Being an INTP in the Military

When I first got out of the military, I was able to do a Myers-Brigg test to see where I fit on the 16 personalities.  I’m an INTP, which is probably the smallest percentage out of all the personalities.  But when I saw the results of that test, I realized how true they were.

Among other things, I found the Army to be very toxic to creativity.  I did not do a lot of writing when I was in, though I had purchased a computer.  Part of the problem was that I did live in the barracks, and it’s hard having to be in the room and wondering if someone was going to interrupt me for work.  I was the only person in my platoon who lived in the barracks, and I often got tagged when one of the other platoons said, “Sorry, we can’t do this.”

But everything was also very structured, rigidly so.  I did the training schedule every week, and we mapped out each day, hour by hour and followed that schedule.  If we were going to a training site at 1000, that’s where we were.

And no one liked messy of any kind.

I’m messy when I work.   Messy, but not disorganized.  It’s just a part of my process.  Not like a coworker’s desk that I visited a few weeks ago that scared me.  I thought if we had an earthquake, he might actually be in danger!

My squad leader always fussed at me because of my desk.  At my second duty station, there was a sergeant who would go behind me and straighten up to his standards.

Then there was my room in the barracks.  It always had to be ready for inspection at any time.  There were weird rules like if you had a single magazine, you couldn’t have it sitting on the desk. It had to be put in a drawer.  Um, I read library books.  What was I supposed to do with them?

So even when I went “home” at the end of the day, I couldn’t really be me, and me is important is being creative.

When I got out, it was like all those years of being forced to be so neat exploded, and I got really disorganized and messy.  It took a while to rally all that back in to a more normal state.

But because of all this, I always thought I was terribly disorganized.  I was completely shocked when a co-writer admired how organized I was.

Sometimes things are not always what they seem!