Recently I have been having somewhat of a career crisis. My job is fairly respectable, but I just don’t love it. I like the idea of it more than I like doing it. It is actually the job I wanted to do before I left university, but the reality wasn’t quite all it is cracked up to be. I was always very career oriented and felt like I was destined for big things. Having children tempered that somewhat, but the biggest factor has been a loss of confidence in my abilities. I did really well at school and university. I’ve got a Masters degree you know, and I got a distinction. I don’t get to say that very often, much though I often want to when at work I am having to grapple with a task like trying to get 10 people in a meeting together.


I studied psychology at university, but by the end decided I didn’t want to be a psychologist. After 5 years I didn’t to want to spend any longer at university or in training, I wanted to be getting on with my career. Hmmm. That worked well didn’t it? It turns out actually maybe I do want to be a psychologist. Or a writer. Or a professional crafter. Therein lies my problem. I want to do so many things, I’m afraid to commit.

A few years ago I found a fantastic book in a charity shop. It was pure fate that I found this book, someone had obviously given it away because they didn’t rate it but for me it was like a window into my soul. One man’s trash and all that. The book was What Do I Do When I Want to Do Everything? The basic premise of the book is that some people just flit from one activity to another, never sticking long enough to go deep; never really feeling like they have achieved anything. The author, Barbara Sher, calls these people ‘scanners’, and lists several different reasons why these people behave like this such as fear of commitment, looking for their niche, or simply just a need for novelty. Scanners are sometimes derided as dilettantes (hello, have you seen the name of my blog?) but often they are their own harshest critics, feeling like they are failing or not achieving anything. To read this was amazing, the book described me to a tee and Barbara goes to great lengths to reassure scanners that they way they are is perfectly normal, and can be harnessed. One of the suggestions is to try and combine your passions which is what I have attempted to do.


I mentioned that I might actually want to be a psychologist. Well I am considering doing another MSc, this time in Occupational Psychology. I could do it part time and through distance learning, but even so, with two young children and a job I couldn’t do it for at least another year. I also want to give myself time to figure out whether it is what I really want to do.


In the meantime I am spending my time crafting (God, that is such a wanky word, I cringe every time I use it!). But much as I love making stuff, I don’t find it intellectually stimulating. Now before all you other crafters lynch me, I’m not saying its not difficult, there are some amazingly talented people out there. Crafting can be technically and physically challenging, but trying to understand a pattern isn’t the same as trying to understand why someone behaves in a certain way. So I’ve tried to put some psychology into my crafting, I’m combining my passions to create Psychraftology. Craftology. Psychcraftisvism. Psychocraft. I can work on the name.


I have three items to showcase for you as part of my new genre. The first is based on the Myers-Briggs Trait Inventory, or the MBTI. You may have heard or it and even taken it. The results come in the format of 4 letters, E or I, N or S, T or F, and J or P. If want more info about what these letters mean check out this website. The MBTI is a licensed test which can only be administered by licensed practitioners, but this website has an example if you want to find out you personality type. For the even keener reader I recommend the book Please Understand Me II, which is slightly different from the MBTI but maps directly onto it. For the record I am an ENFP, which incidentally is quite commons for scanners.

What's your type?

These are going to be badges, but for now they are just buttons. They are cross stitched MBTI types so you can wear your type with pride! The are cross stitched on 22 count aida which is used to cover self-cover buttons. You can remove the button bit, which I have done, and super glue a badge backing onto the button, which I haven’t done yet.


Exhibit number two my cross stitched interpretation of a Rorschach ink blot. “Why?” you might ask. Well, why the hell not.

Tell me what you see...

The Rorschach ink blot is traditional projection test used to assess personality characteristics and emotional function. Tell me what you see in mine and I will tell you if you are crazy or not.


The piece de resistance in my show and tell today is an embroidered diagram of the brain, showing labelled lobes and some well known areas of the brain. Broca’s area is involved in the production of speech, and Wenicke’s area in the understanding of it. The visual cortex is where we start to process the images that come from our retinas. They travel along the optic nerves to the back of our brain, the parietal lobe. The brain is a marvellous thing, and we should nurture it, look after it, and not take it for granted. There is an excellent documentary on BBC iPlayer about the brain. It’s available for about another week so watch it while you can.

My brain is pretty and full of flowers and lace.

For me, this embroidery is about using a craft that is more often used to depict twee little birds and flowers and fluffy things, and creating something with a little more depth. If you like this you might also like a brain colouring book. It certainly helped while away those hours studying neuropsychology at university.


So, these are the projects that I have been working on for the past couple of months. I’d really appreciate any comments you have. You are probably going to see more and more psychology related stuff, not just crafting, on here. Does that put you off? The main thrust of this blog has been crafting, and it is certainly easier to market a niche blog. I’m debating whether I should branch out into a new blog, but as someone pointed out, the USP for my blog has always been about doing lots of different things. Any comments will be welcomed.

20 thoughts on “Psychocraft. Or something.

  1. I can totally relate. 3 associates, 2 batchelors, and a master’s degree and I have chronic Lyme. Makes me really wonder about what I am supposed to be doing with all this. So what am I doing? Watching biology, bacteriology, and A & P videos on YouTube when I’m unable to move…. I have NO idea of the direction I’m headed. Love the MB labels and the inkblot. I have been thinking I need to work up some models of Borrelia bergdorferi either with beads or crochet…. Maybe this will be the thing that kick starts me to action….

  2. Ooh, close your eyes and you see Albert Einstein with horns and a fat nose.

    I think there is a need for cell cushions. Squamous epithelial is particularly attractive.

    Love your blog.

  3. Love the post. That sounds exactly like me. So many of my crafter friends we go from one craft to another: sewing, jewelry, knitting, quilting,etc. I will tell them that we are not odd, but just “scanners”!

    I see a plant (although could be influenced by planty patterned wallpaper). My son sees a dragon…. are we crazy??!! Well I kind of suspected that anyway…

  4. I need to read that book – that sounds exactly like me. I’ve gone through a variety of jobs since leaving university because I’m interested in so many things, as well as mummying, crafting and baking (all three of which I’d happily do full time if money allowed).

    Interesting about the Myers-Briggs, I’m an ISTJ so the exact opposite – and I’d happily wear a badge with it on: the “I” in me could then avoid having to explain why she’s quiet, sounds like a great idea to me!

  5. Are you ME?? (Apart from the extremely talented crafting bit) Your post has got me very intrigued – it sounds like I,too, am a scanner. I can never settle on a hobby (hence the crap crafting skills – unlike you!), I love magazines and newspapers and rarely finish a book these days (although I will definitely be reading Barbara Sher’s) and I’m constantly on the hunt for the next new thing. I’m currently trying very hard to channel this trait into becoming a successful freelance journalist – you know, writing brilliant articles about the wide variety of topics that interest me – instead of actually constantly job-hunting and looking for ‘something better’. I can’t wait to read that book and get some help!

    As for the psychocraft – love it. Especially the brain one.

    I’m now off to find out what my type is…

    1. Oh, freelance journalist is the other career that I want. There are a few journos who I follow on Twitter who I just want to be. Do have have journalistic qualifications? I’m hoping someone important will ‘discover’ me through my blog🙂

      Sounds like you’ll love the book. See my above reply with a link to the American (original) version of the book.

      1. The book is on its way! Looking forward to reading it and finally understanding myself (ha!). I also follow journos on Twitter who I want to be! I do have journalistic qualifications, but that’s mainly because I was a radio journalist pre-babies and needed the extra training after doing an English degree. But I think if you want to get into journalism of any sort it’s equally as important to get some experience and crowbar your way into the profession that way. In terms of freelance writing, as I understand it, all you need is the ability to write and something interesting to write about. In your case, crafting, or psychology, or psychraft. I reckon, with a bit of research, you could find the right magazine or journal interested in your unique blend of interests! There’s a magazine for EVERYTHING, really!

        PS sorry it’s taken me so long to reply…this is due to a voluntary ‘screen break’ while I was on holiday last week (I fell off the wagon a bit to reply to your blog post because I loved it so much!), closely followed by broken broadband at home. The first week offline I quite enjoyed – but the last few days have been hellish!

  6. I love this post. I love it because I felt like you were talking to me! I am an ENTP, and absolutely a scanner (I’ve read about it before). People think I am not a ‘finisher’. But I say it depends what you mean by finished. I took riding lessons for 2 years, got as far as galloping and stopped. Some people say that’s giving up. To me that was a fantastic achievement. My aim had been to learn to ride a horse. To me, I had accomplished that; so off to the next challenge.

    My added complication is that I am an accountant by day, and a writer/dancer by night. Mixing the two opposite sides of the brain into one career wasn’t going to be possible unless I was Leonardo! So I work part-time, and write part-time, and similarly hope that one day someone will start paying me for the writing bit!

    I think that your combination of crafting and Psychology is brilliant and inspired.

    If you are selling the buttons, can I get mine please?
    Oh, and it’s a cheeky cat – what does that say about me?

    1. Thanks for the kind reply. Glad you enjoyed the post. I’ve had a good response about the scanning so I might actually do a whole blog post on it.

      I don’t sell anything at the moment but am toying with opening an Etsy shop. The buttons were made with a view to sell. I’ve considered doing a craft fair but I’m not sure I’d have the time to build up stock.

      Not sure that you can combine accountancy, writing and dancing! But the current trend in careers is the ‘portfolio’ career, basically doing lots of different things. I think that is the route lots of people are going down. The Internet makes that much easier.

  7. Crafting is indeed a wanky, wanky word. Ahhhhh, that’s better!

    Now what do I see? A bug type thing dancing on the back of a round bug with its mouth open, waiting for the dancing bug to fall😀

    I LOVE the embroidery brain. Stroke of genius. Truly. No need for a new blog if you keep churning out those kinds of things.

    Re: what move to take in your life, I can relate to your dilemmas totally. I’ve fallen into ‘crafting’ as something to do in the evenings to wind down after a manic (but mind-numbingly numb) day with the Little People. I’ve recently taken a career break from a demanding job and am missing it like crazy, and crafting (ahem) is a poor substitute😀

  8. ISTP. And the blot is a samurai warrior.

    I don’t think I’m a scanner as such, but I am chronically dissatisfied. And have no attention span, for which I blame the interweb.

  9. I wonder if there is a way we can all pool our very similar thoughts and come up with some brilliant career options, or if we are daydreaming?! I am just about to finish a PhD – with the idea of being an academic, think/thought it was my great goal – but at my age (mid 40s) and in the current job market (75 people just applied for a temporary post at my own uni and I didn’t even get shortlisted despite my application being classed as ‘strong) this may prove elusive.

    What led me to your post (which I really enjoyed, thank you) was searching for ideas on whether or not we need to do what we love.(On that topic, have you seen the Holstee Manifesto?
    You may have already seen it, and it may make matters worse, as it would say you definitely SHOULD pursue your dream….

    Knowing what the dream is might be the hard part, I think! I have just had a (small) moment of clarity when I wasn’t shortlisted, which was relief at the thought of NOT having to teach/lecture. I love researching, I love writing, I love thinking – but I have taught at various times in formal and informal situations, and know I dread it beforehand and am always glad when it is over.

    So I sympathise with you – how do we find something that plays to our strengths, allows us family flexibility, stimulates us intellectually, and helps pay the bills?! If I could find a job that required writing scholarly articles or books, whilst baking great gluten free cakes and also including some drawing, a combination of all my ideas, would it make me happy?!

    Thanks for the post, chiming with my own thoughts, and I look forward to any solutions you come up with. Good luck on any decisions you make.

    Jane A

    1. Thanks for the well thought out comment. It’s nice to feel like I am not the only one in a mid (well, third of) life career crisis.

      I haven’t seen the Holstee Manifesto but will look at it now. I’m going to continue in my search for the right path, and will review the literature I have been reading along the way. Keep checking the blog out and letting me know what you think and how you are doing.

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