Enneagram Type 4, the Creative: Best and Worst Careers

Woman at Work

AdobeStock / zinkevych

Profile Picture
AnnaMarie Houlis4.87k
Journalist & travel blogger
July 10, 2024 at 2:47PM UTC
Wondering about what types of careers are best for you, based on your Enneagram test results? If you're a Type 4, these are the best Enneagram type 4 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 The Individualist (sometimes referred to as the Artist) — the sensitive and withdrawn type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 4 personality?

Type 4, the individualist (or creative type), is "self-aware, sensitive and reserved," according to the Enneagram Institute. "They are emotionally honest, creative and personal, but can also be moody and self-conscious. Withholding themselves from others due to feeling vulnerable and defective, they can also feel disdainful and exempt from ordinary ways of living. They typically have problems with melancholy, self-indulgence and self-pity."
Here’s what you should know about an Enneagram type 4 personality in a nutshell:
  • Their basic fears include having no identity or personal significance.
  • Their basic desires include finding themselves and their significance (to create an
  • Their key motivations are to express themselves and their individuality. They want to create and surround themselves with their version of beauty, to hold onto certain moods and feelings and to protect their self-image. As such, they tend to take care of their emotional needs before all else.
Some classic examples of type 4 personalities include Edgar Allen Poe, Virginia Woolf, Anne Frank, Anaîs Nin, Frida Kahlo, Bob Dylan, Amy Winehouse, Angelina Jolie, Kate Winslet, Nicolas Cage, Johnny Depp and more.
Type 4 personalities are dubbed individualists because "fours maintain their identity by seeing themselves as fundamentally different from others," according to the Enneagram Institute. "Fours feel that they are unlike other human beings, and consequently, that no one can understand them or love them adequately. They often see themselves as uniquely talented, possessing special, one-of-a-kind gifts, but also as uniquely disadvantaged or flawed. More than any other type, fours are acutely aware of and focused on their personal differences and deficiencies."

What are the characteristics of a type 4?

Here are some characteristics of a type 4 personality.

1. Self-Aware

Above all else, perhaps, type 4 personalities are self-aware. They're hyper-aware of their strengths and weaknesses, and they're super concerned with their self-image. Likewise, they're aware of others' identities, as well, since they place so much emphasis on their own.

2. Sensitive

Because type 4 personalities are so aware of themselves and their feelings, emotions, thoughts and inner workings, they're sensitive to others. They can look inward and use that skills to look into the souls of others, as well. They're hugely empathetic in this way.

3. Reserved

Type 4 personalities tend to be the reserved type. This is largely because of how introspective they tend to be.

What are the best careers for type 4 personalities?

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

1. Musicians

Type 4 personalities are so creative that it's only natural they make great musicians. They have an ear for it and are skilled in creating it.

2. Poets

Because type 4 personalities are so introspective, their creativity flows from within. As such, they make talented poets.

3. Journalists

Type 4 personalities make excellent journalists, as they have creative writing skills and can also empathize well with (and, therefore, establish rapport with) sources. They do best when they're reporting on topics about which they're passionate.

4. Activists

Again, because type 4 personalities are so empathetic, they care deeply about others and causes. They use a lot of different creative outlets, music/journalism/street art/etc. to fight for what they believe in.

5. Painters

Type 4 personalities are downright creative and, therefore, make skilled painters. They're also easily inspired people, which helps fuel their painting careers. 

6. Graphic Designers

Graphic designers need to be able to understand people (their clients) and then work with them to create unique designs that tell stories. There's no better personality type to do just that than type 4.

7. Chefs

Cooking is a creative outlet for a lot of people. It also is therapeutic for introspective people who value their alone time. As such, type 4 personalities make talented chefs.

What are the worst careers for type 4 personalities?

Some career paths are better than others for different types of people. Here are three careers type 4 personalities may want to avoid.

1. Financial Analysts

Type 4 personalities are emotional types who spend a lot of time thinking about how unlike everyone else they really are. As such, they tend to perform better in unique, individualistic roles — preferably working for themselves instead of big financial institutions.

2. Executive Assistants

Again, type 4 personalities perform their best when the work they're doing is individualistic or, at least, involves passions of their own — not when they're working directly for someone else.

3. Servers

Type 4 personalities tend to prefer jobs that allow them to utilize their creative skills. They prefer to be in the kitchen or behind the bar, rather than serving up someone else's creations.

Where can type 4 personalities improve?

Type 4 personalities have a wealth of career possibilities that are ideal for them. Of course, however, there's always room for improvement. In order to truly excel in their creative careers, type 4 personalities can improve in the following areas:
  • Type 4 personalities are highly introspective and, if they're not careful, this might mean that they interiorize too much, take everything personally and even become too self-absorbed. 
  • If their dreams fail, type 4 personalities can become self-inhibiting and angry at themselves. They can work on cutting themselves some more slack and practicing self-love.
  • Type 4 personalities can sometimes feel despair or hopelessness for being different, which can quickly become self-destructive if they don't keep optimistic.
If you're a type 4 personality, you've got an exciting creative career ahead of you. Just understand that you're not alone in the lifestyle choices you make, even if they're not mainstream.

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 job for individualists and creative people? Share your answer in the comments to help other Fairygodboss members!

Why women love us:

  • Daily articles on career topics
  • Jobs at companies dedicated to hiring more women
  • Advice and support from an authentic community
  • Events that help you level up in your career
  • Free membership, always