Sevens are often considered to be the Enneagram’s resident party animals, too busy living it up to get any real work done. However, Enneagram 7s can find work very satisfying and fulfilling in an environment that allows for their big energy, positive attitude and desire to try everything.
At their core, Sevens do not want to be tied down in anyway. Work can be seen as limiting if it tries to lock the Seven in a box before they are ready. For instance, Sevens are more likely to be generalists than specialists as they like to try many things before committing to a single career path.
Unfortunately, companies are not always designed with the Seven in mind, so many end up freelancing or following a different path. However, it is possible for an Enneagram Type 7 to craft a workplace that gets their creative juices flowing. As a Seven, you can use the following suggestions to help you create or find your ideal workplace, or help others make an Enneagram 7 friendly environment.
1. Loves brainstorming
Sevens love letting their imaginations run wild. They are the queens of ideating and envisioning all the possible futures for the team, project or organization. Playing with ideas brings an Enneagram type 7 so much joy that anyone who stomps over their ideas before the Seven is ready is going to do more than ruin their day. An Enneagram 7 knows that brainstorming has a time and a place, but they want to make the most of their talent during that time and want to protect it from other’s critiques until they are prepared for it.
- Let people know you are in brainstorming mode (and when you are out of it)
- Ask others to hold the criticism until you have gotten all your ideas out
2. Hates being micromanaged
Sevens do not like being told what to do. As some of the fastest thinkers in the Enneagram, their brains are moving at a million miles conjuring up all the possible ways to do something. Being told the best way to do something, especially by someone who isn’t seeing all the possibilities, is incredibly demotivating to an Enneagram 7. They need the freedom to work independently in a way that makes sense to them.
- Choose a manager who trusts you to get the job done and won’t manage you excessively
- Agree a way of working upfront that plays to your strengths and meets the needs of your manager
- Choose jobs where you are able to choose your own schedule
3. Loves short deadlines
Sevens are initiators and motivators. With their getup and go approach to life, they love to start projects and work quickly to bring them to life. However, with their shiny object syndrome, Enneagram type 7s lose focus and enthusiasm as the project gets deep into implementation. When minute details are debated and people argue over what quality looks like, Sevens are looking around for something new and shiny. To them, the best project is a quick project where finishing looks like ‘good enough’ and not overly polished. They prefer projects that are finished within months, not years, so they can quickly move onto the next one and enjoy the upbeat energy that comes from new challenges and new possibilities.
- Choose shorter projects rather than longer ones
- Partner with a person who loves details and finishing projects
- Negotiate with the project leader to leave the project once the visioning and planning milestones are achieved
4. Hates slow meetings
Sevens love action. They think fast, talk fast and move fast. So sitting in a poorly run meeting where people complain about what isn’t working is as painful as pulling teeth! No boring meetings! Let’s bring back some fun!
- Introduce a 15-minute meeting policy
- Suggest a walking meeting
- Confirm the meeting’s objectives and purpose in advance (decide whether you really need to attend)
- Run the meeting yourself
5. Loves flexibility and variety
Sevens love variety. At work, that means having a few creative projects on the go simultaneously. Switching between projects allows them to keep their creative energy fresh, as ideas cross-pollinate. Enneagram type 7 personalities prefer to take on projects that interest them, rather than one strictly within the confines of their job description. A jack-of-all-trades, Sevens find it easy to pick up unrelated projects and believe in their own ability to make it happen. They are so flexible, they are happy with a workplace with movable desks, able to go to whichever team has the most intriguing challenge to solve.
- Choose a team or company where you can wear many hats
- Have 2-3 different projects happening at once (but with different deadlines)
- Make sure your role isn't limited to your job description
6. Hates slow-moving organizations
Sevens think quickly to envision possible new futures, which drives them into action. There is nothing worse to an Enneagram 7 than walls of bureaucracy, standard procedures, and “this is how we do things around here” and their enthusiasm quickly deflates. Which is why a Seven prefers to work in an organization that matches their speed of their energy, or at the very least, does not slow them down.
- Choose a company with a dynamic, less rigid culture
- Choose in a fast paced industry or profession
7. Loves bringing people together
As the fun, gregarious, party people of the Enneagram, it’s not surprising that Sevens love bringing people together. Not only for Friday night drinks, but for events, conferences and other opportunities for networking and socializing. However, their positive attitude and desire to make work enjoyable can result in others not taking them seriously. Enneagram 7 types hate the fun police as they see work as more productive, and teams as more effective, when they are enjoying themselves.
- Check the company's social calendar and desire for fun before you join
- Join the social committee or find other ways to bring people together
8. Hates hierarchy
Hierarchy implies power, it implies there is an order to be followed and that someone could tell the Seven what they can or can’t do. And they aren’t a fan of that. So Sevens use their diplomatic charm to make friends with their boss, their team and people across the organization, essentially taking a hierarchy and flattening it out. They will also use their charm over anyone who tries to gain some form of power over them, winning over friends and enemies.
- Choose a manager, boss or partner that you can be friends with
- Choose an organisation with a flatter structure and less silos
- Use your charm to make friends and connections across the organization
Finding the right working environment is key to an Enneagram type 7 making the most of their talents. It may take a couple of tries, but Sevens are great at career exploration and reinvention. They may fear how all this change looks on their resume, but as the world embraces more flexible approaches to education and employment, the Seven’s diverse experiences will be highly valued.