March 21, 2014 by philipbullitthughes
The ISFJ is a cooperative creature, loyal, responsible and soft-spoken. And there are few characters in pop-culture who exemplify ISFJ-ness quite like the Office’s Pam Beasley Halpert.
At the beginning of the series, her shyness and desire for a smoothly running work environment lead her to take abuse after silly abuse from her wacked out boss, Michael Scott. As is the case with many ISFJs, Pam rarely sticks up for herself, doing little more than calling Michael a jerk for pretending to fire her in what he dubbed a prank.
However, as is true with most, her greatest flaw is her greatest strength, and it is Pam’s cooperative nature that also makes her one of the most endearing characters in the series. She goes out of her way to please those around her by performing tasks that would ordinarily never be taken care of, like building a casket for a dead bird, creating doves for the Office Olympics, designing a billboard for the employees to list their accomplishments, and painting a mural in the warehouse.
ISFJs tend to be natural mother-figures, a position they tend to adopt happily, and it is in this office that the ever steady Pam finds her Lost Boys, especially with Michael Scott. Michael is in constant shambles, and Pam is behind him, dutifully picking up the pieces of his latest disasters, like dousing the parking lot in gasoline in order to create a fiery proposal for his love, Holly. Of course, Pam comes to the rescue and saves him from the inevitable embarrassment, letting him know in a very motherly fashion that is not okay to play with gasoline.
Unfortunately for the ISFJ, they don’t often get the recognition they deserve, and such is the case with Pam. She goes about her life without flourish or fanfare, and begins to feel taken for granted. Most of her contributions go unnoticed by those around her, causing her to question her self worth on a regular basis. When she does decide to put herself out there she is often shut down, like when she showcases her artwork at a local gallery. It is there that her scrutinizing coworker, Oscar, says that courage is not one of Pam’s strong points. Devastated by this comment, she considers giving up on her dream. Thankfully, it takes only a small amount of praise to keep the ISFJ feeling happy, and Michael, true to his sporadically kind self, walks in and praises her work, buys and frames it to hang in the office.
This small act from her boss is the spark that finally ignites Pam stick up for herself. In the episode, Beach Game, she takes the bull by the horns, completing the coal-walk and then confessing her love to Jim, her future husband. Pam not only earns the much deserved respect of many around her, but most importantly develops the self-respect she needs.
If you have an ISFJ in your life, remember to be kind to these soft-hearted creatures. Give them praise for both the little and big things they are willing to do that others might eschew. Appreciate them for their warmth, dependability, and their ability to keep any organization running smoothly. Remind them to not be overly critical of themselves, for they are often their harshest opponent.