By Joni Lindquist

Have you ever thought about how you approach important decisions and major changes in your life?  I have worked with many different people over the years, all with their own unique personality traits and quirks. But when I look specifically at work style, I’ve concluded that there are really just two types of people: planners and plungers.

Planners are those people who build a plan, or at the very least, investigate and/or research before taking action.  Plungers are those people who take action and go from there.  For them, planning is optional. They may or may not plan after the plunge.

Think about whether you are a planner or a plunger. Neither is right or wrong, they are just different. And knowing your work style can help you maximize your strengths, taking advantage of traits that come naturally to you.

I’m a planner at heart.  I’m always amazed by people who make a significant decision and/or take a major action before doing a plan. That approach would be totally foreign to me.  Being a financial planner, I think through the pros and cons of my decisions and then take action.  The fact that I made a major change mid-career may seem contrary to that. But before I made a move, I did a lot of soul-searching, made my plan and then thought about it for a few years before I took action. I needed to do this to ensure it was the right thing to do, and that approach has worked well for me.

Those of you who are plungers are much more comfortable making decisions by intuition and then making things work for you. This would be an uncomfortable place for planners like me.  I’ve seen plungers who do things like leave a job, then “figure it out,” or retire and then ”figure it out” as they go along.  It usually works out, although I’ve seen cases where some folks are left in retirement with a lifestyle below their previous lifestyle due to lack of foresight.

I always advise my clients – planners and plungers alike – to take just a bit of time to determine how they want to live when they’re no longer working. That process doesn’t have to be an in-depth business plan, it can be a few simple considerations -your desired lifestyle, your post-work debts and obligations, your overall health to name a few.

Planners and plungers can learn from each other.  One of the negatives to which planners often fall prey is paralysis by analysis.  Planners may take so long to research and plan that they never actually implement the plan.  Or, they may implement it too late.  Conversely, plungers may make irrevocable decisions that leave little room from which to recover. Planners need to learn to take action after they’ve made their plan and stop analyzing, while plungers need to learn to perhaps do more investigation and devise even a rudimentary plan before taking major steps in their lives

Bottom line, whether you plan or plunge, learn to use your own strengths and it may not hurt to take a few useful tips from the other half.

For help with your specific career planning needs, schedule a meeting by clicking below, contact Joni Lindquist –, or call (913) 345-1881.

Photo credit: SuperFantastic / Foter / CC BY