The Color Test: OrangeI was first introduced to The Color Test when I was 25 and working on a communications team for a reproductive rights advocacy organization. At a staff retreat, a co-worker introduced the test and I remember being surprised and illuminated at how our close-knit team was made up of different types. At my next job where I worked with undergraduates in a women’s leadership program, we again used the test to help the cohort of 15 or so students understand their varied strengths. Now, I make use of The Color Test in my Love Your Job Search Classes so that women participants can gain a stronger sense of who they are and where they can play up their strengths in their jobs and lives as a whole.

You can use this link to review each of the four types and read descriptions:

The test appears to draw from the Myers Briggs Type Indicator though in a more simplified way. Understand that we all carry parts of each type in us, and what you’re looking for is what “shines most brightly” in you. You can also consider your secondary type if it’s useful.

Here’s my understanding of the four types:

ORANGE: The word for Type Orange is “courageous” or “skillfulness”. These are people who like a sense of adventure, get bored easily, and value spontaneity. Oranges are also good negotiators. At some point I figured out that my best friend from growing up was an Orange and it explained a lot. She has owned a motorcycle, likes to travel frequently, and is in the U.S. Foreign Service, changing posts every few years. Oranges offer “out of the box” thinking to workplaces.

BLUE: This is the type I most closely identify with. Relationships are important for blues: When my work or personal relationships are out of whack because I’m in conflict with someone, it puts me out of sorts for days. I prefer everything to be harmonious. Blues also appreciate the artistic side of life including writing, music, art and poetry. They ponder the deeper life questions and are great communicators. Their word is “authenticity” or “compassionate”.

GREEN: I’ve been fortunate to have many bosses who were visionaries and leaders, who were also Greens. Greens enjoy knowledge for knowledge’s sake and think well in abstract terms, seeing the big picture. They prefer work that allows them to do analysis, research, and improve systems. Scientists and researchers are often Greens. Their word is “knowledge” or “conceptual”.

GOLD: When I first took the test years ago, I picked Gold because it spoke to the very organized side of me and I found looking at the card to be calming. While I don’t think that is what’s “shining most brightly” for me anymore, it is a secondary color. Golds like to be punctual and organized. They tend to have traditional values and enjoy home, family and security. Their word is “conventional” or “duty”.

What’s the point of all this? For one, it’s helpful to get in touch with our strengths and what makes us different or unique, especially when we’re contemplating what’s next in our careers. Your color points to what you need to feel satisfied and happy in your workplace. I also think it’s helpful to think about who your colleagues are. If you can’t actually ask your colleagues to take the test, you can perhaps see how most workplaces are made up of individuals who do not necessarily value the same things as you nor do they have the same strengths. Understanding that your Green boss may take longer to move forward until she/he sees the big picture can be helpful information. Knowing you are a Gold and your co-worker is an Orange might help you cut them some slack when they are not as punctual or organized as you.

And as with all career or personality assessments, it’s important to take it with a grain of salt, meaning you get to decide what’s useful or true for you and what’s not. Also, what’s true in one chapter of your life may be different down the road.

What color is shining most brightly for YOU and how does that help you with your career and in your personal life?