Enneagram Type 1, the Reformer: Best and Worst Careers

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AnnaMarie Houlis
AnnaMarie Houlis4.87k
Journalist & travel blogger
Are you wondering about what types of careers are best for you, based on your Enneagram test results? If you're a Type 1, these are the best Enneagram type 1 careers (and the worst!).

What is an Enneagram personality type?

First things first, Enneagram tests are similar to the classic Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) test. Essentially, an Enneagram helps you find the specific traits that make up your personality type. 
According to the Enneagram Institute, there are nine Enneagram types and “it is common to find a little of yourself in all nine of the types, although one of them should stand out as being closest to yourself." The one that stands out is "your basic personality type.” 
The nine Enneagram types include the following:
  1. The Reformer — the rational and idealistic type
  2. The Helper — the caring and interpersonal type
  3. The Achiever (sometimes referred to as the Motivator) — the success-oriented and pragmatic type
  4. The Individualist (sometimes referred to as the Artist) — the sensitive and withdrawn type
  5. The Investigator (sometimes referred to as the Thinker) — the intense and cerebral type
  6. The Loyalist (sometimes referred to as the Skeptic) — the committed and security-oriented type
  7. The Enthusiast (sometimes referred to as the Generalist) — the extroverted and spontaneous type
  8. The Challenger (sometimes referred to as the Leader) — the powerful and dominating type
  9. The Peacemaker — the easygoing and self-effacing type
That said, you can also have a wing type. "Usually one has characteristics of one of the types that lie adjacent to one's own that are more prominent — this is called the wing," according to Electric Energies. "So someone who is a type 5, might have a 4 wing or a 6 wing. This may be abbreviated to '5w4' and '5w6.' If one doesn't have a dominant wing, it is said that the wings are balanced."

What is the Enneagram type 1 personality?

Type 1, the Reformer, is "the rational, idealistic type" that is "principled, purposeful, self-controlled and perfectionistic," according to the Enneagram Institute. "Ones are conscientious and ethical, with a strong sense of right and wrong. They are teachers, crusaders and advocates for change: always striving to improve things, but afraid of making a mistake. Well-organized, orderly and fastidious, they try to maintain high standards but can slip into being critical and perfectionistic. They typically have problems with resentment and impatience."
Here’s what you should know about an Enneagram type 1 personality in a nutshell:
  • Their basic fears include being corrupt or evil and defective.
  • Their basic desires include being good, having integrity and being balanced.
  • Their key motivations are to be right and strive higher to improve all aspects of their lives. Likewise, they work to be consistent with their ideals and to justify those ideals (and themselves).
Some classic examples of type 1 personalities include Confucius, Plato, Joan of Arc, Gandhi, Pope John Paul II, Nelson Mandela, Kate Middleton, Michelle Obama, Al Gore, Hilary Clinton, Tina Fey, Katherine Hepburn, Meryl Streep, Harrison Ford and more.
Type 1 personalities are dubbed reformers because, "ones have a 'sense of mission' that leads them to want to improve the world in various ways, using whatever degree of influence they have. They strive to overcome adversity — particularly moral adversity — so that the human spirit can shine through and make a difference," according to the Enneagram Institute. "They strive after 'higher values,' even at the cost of great personal sacrifice."

What are the characteristics of a type 1?

Here are some characteristics of a type 1 personality.

1. Rational

Type 1 personalities are very rational in their actions who tend to proceed only on logic and objective truth. They're reasonable because of their ability to rationalize, which is certainly an attractive quality.

2. Principled

Type 1 personality types are also incredibly principled people who tend to want to be fair, objective and ethical above all else. They stick to the truth and value justice, as they have a strong sense of responsibility and integrity.

3. Purposeful

Type 1 personalities spend a lot of time thinking about their actions and the impact of those actions. For that reason, they tend to act with purpose. They have a much stronger sense of purpose than other personality types, and they also tend to feel that they have to justify their actions to themselves and often to others with that purpose in mind.

What are the best careers for type 1 personalities?

There are tons of jobs in which the reformer type would excel. But here are seven to get you started.

1. Professors

Type 1 personalities are "well-organized, orderly and fastidious," according to the Enneagram Institute. They aim to maintain high standards, and uphold those standards in schools as professors. Because they're also purposeful, being specialists in their fields allows them to help teach undergraduate and graduate students as professors, with intentions to help their students grow into careers like their own.

2. Judges

Type 1 personalities believe in the truth, maintain objectivity and have a lot of integrity. For that reason, they make great judges. "Extremely principled, always want to be fair, objective and ethical: truth and justice primary values. Sense of responsibility, personal integrity and of having a higher purpose often make them teachers and witnesses to the truth," according to the Enneagram Institute.

3. Police Officers

Again, because type 1 personality types care so much about upholding standards, they make dedicated police officers who uphold the law. 

4. Environmental Specialists

Type 1 personalities are the reformist types who want to create change and do well in jobs that serve a purpose — especially a purpose about which they're passionate. As environment specialists, they can help make an impact on the world.

5. Activist

Type 1 personalities are passionate and purposeful. They have an intense sense of right and wrong and personal beliefs, and they're willing to fight for what's right and what they wholeheartedly believe in.

6. Social Workers

Type 1 personality types make phenomenal social workers because they crave making an impact on others' lives. They tend to be realistic and know the best next steps, and they can help others to take those steps and turn their lives around.

7. Detectives

Type 1 personalities are obsessed with the truth. And, as detectives, they can spend their time digging for it.

What are the worst careers for type 1 personalities?

Some career paths are better than others for different types of people. Here are three careers type 1 personalities may want to avoid.

1. Administrative Assistants

Type 1 personalities are always worried about making mistakes. And, as administrative assistants have to work for others and take on a ton of varied tasks, mistakes are almost inevitable.

2. Retail Representatives

Type 1 personalities do better in careers in which they can see a more immediate, purposeful impact. If they lean too far as a type 1, as well, they can become "highly dogmatic, self-righteous, intolerant and inflexible," according to the Enneagram Institute, which aren't good traits for retail representatives who often have to be flexible with their hours and tolerate odd hours.

3. Accountants

Type 1 personalities can become "anal-compulsive, punctual, pedantic and fastidious," according to the Enneagram Institue if they lean too far. As such, they don't make the best accountant or finance types who already have to be these things — as they can become these traits to a fault.
Type 1 personalities have a gamut of career possibilities to explore. That said, there's always room for developing. In order to truly perform well, type 1 personalities can improve in the following areas:
  • Type 1 personalities can quickly become condemnatory toward others and, if they go too deep, can experience severe depressive bouts and nervous breakdowns. They should be aware of their tendencies that generally correspond to the Obsessive-Compulsive and Depressive personality disorders.
  • Type 1 personalities can be highly dogmatic and intolerant of others' views since they always deal in absolutes and feel that they know right from wrong — and, as such, others are usually wrong. They can work on being more openminded.
  • Type 1 personalities can also quickly become obsessive, since they're total perfectionists. This can take a toll on their mental health.
If you're a type 1 personality, you have tons of opportunities to pursue. Be aware of your weaknesses and play on your strengths, and you'll certainly find success and the purpose in life that you seek.

This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of Fairygodboss.

AnnaMarie Houlis is a multimedia journalist for a gamut of both online and print publications, as well as an adventure aficionado and travel blogger at HerReport.org. She covers all things women's empowerment — from navigating the workplace to navigating the world. She writes about everything from gender issues in the workforce to gender issues all across the globe.

What’s your no. 1 piece of advice for finding a career that fits your personality? Share your answer in the comments to help other Fairygodboss members!