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Judging vs. Perceiving Types on the Job

Picture two desks in the same room, separated only by floor space. In one corner, there is the perfectly organized desk, complete with a datebook that is neat with rows of schedules, lists and plans. This is a desk where everything has its place, where work comes first and where big decisions are made. The occupant of this desk is always there on time, with the day's plan of action firmly in place.


In the other corner, there is the desk that looks a little haphazard, with an organization known only to the person who sits there. There are small sticky notes here and there to serve as reminders. At this desk, the options are always open, the creativity is flowing and decisions are carefully weighed for a while before becoming reality. The occupant of this desk is open to anything the day might bring.

The first desk belongs to a person with a judging personality. The other is the desk of someone with a perceiving personality. These personality types seem completely different, but they really can get along--and get ahead--at work or in the classroom. It all boils down to understanding what makes the other tick, and using those differences to an advantage.

'We need to get this settled. Now.'

Those with a judging personality like to get things organized and settled. They thrive on responsibility, pay attention to deadlines and like to play by the rules. When a judger makes a plan, they stick to it, and they make a point of arriving on time. They often have a "work first, play later" attitude. A judger can be very decisive, and prefers closure.

To that end, a judging personality will stick with a project until it is finished, no matter how long it takes. They find comfort in schedules and can get upset or unsettled when a schedule goes awry. Judgers thrive in a structured environment.

'Before we decide, let's see where this road leads.'

A perceiving personality prefers to keep the options open. They are playful and casual types, who prefer to play first and work later. A perceiver prefers less structure. They have plenty of enthusiasm to start projects, though they want the freedom to be spontaneous while doing so. They like flexible plans and believe rules are suggestions, not firm guidelines.

Because they value flexibility and curiosity so highly, perceivers might sometimes find it tough to make firm decisions. They prefer a free-form environment where creativity and nonconformity are welcome and encouraged.

How judgers and perceivers can work in their occupations and in the classroom

In many ways, perceivers could be considered the exact opposite of a judging personality. Unfortunately, the differences in the two ways of approaching work can lead to friction, particularly when working on lengthy projects together.

Though judgers and perceivers often work in the same industries and move in the same circles, judgers tend to prefer more structured work, such as that found in an accounting office, a law firm or other business where the schedule is much the same every day. Perceivers look for jobs that allow creativity and flexibility, such as advertising or going into business for themselves.

In the classroom, perceivers tend to procrastinate until that final moment to work on that paper or study for the test. On the other hand, they might excel in courses that require them to think on their feet and explore all possible solutions to a problem. Judgers want to get the homework done quickly, or in deliberate stages. They work well in situations that allow them to structure their studying, and might enjoy lecture courses more than those with occasional surprises, such as laboratory classes.

At work, though judgers and perceivers may seem to be at odds, they can actually depend upon each other to increase their productivity. The perceiver on the team can prevent the judger from making a hasty decision, requiring them to slow down and examine different ways of thinking. The judger offers a structure and discipline that can keep the perceiver on track and help the whole team focus.

One of the key points both judgers and perceivers can take into account is the way they approach projects. Perceivers love to brainstorm and then start a project, but sometimes lose steam on the way to the finish line. Judgers enjoy picking up an unfinished project and seeing it through. Recognizing the differences and incorporating those mindsets into team projects can make everyone very happy with the final outcome.

Judgers and perceivers might see the world differently, but if they are open to the advantages of those varying points of view, their workplace--and their classrooms--can become much more enjoyable places.