What Kind of Job Fits Your IQ (By Jordan Peterson)


Many would agree that job search is one of the most challenging and frustrating things anyone will ever experience. Whether searching for a first job after college or looking to make a career change, the entire job search process can bring headaches for all of us. What more can this be if I am not sure which career I should pursue?

I get it – everyone wants to land their job. However, even if it is your dream, it does not necessarily mean that you would fit it. As I struggle to find a meaningful work for me, I end up watching Jordan Peterson’s video “What Kind of Job Fits You?”

In the video, Peterson discusses the different kinds of jobs and key personalities such as cognitive ability, conscientiousness, and stress tolerance. He also talks about strengths and weaknesses, IQ levels for various jobs, hierarchies of competence, correlation of temperament to job success, and leisure vs. work. 

According to Peterson, if you are going into a job and you are not smart enough for that job, you will have a miserable time. Plus, you will make life wretched for the people around you because you cannot handle the position; then, once you climb the hierarchies of competence, the demand for fluid intelligence increases unless you want to fail.

Peterson advises that if you are agreeable and with neuroticism, you can keep the job’s stress level low because those are the areas that you could break down. In most cases, people have at least one significant weakness in their intelligence. So, you have to be careful not to place yourself in a position where it will be a fatal flaw. However, the more critical thing is you have to maximize your chances for both success and well-being. 

In the video, Peterson also discusses the average IQ for a various jobs based on cognitive and complexity ability.


95-86 Percentile (IQ 130-116)

  • Research Analyst, Attorney 
  • Advertising Manager, Editor
  • Engineer, Chemist, Executive 
  • Trainee, Manager
  • Auditor, Systems Analyst

85-73 Percentile (IQ 115-110)

  • Accountant, Copywriter 
  • Manager/Supervisor 
  • Programmer,  Sales
  • Sales Manager
  • Teacher, Analyst, Adjuster 
  • Purchasing Agent 
  • General Manager
  • Registered Nurse
  • Sales Accountant Executive 

76-60 Percentile (IQ 108-103)

  • Administrative Assistant 
  • Bookkeeper, Store Manager
  • Drafter, Credit Clerk, Designer 
  • Assistant Manager, Lab Tester/tech 
  • Telephone Sales, General Sales
  • Accounting Clerk, Secretary
  • Medical Debt Collection 
  • Customer Service Representative 
  • Computer Operator 
  • Automotive Salesman, Technician
  • Typist, Clerk

55-50 Percentile (IQ 102-100) 

  • General Office, Dispatcher
  • Police Patrol Officer 
  • Cashier, Receptionist
  • General Clerical 
  • Meter Reader, Inside Sales Clerk
  • Data Entry, Printer, Teller,
  • Electrical Helper 

Peterson says that if you want to be the best at what you are doing, having an IQ above 145 is a necessity. Smart people are at the top of the dominance hierarchy because they get there first. In other words, the fastest you are, the more likely you are to be at the forefront of the pack, and intelligence in large is speed.

People with technical skills and the ability to deal with complex things are more likely to be assigned by other people. They can also be repetitive because what IQ predicts is how rapidly they can learn something. However, once they learn it, IQ does not predict how necessarily well they do at it. In other words, the more repetitive jobs, the more suitable are people with lower IQs.

In Peterson’s lecture, he mentioned different key personality traits that either make or break someone’s success, such as:


Cognitive Ability

If intellectual is involved, I believe that everyone has different intellectual capabilities. I have noticed that some people have higher IQs and are better suited to do more complex jobs. 

According to Peterson, people have to choose a field in the upper intelligence percentile when figuring out a career. He says, “Find strata of occupation in which you an intelligence that would put you in the upper quartile that is perfect.”

“You don’t want to be this stupidest guy in the room, and you don’t want to be the smartest guy in the room either,” he added. 

Being the stupidest person in the room will only make you miserable, while you have no chance for growth if you are the smartest one.


Conscientiousness 

If you are conscientious, it means you are responsible, well-organized, and diligent. I have already met highly conscientious people at work, and they are reliable, hard-working, and goal-oriented. 

When it comes to ultimate productivity level, I observed that conscientiousness is the trait preferred by society. However, some people need more time to rejuvenate and for leisure. 

Peterson says, “If you are not highly conscientious, you are probably not gonna want a job that you have to work 70 hours a week at because you are just wired up that you had rather have some leisure.”

Before choosing a job, ensure to figure out if you don’t like standing still, even for a short period, or need ample time to rest. Some people need freedom in the schedule to allow creativity and innovation, while others thrive on working long hours. 


Stress Tolerance 

It’s no surprise that some people choose a career when they are relatively carefree. They have no idea of how much stress they can tolerate if they have not yet experienced significant stressors. Others may have been through challenging situations, so they have grown resilient. Plus, they have some advantages in a stressful society.

If you are an anxious type of person, you may not like a workplace under pressure and may prefer a quiet environment. As anxiety arises, you will find your work environment even more stressful.

For example, suppose you are in the medical field. In that case, you may experience a lot of stress due to limited time to do the job correctly, unpleasant interactions with difficult patients, or fear of litigation.


Final Thoughts

You might be torn between following your dreams or selecting a more profitable job when choosing a career. It is one of the most critical decisions you have to make. Fortunately, I have learned from Jordan Peterson that a deep understanding of my personality and knowing my cognitive ability and what drives me to do things will help me make decisions right. 

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