Top 10 Enneagram Type 4 careersCareers to seek
- Interior Designer
- Life Coach
Not sure what Enneagram type you are? Take our quick free test to discover your Enneagram type and learn more about what it means.
A Type 4 can often struggle in their work, due to their desire to participate in work to which they can ascribe deeper purpose, making daily tasks feel uninteresting. Their natural introversion, push/pull method of relating, and pursuit of an intuitively-known (i.e. inexpressible) originality can leave team members confused or frustrated, particularly if the Four is in a leadership role. However, when healthy and participating in work which they find meaningful, few people will work as tirelessly or will produce as creative work as a Type 4. Learn more about Enneagram Type 4 careers and how to succeed at work as Enneagram Type 4.
Type Fours can succeed in both formal and informal settings, provided they find meaning in their work and are recognized for their special contribution. The Four's core struggle is with envy, manifesting as competitiveness. Unhealthy Fours find it difficult to be “one of a group” of talented people, and often see compliments given to others as a personal slight.
Healthy Fours can ascribe meaning to mundane work, elevating an entire team's passion and originality.
Fours follow their passion and struggle to live in the present. In work, this means they find difficulty completing daily tasks and either feel nostalgic for past work, or look to find something new, meaningful, and exciting. However, when healthy and able to ascribe meaning to their work (especially if they feel valued for their unique talents and insight), a Four can elevate the mundane for an entire team, producing works of true originality and genius.
Fours find their passions often lead them into work that is creative in nature—often, though not necessarily, artistic—allowing for individual contributions to be highlighted. Deeply connected to their own emotional landscape, Fours also are found in helping professions, where their internal insights can assist others struggling to give words to their experiences and feelings.
Type Fours can function well on teams when their own unique contributions and insights are recognized. They may feel superfluous or envious of teammates if they come to feel “lost” in the crowd. However, when feeling appreciated and vital, the healthy Four can elevate the work experience for an entire team, inspiring everyone through their pursuit of beauty and deep meaning.
Fours, particularly when they are unhealthy, relate through a push/pull method: keeping others at a distance through their inner focus (often out deep-seated fears of unworthiness), they will seem aloof until they turn, drawing friends, lovers, and co-workers in, making them feel unique to be singled out—only to turn inward again. This can create a difficult team environment, as colleagues may not know where they stand; this is particularly frustrating when the Four is in a position of leadership.
Fours often work best in work environments with a built in cycle of intense solitary work, punctuated by bursts of exciting, creative teamwork.
Type Fours often work best when the work itself necessitates times of intense, solitary work, followed by bursts of exciting, creative team-work. This is why this type often excels in an “in residence” role (e.g. “artist,” “philosopher,” “lecturer,” in residence).
Type 4 respond best to managerial styles that actively recognize individual contributions and creativity. If not praised for quality work, or not allowed to put a unique spin on tasks and projects, Fours will feel stifled or unnecessary. A manager overseeing a Four should expect their employee to ask the deeper purpose of their work, and will lose credibility for this type if the answer is not thoughtful—or especially if it appears the manager has never considered this before. Fours will display deep loyalty to companies and managers whom they believe to be connected and driving toward this deeper purpose.
Fours will often step away to work alone, but, if they believe their task is meaningful, will return with a product often above and beyond the original requirements—they will be hoping for recognition for this extra effort and creativity.
Type Fours often struggle with envy when others are praised, and so managers must be willing to 1) shut down biting or caustic remarks from an envious Four, and also to 2) call out that Four's contributions.
Type Fours care deeply to understand and communicate their work's greater purpose and wish to be recognized for their creativity and unique contributions, both from and as managers.
As managers, Type Fours will constantly be seeking to discover and then communicate the deeper meaning for their work. As such, they can be inspiring to work under when this is conveyed with the authenticity, clarity, and originality of which they are capable. However, their push/pull method of relating is frustrating for colleagues, who will often be unable to know where they stand with their Type 4 manager.
Rules and procedure are often of secondary importance to the Four, and so they will often manage a less formal or structured environment, which can lead to outside the box results, or disarray, depending on the work, team, and health of the manager. Fours function well as “ideators” and vision casters, bringing new and previously unconsidered angles to their work; though this too can result in disarray if they attempt to change course mid-project.
Figure 1: Most popular employment sector for Enneagram Type 4
Results from our self-report survey on career choices for Type 4s. By surveying Type 4s in existing jobs we gain a suggestion of which careers this type is most suited to.
What this chart shows
The most popular career sector for Type 4s from our survey was 'Finance - Other'. When we compare this to how all types responded, we see there is a higher than average proportion of Type 4s in sectors such as 'Finance - Other', 'Technology - Software', 'Education', and 'Automotive/Aerospace' for example. There is a lower than average proportion of Type 4s in sectors such as 'Manufacturing', 'Finance - Investment Banking', and 'Telecommunications' for example.Notes:
So far we've broken down the structures and environments that suit Type Fours, but you may be thinking 'what kind of job should the Enneagram Type 4 do?'. Well, there are certain careers that are better suited to the traits and behaviors of a Type 4. Here we will list the best and the worst careers for Type Fours.
Note: These career role recommendations are based on what is the best fit for a Type Four. However, this list is not exhaustive, and Fours can be successful and content in work including more mundane, detail-oriented tasks depending on their individual health, their managers, and their team.
University of Chichester, Advanced Applied Psychology
Chloe Yarwood, MSc in Advanced Applied Psychology from University of Chichester. Specialist in personality type theory and developing valid personality questionnaires.