In defense of the INTJ

For those of you familiar with Meyers-Briggs personality typing, when you hear INTJ, you think “emotionless, misanthropic perfectionist with no social skills who is really good at math or science research.”

It’s a pretty shallow misunderstanding of the type.

It is true that the INTJ does not suffer fools gladly, genuinely is an introvert, so needs that alone time to recharge, is an intuitive thinker who gathers knowledge systems, and is highly unlikely to be the life of the party.  But we are human. (In fact, it is invariable that every INTJ I know has a terrible temper, though usually strongly leashed).

It’s the knowledge systems part that people get wrong.  I was talking about the whole Meyers Briggs thing to someone once.  I have a job opening a gym a couple of mornings a week.  I’m there at five in the morning, and it’s my job to check people into the gym, sign people up for memberships, generally helping them and doing my best to help them have a pleasant experience so that they’ll keep on coming back.  I’m cheerful.  I make a note of personal details as best I can.  I do my best to remember names.  I pay attention and am helpful.  I try to be playful and fun.  And I chat with members…

I mentioned being an INTJ.  After the protest of “You’re not an introvert!”* we were able to have an actual discussion about the perception of the INTJ v. a very serious reality of the type.

Anyone would agree an INTJ is very good at learning necessary skills.  In fact, I doubt there is any type in existence more notorious for it.  So, social skills?  They’re skills.  You can learn them.

Many of us do gravitate to professions in which social skills are not a big deal, so we don’t develop them.  But not all of us do.  Do you think Thomas Jefferson, that quintessential INTJ, had the political career he had with lousy social skills?  Oh, I doubt he was any Bill Clinton, but friends, you can’t become politically powerful without social skills. It’s a flat-out impossibility. You have to be able to create a cadre of people who trust you and are allied with you, people who trust your leadership.

So, look at your INTJ.  Now back to me…

Between the gym job and the fact I am a teacher means that to be effective at my jobs, cheerfulness, amiability, and the ability to help people feel happy and engaged are necessary skills.  I have to be able to spot a confused face, an embarrassed face, excited body language and so on. Otherwise, I could NOT DO MY JOB.

What’s core to an INTJ?  Learning the skills necessary to accomplish the goal.

Social skills count.  They really do.  That means we can and will smile and be amiable when the situation calls for it.  (Though after a whole day of it, yes, an isolation chamber starts looking attractive).

Stop selling us short!

*If someone only knows me professionally, I can almost count on that comment if a discussion of type comes up.


Apparently Ann Coulter wants to raise the voting age.  She doesn’t specify to what, but just that she thinks 18 year olds aren’t grown-ups, so shouldn’t vote.  Then she goes on with an idiotic strawman of allowing a ten year old to vote as the logical conclusion.

Here’s my take on it:  If you’re an adult at 18, that means adult. You’re allowed to marry without permission, enter a contract without permission (such as a credit card), join the military without permission and hang for murder.  Yes, by damn you oughta be able to have a beer and cast a vote if it so strikes your fancy.

If someone cannot be reasonably expected to be an adult at 18, well and good.  You can’t get credit.  You’re not allowed to marry.  You’re certainly not military material nor should you vote.  Fine.  We can change the law and raise the age of majority to some other age.  I’m fine with 18 or another age as long as it means ADULT, not this quasi-child status you hold between 18 and 21.  I think it totally muddies the waters about what it means to be an adult in the first place.

This is a fish or cut bait thing.   I’m sure Ms. Coulter is all for that stupid child of whom she is so contemptuous toting a rifle, or doing one of the many highly-skilled, dangerous and underpaid jobs that abound in the military.  She just wants ’em to shut up and work for her with little say in their lives, and not to get drunk where it’ll offend her precious eyes.

It’s total bull.

Do people make more intelligent decisions in their 40s than they do in their late teens?  Good Lord, I’d hope so!  I hope I’ll be wiser when I’m 60 than I am now, too.

I know I’ve been Johnny One-Note on the subject of adulthood for awhile, but I’ve got a person living with me who is going to be an adult in two and a half years.  His training is my responsibility, and I’m moving Heaven and Earth to make sure he’s ready to take care of himself and make decisions for himself.  That’s no damn joke.

Will he screw up?  Yep.  He simply won’t have the Life Experience of someone 25 years older than he is.  But he won’t be unprepared to face those mistakes, which is probably 3/4 of being a grown-up.

Ann Coulter can stick it up her ass, though.  If my son isn’t old enough to vote at 18, he sure as hell isn’t old enough to decide whether or not he wants to go to boot camp, marry or any of the other hundreds of decisions adults make.

The Cooks Source Fiasco

A woman wrote an article for a website. Some  years later, a friend of hers emailed her to congratulate her on “breaking into print” and to ask for tips.  Confused, the author asked when she’d done so, only to find that an article she released on the internet was reprinted in an advertising-carrying (meaning it was to make money) small-circulation magazine with her byline, but without permission or payment.   The woman objected to her material being used, and asked for three things, an apology on the Cooks Source Facebook page, an apology printed in the magazine and a fair price for the article ($130) to be donated to a well-known school of journalism.

She got this reply from Judith Griggs, editor of Cooks Source:

“Yes Monica, I have been doing this for 3 decades, having been an editor at The Voice, Housitonic Home and Connecticut Woman Magazine. I do know about copyright laws. It was “my bad” indeed, and, as the magazine is put together in long sessions, tired eyes and minds somethings forget to do these things.

But honestly Monica, the web is considered “public domain” and you should be happy we just didn’t “lift” your whole article and put someone else’s name on it! It happens a lot, clearly more than you are aware of, especially on college campuses, and the workplace. If you took offence and are unhappy, I am sorry, but you as a professional should know that the article we used written by you was in very bad need of editing, and is much better now than was originally. Now it will work well for your portfolio. For that reason, I have a bit of a difficult time with your requests for monetary gain, albeit for such a fine (and very wealthy!) institution. We put some time into rewrites, you should compensate me! I never charge young writers for advice or rewriting poorly written pieces, and have many who write for me… ALWAYS for free!”[1]

When the author reported this on her blog, the arrogance of the comment caught quite a few people’s attention, including a writer named Neil Gaiman, who tweeted about it to his hoard of followers.  To say reaction exploded would be something of an understatement.  As of this writing, the LA Times , NPRThe Washington Post, and several other news sources have carried the story in their online publications. As reputable news sources who do have an interest in online copyright issues, they may have snarked a bit at the editor’s arrogance and her appalling lack of understanding of copyright, but other than that, carried it as more or less straight news.

But it is the backlash on Facebook has proved to be appalling.  Don’t get me wrong. I’m a writer.  Letting someone know that they’re wrong about their understanding of intellectual property laws as they pertain to the Internet[2] is fine.  Calling someone on their arrogance is also fine.   Checking to see if they’ve pulled the stunt before[3] is also fine.

What’s not fine is the name-calling and harassment.  In my strong opinion, that crosses the line into bullying, and I’m not cool with that.  Personal attacks are foolish.  They’re not going to change behavior, but will only get that woman’s back up.  I don’t think anyone sensible really wants anything but an honest resolution to the situation.

When you want to join in cyber-activism, leave the potty mouth at home.  Call the person on what they did.  Don’t sweat what they are.  It’s not relevant and spins things out of control.  Stick to facts.

There is some speculation that Judith Griggs might have honestly thought for real that all material online is in the public domain.  If so, she doesn’t know enough about her profession to justify the sort of high horse response that she gave the author of the original piece.   I do doubt, at least in part, the veracity of her claims of experience.   I’ve only been a paid writer for a handful of years and I know the law on copyright better than she does.  There was no real excuse for that arrogant and wildly inaccurate lecture.


[2] Basically, your work is copyrighted from the moment it hits the word processor.  Defending it is often problematic and expensive, but the law recognizes ownership of your own work, whether for print or for online publication.

[3] She has.  Paula Deen, NPR, Martha Stewart and Disney also have had work of theirs copied in her mag.  Whether or not she bothered to get permission, I do not know, though I can guess…  I do know that Paula Deen has referred the matter to her legal department.