Professional competence is often the area in which INTJs shine most brilliantly. Their capacity for digesting difficult and complex theories and principles and converting them into clear and actionable ideas and strategies is unmatched by any other type. INTJs are able to filter out the noise of a situation, identifying the core thread that needs to be pulled in order to unravel others' messes so that they can be rewoven into something at once beautifully intricate and stunningly simple in its function.
The real challenge for INTJs is that in order for their innovative (and to less insightful individuals, seemingly counter-intuitive) ideas to be heard, they need to have a friendly ear to bend, and developing an amiable rapport with authority figures is not exactly in INTJs' list of core strengths. In their early careers, INTJs will often have to suffer through menial tasks and repeated rejections as they develop their abilities into a skillset that speaks for itself.
Where's My Drawing Board?
INTJs tend to prefer to work alone, or at most in small groups, where they can maximize their creativity and focus without repeated interruptions from questioning colleagues and meetings-happy supervisors. For this reason INTJs are unlikely to be found in strictly administrative roles or anything that requires constant dialogue and heavy teamwork. Rather, INTJs prefer more "lone wolf" positions as mechanical or software engineers, lawyers or freelance consultants, only accepting competent leadership that helps in these goals, and rejecting the authority of those who hold them back.
Their independent attitude and tireless demand for competence mean that INTJs absolutely loathe those who get ahead by seemingly less meritocratic means like social prowess and political connections. INTJs have exceptionally high standards, and if they view a colleague or supervisor as incompetent or ineffective, respect will be lost instantly and permanently. INTJs value personal initiative, determination, insight and dedication, and believe that everyone should complete their work to the highest possible standards – if a schmoozing shill breezes through without carrying their own weight, they may find INTJs' inventiveness and determination used in a whole new capacity as the winds turn against them.
Timid Men Prefer the Calm
As their careers progress further and their reputation grows, so will the complexity of INTJs' tasks and projects. INTJs demand progress and evolution, new challenges and theories, and they often accomplish this by pushing into more active strategic positions. While they don't care for the spotlight, INTJs do enjoy controlling their ideas, and will often expand into low-profile but influential roles as project managers, system engineers, marketing strategists, systems analysts, and military strategists.
But really, INTJs' vision, creativity, and competence in executing their plans make them viable in just about any career that requires them to think about what they're doing. While some careers, such as low-level sales and human resources, clearly do not play to their strengths, INTJs are able to build a niche into just about any institution, including their own, that they put their minds to.