Hire the Undervalued Neurotic, You’ll be Happy You Did

News flash! Neurotics are conscientious team members and should be appreciated and used more effectively in organizations. Or so say Corinne Bendersky, an associate professor at UCLA’s Anderson School of Management and Neha Parikh Shah, an assistant professor at Rutgers Business School, in The Downfall of Extraverts and the Rise of Neurotics: The Dynamic Process of Status Allocation in Task Groups.

The study uses a different polarity than one might expect. It looks not as introverts versus extroverts but “neurotics” versus extroverts. For instance, “[I]mplicit theories of leadership tend to associate positive status value with assertiveness and negative status value to anxiety, which is a facet of neuroticism” Frankly, I don’t see this being anywhere near as tidy a distinction as Bendersky and Shan. McKinsey made a point of hiring people who were anxious but client-presentable, which meant they had to be extraverted or at least able to fake it credibly.

Nevertheless, the paper makes some interesting observations when you do have people who fit neatly into those categories. The extroverts are preferred, both by employers (look at how candidates for many jobs are virtually required to stress how they are upbeat, can do, team oriented, etc.) and in their initial assessment by team members. In a write-up of the article, Susan Adams at Forbes reminds us of widely-held beliefs:

Most leaders are attracted to the guy or woman who seems confident and outgoing, unafraid in any situation or facing any challenge. They expect an extrovert to infuse any team with energy, to push ahead on projects and to motivate colleagues to do their best work. Meantime they have low expectations of anyone who appears neurotic, who seems withdrawn and too anxious to live up to their potential. Leaders expect neurotic employees to contribute little and to drag down colleagues’ morale.

The requirement to be chipper and upbeat is so fetishized that accusing someone of “negativity” is a cheap but usually effective way to shut them up. In keeping, when teams of MBAs were formed in one of the experiments conducted in the study, the extroverted folk were initially given high ranking by their peers and the quieter, nebishy types, low ones.

Now what did Bendersky and Shah see? Contrary to the widespread finding in the literature that workplace status is based on “enduring personal characteristics” (ahem, if so, why is there office politics?), after 10 months of working together, team members found that the extroverts didn’t pull their weight, while the more introverted members did, leading to a revision in status rankings. The extroverts fell short of expectations and the quiet, conscientious workers exceeded them.

And it isn’t that the expectations of the extroverts were unduly high. As the authors out, previous studies have found that some of the habits of extroverts are detrimental to teamwork:

Research on the “dark sides” of extraverted behaviors finds that with experience working together, peers interpret extraverts as poor listeners who are unreceptive to input from others. For example. Grant et. al. (2011) determined that when subordinates are pro-active (e.g., they voice constructive ideas, take charge to improve work methods and exercise upward influence), groups with more extraverted leaders are less effective due to heightened competition and conflict.

Now it isn’t as if this is the first time studies have found that extroversion isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Jim Collins, in Good to Great, instructed his researchers not to look at top management behaviors, but as they continued their work, they insisted he include it, because the companies they identified as sustained superior performers (most often by having made a radical change in their business model when the entire industry was facing fundamental threats) were managed very differently that most companies. The CEOs in these businesses were the polar opposite of the celebrity leader that headhunters prize: they were quiet, self-effacing, quick to take blame for failure and to share credit for success. Oh, and they paid themselves modestly.*

And this isn’t the first time that widely held recruiting rules of thumb have been found to be wrong. As we wrote in 2007:

Consider the experience of Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane, the hero of Michael Lewis’s Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game. The baseball industry has always measured players’ skill and achievements by a handful of well-known statistics, but in recent years researchers have questioned the value of those traditional measures. To make the most of a limited budget, Beane used the new principles to sign low-salaried play- ers whom his analysis showed were dra- matically undervalued. The result: The team, with one of baseball’s lowest pay- rolls, has placed first or second in its divi- sion each of the last eight seasons (and there’s still time to turn around 2007).

Here, then, you have a business where the recruiting is unusually transparent, the basic rules have remained unchanged for decades, competitive encounters are in full view, and the incentives for success are high. This would seem to be the per- fect environment for developing good decision rules, yet the entire industry was largely wrong.

But there is another set of issues involved. Our society is increasingly placing a premium on sales skills, and in another misguided heuristic, managers typically seek out extroverts for sales jobs and most parents seem to emphasize building their child’s self esteem (trust me, in the 1950s, this was not on the radar). In a work world of short job tenures, prizing salesmanship might seem necessary. But equating it with extroversion agains is misguided. Another recent Forbes article cites research that finds that the best salespeople are ambiverts, confident and sociable enough to chat up prospects and assert control during a pitch, but able to listen to a prospect’s concerns. So on a broader social basis, our culture may be extolling (and therefore promoting) traits that aren’t necessarily advantageous, not just for the team, but even the individual.

Of course, so much management practice is based on unadulterated blather (Lucy Kellaway at the Financial Times has full time job eviscerating it, and she’s unlikely ever to run short of targets) that it should probably come as no surprise that such a basic assumption about personal attributes is so wrong. But sadly, that means, like so many other business prejudices, that it is unlikely to change any time soon.


*If you don’t think CEOs wield significant influence over their own compensation by recommending board members and overseeing the HR department that pays the firms that do the comp studies (and influencing who gets chosen for the work), I have a bridge I’d like to sell you.

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    1. jake chase

      It is hardly surprising that a business (consulting) which consists almost exclusively of regurgitating management fantasies and supporting management wish lists should seek out articulate and indeed blase bullshit artists who have learned to promote their own self inflated qualities and surpress any negative thoughts about their mission and its likely consequences.

      Anybody who hopes to profit from advocating truth had better be in business for himself. Elsewhere, the time for truth is after everyone else has accepted it.

      1. Susan the other

        But as always the caveats abound. Consider this: Ronnie was an ambivert, he could compartmentalize like an evangelical, and Maggie was reincarnation of Virginia Woolf on prozac.

  1. direction

    Great news! Maybe I will be more hireable in this decade.

    Pleasant neurotic available, skilled in faking extroversion: sales and management experience.

  2. Brick

    Well I am not sure the word neurotic is right for introverts and could in some ways apply to extroverts. I guess the problem for me is that I may have a slightly different concept of what an extrovert and introvert are.

    My view of an introvert is that they are people who derive their confidence and self belief from within themselves. They are people who need down time for self reflection, have built up significant abilities for analysis, are good at solving problems, are good at listening and giving advice. They are also difficult to shift in their opinions, collapse inwardly when their self belief becomes too damaged, seem negative because they are anticipating problems and hurdles. You find them in IT, finance, Engineering, science and make up the core of people making plans happen in any business. Often they are under valued because they don’t see the need to sell their achievements and given the right circumstances can be quite outgoing because what other people think is not of prime concern.

    My view of an extrovert is that they are people who derive their confidence and self belief from their friends and colleagues. They are people who need to catch up and communicate with friends, have built communication techniques to encourage and build confidence in others, are good at selling both themselves and others,and are usually very positive. They will also tend to surround themselves with sycophants, gloss over issues and problems leaving them to fester, self destruct when many have a negative view of them, hear the positive about themselves without listening to others issues. You will find them in top management, sales and marketing, the arts, politics and retail. Often they are so good at selling themselves that they might be over valued.

    Nobody in my view is one or the other but sits somewhere along a sliding scale. The world needs both and quite often one without the other will not achieve anything. I do agree with Yves though that we are currently in a cycle where extrovert/salesperson is valued above the introvert/craftspersons. Perhaps it is just a normal correction due to women taking a greater part in some areas of society, since its seems to me that women have a tendency towards extrovert-ism and men toward introvert-ism. Gut instinct tells that is wrong though and it has more to do with short termism and money. I always have to wince though when extremes of both come together. You probably guessed by now that I fall into the introvert group, but I have at least made an attempt at seeing the other side of the coin.

    1. Ben Johannson

      I’ve always defined introverts as people who find humans tiring. I, for example, have fine social skills but become exhausted by interaction after a few hours.

      1. Lois

        I’ve always thought of it that extroverts get recharged in social situations / groups and introverts get drained exhausted. That certainly describes me – its not being terrible at group interaction, just exhausted afterward and loving alone time.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      Please re-read the post. I made it clear that the authors focused on individuals who took tests that singled themselves out as neurotic, as in being plagued by anxiety and tending to withdraw. In the paper the authors did not use extrovert v. introvert, they used extrovert v. neurotic. I’m just the messenger.

  3. Harrison Bergeron

    I finally feel vindicated, my decade long contempt(I’m 29) for the overemphasis of selling yourself and being confident etc. is in the daylight. I currently work in financial sales, and am probably closer to ambivert. Some of the best sales persons seem to be style over substance. Extroversion and confidence do not ability make, over time I’ve moved from being he quiet person who does the grunt work to the smiling presenter, not because I’m such a social butterfly but because affecting the personality of un reflective extrovert is highly rewarded.

      1. Obumble

        Don’t be silly. Those are not the result of individual irresponsibility and lack of prudent behavior. All those problems are caused by not enough government. What oyu need is more government. And more taxes, definitely more taxes. That will eliminate those problems.

        1. JGordon

          You are right. Government can solve every problem. Need more fissile material for bombs? No problemo–create an uneconomical industry in nuclear power that incidentally threatens every living thing on this planet, then you have all the plutonium you need to build thousands of nukes. And now, thanks to this wonderful GDP enhancer of nuclear power, there is another thriving industry to clean up the horrifyingly toxic by-products that are pouring into the environment. More spending, more GDP, more win-win for everyone; the Keynesian dream of ever more and bigger government made real.

  4. from Mexico

    Talking optimism and pessimism, how do introverts and extroverts score? This goes back to Yves’ article “The Dark Side of Optimism.”

    Talking egotism and ego-centricism, how do introverts and extroverts score?

    I tend to think of extroverts as being high on optimism, egotism and ego-centricism and introverts low on these qualities. But is that a correct assumption?

    When a civilization’s ruling mythology experiences structural crisis, egotism and ego-centricism are unleashed. Perhaps the poets have expressed this best.

    Here’s John Donne in 1611 when the moral and intellectural underpinnings of feudalism, as well as fedualism itself, were in structural crisis:

    ‘Tis all in peeces, all cohaerance gone;
    All just supply, and all relation:
    Prince, Subject, Father, Sonne, are things forgot,
    For every man alone thinkes he hath got
    To be a Phoenix, and that there can bee
    None of that kinde, of which he is, but hee.

    JOHN DONNE, An Anatomy of the World

    And here’s William Butler Yeats in 1919 when the moral and intellectual underpinnings of Modernism, as well as Modernism itself, first began experiencing structural crisis:

    Things fall apart; the center cannot hold;
    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world…
    The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity;

    For every man alone thinkes he hath got
    To be a Phoenix, and that there can bee
    None of that kinde, of which he is, but hee.

    -WILLIMA BUTLER YEATS, The Second Coming

    1. Lee

      And more recently:

      Advertising signs that con you
      Into thinking you’re the one
      That can do what’s never been done
      That can win what’s never been won
      Meantime life outside goes on
      All around you.

      Bob Dylan, “It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)”

    1. scraping_by

      Unlike the ‘fake it till you make it’ viewpoint. Positive thinkers don’t need no stinkin’ job skills.

  5. bobw

    I remember interviewing for a hardware repair tech job years ago that I was sure I would never get, so I was quite relaxed in the interview. (Counting too many “I”s in that sentence.) Got the job – the man remarked on my “quiet confidence.” That was not confidence, it was resigned pessimism.

    1. Garrett Pace

      Many people get nervous in job interviews, and either become frozen-faced automatons or arm-waving loonies. People that can just sit calmly, smile and look people in the eye have the advantage.

    2. traveler

      Confidence is overrated. Lots of inept bunglers seem to have tons of confidence, in my observation.

  6. Garrett Pace

    For an organization that values the quick kill, pushing a questionable product and little thought of a long-term relationship with a customer, the sort of aggressive extraversion described above would be effective. When these sales-kids show up on my doorstep with their smiles, phoniness and patter, I get the creeps.

    My Granddad was a salesman for Nabisco for many decades. He could be easygoing but was very far from extroverted. Really quiet guy. But he was good at what he did. After he died, a number of clients (ladies all) reached out to my Grandmother and said that they always liked him, mostly because he was polite and didn’t tell dirty jokes.

  7. Jennifer Hill

    Yves, I’ve always been more on the introverted side. People scare me mostly. But that has never ever stopped me. I am to the point in life where I find the extrovert leader types to be annoying, not thoughtful, approval seeking data whores. Yes I feel a certain superiority over them who need constant reinforcement and don’t have the will to act when all the facts point to the best solutions. It’s getting hard to watch them lead our country into the third world.

  8. diptherio

    “…our culture may be extolling (and therefore promoting) traits that aren’t necessarily advantageous, not just for the team, but even the individual.” ~Yves

    There’s the crux of most of our societal problems, if you ask me. I hold secularism at least partially responsible for this. While much was gained by throwing off the old superstitions, moral-relativism also managed to gain a foothold. Once the deity had been pronounced dead, moral philosophers could safely argue for positions that would have been considered heresy in more religious times. “Greed is good” suddenly entered the universe of permissible ideas and sophism made its greatest leap forward since the death of Socrates.

    For all of the constraints that religious morality placed on living and thinking, it also served as a bulwark against the type of theorizing that typifies neo-classical economics today. The conception of society as an agglomeration of atomic individuals endlessly competing with one another was not possible so long as the old myths held sway. The King may have been “appointed by God,” but that at least meant that he was expected to serve something greater than his own self-interest (at the very least, to pay lip-service to his higher obligations). With the death of God, society’s ruling classes could be forthright about their greed, claiming it to be a form of virtue rather than vice. Eventually, the lower classes also adopted this point of view.

    The invention of the steam engine produced a revolution, not merely in industrial techniques, but also and much more significantly in philosophy. Because machines could be made progressively more and more efficient, western man came to believe that men and societies would automatically register a corresponding moral and spiritual improvement. Attention and allegiance came to be paid, not to Eternity, but to the Utopian future. External circumstances came to be regarded as more important than states of mind about external circumstances, and the end of human life was held to be action, with contemplation as a means to that end. These false and, historically, aberrant and heretical doctrines are now systematically taught in our schools and repeated, day in, day out, by those anonymous writers of advertising copy who, more than any other teachers, provide European and American adults with their current philosophy of life. And so effective has been the propaganda that even professing Christians accept the heresy unquestioningly and are quite unconscious of its complete incompatibility with their own or anybody else’s religion.
    ~Aldous Huxley, from the introduction to The Song of God: Bhagavad-Gita, translated by Swami Prabhavananda and Christopher Isherwood

    Our current enthusiasm for all things Eastern and religious (yoga, Buddhism, TM, etc) is, I think, a mostly subconscious reaction against this state of affairs. As I wrote one time,

    We find that the material sciences, which were so useful in freeing us from the bonds of the Church, have now fashioned for us a materialist cage. There is food and water aplenty in the cage, but of meaning we find none. And so the human soul revolts, it looks for an exit from this prison of cold, dead, uncaring matter.

    Having rejected the Church of our forebears along with its wisdom and comfort, we seek these things in other churches, far away; churches we did not grow up in, churches that never shamed us or forced us to conform or to do violence to our intellect. We find what we look for. We look at Buddhism, Hinduism, Sufism, Taoism, and take from them the wisdom and comfort that we need. We don’t look to the rest, to their faulty astronomy, their inscrutable deities. For some reason, for some of us, it seems easier to distinguish the baby from the bath-water at a distance.

    Some in the Church will still cry “heresy!” and some in the Academy will cry “superstition!” but the soul of humanity will go on building itself a home. It must and it will, using whatever tools it can find.

    1. Moneta

      My brain can’t cope with the magical leaps of faith required in Christianism. It deals better with the deterministic aspect of Eastern philosophies.

      Also, I get the sense that Eastern philosophies work better with large populations.

      Since the US could be going from 300M to 500M over the next few decades, perhaps it should get away from individualism if it wants to survive.

  9. Is there something hanging from my nose?

    Presumably the study authors know that extraversion and neuroticism are not either/or. They’re two orthogonal dimensions, in terms of the current psych typology, the Big Five traits:

    – Extraversion
    – Agreeableness
    – Conscientiousness
    – Neuroticism
    – Cognitive openness (“Intellect”)

    So it’s entirely possible to have a neurotic or conscientious extravert (the ultimate nightmare colleague) or a non-neurotic introvert.

    Intellect doesn’t come into it, right, after all, we’re talking about bureaucracies here.

    (Fun fact: if you’re planning to have an affair, look for a paramour who scores as less agreeable and conscientious. They’re more inclined to poach!)

    1. Brick

      Some other criteria might be:

      intuitiveness and whether you tend to make intuitive or strictly fact based decisions.

      empathy and whether you run round like a headless chicken when something bad happens or want to help out. Increasingly I see people with this particular not on the sliding scale but completely switched out.

      adaptability and judgmentalism and whether you have to plan everything and take a full set of clothes on holiday or just sling some stuff in a bag and set off.

  10. Dirk77

    My current boss, dense as ironwood, extols as eternal certainties the need to be “passionate” towards one’s work and “extroverted” when dealing with others. (He’s got an MBA – no surprise.) It is hard not to laugh in his face and I usually think of some Buddhist-like saying to hold me back. But reading a post like this is good too. So thanks.

  11. down2long

    Interesting article Yves, thanks.

    I would have to qualify as an ambivert I guess – I am quite agreeable and sociable, and like many on this page, I then have to go home and “process.” People wear me out, but I do find them interesting.

    Having made my living in many different fields, usually free lance, the most important thing I ever heard (and one of most difficult to implement, because it involves high levels of trust in your product/process/etc., is that “Sales is seventy percent listening, and thiry percent pitching/answering questions.) Whenever I was able to apply that maxim, I did my best “selling.” Since it isn’t actually selling, it’s helping someone “buy.” Big, valuable differences. Plus, the buyer is oh so much comitted if they’ve reached the decision themselves with some white glove facilitation. Butit is a tough assignment for someone who has to “sell” to make a living t to let the sale unfold this way.

    1. anon y'mouse

      you are echoing exactly how i feel about myself: both an ambivert and a non-seller. i think of salesmanship (and administration, come to think) as more ‘facilitation’ of what the individual/group was already desiring to accomplish. if someone has to ‘sell’ something to you, you either don’t need it or really didn’t know what you needed and hadn’t thought enough, or are easily convinced that you need something that you never did before. that’s why my customer-service is more of the research orientated rather than winning someone over to things they –never realized they needed!– method. which is why i always tell people–i am NOT a salesperson! i am a ‘let me find something that will suit your purposes’ person.

      1. diptherio

        Yup, this is the attitude that got me into trouble in my former life as a camera salesman. Some newbie would come in with a wad of cash and want an AE1 or some other professional grade camera. I would proceed to show them why they would actually be happier with a Rebel for a quarter of the price, leaving them money for a bag and another lens to boot. I especially liked selling the second-hand Asahi Pentax K1000s that we had. Inexpensive, well-made, and 100% mechanical, no battery required (the new ones are crap, btw), the perfect beginner model.

        My boss would get livid. I was “down-selling,” apparently. And here I thought I was just providing good customer-service and the expert advice I was hired for having. And he was shocked, simply shocked, that working on commission didn’t do anything to change my attitude or behavior. I knew then that I was never going to make it in sales.

        Capitalist enterprise: screwing over customers and employees for the sake of owners.

        1. Kev

          On the contrary, that’s not “capitalist entrprise” at all. You are apparently cofusing “capitalist entrprise” with “short-sighted business practices”. Your ex-boss is in fact a very poor capitalist, since he is screwing himself out of the likelihood of having repeat customers by mistreating them on the initial sale. True capitalism creates value for all parties in a transaction – something your ex-boss does not seem to understand. Your practices are far more in line with Capitalism than his were.

        2. CB

          Those K1000s were a staple of photog courses for years. I had a Topcon D, myself, and regret getting rid of it.

  12. HS

    The validity of these results is definitely affected by the industry examined. Invariably in science and engineering, whenever I run across an extrovert, I’ve found someone who knows enough to BS their non-technical managers, but is usually inept. I’ve always felt that extroversion was a learned defense mechanism to compensate for a lack of intelligence.

  13. allcoppedout

    I tend to think this is over-individualised rot. You don’t pick individuals for a team without reference to position criteria rather than general personality (itself at least a fiction and probably dubious). Belbin’s team roles is a start.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Do you read management literature or see what various executives and middle managers who are profiled in the press extol? It’s the reverse. Theres’ a weekly column in the NYT, for instance, where various executives and business owners talk about managing, and when they talk about hiring and managing employees, it’s almost without exception pushing the “be positive, be passionate” line, which is code for extroversion. There is a very strong bias towards hiring extroverts for job in large corporations, which is where the pay is higher. And MBA programs groom students for corporate jobs, so they (correctly, since it’s what the companies screen for) reinforce the message.

      1. Lambert Strether

        I have always though that “I am passionate about _____ ” is the most weasel-ish craven self-marketing imaginable. “I cannot heave my heart into my mouth,” as Ophelia said.

  14. craazyman

    If this works, it’ll eventually turn all the undervalued neurotics into overvalued narcissistic extroverts.

    Then what?

      1. craazyman

        that’s what I do, but it’s only a hobby.

        I guess there’s no reason to worry. There’s a new crop of neurotics every year. It usually wears off by the late 30s. By then they’re either totally subjugated or they’ve flamed out. But there’s plenty of years when the getting’s good.

  15. NotTimothyGeithner

    Um, just to be clear, I don’t consider my attempts to avoid shaking hands or touching doors to be neurotic. Its just being sensible.

    1. Foppe

      You do know your immune system actually requires constant training/exposure to keep working, right?

      1. Adrian Monk

        There’s somewhat of a misunderstanding in the common press with regard to that – your immune system simply requires constant exposure to germs, not that you have to actually get sick on a regular basis. You’re going to be constantly exposed to germs of all kinds no matter how germophobically you behave (yeah, I know that’s not a word). Avoiding hands/doorknobs, etc. simply reduces your exposure specifically to huge concentrations of those germs that will make you sick, germs that all your hacking, spewing, coughing co-workers have spread because they were too inconsiderate to stay home when sick since they wanted to save their “sick days” for that trip to the beach.

  16. Gian75

    How comes nobody seems to consider the effects of operating or living in some context?

    Take a Joe/Jane who tends to be more extroverted than introverted (on a theorized continuum); Joe/Jane gets hired in a workplace in which most people are more introverted than extroverted and no other position is available – and Joe/Jane has rent to pay, bills etc. Does operating in such a context have an effect on the behavior? Does conformance instinct and behavior change kick in?

  17. casino implosion

    I bet the INTJ/INTP representation here at NC comment thread is off the charts with respect to the normal distribution in population.

    1. diptherio

      IIRC, I tested as an INTJ in my highschool psych class (the one and only time I’ve done a MBI assessment). Just to refresh my memory, I wikipedia’d it and found this little jem. Oh yeah, I’m definitely an INTJ…

      INTJs apply (often ruthlessly) the criterion “Does it work?” to everything from their own research efforts to the prevailing social norms. This in turn produces an unusual independence of mind, freeing the INTJ from the constraints of authority, convention, or sentiment for its own sake … INTJs are known as the “Systems Builders” of the types, perhaps in part because they possess the unusual trait of combining imagination and reliability. Whatever system an INTJ happens to be working on is for them the equivalent of a moral cause to an INFJ; both perfectionism and disregard for authority come into play. Personal relationships, particularly romantic ones, can be the INTJ’s Achilles heel … This happens in part because many INTJs do not readily grasp the social rituals … Perhaps the most fundamental problem, however, is that INTJs really want people to make sense.

      1. diptherio

        My stomach hurts from laughing…

        finally, I know why I can’t keep a relationship together. It’s not my fault after all…sweet! hahaha

    2. Nathanael

      INTJ most likely. (Caveat, typical of INTJ: I have not taken a *proper* Myers-Briggs test, only cheap imitations.)

      I’m actually pretty close to INFJ on most tests, but I think that’s an artifact of being self-aware enough to know that I, like most people, am more emotion-driven than I want to be or assume myself to be.

      I found out that N and S are completely misnamed. “N” represents internal reasoning and “S” reperesents direct experience, basically. I’ve trained myself to respect S far more than my native instincts would tell me to. So that changes my behavior too.

      I am suspicious of the J/P distinction entirely.

      However, the introvert/extravert distinction? Hoo boy, yes I am an introvert most of the way, I believe it, and that’s not changing

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Oh, no, J/P makes sense, the label is terrible. That’s what you are reacting to.

        It’s really simple. Js like making decisions and Ps hate making decisions. They feel like they are foregoing options.

        A J would rather make a decision and reverse it later than leave something open that needed to be resolved.

    3. Lambert Strether


      Say what you will about the science of it all, when INTJ literary heros are Gandalf the Grey, Horatio Hornblower, and George Smiley… That’s a hit, a palpable hit, even if I don’t identify with everybody listed.

      Adding, twenty years ago I was evenly balanced between T and F, making me even more of an outlier. Now, however, I’ve swung toward T.

  18. proximity1

    “(narrator) A.I.G’s financial products division in London issued 500bn dollars worth of credit default swaps during the bubble, many of for CDOs backed by sub-prime mortgages. The four hundred employees at A.I.G. FP (financial products) made 3.5bn dollars between 2000 and 2007. Joseph Cassano, the head of A.I.G. FP personally made 315 million dollars.

    (in phone conversation/conference call) Joeseph Cassano,

    “(Cassano) It’s hard for us with, and, without being flippant, to even see how a scenario within any kind of realm of reason that would see us losing even one dollar in any of those transactions. (conference call with investors, August, 2007) (narrator) In 2007 A.I.G.’s auditors raised warnings. One of them, Joseph Saint Denis resigned in protest after Cassano repeatedly blocked him from investigating A.I.G. FP’s accounting.”

    (from the documentary film, “Inside Job“, @ 37:33 sec – 38:35)

    Joseph St. Denis, like other conscientious people with audit or other oversight and warning responsibilities, tried to do his job–exercising due concern for dangers of undue financial risks to firm and to investor clients. He was blocked in his efforts and resigned in protest at last.

    Such is the entirely foreseeable fate of any such “neurotics” who’d attempt to bring a reasonable view damping down the tendencies of those others, the “Type A” personalities so often in high management positions, whose behaviors are typically the sort that lead to corporate risk-taking that eventually, unchecked, leads again and again to disaster.

    Dream on. Whistle-blowers get skinned, and dumped, and everywhere, critics are ingored and denounced as unwelcome. Read any internet discussion forum. It’s the same everywhere, over and over. Criticism is unwelcome and the tribal behaviors of group-think mean that conformity and going along is the ever dominant rule and practice.

  19. Kathi Berke

    The neurotic introvert gets what he/she deserves. If you’re a misfit, you deserved to be scorned. There is no place for you in genteel society.

  20. Bridget

    Lots of extroverts are neurotic and lots of introverts are not.

    An INTJ female/non-neurotic.

  21. alex

    Of course neurotics are better. You’re not constantly worried, you don’t understand what’s going on.

  22. alex

    I’d comment on the whole introvert/extrovert thing, except that being in engineering biases my perspective. If you say good morning to a colleague more than one time out of ten, you’re considered an extrovert.

  23. reason

    I must say I find this discussion confusing. I would describe myself as introverted but generally optimistic. I don’t quite understand the distinctions being made.

    1. reason

      I see Bridget already said that – (yes and I would classify myself as a male INTP non-neurotic).

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