So, lately, I’ve been having a blast doing all sorts of things that I’ve always wanted to do — One of them, is to get around to networking with more early financial freedom fighters. Just as I expected, the experience so far has been far more rewarding than even I could have possibly imagined. No, you’re never going to meet someone who agrees 100% with everything you say, but really, what would be the point (fun) in that, anyway? That would make for some awfully boring and dull conversations…
Instead, what I’ve found is that although there are many points that we dispute, for the most part, by and large, the small sample of folks who I have met in person and/or interviewed, all seem to exhibit a certain personality trait. I’ve got no “real research” to back up any of my claims, but just as was observed over at the Early Retirement Extreme (ERE) forums, I’m running into a lot of self-described introverts.
Hey, I’m introverted myself, so I’m definitely not hating here… I just find it kind of fascinating that the whole concept of early financial independence seems to resonate most with this crowd. If memory serves me right, the most prevalent personality type for the early FI crowd is INTJ (introversion, intuition, thinking, judgement), on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI).
According to Wikipedia:
INTJ (introversion, intuition, thinking, judgment) is an abbreviation used in the publications of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) to refer to one of the sixteen psychological types. INTJs are one of the rarest of the sixteen psychological types and account for approximately 1-2% of the population.
I have taken some “personality type” tests online before, and although I never registered back as INTJ, I was I…. something. I forget exactly.
Perhaps, it’s because the stereotypical introvert is more comfortable working alone, on their own, as opposed to feeling like they really need to be a part of some kind of “team” environment? Maybe. For myself, it’s not that I don’t like working with other people (far from it), but it’s just that I hate being told what to do and when to do it… Really, it’s the lack of autonomy to go at my own pace that I feel hinders me most when I’m working in a Corporate America type of environment. And I don’t think that has anything to do with whether someone is introverted or extroverted…
So far, I’m finding the “autonomy” trait to be very evident in many early financial freedom fighters who I’ve spoken to. For instance, I used to feel very strongly that my time commitment to work each day should have been based on my own performance and productivity; if I got what needed to be done on time or ahead of schedule, I should have been allowed to walk out the door. Because as I’m sure you’ll agree, on many, many, many, many instances, we all instinctively volunteer to work overtime hours when we fall behind on our tasks or need more time to get something done. Trust me, it’s seldom a two-way street when you’re working for corporate… Of course, I never got what I wanted (such is life sometimes), so I used to play basketball around 2-3 PM to kill the time… But as far as my bosses were concerned, I was being a whole lot more productive doing that as opposed to leaving early, which would have set a “bad precedent” for everyone else.
Further, I really dislike what I would deem to be “useless chatter”, which is most commonly found in your weekly staff meetings, all-hands meetings, and really, any type of meeting where middle/upper management are involved in. Once upon a time, I had an older boss who was a complete extrovert, and he literally lived and breathed for these type of meetings — He was not only an eloquent speaker, but he was at his best when the lights and cameras were shining on him. I always dreaded that stuff… For me, it was always a “smoke and mirrors” show, trying to impress other people who I really didn’t care for… Instead, I typically delivered my best work when nobody was watching and I was free to innovate without feeling the pressures of working on a time crunch.
Again, just an observation, and I’m not trying to form any definitive conclusions here… I’m positive there are many extroverts who are desperate for early FI as well… Just a part of me thinks that if you’re the type of person who craves being around other people all the time, then maybe sticking it out in the corporate workplace for a few more years would be more bearable than for someone like me who felt like their life was literally being drained away in those staff meetings…
Anyway, just some thoughts for this morning.
“What are some of YOUR personality traits? Are you introverted or extroverted? Do you think that plays a role in your quest for early FI?”
Please share, as I would love to hear your thoughts!