The GREATEST post about INFP CAREERS in the history of EVER

Picture of man on top of mountainThis amazing post was written by Aelthwyn on Personality Cafe. I asked her if I could post it because it truly speaks to exactly what I desire in a career and my very feelings were echoed around the board.

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The cunundrum I think a lot of us have is that it’s hard for us to do what we love for a living because it frequently requires us to go by other people’s guidelines and ideas and such, which makes it no longer our own creative expression and cheapens it for us. And if we do that all the time we want to do something else in our free time, so we don’t end up ever really getting into our flow and feeling really alive in the activities we love. However, we also have a hard time doing something that isn’t something we really love and believe in because then we are pouring our time and energy into something that doesn’t matter and that leaves us empty.

Likewise, we are neither interested in directing others nor following directions. The trouble for us with this is that most of the time being in charge of your own work/business requires practical knowlege, organization, and ability to get out there and convince others they need your goods/services – none of which are our strong point. We also tend to like security, which entreprenuership doesn’t often have. Not to sound too bleak, but it feels like a catch 22 as they say.

What we really need is someone interested in helping us in the practical matters of personal business, or as mentioned above being part of a small company where we can be seen as individuals, have a caring family feel, and have a chance to be recognized for our creativity and inginuity without having to be too bold or have authority over others. Other than that, what we need are Patrons, someone rich who wants to help support us so that we don’t have to worry about the mundane money-making aspect of life.

A lot of us Idealists probably find money a rather unworthy goal, and thus have a hard time with almost any job setting (even if it seems initially to be something we like) because a lot of time it starts to feel like it’s all coming down to money – how much work can they get out of us, how much money can we get out of them….and that just clashes with our value system. In a sense it starts to feel like baking brownies every day when you don’t like chocolate – why am I doing this again? I don’t even really care about this!

I think the common reccommendation that INFPs would like to work in people oriented service jobs is a bit off the mark. We do usually care about others and enjoy showing our care, but we are still introverts and we don’t generally like a lot of shallow interactions – which means that service jobs may be fullfilling and draining at the same time. I think we are much more likely to feel fullfilled serving a small number of people that we know well, such as family and friends. Honestly, I’ve always thought my ideal job would be either as a nanny or a stay-at-home mom. I love to invest in a few people who are close to me, and enjoy taking care of things for others – being the behind the scenes support system for those that do go out and do other things.

I definately don’t have any good answers to this Ultimate INFP dilemma, I’m going through this myself. A couple years ago I felt like I’d lost my soul working in a book store (hey it sounded great, I love books and I was back in the stockroom alone wih my own music, sounds good….but the burden of more and more procedures, and pressure to be more and more productive, and negative managers sucked me dry of life and creativity). I’m still attempting to get my own sewing/craft business going, and wanting to look into photography but feeling overwhelmed by that.

I think perhaps a lot of us could use a good career counselor who understands and respects our needs, but knows a lot of possibilities and can make the connections for us that are hard for us to make ourselves. sigh…..

Something I did at one point shortly after quitting my old job was to make a list of things that I really needed in a job – not interests, but practical aspects.

Some of the things I found important for me were (in no paticular order):
Working on Projects Alone – I don’t do well in groups, I either end up doing all of it, or get totally ignored.

Autonomy – I hate being constantly directed, I want to see what needs to be done and do it in my own way in my own order

Projects not Hours – I hate stopping when I’m in the flow, and I hate having to hang around when there’s nothing to do. I’ll put in a lot of extra work if you let me, but don’t make me waste my time pretending to look busy just because you want a body there during ‘work hours’.

Free Schedule – I need to be respected to have my own life and priorities. I will do the work – but does it really matter when? I hate having to eat when I’m not hungry, or not be able to take a break at an opportune stopping point.

Creativity & Intelligence – I need to be allowed to come up with creative solutions and ideas and have them listened to and appreciated. I hate being treated like an idiot just because I don’t have a big pay-check.

Personal – not Impersonal – I hate the impersonal ‘business’ attitude

My Own Space – I need to have a pleasing personal environment, some place I can feel comfortable in order to be able to feel positive and stay energized and focused. Working in drab, company standard environments, or having to listen to popular music all day makes me angry and depressed and distracted and….I just break down very fast.

Ideals & Values – I can’t invest in or promote things I don’t believe in, I can’t be asked to go against my values

Positive People – A Negative critical atmosphere really takes the life out of me, strained feelings in the air make me physically ill. I need to know that I am appreciated.

Security – stress over money is not something I do well with, being afriad of not being able to pay my bills tends to immobilize me and distract me from creative inspiration.

……who knows what job has all these things?

I’ve also considered what seems to be what I’m made to do, what do I do naturally that gives me fullillment in life?
1. Loving and encouraging others
2. Appreciating the beauty in the world and helping others to see it, also reminding people of the simple joys in life
3. Creating – coming up with stories, imagining, designing many kinds of things, arranging, making things beautiful
4. Thinking deeply and coming to an understanding of things

Surely these things are useful. Surely there must be a way to make a living through them???

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Author: Invincible INFP

Hi, I'm Mike!

I'm a life coach, a full-time employee, a single Dad and a writer.

I'm here to try to help you navigate the waters of career happiness so you can enjoy your life.

336 thoughts on “The GREATEST post about INFP CAREERS in the history of EVER”

  1. Wow, thank you guys for the post and all your comments! 😀 I am an INFP as well and can relate to most of the posts that I’ve read. Feels so heartwarming~~~ I’m only 19 and don’t have much working experience so like many others, I don’t have the answers too, but, I shall share some of my thoughts.

    Like many INFPs, I LOVE to daydream. From constructing my own alter ego, creating my own little kingdom to fantasizing different kinds of scenarios that I drew inspiration from the dramas that I’ve watched, there isn’t a time when I’m not dreaming about something. I can be thinking about it before I sleep, when I’m travelling on the train, when I get distracted from my studies/ work (daydreaming is the main thing that makes me lose focus) It can be about my love life, it can be about my career, it can be how my prom will turn out to be, it can be about becoming a superhero and saving the world… And the catch is I don’t get tired thinking of all these seemingly endless possibilities. In fact, the more I think about it, the more interesting it seems (like I would think “so what’s next? what happens after that?) as though I’m creating a serial drama. Like what many of you mentioned, we INFPs have so many ideas, and we get recharged thinking about them, and to me, it comes in the form of daydreaming. I have thought of maybe becoming a writer (it seems the choice career for infp on every website I visit), but writing a book seems so challenging too (I know it’s ironic) since it’s definitely not going be a stable job (as mentioned, we need security too).

    I also like music, be it pop music (of any languages), rock music, classical music (I play the cello), and I have thought of becoming a musician or someone working in this industry. I’ve always LOVE singing, be it to destress or simply because I want to sing. Even when I’m walking or daydreaming, there will always be background music playing in the back of my head lol. However, my mum would sometimes say that my singing is bad (I personally don’t believe her and thinks she is trying to discourage me since my friends say I’m good haha) and shakes her head when I tell her I might want to be a singer in the future. Someone mentioned about how your family would discourage you from pursuing things that you really like and I totally agree that it happens. Even my friend was not very supportive when I told her. Then, my mum said “perhaps, instead of pursuing it as a career, why not just make it your hobby? You don;t have to give up singing even though you don’t pursue it.” You know how we INFPs always feel restless and want to try different things, I think maybe having this mentality would help (at least that is how my mum tried to brainwash me into thinking lol)

    I fully agree that we INFPs want to find a career where we find meaning in what we do and that for every piece of work, it helps to contribute to making this world a slightly better place than yesterday. This is why I admire people like Martin Luther King, Mother Theresa etc. I have thought of becoming a writer, a singer, a musician, a social activist, a teacher, a travel writer (I envy those vloggers on Youtube lol), a translator (I love languages), starting a business that combines all of the above lol. Alas, despite having such interests, I am going to study at a university abroad and when I graduate, I’m going to have a debt of more than $100k, and 99%, my first job would be in the finance industry…

    I’ve talked to many people, and some of them said that they are going to pursue a high-paying job that they may hate. They would work for 20 years, become very rich, retire early and then pursue their own interests. Perhaps, we can adopt this approach (although those 20++ years would be such a waste…)

    I think in the end, what really matters is your own satisfaction. For me, I know that I won’t want to be a stay-at-home mum, I want to be someone who impacts many people’s lives. Some people might be content with having a job that has work-life balance (doesn’t matter if it’s boring admin job), some might be content staying in a job that they dislike because of wonderful colleagues, some might be working for the money so as to provide for family whom they dearly love (and would sacrifice anything to make sure they are happy and healthy). I agree that if you have not discovered your true passion/ calling, keep searching, even if you already have a stable 9-5 job or a job with fat paycheck. In the end, make sure there are no regrets (or keep them to as few as possible). When you look back at your life when you’re 80, do you feel like you’ve contributed to world? I agree life’s too short, you might die tomorrow (not trying to hex anybody here), and do you feel that you have experienced true happiness? One of my friends said that the purpose in life is to experience life (I don’t know though, I haven’t figured it out all yet). To all my fellow INFPs, I hope you can find something/somewhere that you truly belong to. And if you haven’t, it’s fine, because life is a journey, an experiment, till the end we breathe our last. Never give up, and I wish all you wonderful great people all the best! Be optimistic and always have hope!

    p.s. I just hope I can be the next Mother Theresa or something haha (at least let me dream~~)

  2. Hi! My name is Rob and I found this article to be very interesting.
    Just to recap the things the writer said that they were looking for:
    (“Autonomy, Projects not Hours, Free Schedule, Creativity & Intelligence, Personal, My Own Space, Ideals & Values, Positive People, Security.
    1. Loving and encouraging others.
    2. Appreciating the beauty in the world and helping others to see it, also reminding people of the simple joys in life.
    3. Creating – coming up with stories, imagining, designing many kinds of things, arranging, making things beautiful.
    4. Thinking deeply and coming to an understanding of things.
    Surely these things are useful. Surely there must be a way to make a living through them???”)

    So let me try to make an attempt at answering the pressing question at the end of the article which reads. “Surely these things are useful. Surely there must be a way to make a living through them???” At one time in life I was overwhelmed with the feeling of being a lost soul at sea (And might I add, sometimes I still have those feelings). Never knowing who I really was! Never knowing why I felt like I did! Never knowing why I hated my Job in construction! Often feeling like a misfit in elementary school and High School! And sometimes feeling that I was totally different than my family! I was a square peg trying to fit into a round hole. I wouldn’t have become involved in construction if my parents didn’t own the company and so I felt obligated to follow in my dads footsteps. The money was great, but I was miserable.
    Since the age of 16 I had this gnawing in my heart to be a minister i.e. Clergy / Pastor. So after I was married and after not being able to live with myself and a business that I couldn’t stand, I went to seminary and became a clergyman. At first the money was below the poverty level and then the kids started to come (three in all) but life was better for me emotionally, spiritually and physically.
    One day, as an assistant pastor, my secretary came to me and asked me to take a personality test. I reluctantly agreed and gave her the twenty five dollars that they were asking for. She said to me, I think you are an INFP and by taking this test you will be able to see what your personality really looks like. The Short version of this story is that I found out that I am indeed an INFP and that knowledge opened up a whole new dimension for me in my life. Wow! I finally understood why I do what I do, think what I think, and feel what I feel. To put it simply, I was shocked at how this simple test could pin point me so effectively.
    When I read the article by Aelthwyn, I was impressed as this writer has very plainly and simply expressed what most INFP’s feel and sense on a day to day basis. In fact there are still times I feel that way in my profession life and personal life, but with that being said, my career path has been exceptionally rewarding.
    The writer stated that INFP’s need these things:
    Autonomy: I have allot of autonomy in my profession. I am still accountable to a church board of deacons but as long as I’m doing my job well, I’m on my own.
    Projects not Hours: I have two sermons and a Bible study to deliver each week. That adds up to a lot of hours but from a project point of view, I love to read and I love to write to express myself in stories and illustrations. Basically I get to create most of the week.
    Free Schedule: When it comes to a free schedule, because I often work more than 50 plus hours a week, there is no problem with me taking the kids to the Dr’s., or the dentist, or slipping out to watch my Daughter’s music recital, or Christmas play. Or if I need a break from the office for a few moments, I head to the coffee shop and grab a cup of Joe and unwind for a moment.
    Creativity & Intelligence: This was summed up in Projects and hours but it bears repeating, I get to creatively write three times a week and do some study along with it. The study part is essential because there are people out in the congregation who are a whole lot smarter than I am, so I need to have my facts straight. But from a creative aspect, I get to write the story and then no one else can mess with I have written.
    Personal: As with every INFP we have a certain amount of “Shyness” and “Inward Privacy abounds.” This is often difficult to overcome as there are only a select few that we allow into our private lives. My wife is a great compensator for me in this area, she is an ESTJ and is hugely extroverted and very gregarious. I just stand back, nod my head, smile and let her go!
    My Own Space: All INFP’s need their own space, sometimes in huge amounts. My wife understands this completely but it’s always difficult when it comes you your job though. The beauty of my work is that at different times of the week I can find my own space, I can be sheltered from the peering eyes of the congregation by putting up the sign on my door: “The pastor is studying for Sunday, Please do not disturb!” For the most part people honour that and there are the occasional moments when you have to help someone with a crisis but My Own Space is relatively easy to achieve.
    Ideals & Values: Wow! I always get to express my Ideas and Values on a Sunday morning, and you know what’s great,…… They can’t interrupt me until I’m done! How great is that!
    Positive People: Ok, so this one is a little more difficult. Sometimes I can be inundated with some very negative people and it can drain the life out of me. INFP’s are healers, as a healer though there are times when you can be absolutely drained. Running to the hospital at 2:30 am to be with a family when their father has died from a heart attack. Dealing with a grieving family at the cemetery as they lower a tiny white casket into the ground that holds their precious four month old daughter. Sitting beside a friend who is dying with AIDS and watching the disease consume his body. Or dealing with all of the nit pickers who are “ticked” because you forgot to shake their hands on Sunday morning. All of this can suck the very life out of you. Because of this, I have found that it is very important to surround yourself with people who love you and who will speak strength into your life. This is where the right marriage partner comes in. My wife is amazing!!!!
    Security: The life of a minister for the most part is not lucrative. I think we have all seen the Televangelists who rake in big dollars, but the average Pastor of a church makes far less than a school teacher or a police officer etc. This again is the ultimate decision that I had to make. Do I stay and take over the family business and do exceptionally well financially? Or do I follow my heart and my calling and be fulfilled? Seeing that fulfillment and happiness mean so much to me, I made the choice to follow my heart. This is also a point where the choice of a marriage partner is so important. My wife fills the money gap by working diligently in her profession.
    The writer in the article made five distinct points. They stated:
    I’ve also considered what seems to be what I’m made to do, what do I do naturally that gives me fulfillment in life?
    1. Loving and encouraging others.
    2. Appreciating the beauty in the world and helping others to see it, also reminding people of the simple joys in life.
    3. Creating – coming up with stories, imagining, designing many kinds of things, arranging, making things beautiful.
    4. Thinking deeply and coming to an understanding of things.
    Surely these things are useful. Surely there must be a way to make a living through them???
    All I can say about these four points is Check, Check, Check and Check!
    In answering the question at the end of point four, all I can say is: I guess I’m lucky or should I say blessed beyond measure in the profession that I have been called too. This doesn’t mean that I have totally dealt with all of the aspects of being an INFP, it only means that the profession that I have chosen seems to meet most of the needs my personality demands. Many times I still feel like a square peg in a round hole. There are times when I still think; “I’d like to be a song writer or a poet or something else. I still have a rich and vivid imagination and I’m still shy and kind of backwards in some social environments. I still cringe at my privacy being breached and I still show a side of me that people don’t see when one of my core values is breached, but all in all, lower pay aside, my heart is full.
    I don’t want to get preachy, but hey, it is who I am. I’m in love with Jesus and Jesus has never let me down. It reminds me of an old song I heard when I was a teenager. “I have a friend who has never let me down, when I try to talk with him, he never shuts me out, but he listens and cares about everything I say, I can feel him close beside me ever single day. ‘Cause when I’m lonely and I’ve got no place to go, I just talk with him and a feeling starts to grow. I know he’s near me, I feel so warm inside and a love builds up within me that I just can’t seem to hide! He is the greatest friend that I’ve ever had, He is the greatest friend that I’ve ever had, His name is Jesus, He’s my truest friend.”
    There are critics everywhere and some might even criticize me for the little display of religious conviction that I have just shared. Just remember, I am an INFP and I let you into my little world so don’t be too critical as its hard to take.
    So with that being said, it’s my life, and my job is exceptionally rewarding.

    Rob.

  3. I used to feel this way and danced around my calling for so long before realizing it truly was meant to be. Reading your article affirmed it even further, and I was smiling by the end. I am currently in graduate school to become a Clinical Psychologist. It offers every single aspect of fulfillment described, and fits almost all of the to-avoid criteria. I will be able to teach college courses if I want, give psychotherapy as much as I want in my own practice in my own schedule, and will be able to conduct research and write as much as I want to as well, all while hopefully making a good living. There is a lot of flexibility here, plus for me the material is amazing. The grueling concept of graduate school in general is very difficult, but in several years I know I will have unparalleled freedom and fulfillment [of course I AM an idealist…. so maybe this is exaggerated haha] but I still think it’s more so than in most other careers. I would highly recommend this route for INFP’s, as I actually enjoy going to class and working with my clients- the day goes by fast and the moments of insight are sacred.

  4. Thanks to everyone who commented here, I’ve really learned a lot…
    I recently discovered my INFP personality although I always knew something was different about me.
    After leaving school I drifted in and out of various jobs for many years, never finding the focus that others seem to have naturally when it came to career development… I just didn’t get it! A square peg in a round hole would be too kind a description.
    Eventually I hit rock bottom financially and emotionally, having exhausted the good will of long suffering family and friends I took a job in a stressful industrial environment; not at all my comfort zone.
    The first thing that kept me going was I decided to approach it as just a role that any bit part actor might play. I couldn’t take it seriously as I knew it would surely overwhelm me. I played the role but I never surrendered myself to it. The INFP artistic gifts of imagination, intuition, and sensitivity are actually powerful tools when used in this way. We more than any other types know the value of dreams and make believe, and somewhere inside of us there is always a light that burns.
    Secondly, I actively sought out mentors and role models and tried to learn from them as I knew I would never be the catalyst of my own personal success and climb the greasy pole without a lot of practical help from my extrovert brothers and sisters.
    Finally, I decided that rather than suppress my emotional, please everyone, find a consensus side, I would try within reason to incorporate it into my personal management style, while still delivering results.
    If that sounds like a contradiction in terms, remember that there is no one right way of doing things, management of people included. The world needs more INFP’s.
    It wasn’t easy, but don’t forget that INFP’s have something other worldly, an advantage that less fortunate personality types sense, but often don’t understand, or know how to react to. They are good listeners, can read people, and know what their needs are, which is a tremendous advantage in any situation.
    Their ability to focus when they decide they have a cause or purpose in life, is second to none.
    So to conclude, I managed to raise a family, pay the bills and keep a roof overhead. I’m now about to retire and write that book I always promised myself.
    To echo some previous comments – seek out others that can help you; you may not have entrepreneurial skills, or be good with details, but that’s not your job, your job is to inspire. – seek out nurturing environments where you are valued and respected, in the right place you will flourish.
    There are a lot of successful INFP’s out there…decide for yourself what your definition of success is… embrace your different-ness and make it work for you!

  5. Enjoyed the post, yes, but…
    It’s simply not enough to recognize that there are others who struggle in this. The majority of responses on here are frustrating to me (no offense to anyone). I’m happy to (virtually) meet other INFPs (verdict is out on whether I’m an INFJ), but seriously…many INFPs really need help. Either hiring a life/career counselor, or marrying/bribing an STJ to help implement the necessary steps towards their dreams. Patrons were mentioned, but come on – they don’t exactly grow on trees… I honestly believe INFPs are the most passionate, hard working folk, IF they have a thorough knowledge of who they are and what their mission in life is about. Only then can they align with their true purpose while making a REAL difference in this world and EVEN getting paid to do it. The alternative? A wasted life. Dismal. Spending every hour trapped in a fruitless (albeit lovely) daydream that will NEVER materialize while working a job the INFP loathes. It is GOOD and healthy to be regularly confronted with reality that the other “more grounded” types can offer. I think partnerships really are the answer to many INFP struggles in careers and life. If you find yourself unable to make strides towards your dreams on your own, seriously consider hiring a suitable partner who can counterbalance this weakness. This way the world will be able to see and enjoy all the uniquely wonderful and NECESSARY gifts the INFP has to offer – left to themselves, many will never EVER get off the ground.
    Side note: I am in a business partnership with a successful entrepreneurial INTJ. I get to design and create, and he brings the finished products to the world. HIGHLY satisfying. I know my purpose, and I get to live doing what I’m made to do. Win-win situation. And INFPs love those, I’m told…

    1. Hi Stef……thank you for your posting. I just posted my own blurb about my experiences with INFPism, and found your comments quite interesting. If you don’t mind me asking, in what field/industry are you doing your creative work? Thanks, Thomas

  6. Best post on INFP ever. It’s probably the most concise of them all! The interests, non-interests, the paradox. Everything! To love to encourage others, about money, difficult to stay about easily affected by the environment. (love of books.. haha) And the best part…. Seeing that I’m not the only one!!! 🙂 🙂

    On a side note, I’ve also been looking at ADHD-Inattentive recently and it reflects it very well on my personality too. It could be possible that INFP’s are high chances of being one. I’ve not been diagnosed ADHD yet, am going to seek a doctor’s advise on it, but I highly suspect that I am. I’m smart, but I keep changing my focus regularly, chronically late, miss out appointments, always misplacing things, making careless mistakes, never finishing the things I’ve started. Any of you having the same? http://adhd.emedtv.com/9-signs-you-may-have-inattentive-type-adult-adhd-slideshow.html

    What made me realise this most was when I read Thomas E Brown’s book “Smart But Stuck” on how even people within the top 9% IQ of the population also face the problems too. But whether it’s related to being an INFP or not, remains a question mark, but it is a possibility. You can look up the book here: http://tinyurl.com/kpczo7s

    Just curious if any of you INFP’s have similar problems? Even if you don’t just let us know, so we can all find out how real of a possibility this relation is

  7. Let me start by expressing my gratitude for Mike, his web page, and my fellow INFPs, and the honesty & insight conveyed through your comments. As I read the post and the subsequent contributions I was ushered through what felt like the entire gamut of human emotion; it was exhilarating – anxiety, confusion, empathy, frustration, hope, longing, love, and affection. Much of what many of you shared I can identify with, and what you’ve related comes as a liberating and welcomed affirmation. While we may never cross paths it brings me great peace-of-mind to know you’re here and that you are all so very supportive of one-another! You bring me great hope.

    Aelthwyn’s post is quite impactful: Autonomy, Projects not Hours, Free Schedule, Creativity & Intelligence, Personal, My Own Space, Ideals & Values, Positive People, Security – wow! All of it rings true. I got a chill just reading her words, and in due course tears streamed down my face as I sat there processing. We’re bonded. It was as if I had finally arrived home after being lost all these years; like you’d imagine in a movie, where the protagonist arrives from an exhausting sojourn, dropping their rucksack, falling to their knees, weeping uncontrollably into cupped hands, “Home…” Reading Mike’s thoughts, Aelthwyn’s post, and all of your comments is like coming home.

    While I’ve known of the MBTI® – having tested last in 2009/10 – it had been awhile since I revisited it. I did so recently and my type remains the same. The only difference is that back then I took it during a business class and didn’t put much stock in it beyond its novelty. Now, at 36, I’ve been scouring the net for the meaning behind it and for people similarly assessed. Thankfully, the search has brought me here to infpcentral. I have been happily & healthily married (fortunately enough) for thirteen years, and we’ve been blessed with three beautiful daughters. My wife is just as Lia has described. She is an ENFJ and is employed as a middle-school counselor – I adore her and we work very well together. It helps that she actually enjoys what she does for a living and gets paid well enough for me to explore and contribute in my own unconventional way as a husband & provider while she carries us monetarily. Currently, I keep a tidy house (I like to think of this as energy management), cook & grocery shop (occasionally), help the kids with their homework, am a bibliophile (collecting far more books than I can keep up with, and often reading more than 3 books at a time), think, camp, hike, daydream, have so many interests that it makes it impossible to become adept at any one thing, attend community college part-time, and love to blog/write (Peaks and Valleys: Life is a Journey. Get Lost).

    My LinkedIn summary reads as follows:

    “I search out the good in people and events. I am highly sensitive to people’s feelings and genuinely interested in understanding them. I am concerned with meaning and purpose. While guided primarily by my principles I strive for a reasonable balance between my ideals and reality.

    I find great value in beauty, honesty, and virtue. I often speak in metaphor and am a hypothetical thinker. I am an idea guy. What I lack in utility I more than make up for with a desire to inspire compassion & kindness and an ability to facilitate cooperation. I communicate very effectively, and welcome new ideas, information, and opportunities to learn.

    I need more than a job; I require a cause. Currently I am a stay-at-home dad who volunteers occasionally, attends college, blogs (a-o-reed.blogspot.com/) makes a mean vegan chili (really, you’d love it), networks, enjoys the outdoors and learning about craft beer culture. I am a good advocate, life coach, motivator, and mediator with an emphasis on interpersonal communication and the optimization of self-knowledge for everyone. I love people! More importantly, I respect life.”

    It took a great deal of reflection on and exploration of INFP information and discussions for me to arrive at the above. When writing, it was a revelatory experience – that is to say, my self-description unfolded as my fingers cut across the keyboard. Currently it helps to remind me of my ideals and helps to center me when self-loathing or doubt lurks. While much of my positive self-statement has reigned true for most of my life, although I’ve only recently been able to word it as accurately, I remain open to the possibility that things may change. But, for the first time in my life, I am finally embracing, rather than fighting against, my dynamic self. Doing so feels as if a large burden has been lifted, allowing me to more freely (and unapologetically) explore the depth & breadth of my interests, potential, and relationships.

    Much of what fascinates me spans Anthropology · Semiotics · Cymatics · Conservation · Psychology · Mythology · Mysticism · EcoVillages & Intentional Communities · Deep Ecology · Ecopsychology · Art · Music · Philosophy · Ethics · Politics · Religious Studies. · Theology · Geography · History · Physics · Linguistics · Sociology · Spirituality · Sustainability · Community Service & Outreach · Education Theory · International Relations · Nutrition · Vagabonding · Indoor Rock Climbing · Yoga · Meditation · Self Exploration · The Domestic Life · Poetry · and The Great, Sacred, and Wondrous Outdoors!!!! Man…there’s just far too much to LOVE! I wonder, as fellow INFPs what are your interests?!?!?

    My wish for each and every one of you is a profound sympathy towards yourselves and others. Regardless of the percentage of the population we believe ourselves to represent and the significance we do or don’t ascribe to such categorizations, together we are all adrift in what we may never fully comprehend – Life. So, let us celebrate our differences & similarities, let us leverage our “blessed” and/or “naturally selected” abilities for the benefit of all as a gesture of gratitude to Life – the natural order of things in all its infinite wisdom. Beautiful INFPs, I love you! Here’s to healing.

    Sincerely,

    Albert O. Reed

  8. I found out to be a INFP a few months ago and everything clicked.

    My parents both dreamed to be writers, but my father forced himself to find a job when I was born to pay the bills (he was 23) and never wrote again, while my mother still struggles with money (she’s a failed writer/artist). I was obsessed with music since the age of two. Everyone noticed and constantly told me how unusual it was.

    I always knew I was gay. I live in a small country town and I felt ashamed for a while, until I saw Brian Molko on TV when I was 13. I suddenly thought: maybe I could be him! That would take all my problems away and music could also become my life! Double whammy! So I started dressing like a rock icon, eyeliner, nail polish, everything. I was planning my revenge on all those dumb people at school…by becoming the next big thing. I felt GREAT for 8 years, really proud of myself with all that glitter, weird looks and weird friends. I mean, I had a status! I chose to go to university because in my subconcious I always thought someday I would move to a big city, join a band and become a rockstar. Reality hit me during my final year at university when I realized everyone was expecting me to find a job after graduation (quite normal, yes). I realized I needed to make money at the age of 22…and my whole internal structure crushed down. I looked at the mirror and saw I was a man and not a boy anymore. I didn’t play any instrument very well, I didn’t write any song that was particularly good, I didn’t sing too well and now also the looks weren’t there. I started to feel pathetic, and spoiled, and disconnecting from the world was not a joyful escape anymore but a real pain.

    That was a year ago and I feel even worse now. As you may know, creative jobs pay NOTHING and are usually extremely boring if you’re not friends with someone important. If I can’t be an artist, at least I want to express myself in what I do, be loved for it, create something that I can look at with pride when I’ll be older, make enough money to survive and show my parents that I was right in being different and not choosing a business degree, have friends that love me for my inner qualities. I must feel exceptional and useful at the same time. I know this is much more than what most people expect to acheive in their lives and it’s like I have nothing else to live for and it fucking scares me.

  9. Hi everyone!… I’m in my early 30’s and I recently discovered that I’m an INFP type and I read some comments on this post and other info. about INFP personality and I can tell I definitely belong here… Thanks for the reference to some books, I’ll get them and will read them all!
    So, here’s a little bit about myself… I didn’t have a lot of friends growing up and wasn’t the social type, I was rather isolated and still am… I’ve always been top of my class (except for a couple of semesters at college due to family issues) and hard worker… I have a bachelor’s degree in engineering (I’ve gotta mention that I had suicidal thoughts during my years at college – from what I read, that can happen to INFPs) – I do not practice in that field of engineering… In the last couple of years in college I got a job in the IT business and didn’t enjoy the job duties per se; however, I managed to work there for just over a year just because my co-workers were awesome… After that, I moved to another city and got my second job in IT, only lasted 3 months because my co-workers and manager were not that nice… then I took some time off, got my third job in IT, lasted 2.5 years, again because the people there were a tad more professional than the previous one, they moved me around to different areas, and the last year I was there I worked from home; but then the economy wasn’t doing very good and I got laid off which I didn’t mind it because I was already bored of that job and was looking to do something else… At this point, I decided to change careers and I thought I’d like to do some automation, went back to college for 2 years and did pretty good during my academic years and here I went again back to the job market, and two years after graduation here I am again stuck with this job that I don’t find fulfilling neither inspiring… So, what to do now?… (I should mention at this point that I’m married, we have a baby, and we recently bought a house)… In recent times (before finding out that I’m INFP), I started to think that there must be something wrong with me and was considering seeking professional help, because I look around and I see my friends and former classmates doing pretty good at their jobs, getting promotions and moving up in the corporate world and I’m still here trying to figure out how to catch up… It occurred to me that I needed to go back to school to get my masters degree in order to open more doors, but I wasn’t sure what type of masters, in engineering or MBA?… this is when I started doing career research and took a personality test and came back with the my results as being INFP, and all makes more sense now… I’m glad I found out before going back to school again… Apparently, doing engineering is not suitable for INFPs and I can confirm that theory, as to why I chose those career paths? there were many factors in my opinion: parents pressure/advice, social and economical factors (that discussion is for another day)… For now, I just have to suck it up at my current work, I’m going to have to get involved in other activities at work to get my mind busy, do some volunteering activities at work and in the community, I’ve always like photography, music, painting, drawing… I’m going to start doing those things more often during my free time… and researching careers suitable for INFPs… Cheers!

  10. Sometimes I just feel like all we INFPs need is just somebody to support us financially so that we could do, try and explore whatever we want to do in life not having to worry about making a living at all!

    1. Hi fellow INFP’s !
      After reading all of the comments in this page I decided to make a summary of jobs and careers to consider 🙂
      – Driving (train, taxi, metro..)
      – Hotels
      – Associations
      – Film production
      – Journalism
      – Taking care of kids/babies in hospitals
      – Medical science
      – Radio
      – Firefighter
      – Actor, musician, photographer…

      And consider doing this in free time:
      – Sport is Crucial for us (it gives the self-confidence we need)
      – Helping poor people (giving food, medical care…)
      – Working in museums, galleries, non profit activities
      – Writing articles and publish them.

      Advice :
      -Don’t worry that much about the others. Only care of what you can do for them.
      We are too much in the thinking that we forget to take action, which should be in the end the result of the thinking 🙂
      – God made us INFP to be the salt of the Earth. Our job is to elevate the consciousness of the world, that’s why we don’t care about working to earn money, that’s not our mission here.

      Take care ! 🙂

  11. This sounds like I just wrote this!!
    100% of this is speaks to me. Reading this makes me understand myself and I feel like knowing this will push me away from my job and help push me to a career in which I actually enjoy. I work as a sales person and although I like socially interacting with people It gets exhausting for me. I’m the type who likes deep connections with individuals and that means I like focusing my attention where it matters. Thanks for the post! This uplifted my college spirits! kind of…. because there is no real solution. I guess its up to our own will to make it happen 🙂 good luck my fellow INFP’s!

  12. I’m sitting here wishing I could come up with a snappy comment, when all I really want to do is climb back in bed and sleep for a week. I agree with this post. The only thing that has kept me sane over the last 33 years as an accounting manager is a fair degree of autonomy. I worked in small companies, and didn’t manage a big staff, but that’s the hardest part now, managing people. (And being managed.) These days I’m just worn down to a nub. I want out, but this is all that I know.

    1. This thread has been just incredible. I resonated with the blog post tremendously. I often feel like such an odd duck,like right out of place at work. I mean I’m well liked, get along really well with everyone, but whats happening in my head as I listen to what is happening around me I feel like I don’t belong.

      Curtis I can relate to the being worn out managing others (and being managed). I love my team, they are all wonderful souls and I do my absolute best to be a good manager, but the truth is I’m so far beyond exhausted there are no words.

      I feel like I should be grateful because I have a good salary, a nice office, fairly good worklife balance, and I work with very smart and interesting people. I wish I didn’t have this heavy feeling in my chest from it though.

  13. Wow! I totally get this. I’ve invested 2 years nearly worth of effort and it took one of our main clients deserting us today for the over the road competition to realise just how much I was wasting my time. My company branch is a sinking ship and all my help and enthusiasm has left me drained and hating my current lifestyle. This article was a breath of fresh air. It made me remember just exactly what I love about writing and why I so badly want to do it full time. I cannot wait for the day that finally happens and my words will be out there and on paper and hopefully helping and inspiring others. Thank you for this.

  14. I feel I must now post something meaningful here in order not to break the chain of truely awesome answers the initial article managed to gather.

    I myself did business studies (I know, pathetic choice for an INFP) and discovered I was INFP in a psychology elective I took back in September 2013. The discovery was even more astonishing for me because I do not usually believe in “psychology” tests” and all the other crappy exams they make us take in for employers order to hire people.

    I remember the teacher telling me “Well, I think you made a big mistake by choosing business. You said you wanted to work in retail or fashion because you’re “creative” ? You won’t even last 2 years !”. God was he right !

    Right now I’m completing an internship after which I’ll have my diploma, but Jesus is it hard. All that daily grind, marathon-like culture, standing-only commute trains and prepacked sandwiches make me sick ! And I want to get out before I become like them, shallow and lost, uninteresting skinny pale consultants, the working dead in other words.

    I just hope to find something more “meaningful” than going to “meetings” and being considered as a mere figure on a balance sheet.

    Love,
    Y.

  15. I am not so interested in what the INFP wants or what would be the ideal situation. I am reflective enough that I already know. What I am really interested in is how infps adapt to careers. I know I like to work by myself with ideas where I can be creative and have a lot of involvement. I’ve wanted to be a writer and studied creative writing at university, but this is typical INFP idealism. It takes decades to build a writing career you can live off of, if it ever happens at all. I’ve only been out of school a couple years and more or less accept the fact that writing is something I do in my free time because I am passionate about it, which may or may not develop into a reliable supplemental income. The economic reality is that I have to do something more practical and accessible to satisfy my need for security and be able to better control the environment I live in. The problem is how do infps adapt to the work environment when at times corporate culture seems the very antithesis of what infps are about? Do you just do it for your family? Do you have to see a way this helps you get where you really want further down the line? How do we use our natural strengths and talents to succeed in the workplace? How do you quickly recharge to be able to invest so much time and energy to pay your bills and have the energy to work in the areas that are really important to you?

  16. I was recently diagnosed with INFP and I am glad I found this website to see that I don’t have to live alone with this. I have been a wage earner for the last 30 years and every job I have had has been terrible with the exception of two. The first one was as a baby sitter for a friend for her child’s first two years of life. I loved holding that child and constantly telling him he was loved and special. The second job was working for a woman who owned a small business and when she saw how bruised and battered I had been in the working world, she always gave me little presents and told me what a great worker I was and how lucky she was to have me. I too thought stenography would be a good fit for my personality. Unfortunately, it didn’t work for me; but please don’t let my negativity stop anyone else from trying. The downside of that job is working with lawyers who scream and yell, have a lot of negative energy, and are extremely egomaniacal. Ultimately, I wound up despising that line of work, even though I did like it in the beginning and it took me ten years to get through stenography school. Now I have ten working years left and I feel like I’m starting at day one. I have absolutely no idea what to do because I will blow my brains out working in an office and I don’t have the money to go to school and I actually need to work to pay for food and a place to live. So I am really, really stuck. Plus, I truly believe that people don’t want to hire oldsters. Really, really, really stuck. It’s like we work double hard because the things that we do are so contrary to who we are, but we still always have to bring home a paycheck or be homeless.

    1. I truly feel for you. Life is hard for INFPs especially when we’re older and feel like we have no one to care for us. My heart reaches out to you. I see that your name is “CritterWhisperer”. Have you ever thought about taking care of pets? A lot of people need someone to take their pets out for a walk or to use the bathroom during the day. I recently met a woman who has her own critter care business. But you could start out small. Make flyers and post your number on them or use Craigslist.org to post online or even the classifieds! People trust “oldsters”. Especially approachable and kind INFP’s to take care of their pets and/or children. Why not pursue one of those avenues? You could also advertise for babysitting or nannying. Or look on Sittercity.com. They post jobs for nannies or caregivers in your local area.

  17. This is a great post and many of the comments are encouraging! I’ve known I’m an INFP for several years now but I’m just recently back to researching personalities and careers. I majored in History because I got excited about historical research, writing, and archeology, but I haven’t really used it, per se, in a career.

    I’ve had a few odd jobs such as house cleaning, tutoring, and working in gift shops; these can be very stressful as I strive to meet others’ (often unvoiced) expectations, meet a time limit, follow others’ schedules, deal with stressed-out people while trying not to get stressed-out myself, juggle several demands at the same time, etc.

    I’ve considered writing as a career since before high school and I’m seriously thinking about it now…maybe as an author or publisher I could have a satisfying career with less stress?

    P.S. Being a movie extra was THE funnest thing I’ve ever done, so I’m also wondering about somehow getting into film production, though that sounds impossible. Any suggestions?

  18. Kate,

    Thank you for the post. Your comments are thoughtful and moving.
    I find human beings endlessly fascinating – we are all snowflakes – all different, beautiful, fragile.
    I have spent half my life in an imaginary world of thought, feeling, adventure, exploration, beauty and fun. In the inner world, I am King. In the outer world, I am sitting on the fringes of the crowd watching the audience clap at the pointless puppet show of our society – money, TV etc. I am not entertained by this show…an after all, who are the puppeteers? But the audience are enraptured by the show anyway. I sneak off to meditate…and walk in the quiet places of the world.
    The anthropology sounds fascinating…now that sounds like an adventure!

    Ben

    1. Ben,
      Thanks for the response! =] Most of us, I’d wager, could absolutely identify with that feeling of simultaneously watching the show and the audience of life, so to speak. Perhaps the bittersweet part of being an INFP is having that tremendous capacity to observe the system in a way that maybe others can’t, don’t, or won’t. In a way, we are all sort of observers and anthropologists in this thing we call life =]
      Kate

  19. Funny, almost nobody has a little profile pic above their name. Yep, we’re introverts!

    After reading (most) of these, I thought I’d share some experience about service industry/ helping jobs. Sorry if this gets a little heavy:

    I drove a cab at night for over 3 years in a college town. Which means for an INFP- 50-60 hours a week I did nothing but take care of drunk people. In my city, you don’t flag down cabs, you call a cabbie you personally know to come get you. Basically, being an INFP doing this; I became everybody’s big brother. Sure it was fun for a while, you have wacky adventures with funny drunk people, you meet and really get to know people and make a million friends, everybody likes you because they trust you to help them with they are unconscious, stupid, irate, belligerent, blackout, etc. . Since you’re an INFP, the helping people part really appeals to you, and you’re not stuck in an office all the time, there’s nobody breathing down your neck about rules, and people are appreciative of you.

    Granted I was dealing with drunk people in the middle of the night, but here’s the problem with taking care of people all the time: it will drive you completely crazy. As an INFP, you’re probably a listener and a caretaker. Which means people tell you EVERYTHING and involve you in their drama. Of course you can’t say no to a friend asking you for help. There’s only so many times you can break up fights, bail somebody out of jail, hold back puking girls hair, listen to a teenage girl tell you about being date-raped, clean a bleeding head wound, talk somebody out of hurting themselves, watch domestic violence, spend hours in the ER, and generally witness all the horrors of real life first hand before it completely destroys you.
    I wound up having a total meltdown one night, I mean a screaming, ranting, crying emotional explosion. As an INFP, we empathize waaaaay too much with people, and feel personally affected by the things that happen to our friends. Eventually you might just breakdown because you don’t think the world is fair and it’s full of evil.
    My point of all this is if you are considering a field or a job that requires you to help people in need, take care of sick people, people with problems, etc. . Just know that it is going to effect you down to the core.

    Nobody is better at taking care of other people than us INFPs, but we seriously need to remember to take care of ourselves too.

    1. Adam,
      I loved your post! Absolutely agree with this.
      Thank you so much for sharing your job! I have always been fascinated with other jobs, and wondering what it would be like… taxi driver has always been an occupation that I would like to try.
      Some amazing adventures, and a lot of lives that have been directly touched or changed because you were there for them. You know, that’s the thing about jobs like this! See, I have been a volunteer firefighter for about four years now- I LOVE it, and I am able to help others, plus I get to have a little less conversation, and a little more action…. But the thing is, something like firefighting is often seen as a much more noble and glorious position than taxi driver here in the ‘real world’.
      I think that your post alone proves that no one can underestimate what caring can truly do.
      Physically helping others and rescuing them is an awesome thing to do, but it is what you do in the dark and quiet hours when no one else is watching that truly counts.
      I find it ironic that in the age of communication, it is getting more difficult for people to connect, and to truly care about others, or to listen. Being there for the one, and truly caring…. that is amazing.
      So, thank you Adam for posting this and sharing! And thanks for making the difference!

  20. INFP here, at least that’s what the test say about me :/. I guess I’m the only one here who can’t relate to what you say. :/. Now I’m doubt that I’m really INFP, or probably I’m just less INFP than other INFP :/.

  21. I’m an INFP, and I have this job! I’m a Personal Assistant (or peace-time consigliere, Hand Of The King, whatever your preferences)

    * You’re doing lower end work for someone important in the company, but its still important work.

    * You work the project, not the hours.

    * You get to lock in with one person and build a really good working relationship, where being able to read them, and those they interact with, is an absolute asset.

    * You’re in a weirdly powerful position, because its all proxy power. Which means you can do what you what to some extent as long as you’re not annoying people.

    * Its actually your job to be friendly and promote a positive workplace, because it makes your boss’s job so much easier!

    I love my job 🙂

  22. Hey everyone! It’s been such a pleasure to read all of these comments – we’re all pretty much cut from the same cloth, eh? 😉

    (I do apologize for the rant in advance!!) <3

    I'm 24, a recent college graduate (I graduated with a BA in English) and perpetually searching for my place in the world. I originally entered university with noble intentions to become a high school English teacher. Eventually I decided that before embarking on that journey I wanted to gain more experience outside of the classroom (I've basically spent my whole life in the education system and I feel like I ought to have more wisdom/experiences to share with students in any classroom), so I turned my attentions elsewhere. I briefly considered studying anthropology (cultural or ethnomusicology) in graduate school, as it's one of my passions; but ultimately, I decided against it for the time being because I consider myself at this point in life to be more free-spirited than scholarly.

    Psychology appeals to me, and I once considered going into the mental health field… But to be honest with you, my dear fellow INFPS, I think I'm far too sensitive and easily disturbed by things to frequently tackle some of the more darker elements of the human psyche =/ (I mean, I'm the sort of person who cries when those animal-rescue commercials come on…) I have a huge amount of respect for anyone in the medical field, and I'm interested in the notion of health and healing; but I think that frequently being around the sick and/or dying would make me run out of that place faster than a fat kid running to an ice cream truck.

    Previous jobs include: barista**, babysitter, olive oil seller, and basic data-entry positions.

    **(Initially it was difficult to be a barista since I'm naturally introverted and usually oblivious or lost in my own thoughts. I'm sure all of you can relate! Years ago, I think the prospect of interacting with strangers all day would exhaust and frighten the crap out of me; but after having spent a few years in the customer service world as a barista, I learned how to come out of my introverted, solitary shell [it's so nice in there haha] at will and act extroverted near others when necessary ^_^ It rather helps if I look at it like a game and don't take the interactions so seriously! #FakeItTilYouMakeIt)

    Previous career considerations include: poet; perfume-maker (please don't ask why, I was eight when I thought of this ^_^); archaeologist; ukulele player (but alas, there is not much of a market); working in a cubicle (to pay the bills, but this would surely kill me); historian; yoga instructor; psychologist/counselor; etc.

    Until I figure out what I'm doing, I'm planning to work as a substitute teacher. My view of the future is always changing – there's that P coming into play! – but I'm comfortable with it for now. I'm thinking about substitute teaching for the time being; getting into graduate school to become a librarian; and then, once I get settled and comfortable with that (and pursue my other passions on the side, like music and poetry), going back to grad school once again to pursue something else, like anthropology.

    I'll always be restless, imaginative, interested in fixing things, and willing to learn =] I don't have everything figured out, but I refuse to view my qualities as negative. If everyone else is beautiful, which I firmly and inherently believe, then why can't my own quirks be? =] Instead of going into something with a feeling like "this is it forever," I'd rather view each new thing which I adopt into my life as a season.

    After having read through all of these posts, I've realized that all of you are amazing, talented, and beautiful individuals with a high capacity for happiness and much to give to this world. We were born as we were for a reason. In our own little ways, as long as we spread the love that is within us to others, how could we go wrong? I think that all of us possess purpose, and it's our priviledge in life to explore and find out exactly what that is!

    Here's to wishing all of you the best =]
    Peace and love,
    Kate <3

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