Over the years, I’ve noticed a lot of creative workers are Enneagram Type Fours. Which makes sense; the type tends to rally around aesthetics and self-expression. I’ve also noticed that Four artists and creatives also often get sucked into unhealthy, dependent professional relationships.
When a Four is stressed, he or she goes to the low side of Type Two and starts looking for a Rescuer. In the workplace, this translates into the creative or artist becoming overly reliant on some sort of caretaker. Maybe it’s a Type One project manager, who makes sure you have a clear to-do lists and don’t spend all day ruminating on the meaning of life. Maybe it’s a Type Three manager, who tells you whether your work has broad, commercial appeal. (Fours are good at creating subjectively appealing and interesting work, but we sometimes balk at creating accessible and popular work).
This isn’t to say that working with other types, and leaning into their natural strengths, is a bad thing. It can help cultivate healthy interdependence. But many Fours need to realize they aren’t hopelessly dependent on someone else to manage the practical logistics of their work.
Our security point is Type One, which means when we’re in a healthy place, we’re quite capable of managing our time and following a logical process. Type Three is one of our wings, which means that if we can get over our own snobbery, we can figure out what work has popular appeal.
If you’re lucky enough to find people with complementary skills to partner with, and it’s a true partnership, that’s fantastic. Collaboration can be magic; it’s one of the true joys of creative work. But don’t get stuck in a controlling “parent/child” relationship because you’re convinced you need a “work nanny.” You’re a grown up, and if necessary, you can take care of yourself.