The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is an infamous personality test that helps people understand their psychological types by making our personal differences easier to understand. There are 16 types of personalities according to the Myers-Briggs test, but I want to discuss career options for one type in particular that I identify with: INFJ. INFJ stands for introversion (I), intuition (N), feeling (F) and judging (J). We’ll take a more in-depth look at the personalities of INFJs and then we’ll see in which professional areas these people are most likely to succeed and find satisfaction.
A Closer Look At INFJ
If we just look at the four main indicators that INFJ stands for, we can learn a good bit about the more general tendencies of this personality type. While many people try to nail down these personalities into long, detailed descriptions, it really isn’t possible to both split the human race into just 16 groups and also to be incredibly detailed about the characteristics that each and every person must fulfill.
Introversion: So much has been written about introverts but the main idea hasn’t changed: introverts are commonly quiet and contemplative, practicing forethought vs. spontaneous action. They don’t have many relationships, but the ones they do have tend to be formative.
Intuition: INFJs are intuitive in the sense that they can understand – or are not confused by – abstract ideas or expressions. In this way they are able to take an incomplete picture and see it in its entirety. While fond of details, they approach problems through out-of-the-box thinking instead of micro-managed organization.
Feeling: This is interpreted many ways by many people, but “feeling” in this sense is not meant to mean “emotional”; instead, feeling means that INFJs tend to use their own feelings to guide them (as opposed to other people’s opinions or documented proof; note how this is similar to intuition).
Judging: No, judging does not mean judgmental (although that is certainly possible). Judging refers to an INFJs tendency to make early decisions. By making early decisions, an INFJ is able to gain stability instead of waiting for a consensus to be taken.
If, like INFJs, we look at the bigger picture, we can start to make accurate predictions about what types of careers they are best suited for. INFJs are thoughtful, interested in deep meanings and other people’s feelings, driven to improve problems around them, excellent at interacting with people on an emotional level, natural – though hesitant – leaders, eager to learn and, generally, optimistic.
While INFJs can be successful in more careers than I can possibly list, the two areas they are generally happiest and most satisfied with are service oriented careers and artistic careers. Find out where you fit in with this personal insight guide to finding your foundation for success and happiness.
Service Oriented Careers
INFJs tend to be service oriented. They like helping other people (always a good thing). Many INFJs turn out to be excellent teachers, instructors, psychologists and health care professionals.
All of these careers allow INFJs to devote themselves for a sustained period of time to helping people. INFJs do not like moving around, either in careers or with the people they work with. So you can see how being a teacher, psychologist or health care professional would allow them to work with the same people for longer periods of time than, say, being a lawyer (although they can be very successful in law, too).
Where They Are Happiest: In service oriented professions, INFJs are able to start helping people from the beginning; with an illness, with a grade level at school, with mental issues, etc. In this way they are able to see these relationships through to the end. With teaching, this tends to almost always end well and, thus, is why INFJs are perhaps happiest in these roles.
Where They Are Most Satisfied: With illnesses and mental diseases, however, the benefits are different; because INFJs feel a deep desire to help people in the most profound way possible, they are perhaps more professionally satisfied in health care fields, but these careers take a more significant toll on them. They can not help but become emotionally attached to the people they treat; when these people die or when the help can only ease the pain but not cure it, INFJs suffer emotionally.
Just like with service oriented careers, artistic careers allow INFJs to get more out of their work than just “having a job to do.” The deep thinking of INFJs causes them to need a creative outlet. Deep thoughts and strong emotions commonly translate to the arts.
Variety: As all INFJs are unique, there is no one artistic career they are best suited for. They can be writers, actors, designers, photographers, musicians, painters, architects, entrepreneurs, etc. These careers support the idea of holding onto your deepest convictions, as well as sticking with the same thing for the duration of your professional life. A musician, for example, can play the same instrument(s) indefinitely.
Two-For-One: Many INFJ artists also teach. This allows them to have their cake and eat it, too. They can be somewhat selfish and introverted with their personal ambitions, but they also feed their desire to help people by sharing this important part of their lives with their students. Many INFJs want to feel that their role is meaningful; thus, they are convinced (rightfully so, in my opinion) that the benefits of art are nearly infinite.
Just a cautionary note: if you are technically an INFJ, that doesn’t mean you have to choose one of these careers or that you won’t be happy elsewhere. These are simply the common, generalized professions where the majority of INFJs excel. Find out more about yourself and where you will be happy professionally.