Do What You Are Summary

1-Sentence-Summary: Do What You Are will help you discover your personality type and how it can lead you to a more satisfying career that corresponds to your talents and interests.

Read in: 4 minutes

Favorite quote from the author:

Do What You Are Summary

Audio Summary

Listen to the audio of this summary with a free account*:

Do you remember the last time you wrote with your non-dominant hand? Were you annoyed with the awkwardness of trying to make it work? Or maybe you found yourself embarrassed at the illegible result of your attempt. 

Now compare this exercise to your career. Do you sometimes feel like you are attempting to do work that you know deep down isn’t really aligned with your personality? Or instead, do you despise getting up to go to work every day? If you feel awkward and uncomfortable in your chosen field, then Do What You Are: Discover the Perfect Career for You Through the Secrets of Personality Type by Paul D. Tieger and Barbara Barron-Tieger is exactly what you need. 

This book will help you figure out your personality type according to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). More importantly, you’ll learn how to align your career with your identity to reach your full potential for happiness and success. Once you do that, you can say goodbye to the days of waking up with dread at the thought of another day in the office.

Here are the 3 greatest lessons this book teaches:

  1. Notice the ways you connect with the world to identify your personality type.
  2. Discover your optimal career path by considering your identity and what interests you.
  3. No matter how old you are you can always change your occupation to something more satisfying.

Let’s discover how to use our metaphorical “dominant hand” at work!

If you want to save this summary for later, download the free PDF and read it whenever you want.

Download PDF

Lesson 1: To find your personality type, look at how you interact with everything around you.

The MBTI began with research by Carl Jung in the early 1920s. Nearly two decades later, Katherine Briggs and her daughter Isabel Briggs Myers dug deeper into Jung’s studies and produced this approach. The method focuses on four areas of personality and gives 16 personality types. 

Each preference is indicated by a letter. Combining all of your four inclinations will give you a personality type. Here are the four indicators for personality type:

  • Extraversion (E) and Introversion (I): Extroverts tend to enjoy the company of people, but introverts would rather spend time alone. 
  • Sensing (S) and Intuition (N): Sensors focus on the here and now and what they can physically interact with, while Intuitives trust their gut.
  • Thinking (T) and Feeling (F): Thinkers enjoy analysis that neglects emotion, and Feelers lean toward empathy and compassion.
  • Judging (J) and Perceiving (P): Judgers are organized, while Perceivers prefer flexibility.

Finding your type can seem confusing at first but it’s not so hard. There are multiple tests that you can take online to determine it. I took the questionnaires at 16Personalities and and discovered mine in just a few minutes. Once you uncover your nature, the next step is to figure out how to use it to live life to the fullest.

Lesson 2: Look at the crossover between your identity and what interests you to notice potential careers.

The right job that will make you excited to get up in the morning isn’t just going to land in your lap one day. You need to go searching for it by conducting a job hunt. 

After discovering your personality type you’ll have a better idea of what your strengths and weaknesses are. This list can help you discover potential careers for yourself. If you decide to take the online questionnaires mentioned previously, they’ll outline some options based on your personality type. But don’t just take the information at face value, explore your options.

Look closely at what is most important to you. Examine your interests and anything you feel called to do. A great guide to begin developing your interests and purpose is Angela Duckworth’s Grit. Once you have these and see a few potential careers that may suit you, write each way that you would use your strengths and skills in each of these careers. 

Finish your job hunt by seeking out people who do the work that you are considering. Interview them to discover what they like and dislike about it so you can see how it might suit you or not.

Lesson 3: Adjusting your course can happen at any age.

With all the negative effects of retirement and rising health care costs and life expectancy, it’s no wonder so many are choosing to work later in life. I’ve decided recently that I aim to never retire. Knowing my personality type is an important part of that goal. But I don’t plan on staying the same forever and may enjoy multiple different careers throughout my life.

In youth, most of us discover our Dominant Function or the most prominent part of our personality. As we age, auxiliary and tertiary functions also come into view. As we develop these additional aspects of ourselves, we may feel the need to change careers. Sometimes, though, our transforming natures simply lead to a new hobby. 

Whatever your age, don’t be afraid to begin a new career path. I’ve been working as an engineer for nearly a decade and am now deciding to pivot toward a path that is better suited to my personality. At first, I panicked thinking of all the time that I put into becoming an engineer. I soon realized, however, that with the internet and the support of friends and family, I can utilize the skills and opportunities from my previous work and even continue doing it in small ways.

Do What You Are Review

I enjoyed Do What You Are because I’m in a place right now with my career that I needed it’s advice. However, I’m not convinced that defining your personality in this way is the best idea as it promotes an unhealthy fixed mindset. I do see the merit in aligning your work with your personality type, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that we shouldn’t try new things.

Who would I recommend the Do What You Are summary to?

The 34-year-old accountant who doesn’t like their job anymore, the 61-year-old who is considering starting a new career, and anyone who is searching for work.

Last Updated on October 12, 2022

Rate this book!
This book has an average rating of 3.6 based on 5 votes.

Luke Rowley

With over 450 summaries that he contributed to Four Minute Books, first as a part-time writer, then as our full-time Managing Editor until late 2021, Luke is our second-most prolific writer. He's also a professional, licensed engineer, working in the solar industry. Next to his day job, he also runs Goal Engineering, a website dedicated to achieving your goals with a unique, 4-4-4 system. Luke is also a husband, father, 75 Hard finisher, and lover of the outdoors. He lives in Utah with his wife and 3 kids.