As an adolescent, Chad was an endless source of frustration to his Judger parents. He was into everything—learned to play the guitar, abandoned it for drums; started a rock band but soon gave that up; cultivated a ponytail and took up tae kwon do but found that two of the five central principles or tenets (perseverance and self-control) were not among his current strengths; cut off the ponytail and switched to tai bo, which seemed to be less disciplined and more fun. Running through all these changes was a passion for video and DVD games that was a constant in his changing life. He rarely played alone for any length of time, however, finding that he needed live competitors to make the games really exciting.
Getting Chad up in the mornings and off to school was a daily agony for the family. His grades in high school varied from As with glowing comments on his brilliant analytical abilities in a few classes, through Cs in many of them and on to a few Ds and Fs in those he particularly hated. By his senior year, a college future looked bleak, but he took the SATs anyhow and aced them. As a result, he gained a provisional admission to a very good university. During the first year, it looked like he might just repeat his high school pattern all over again and be out on his ear. Fortunately, he took an introductory course in computer programming, where a very astute professor saw a tremendous potential in him, and brought him in to talk about his future. He soon switched to a major in this area. In his sophomore year, he became part of a student group that got together to brainstorm software game ideas. Slowly he and began to admit to himself that there was some point in working more diligently. It would be nice to say that he turned it all around and graduated with highest honors, but that wouldn’t be Chad. He did superbly in his courses in programming and software design, and kept the rest of his grades up enough to stay enrolled, but not much more than that.
By his senior year he had become something of a leader in his brainstorming group and succeeded in getting them involved in a work-study program with a commercial software company. The company brought them in purely to generate new game ideas of all kinds. He and the group kept that up until graduation. At that time, he accepted a full-time job with the company, designing war games. To his great disappointment, the offer did not include his friends. This immediately reduced the appeal by about 70%, but it still looked like more fun than any other job he could imagine.
His work pattern soon developed in typical Chad fashion. He would throw himself into a new project with great energy and fascination, often working 20-hour days. When the project reached a critical point, however—basically when it no longer required great imagination, but still needed diligent work—he would lose interest and begin to drag his way to the end. This didn’t escape the notice of his immediate supervisor, who had many heated discussions with him on this issue. Unfortunately for Chad, his supervisor was good at everything Chad was not—staying on schedule, getting things done in a timely manner, keeping others filled in with progress reports. Chances are, he was not as talented in Chad’s best areas—ingenuity and creativity—since he had chosen the supervisory post, but that happens in life. And so he attempted to fire Chad.
As it happened, Chad’s enthusiasm and good humor and his very real talents had won him many friends in the company. After rumbling and grumbling about his firing had spread like a computer virus, a vice president swooped down and saved him, placing him in a different division. A wiser boss in this area bartered with him—he could have more junior people finish out the scut work on his projects if he would barrel through to an agreed-upon point in each one. Chad was no fool, and knew that his work style was a poor fit for most of the workaday world so he accepted this proposal happily. For the most part, he met his side of the deal (though still in bursts and spurts) and brought some very successful and lucrative projects to completion. Recently, the company moved him into a semi-executive position in which his sole responsibility is working with new ideas long enough to bring them into the development stage. They allowed him to hire two of his old student pals for this work, so the three of them spend amazingly happy days spinning out ideas and enjoying one another’s company. This seems close to perfection, and for the present, he is content. And yet—there are moments when one new project begins to feel too much like another and he wonders if there are other worlds to conquer.
At 30, Chad has not yet married. He has had several passionate love affairs, but as they settle into a more calm and peaceful stage, his interest fades a bit. Eventually the two either drift apart or he falls for someone new and breaks it off. It may take a woman who is as changeable as the wind to hold Chad’s attention!
A talented person like Chad is fortunate, in that others will make considerable accommodations to his lifestyle in return for what he can do. An ENTP with less to offer in abilities may find it difficult to find a good way to be both productive and happy. Telling the ENTP that he or she should not be like this is not the answer. Young ENTPs need to understand both their natural preferences and the fact that much of the world does not operate their way. They need to look hard for a line of work that will allow them the freedom to move from one interesting project to another. Writers and journalists often have this opportunity, as do politicians, business people who specialize in starting up new enterprises, and other similar areas. At the same time, they need to learn a certain amount of self-discipline (they don’t need to learn to like it or praise it) in order to fit in a little with the rest of the world.
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