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I saw Persona on HBO recently, a riveting and enlightening documentary about how personality tests are used by corporations with occasional dire results, leading to probable dystopian implications. Here is yet another example of management’s attempts to categorize and control the populace.

I do like personality tests in general. Early in my career I was tasked with administering a few tests as part of a psychological evaluation for new clients at the program where I worked. I was not tasked with interpretation but curious how my thought stacked up with the assessor when the report was released.

I am a former INFP, now firmly placed in the INFJ zone. I relate well with others who are my type, and find the description quite accurate. The film delves into the Myer Briggs Inventory and how it was developed. The history is odd yet interesting. We now live in a culture that resists classification and as an astrologer I have a complicated reaction. While I think there is danger in putting people in boxes that restrict individual creativity and development, learning about one’s tendencies and preferences can be incredibly empowering.

I have taken a few of these tests online recently as part of the job application process. Usually they are followed up by interest by an employer, but sometimes I hear crickets. While there could be many reasons behind a lack of response, this film alerted me to how alarming it is to use these assessments ( off label) as they do not predict success in the workplace. What they can do is prevent people from finding jobs by creating profiles of acceptable and unacceptable employees. The book Brave New World comes to mind, where society is constructed around different classes of people who are forced to work in certain jobs and associate only with their “own kind. ” Eugenics is not pretty and it is showing up more and more in our 21st century zeitgeist. The film focuses on a young man who discovered he was not considered for a job that was similar to ones he held in the past because he was red-flagged by a personality assessment. He had bipolar disorder and he thought that by answering honestly he was being discriminated against for having a mental health disorder. He eventually committed suicide.

The gap between business and everyone else continues to widen and the ability to live a productive abundant life becomes more difficult in the process. I do not have the answers but many questions do come to mind.

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