Picture showing the four temperaments and their characters

What Career Should I Choose Based On My Personality?

Picture showing the four temperaments and their characters
Picture showing the four temperaments and their characters.

Have you been wondering what career are you most likely to succeed in based on your personality?

Psychologists and scientists have developed many ways to classify people based on personalities, all in a bid to help humans understand themselves better, but what does personality have to do with becoming successful?

There are many personality classifications, like 16personalities and the Big Five.

Temperament is one of the building blocks of personality, and I will discuss that in this post.

There are four temperaments according to Socrates – choleric, sanguine, phlegmatic, and melancholic.

A brief summary of each temperament type

1.    Choleric

These are the go-getters. The manly man and the boss lady. If I want something, then I will move heaven and earth to get it (not literally, of course). These people are very success-driven. They value independence, they are goal-oriented, practical, analytical, decisive, and tough-minded.

Cholerics don’t really do well in subordinate positions. They tend to be very straightforward and direct, and are not exactly what you will call polite, respectful, and friendly. They will rather choose the most pragmatic approach to doing things, as well as the most convenient – that is, most convenient for them.

A choleric can become so focused on work that they will not notice anything else going on around them. A phrase that comes to mind in regard to them is, “sleep is for the dead”. If we have something to do, then we should it now!

Choleric personality types fall on the extroversion spectrum.

2.    Phlegmatic 

The gentle guy or gal. Phlegmatic people are polite, empathetic, cooperative, trusting, and considerate.

These people don’t like confrontations and will try to avoid them as much as possible (although they also tend to be very stubborn).  In a conflict, the phlegmatic will try to create a situation where everyone is satisfied – “let us agree to disagree”. Phlegmatic people will try to see things from the other person’s perspective, and will always give people the benefit of the doubt.

They are imaginative, like to think abstractly, and usually see the big picture, sometimes causing them to ignore the smaller, more intricate details.

The phrase for phlegmatics is “live and let live”.

Phlegmatic personality types fall on the introversion spectrum.

3.    Sanguine 

The people person. “Let us eat and drink today, for tomorrow we parrrty!”. The phrase, “never a dull moment”, was either coined for, or by these people. You could be a complete stranger just meeting a sanguine person, and in fifteen minutes’ time, they are already talking to you like you are their best friend. And the next person they meet will soon be feeling exactly the same way.

These people tend to be cheerful, curious, optimistic, energetic, and spontaneous. When they talked about extroverts, these are exactly the people they were talking about. Sanguines want to enjoy life to the fullest. I imagine a sanguine’s bucket list will look something like – party, travel a lot, talk to everybody, more party, visit the new amusement park just opened down the street, talk to everybody there, party some more, talk to everybody at the party, attend another party tomorrow, repeat.

Just kidding! Not to say sanguines are all about parties, but those people sure know how to party! In a sanguine’s dictionary, the word “boredom” has been lost somewhere in translation.

If it’s not obvious by now, the sanguine personality type is another word for extroversion.

4.    Melancholic

What do you mean party? We have an assignment to submit by 10 am tomorrow, and I’d like to submit it by 9, so I have to be in school by 8.

These are men and women who are ardent respecters of law and custom. I once heard of a melancholic woman who confronted police for driving on the wrong side of the road. She ended up getting arrested.

For the melancholic, the best way to do things is how it’s always been done. They prefer to follow typical “norms” of society and family traditions. This personality type tends to be loyal, careful, traditional, respectful, calm, confident, and orderly. They do not mind working in jobs that other types (*cough… sanguine… *cough) might find boring.

Melancholics are respectful to authority, they are more likely to insist that the rules be followed, and don’t mind hierarchies where structures, regulations, and order are implemented. They don’t like unpredictability, and they prefer making plans and keeping to schedules and routines.

They are very orderly and are very good at paying attention to details. That family member that always seems to remember everybody’s birthdays, wedding anniversaries, graduation dates, and the exact day you stub your toes? Probably a melancholic.

The phrase for melancholics could be “do the right thing at the right time“.

Melancholics fall on the introversion spectrum.

Best career each temperament will most do well in

1.      Choleric

Any job that requires leadership, hard work, and bringing a project idea into reality is one of their greatest passion. Too many details, meticulous patience, and long-range committee meetings are very boring to a typical choleric, because he believes in getting the job done asap.

Also, jobs requiring vocational skills and competence, and also careers in the military, leadership, project supervision, operations manager, foreman, and any career that requires hard work and high productivity and also being at the forefront or at the thick of accomplishing a task is perfect for them.

2.      Phlegmatic

Careers in engineering, medicine, accounts, administration, management, dispute resolution, diplomatic relations, vocational competence, nursing, counseling, education, psychology, office work, assistant roles, and human or social services. 

Basically, careers that involved helping people (preferably in one-on-one situations) or conflict resolutions.

3.      Sanguine

Since they’re people-oriented individuals, they will perform best in careers such as client and customer services relationships, salesmanship, masters of ceremonies, careers in entertainment, acting, receptionist, public relations, and any other career that exposes them daily to different people but does not require much attention to details and carefulness.

4.      Melancholic

Humanitarian services, attention to detail, planning, meticulousness, strategic, and analytical thinking are areas of their strength. Careers in medicine, engineering, manufacturing, creative writing, authorship, and any career that’ll make them task their brains are perfect for them.


Of course, this is not a this-or-nothing-else list. Take it just as a framework.

It is almost impossible to fit anyone into an exact temperament. We have been known to act in ways that are completely opposite to our supposed temperaments. I have seen introverts being argued with that they are extroverts.

And also, change is the only constant in this world. People change. It is not uncommon to see a phlegmatic in a leadership position and doing very well there.

Then there’s also the fact that most people are a blend of more than one temperament, with one being the dominant.

Next time, I will write about a long-debated topic – is being an entrepreneur the only way to become rich?

Until then, has this letter helped you get an idea of what your temperament is? Tell me in the comments.

Samuel is an avid reader and a freelance writer, in that order. He fancies himself funny, but his friends regularly don't laugh at his jokes. I have been a student of personal development for several years, and I created this blog to share my knowledge with others and help them become better versions of themselves.

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