Enneagram Type 8, the Challenger: Best and Worst Careers

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AnnaMarie Houlis4.87k
Journalist & travel blogger
Wondering about what types of careers are best for you, based on your Enneagram test results? If you're a Type 8, these are the best Enneagram type 8 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 The Individualist (sometimes referred to as the Artist) — the sensitive and withdrawn type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 8 personality?

Type8, the challenger, is "the powerful, dominating type," who is "self-confident, decisive, willful and confrontational," according to the Enneagram Institute. "Eights are self-confident, strong and assertive. [They are] protective, resourceful, straight-talking and decisive, but can also be ego-centric and domineering. Eights feel they must control their environment, especially people, sometimes becoming confrontational and intimidating. Eights typically have problems with their tempers and with allowing themselves to be vulnerable."
Here’s what you should know about an Enneagram type 8 personality in a nutshell:
  • Their basic fears include being harmed or controlled by others.
  • Their basic desires include protecting themselves by being in control of their own lives
    and destiny.
  • Their key motivations are to be self-reliant by proving their strengths and resisting their weakness. Simply, they want to be important in their world and, essentially, dominate the environment in which they exist. This helps them to stay in control of their situation, always.
Some classic examples of type 8 personalities include Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, Fidel Castro, Martin Luther King, Jr., John McCain, Pablo Picasso, Ernest Hemingway, Toni Morrison, Serena Williams, Aretha Franklin, Queen Latifah, Jack Black, Pink, Frank Sinatra, Clint Eastwood, Jack Nicholson, Russell Crowe, Matt Damon, Alec Baldwin, Rosie O’Donnell, Dr. Phil and more.
Type 8 personalities are dubbed challengers because, of all the personality types, they "enjoy taking on challenges themselves as well as giving others opportunities that challenge them to exceed themselves in some way," according to the Enneagram Institute. "Eights are charismatic and have the physical and psychological capacities to persuade others to follow them into all kinds of endeavors — from starting a company, to rebuilding a city, to running a household, to waging war, to making peace."

What are the characteristics of a type 8?

Here are some characteristics of a type 8 personality.

1. Confident

Type 8 personalities have a lot of confidence in themselves and their ideas. As such, they often make great leaders.

2. Decisive

Type 8 personalities also tend to make good leaders because they have strong decision-making skills.

3. Dominating

Type 8 personalities tend to be dominating and take control of both their own lives and their situations. This can be a good trait to a certain point, unless they begin to dominate others who they want to feel are behind them and supporting their efforts. 

What are the best careers for type 8 personalities?

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

1. Activists

Because Type 8 personalities are so confident in themselves and their ideas, they do well at garnering support naturally. They're vocal leaders, who make awesome activists.

2. Military Personnel

Many members of the military are remembered as heroes. And many type 8 personalities are considered "courageous and willing to put self in serious jeopardy to achieve their vision and have a lasting influence," which is what the military seeks. In fact, many "may achieve true heroism and historical greatness."

3. Program Managers

Type 8 personalities are strong leaders, and program managers need to be just that if they're going to head entire programs and oversee various teams. Type 8 personalities tend to have a can-do attitude, which is a necessary trait for this job.

4. Executives

Again, because type 8 personalities are such strong leaders, they make natural executives. In short: They're decisive and authoritative, two traits an executive needs.

5. Athletes

Type 8 personalities tend to be highly competitive. As such, they make talented athletes who get their rush from the game.

6. Sales Representatives

Again, because type 8 personalities tend to be competitive, they work well in sales positions that, often, have high competition. They often deny their own emotional needs in order to achieve success, which many sale representatives tend to do when they're working hard to make sales.

7. Governors

As natural-born leaders, type 8 personalities make ideal governors who can make authoritative decisions with a can-do attitude and passion. 

What are the worst careers for type 8 personalities?

Some career paths are better than others for different types of people. Here are three careers type 8 personalities may want to avoid.

1. Secretary

Type 8 personalities do best leading and, as such, don't do so well in supportive roles like secretarial positions.

2. Editorial Assistant

Editorial assistants need to be receptive to feedback and constructive criticism. Type 8 personalities aren't so receptive to feedback or constructive criticism.

3. Television Co-Hosts

Type 8 personalities want to be the star of the show. They don't want to be a co-host; rather, they'd prefer to be the one and only host.
Type 8 personalities are strong leaders with tons of possibilities on the horizon. There's always room for improvement, however. In order to do their best, type 8 personalities can improve in the following areas:
  • Type 8 personalities, if they lean too far, can "develop delusional ideas about their power, invincibility and ability to prevail," according to the Enneagram Institute. They can work on staying rational and self-aware.
  • Because type 8 personalities are so focused on power, they can become vengeful and barbaric in their efforts to garner support, which leads to sociopathic tendencies if they're not careful.
  • Type 8 personalities can become highly combative and use intimidation and other toxic tactics to get their way. They can, instead, work on establishing rapport with others to gain supporters.
If you're a type 8 personality, be aware of your weaknesses and focus on self-awareness. If you do that, you'll make a great leader, too!

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 on finding a career that best suits your personality type? Share your answer in the comments to help other Fairygodboss members!