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Another millennial doing the Myers-Briggs personality test? Yeah, I guess.

I'm 28 and I've been working with a Aerospace Engineering DoD contractor for 8 years. I started as an Accounting Clerk, then Buyer, then Subcontract/Exports, and now a Contract Analyst. I do proposal work, negotiations, export compliance, T&Cs, research/analysis, and any other misc thing the CEO asks for. I work for a small company who has invested a lot in my training, believes in me, and given it's size has given me experience in many different areas of business....but given it's size, I have not specialized how one might in a bigger company. I feel like that's a good thing but feelings arent facts. They've never had a contracts manager, what is not taught in classes I've had to research and find out myself. I think I've done a fairly good job but again, without other experience I'm not sure of it. I compare myself to our controller who is an Accountant not a contracts manager and to random things online like this (which I answered correctly).

I love DoD, I love Aerospace, and I love contracts. Every part of what I do is complex and my favorite part of my job is research, analysis, and writing. I know I can do well at this company but I don't know what I'm missing (career wise). Sometimes we don't even know what we don't know and I'm looking for those pieces of information I'm not even aware I'm missing. What should my career path be? If there is no guidance for me at this company but I'm able to advance, how can I find out what my gaps are and how do I fill them? Does everyone go through this no matter where they are and is it just up to them to keep going until others decide their experts at contracts/FAR/management? What are career end goals and how does one go towards them? What are signs career choices are coming?

Does anyone else ask themselves these types of questions? I feel like they do but I don't see it online. Is it a little too millennial? Is it too personal for this board? What is the right forum? How do you know what you're suited for and how you drive your career in that direction? Is it a conscious effort, I feel like it should be.

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I would like to offer some advice, which I feel is what you are looking for. I notice the subject of this forum is "Contracting Workforce" and if you can't come here to ask for advice and share how you feel about 'contracting' - then I think the forum should be deleted.

Only you can decide what your career path should be and most companies have a career path guide that you can consult. If your company doesn't have one, then ask your supervisor and leaders what their plan is for you. It sounds like you are working for someone who believes in you since they have invested a lot of time in your training. I caution you to think long and hard before going somewhere else, no matter what is promised, because not a lot of companies are going to invest time in your training.

You can join some professional organizations such as NCMA to help you figure out what you're missing. Talk with other people in your network to see how they feel about their career progression. Don't forget the older generation and if you're close enough, just point blank ask them, what are your regrets? Ask them for any advice they have for you. Hindsight is 20/20. If you read up on the contracting workforce, a lot of it is at retiring age and the next few years there will be many exiting the career field, which is going to cause a gap that the millenials can fill. I feel that millenials need to be mentored and the passion for contracting shared with them. I have worked with many millenials (may even be considered one myself) and I have observed that many millenials are not excited about contracting because they think it's an exercise in paper pushing. If you like contracting and enjoy it, which it sounds like you may, then you can decide if you want to keep doing it. Only you know what you're suited for.

I would like to urge you to get your degree. I realize that you may not feel that you learn anything from it;but, it gives you that piece of paper which is going to open doors for you. If you ever decide to pursue a civil service contracting career, a degree will be necessary. A bachelor's degree is not enough anymore, a master's is necessary to make you competitive.

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Leo1102 - I thought it might be personal but I have no one to discuss this with.

Sandi78 - Thank you for your thoughtful response. Yes, I plan on finishing the degree and the prospect of an MBA or JD are quite exciting and the only reason I'm motivated in that department. I'm very appreciative of both my supervisor and the company I work for, leaving my job would be a tough choice since I love it. I'm a data gatherer so I suppose I wanted more data and more viewpoints about people and how careers crafted. My biggest takeaway from your response is to find people in the industry so I'll have to muster up some courage and start speaking to people at NCMA meetings.

Thank you for responding on such an odd series of questions.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Dump the addiction to Myers-Briggs. It's based on junk science. Even it's inventor, Carl Jung, admitted it. Here's a good explainer with plenty of links. http://www.theguardian.com/science/brain-flapping/2013/mar/19/myers-briggs-test-unscientific

There's no addiction here. I think you're trying to comment on the fact that I identify with one of the labels. Even if it's based on junk science that would mean that it works much like a horoscope. The people who identify with the labels do so because they find truth in the distinctions and their descriptions rather than a fervent belief that the stars dictate something about your personality. I identify with both INTP and at times INTJ which doesn't mean that I approve of their science methods more than the unique ways they can describe something about myself. I could also say I identify with Spock as a half human half vulcan or The Green Lantern Corps for their ability to harness the energy of willpower.

Would I change my personality or accept a suggestion based solely on the "INTP" label rather than my personal situation? No.

Do I find suspect that a 150 question test can have hidden insight into myself? Yes.

Do I think people can be categorized into only 16 categories? No.

Is this framework a good place to start when you're in your early 20s and starting to get to know yourself? Yes, I believe its a decent place to start. Supplemented with the ability to google and find the flaws with the labels, adding a healthy dose of philosophy, ethics, and self reflection, it's a decent place.

More importantly, the INTP label isnt the point of my post at all. My broader questions were

How do people build and craft careers? Is it happenstance or carefully calculated steps?

Given that I identify with the label in the manner described, is there any advice one can offer on career building/crafting?

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Guest Vern Edwards
How do people build and craft careers? Is it happenstance or carefully calculated steps?

It's partly calculation and partly happenstance. It's often calculation upon happenstance.

1. Study. Study until the day you retire or die, whichever comes first. Know your field inside and out. Aim to not let anyone know more about it than you. (Not possible in every topic, but it's worth a try.)

2. Write and publish. Writing is a form of thinking. If you can't write, maybe you can't think, or work. Speak publicly on occasion (but not too often). That's how people know you know your field inside and out. And don't write crap about the latest fads or policy propaganda. Write serious and useful stuff.

3. Do good work.

4. Change jobs every two years or so (unless you're working on a really big project that will make or break you and that will take longer than two years to complete).

5. Cultivate good relationships with the leaders by noting their objectives and doing all that you can to see that they get what they want. Be the go-to problem solver. The one who makes things happen.

6. Emulate Bathsheba Everdene: "I shall be up before you are awake; I shall be afield before you are up; and I shall have breakfasted before you are afield. In short, I shall astonish you all."

7. Don't complain. If you don't like your work, or don't like the place where you work, or don't like the person you work for, then leave.

8. Be loyal, even to a bad boss, but not to a crook.

9. Don't waste time while you're young.

10. ... Who says there have to be 10?

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I apologize for my earlier response. As indicated by the other contributors who so generously provided very helpful guidance and input to your initial inquiry, this is the forum in which discussions of acquisition careers are appropriate. Again, I apologize.

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