What’s the perfect INFJ career?
Recently, I’ve corresponded with INFJ…
- Landscape architects
- Furniture designers
- Graphic designers
- Art instructors
- Child development specialists
And that’s by no means an exhaustive list. It just gives you an idea of the scope of opportunities available to INFJs seeking meaningful work. Almost every INFJ I’ve ever met has struggled at some point to find work that excites her. She wants a job she’s passionate about that makes a difference in the world, and she wants to be able to express her creativity, original thought, and uniqueness. But given the above list, there’s clearly no one-size-fits-all job for the INFJ.
There are, however, several guiding principles you should keep in mind as you pursue fulfilling work.
1. You can find a job in any field.
When it comes to finding a job, the best approach that I’ve ever read or heard about comes from the book Do What You Are. The authors make the point that you can find a job in any field you want. What’s more important than the field you choose to work in is the degree to which your job employs your natural strengths.
2. Consider your INFJ strengths.
You can learn a lot about your INFJ strengths by studying your functional stack, or hierarchy of mindsets, which appear in order of strongest to weakest. (For a more in-depth analysis of the four INFJ mindsets, download my free eBook, The INFJ Personality Guide). You have four of them:
- Introverted intuition (Ni) – Your first function excels at identifying underlying meanings and symbolism, finding patterns, gleaning insights, and synthesizing. It makes you a deep, thorough, creative, future-oriented, and visionary person, among other things.
- Extroverted Feeling (Fe) – Function two moves you to care for other people and see that they are included, encouraged, and built up. Paired with Ni, it enables you to see possibilities for people and to champion personal growth in others.
- Introverted Thinking (Ti) – The third function balances your care for others with impersonal logic. It seeks to understand how systems work and to systematically categorize and classify large quantities of information. You may also enjoy creating custom solutions and more efficient systems as a result of this function.
- Extroverted Sensing (Se) – The last and weakest function is where your love of beauty comes from. It’s the reason why INFJs usually enjoy well-crafted handiwork, creation, travel, and, to some extent, the finer things of life. It’s also your Achilles heal because you’re likely much better at imagining the future than you are at being present in the moment.
If your work engages each and every one of your functions and requires you to rely most heavily on Ni and Fe, your greatest strengths, you’re going to be a lot happier than if it asks you to do something that runs counter to your natural bent. The goal is to find a job that allows you to be you!
3. You can work with your hands if you’re smart about it.
AJ Drenth PersonalityJunkie.com warns against pursuing the allure of Se – your inferior function. In The 16 Personality Types, he explains that all personalities view their fourth function as the gateway to fun and pleasure, so they naturally want to pursue a career that gives them the opportunity to use the function. The problem with choosing a career that regularly asks you to use your inferior function, however, is that you’re a poor user of Se, at least compared to your abilities with Ni. While you might enjoy hobbies that enable you to engage your senses, your facility with your hands and aptitude for in-the-moment sensory work isn’t nearly so great that you should consider using it “all day, every day.” That will only exhaust you and stress you out.
Further complicating matters, Drenth explains that an INFJ’s “infatuation” with Se is at its height around the time he’s getting ready to enter the workforce, which can lead him to an ultimately dissatisfying career choice. For instance, when I was getting ready to go to college, part of me wanted to be a park ranger. I always enjoyed and excelled at environmental science in high school. I loved being outdoors and around anything that had to do with creation, but becoming a park ranger would have been a bad move on my part because I’m not good at realistic work that requires me to use my hands. I’m much better with words, theories, and ideas, as my college experience later revealed.
So am I saying you shouldn’t work with your hands? Not necessarily. Just make sure that if you’re choosing a job that regularly engages Se it also asks you to employ your Ni far more frequently. That, for example, is why landscape architecture might work for some INFJs because the thinking involved in laying out the grounds engages your Ni, even though your plans will require hands-on work to come to fruition.
4. Stick to your greatest strengths.
The bottom line is that, as Drenth points out, you’ll always be better at visionary, creative, idea generation than you will be at the hands-on implementation, so if you can find work that allows you to be a “thinker upper” as Tieger, Barron, and Tieger put it, you’ll likely be way happier with your job than if you try to be primarily an implementer of ideas. Drenth says that kind of work is better left to sensors, and based on my personal experience, I’d agree.
With these four ideas, I’ve barely scratched the surface of the INFJ job search. There’s much more to consider, such as your age, passion, personal interests, upbringing, opportunities, and experiences. I could honestly write a book or create a course on this subject, but nonetheless, I hope you find these four thoughts helpful.