, 2013 at 11:03 am

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Connect

Subscribe to TGOE!

Enter your information below to receive e-mail notifications when new articles and important updates appear on the site! We promise not to use your e-mail address for any other purpose and all information you provide will be kept strictly confidential.

Polls

What is your current work situation?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...