ISTJ-A and ISTJ-T: Differences Between Assertive and Turbulent ISTJ

ISTJ, also known as Logistician or Investigator, is one of the personality types from Myers-Briggs 16 personalities.

ISTJs are devoted to their duties. They have a high sense of responsibility which is noted in all of their activities.

They are very punctual, organized individuals with a realistic attitude towards life. People with ISTJ personalities are often perceived as rather cold-hearted because of their lack of empathy.

They hate changes and tend to make exact plans in order to follow their dreams and achieve lifetime goals.

To understand ISTJ personality, people usually focus on the four basic personality traits of the Logisticians. In fact, ISTJ stands for Introversion (I), Sensing (S), Thinking (T), and Judging (J).

However, getting to know personality traits and functions isn’t enough to deeply realize how each MBTI personality thinks and behaves in various situations.

An in-depth review of an ISTJ personality also requires discussing the differences between its subtypes – ISTJ-A and ISTJ-T.

In this article, we’ll compare the subtypes of ISTJ personality, discuss their strengths and weaknesses and review optional jobs and career paths for each of them.

Differences Between ISTJ-A and ISTJ-T

ISTJ-A and ISTJ-T stand for Assertive and Turbulent Logisticians respectively. These two subtypes of ISTJ share all the major personality traits and functions, meaning that they have similar values, attitudes, and habits.

The only thing that makes them different from each other is their behavior patterns. Specifically, they express their values and thoughts in a different manner.

Besides, their decision-making styles also differ from each other.

In this section, we will compare ISTJ-A (Assertive Logisticians) and ISTJ-T (Turbulent Logisticians) in relationships, friendships, at the workplace, and while working in a team.


ISTJs often avoid social situations. They have a very narrow circle of friends and prefer to spend time alone. However, their small group of friends completely relies on the Investigators who are very devoted to their close friends and family.

Unfortunately, both Assertive and Turbulent ISTJs struggle to understand their friends’ feelings.

Unlike Assertive Logisticians, Turbulent ones place a strong value on others’ opinions. Therefore, if their friends think ISTJ-T is inattentive toward their feelings, Turbulent Logisticians get anxious.

On the contrary, ISTJ-As seem rather indifferent to others’ opinions and behave according to their preferences. Nevertheless, both subtypes are loyal, dependable friends.


Both Assertive and Turbulent Logisticians are loyal, dependable partners. They prefer long-term relationships and tend to choose traditional gender roles, male ISTJs having the role of provider and females taking care of home and kids.

They wish to create a stable, organized family where every member is aware of their duties. But that’s not the whole picture of ISTJ in relationships.

ISTJ-A and ISTJ-T differ in the ways they express their feelings around their partners. In particular, Turbulent Logisticians are more emotional than Assertive ones.

Although ISTJ-Ts also lack empathy, they try hard to express their feelings and understand others’ emotions especially if their partner is a Feeling (F) personality.

Assertive Logisticians, on the other hand, seem indifferent to others’ emotions.

Instead, they show their love and kindness by performing pleasant actions, like buying gifts or helping their partners in certain tasks.


Punctuality, professionalism, and dedication to work are some of the workplace habits of Assertive and Turbulent ISTJs.

Both ISTJ subtypes tend to be extremely responsible for their duties and have great time management skills.

The main difference between them at the workplace is that Assertive Investigators are completely focused on pursuing their goals without paying attention to others’ aims and preferences.

Hurting others’ feelings is not a big deal to them if it helps them to succeed. Unlike them, Turbulent Investigators consider others’ opinions and determine their course of action based on others’ goals.

Despite this difference, both ISTJ subtypes take the work very seriously and avoid disappointing their teammates or leaders.

Working in a Team

ISTJ is an introverted type who enjoys spending time alone but surprisingly they usually appreciate working in a team and have great teamwork skills as well.

But they value teamwork only if their colleagues are responsible enough and have competent skills for achieving collective goals.

If Assertive Logisticians notice that somebody in their team has a careless attitude toward the work, they start blaming this person for disappointing the team.

Turbulent Logisticians also get mad when someone disobeys the team rules but instead of judging, they turn to their own work and put even more effort to save the team from possible failure.

ISTJ-A Strengths and Weaknesses

If you take a look at ISTJ’s strengths and weaknesses, you’ll quickly notice that the Assertive Logisticians share the general character advantages and flows of ISTJs.

However, based on the subtype, these strengths and weaknesses are expressed differently in behavior. Let’s first review the strengths of ISTJ-A:

  • Assertive Logisticians are very calm in nature. They are oriented towards their goal and don’t wait for other people to give them permission to move forward. They try to pursue their aims despite others’ opinions.
  • ISTJ-A is the least impulsive personality type. They consider the pros and cons of a given situation carefully before making a decision. However, when the environment changes, they can be flexible and make decisions according to the current demands.
  • Assertive Logisticians have the ability to use their theoretical knowledge in various situations and inspire others. Due to their self-confidence, they can easily convince people that whatever they think is completely right.

On the other hand, they Assertive Logisticians also have some weaknesses:

  • People with ISTJ-A personalities find it hard to admit their mistakes. They want to maintain a competent look and as a result, they try hard to hide their mistakes even when it reduces the likelihood of achieving success.
  • Since Assertive Logisticians always follow the same routine, unexpected changes are perceived as stressful to them. They try hard to maintain the old course of action instead of adapting to new challenges.
  • Assertive Logisticians have judgmental personalities. They tend to find weaknesses in other people and point out these mistakes in front of others. When something is wrong, ISTJ-As will find who is guilty and blame their wrong actions.

ISTJ-T Strengths and Weaknesses

General ISTJ flaws and strengths are also present in Turbulent Logisitians’ characteristics but they are expressed in their thoughts and behaviors in specific ways.

Here are some of the main strengths of Turbulent Investigators:

  • Although ISTJs usually lack empathy, Turbulent ISTJs are more sensitive than Assertive ones. They hardly express their own emotions but never forget to pay attention to others’ feelings while making important decisions.
  • ISTJs are perceived as rather rigid people because they can’t adapt to unexpected changes. But actually, Turbulent Logisticians manage to deal with the distress and express willingness to change.
  • Turbulent Logisticians are aware of the significance of emotions in everyday life and try to work on their feelings in order to make them accessible to other people.

Similarly to Assertive Logisticians, Turbulent ISTJs also have specific personality weaknesses:

  • Turbulent Logisticians have a tendency to overthink others’ opinions. They spend hours finding out why somebody disagrees with them and often this slows down their progress.
  • Turbulent Logisticians are more impulsive than Assertive ones. They easily get angry and find it hard to control their impulses.
  • People with ISTJ-T personalities tend to have low self-esteem. They aren’t happy with the way they look and always try to improve themselves based on other people’s standards.

Jobs and Career Paths for ISTJ-A

Assertive Logisticians are believed to be troublemakers at the workplace. The reason is that they often take part in debates about who is responsible for making mistakes.

They like competition and often blame others in order to appear more competent. Therefore, jobs that don’t require teamwork are more suitable for them.

People with ISTJ-A personalities work better on their own. They prefer fixed schedules rather than a flexible working environment.

Here are some of the most suitable career paths for ISTJ-A personality:

  • Entrepreneur
  • Technical Education Specialist
  • Administrative Manager
  • Logistician
  • Bookkeeper
  • Financial Clerk
  • Electro-mechanical
  • Technician Railroad Worker
  • Commercial Pilot
  • Butcher

Jobs and Career Paths That ISTJ-A Should Avoid

Some jobs are just not suitable for this personality.

Here are 10 jobs that you shouldn’t do as ISTJ-A:

  • Graphic Designer
  • Preschool Teacher
  • Psychologist
  • Social Worker
  • Cosmetologist
  • Public Relations Specialist
  • Child Care Provider
  • Therapist
  • Fitness Instructor
  • Life Coach

Jobs and Career Paths for ISTJ-T

According to the American Psychological Association (APA), having great organizational skills, putting extra effort into work, or following the rules predicts good job performance. Investigators have all these personality traits.

Consequently, ISTJ job paths are very satisfying. Based on the strengths and weaknesses of ISTJ-T and ISTJ-A, their career paths are somewhat different.

Turbulent Logisticians value a well-organized working environment that allows them to develop professionally.

Although they are Introverted (I) individuals, usually ISTJ-Ts don’t mind working in teams as long as the team members take care of their duties themselves.

They are suited for jobs that require respect for rules, stability, and accuracy.

Here are the top 10 best careers for people with ISTJ-T personalities:

  • Dentist
  • Lawyer
  • Librarian
  • Police Officer
  • Referee or Sports Competitor
  • Occupational Health and Safety Specialist
  • Medical Assistant
  • Plumber or electrician
  • Painter
  • Surgeon

Jobs and Career Paths That ISTJ-T Should Definitely Avoid

There are, however, some careers that don’t suit this type of personality.

If you are an ISTJ-T, avoid the following careers:

  • Actor
  • Musician
  • Journalist
  • Restaurant Manager
  • Photographer
  • Event Manager
  • Craft Artist
  • Movie Director
  • Receptionist
  • Retail Salesperson

Are ISTJ and ISTJ compatible?

Even though two individuals with the same personality type often tend to be incompatible, things are a bit different when it comes to two ISTJs. In fact, ISTJ and ISTJ get along very well in different types of relationships. This means that people with ISTJ personalities have great potential to be either friends, romantic partners, or coworkers.

Besides, they can work in teams together as well. Of course, just like in every relationship, ISTJ and ISTJ can also have some problems during their interaction, but generally, two ISTJs are considered compatible.

Who should the ISTJ-T marry?

Personalities with sensing (S) and perceiving (P) traits turn out to be the most compatible with ISTJs. Considering that they prefer interpersonal relationships with extroverted (E) people to balance their communication skills, two personality types that get along best with ISTJs are ESFP and ESTP.

However, ISTJ-T is a subtype of the ISTJ personality that stands for Turbulent personality. Turbulent ISTJs are unstable people who look for organized and independent individuals to feel a sense of security. Therefore, they often choose Assertive (A) subtypes as their partners. That’s why ISTJ-T should marry either an ESFP-A or an ESTP-A subtype.

Is ISTJ-A a rare personality type?

No, the ISTJ personality isn’t rare. In fact, ISTJ is the third most common type in the general population, after ISFJ and ESFJ. To be more precise, according to the statistics, ISTJs make up about 12% of the total population in the US.

Most importantly, in the male population, ISTJ is the most common personality type, making up approximately 16.4% of the total. On the other hand, ISTJ is the fifth most common personality in the entire population of females and makes up only about 6.9% of the total.

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