Is it bad to have changing interests?

Scanner personality: the agony of having to make decisions

The scanner personality as a fickle job hopper?

If you have many different interests, find it difficult to choose a career path and think that you are nowhere really "arriving", then you may be a scanner personality. The melodious description for this is also “Renaissance man”, Leonardo da Vinci is the number one figurehead for this type of person. Why? Because he was versatile and employed: he was a sculptor, architect, painter, writer, mechanic and scientist. He didn't decide on one thing, he just did everything. What fascinates us about this universal genius today stands in the way of modern careers: Numerous interests, many talents and the urge to try out as many things as possible.

Are scanner personalities fickle? Martina Nohl is a professional coach and a scanner herself. We asked her how universalists do in one Finding job fulfillment and what employers can do to bind scanners willing to change to a job and the company in the long term:


Your assessment: Are scanner personalities still the exception or to be found much more often than expected?

Nohl: In general, it seems to me that the proportion of scanners or highly gifted people is well below ten percent. However, I have not yet been able to find any valid figures, scanners have only come into focus in recent years due to the adjacent fields of giftedness and high sensitivity. I attract scanners in my deliberations, perhaps because I am a scanner myself. This also flashes on my websites and so there is often a common scanner wavelength that people contact me on the basis of.

How can someone find out if they are a scanner personality?

Nohl: You can ask yourself a few questions to get to the bottom of it. Possible questions are, for example, these here:

  1. Am I very interested in many things?
  2. Do I very often plunge into a topic that I then explore in depth for myself full of enthusiasm and perseverance, but then possibly lose interest again as soon as I understand it?
  3. Am I trying to "cram" at least three lives into one at the same time?
  4. Do I keep encountering incomprehension among others who find it strange and erratic that I am already doing another training course, have initiated a major project or are driving a new idea through the village?
  5. Am I always discouraged because I get bogged down, do not know or cannot keep the focus in my life and therefore consider myself “not normal”?

If you can answer a resounding “yes” to all of these questions, chances are you are a scanner. Congratulations! You may have more potential than other people. Of course, that also brings with it some challenges.

"There's nothing worse for a scanner than having to do the same thing for ten years."

What does a job have to do to make a scanner feel comfortable with it?

Nohl: Professions that leave a lot of creative freedom and give you the opportunity to set your own priorities again and again are particularly suitable: teachers / trainers, coach / consultants, self-employed, project managers / troubleshooters are some examples. There is nothing worse for scanners than having to do the same thing for ten years - even if they generally need stable zones in their life. In this respect, the professional profile and the corresponding superiors should give scanners a lot of freedom, but also give them responsibility for the result. A weak spot of scanners is that they do not always bring things to an end because it then becomes too small and tedious. Here, however, you should make them responsible and team up with people who like to do just that.

If you are a scanner self-employed This offers a lot of opportunities to get started in new business areas, but scanners also need a lot of support here so that they can focus, discipline and sometimes continue successful things (“cash cows”) so that their business is sustainable.

How can scanners find a better quality of life if the professional environment cannot be changed - or perhaps they do not want to?

Nohl: In my opinion, quality of life for scanners lies in lived versatility and in pleasure-driven spontaneous projects. That is why scanners should try to reserve at least 20 to 30 percent of their energy and time here for work on various “construction sites” or projects. If you cannot do that, I have observed that you will be extremely unhappy. For scanners, quality of life also means having a supportive environment with appreciative relationships. When scanners are labeled as abnormal, foolish to foolish or disoriented, they curtail themselves in their creativity so as not to attract even more attention. Scanners are colorful butterflies that want to fly over and over again. And especially when they often have to pull themselves together to do their job properly, they need all the more freedom in their free time.

"Scanners need a basic relationship of trust with their employer."

Scanners are often confronted with criticism (“Are you starting something new?”). How can you handle it better?

Nohl: To do this, you first need self-acceptance to be and be allowed to be a scanner. Permission actually starts inside, then criticism from outside can no longer affect you so much. I would also recommend seeking the company of like-minded people. There are now some scanner groups on the Internet, where scanners exchange information and support each other.

You can also promote understanding by telling your friends that you need this way of life, like the air you breathe. But I also warn against setting yourself apart too strongly from others. Scanner is neither a mental illness nor an ultimate talent profile. Let's stay in contact and in exchange with other people who are just as unique and need just as individual living conditions as scanners. Occasionally I also run into envy among scanners because those who have learned to get things done have many “showcase projects”. That too has its price, you can explain that and allow others to take a look behind the scenes. For example, talk about what you did without in order to be able to live and carry out the projects that way. Then the envy usually drips away very quickly.

Not all scanners are job hoppers: What environment should employers offer a scanner so that it feels comfortable in the company for as long as possible despite changing interests?

Nohl: Scanners usually have the gift of getting to grips with work areas very quickly and deeply. They soak up new things like a sponge when their interest "takes a bite". In this respect, even short job cycles for scanners can mean that they have done a good job, e.g. as an interim manager, quickly tidying up a company or getting a software project on track in six months. If employers want to keep scanners permanently, good personnel development, e.g. in the form of Career advice and talent management in addition, so that it can be compared again and again whether the scanner personality is still in the right place or in which place it could better live its potential. Scanners, in particular, need a fundamental relationship of trust with their employer, and then, according to my observation, they are also very loyal.

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