INFJ Careers

INFJs are likely to find that most corporate career paths are not designed for them, but for those focused on status and material gain. This doesn’t mean that people with the INFJ personality type struggle to see viable options though. In fact, they are likely to face the opposite problem – many INFJs struggle to begin a career early on because they see ten wildly different paths forward, each with its own intrinsic rewards, alluring but also heartbreaking, because each means abandoning so much else.

Truth, Beauty, Purpose

First and foremost, INFJs need to find meaning in their work, to know that they are helping and connecting with people – an INFJ Ferrari salesperson is a non-sequitur. This desire to help and connect makes careers in healthcare, especially the more holistic varieties, very rewarding for INFJs – roles as counselors, psychologists, doctors, life coaches and spiritual guides are all attractive options.

INFJ careers

INFJs’ needs don’t end at meaning though – any productive work can be rationalized to be meaningful, as any productive work helps someone, somewhere. INFJs crave creativity too, the ability to use their insight to connect events and situations, effecting real change in others’ lives personally.

For INFJs, money and Employee of the Month simply won’t cut it compared to living their values and principles.

Two Roads Diverged in a Yellowed Wood

These needs are hard to meet in a corporate structure, where INFJs will be forced to manage someone else’s policies alongside their own. For this reason, people with the INFJ personality type are more likely to, despite their aversion to controlling others, establish their independence by either finding a leadership position, or simply starting their own practice. As independents, sole proprietors in the parlance of business, INFJs are free to follow their hearts, applying their personal touch, creativity and altruism to everything they do.

This is the most rewarding option for INFJs, as they will step out of the overly humble supporting and noncompetitive roles they are often drawn to, and into positions where they can grow and make a difference. INFJs often pursue expressive careers such as writing, elegant communicators that they are, and author many popular blogs, stories and screenplays. Music, photography, design and art are viable options too, and they all can focus on deeper themes of personal growth, morality and spirituality.

Where INFJs fall flat is in work focusing on impersonal concerns, mundanity, and high-profile conflict. Accounting and auditing, data analysis and routine work will leave people with the INFJ personality type fidgety and unfulfilled, and they will simply wilt under the scrutiny, criticism and pressure of courtroom prosecution and defense, corporate politics and cold-call sales. INFJs are clever, and can function in any of these fields, but to be truly happy, they need to be able to exercise their insightfulness and independence, learn and grow alongside the people they are helping, and contribute to the well-being of humanity on a personal level.

Jess
5 years ago
Hey, this feels like a cliche as I write it but it is SO good to meet this (?my) lovely tribe. I have just browsed all your comments and I think the important people in my life ought to read this forum too to help them understand me! My endless search for a meaningful path in life has driven them all nuts over the years:) For those of you at the beginning of this path I thought I'd share what being a doctor is like for an INFJ. In many ways it's been amazing, but. It has also been very rocky and if I had my time again I'm not sure I'd put myself through it, but I've grown more confident about using my skills creatively and this is my hugest piece of advice: I like many of you have expressed have always felt like a square peg in a round hole, but I've learnt (or still learning?) that that will always be a little bit the case and perhaps any pre set career path in a traditional sense is just not us. We are quiet trail blazers. So getting into and then training for medicine was easy for me in one way because I was so fascinated by learning and so driven to "make a difference" but really hard in other ways because it took so much time and I didn't want to give up my reading dreaming writing sculpture world vision, and get my head down 12 hours a day. But absolutely the worst bit was starting real work, making a difference? It's pretty hard for anyone, let alone an INFJ to feel like they make a difference when they haven't slept for days, (this bit has got much better in training these days:)) have constant demands on their time, make a lot of quick decisions with no thinking time, be constantly surrounded by people, have to have a lot of attention to detail. The pressure was immense, and still is. But if it is possible to control the environment it is an incredible job too-- I can be a leader through support not authority, I can think creatively about solutions to what seem like intractable problems, I can listen and watch the whole of humanity and know that everyone ( whoever they are at face value) is human and wonderful and complex and shares the same fear and mortality, I can make a difference -- often just by being present not what I do or say, I can use a lot of intuition-- -and get to act on it! For me, though, I find the pressure and public demands draining and I can't do it anything like full time to survive, but I write, lecture and teach, I've done journalism (for those that didn't like the pressures of journalism it's useful to bear in mind that science or specialism journalism is often more rewarding and less pressured than newsroom or "commercial journalism") I have also worked in International health and teaching -- trying to get up to date info and books to trainee doctors in war torn countries. I now understand why I am so restless! There IS no set career path for us-- I'm 15 years into mine and I am still making it up as I go! Thank you for all your ideas of what else I can do next!
Nat
5 years ago
Hey, other INFJs - I have a very special problem: I am really, really very good at data analysis, programming, finance etc. And from an intellectual point, I find all that very fascinating too - but ok, I couldn't do it as a job as long as the job doesn't cover relational things too. However, I believe it is wrong to advise IFNJs strictly to primarily choose social or artistic jobs (like teaching, counseling, etc.) as this also depends on your intellectual capabilities that also define some of your interests! Btw. I explicitly decided against becoming a teacher or social worker (during school my first choices) because I noticed that I am ways to sensitive to deal with persons so closely every day... That's the other side of the medal!
Nicole
5 years ago
I need advice on a career. I start university in 2014. I want to know from some other INFJ's what careers are well-suited. I have been attracted to biological oceanography because it seems like a career that would leave me satisfied but careers are sparse in the field, and the salary is low, also I would have to live in certain regions. Biology was a favorite course of mine in high school though. In the past, I have on multiple times considered a career in international development, this summer I even went to East Africa and served at an orphanage for abandoned and at-risk babies as well as donated to a widowed women's organization. I also sincerely spending time speaking with the African's about their lives. But I know positions in development, again, are low. Last, a city planner, because like with international development, I could assist people in finding low-income housing or revitalizing the city. Other careers I have considered are physical therapy which I have decided I am not attracted to after all, a curator because I am interested in art history but ruled it out because sitting around would drive me insane. The one position, I do not want, even though highly rated amongst INFJ's is as a counselor or psychologist as I have had bad experiences in the past. If you could send recommendations for careers, or share your career with me, I would appreciate immensely.
Natasha
5 years ago
Hi Nicole, I am an INFJ, and I have been following an academic career in the biological sciences since I graduated with a BSc in 2003. When I was at your stage, just before University, I was most interested in global issues that affected people and the environment, ecology and conservation, and medicine and biology. I ended up pursuing biology at University. After University I soon realised I didn't have the ability to emotionally detach enough to be a doctor, and I don't think I would have had the 'steel backbone' needed to undergo the harsh 'right-of-passage' training most young doctors have to endure after med school. I instead seemed to flourish in the academic environment, where I could exercise independent thought and creativity, and find value in my work by how it may eventually contribute to solutions to medical problems. However, as I have progressed after my PhD, I have discovered that academic science is a corrupt, competitive, and self-serving system. Much money intended to research ways we can improve our world is wasted because scientists are not encouraged to publish their negative results. This does nothing to further our knowledge: it can lead to unneccessary repetition of studies and scientists fabricating their results to make them look more impressive. Also, the system doesn't encourage scientists to work together to solve the world's problems. Instead, they are fighting against each other to survive in their careers. There is no job security in academic science until perhaps your 40's, but this age is increasing. Until now I have remained here because I am passionate about my research, and I believe that if no good people stay in science, the situation will only get worse. However, I think this has been naive and futile, and has left me quite depressed. Not to mention I am often anxious about my future as I work on projects that typically last two to three years each at best. So, if you study oceanography and follow an academic research career afterwards, be warned that you may find yourself sad and frustrated by the system. Here's the BRILLIANT news: I have many friends who studied environmental science as undergraduates and then embarked on PhDs in various social and biological topics surrounding environmental science. Some of them traveled as far as Antartica to complete their research and had the most amazing experiences. Now, none of them have stayed in academia like me. Instead, all of them work at local, national, and international levels to help improve our world - from running campaigns to promote energy conversation to running nature reserves and city planning to promote cycling and public transport. I think this is because the environmental sciences offer the most broad range of career opportunities for graduates. Engineers are another group of people who can apply themselves to many different areas like this as well as medicine. My point is, anything you choose right now will not close all the other doors open to you. You do not have to know exactly what you want to do right now, and your direction may change as you grow as a person and experienece the world. Careers are rarely linear, but more often branch in different directions like a tree. Don't worry about your salary. Just make sure that whatever you do each day, you follow your values. The fact that, at such a young age, you have already travelled abroad and engaged in humanitarian work demonstrates you have a strong desire to contribute to humanity. Keep using that wonderful gift you have, remember to listen to yourself as well as others, and you will not go "wrong".
Sharlien
5 years ago
Hey Nicole, just stumbled across this site and thought I should comment on your question. I'm currently in my 4th and final year of studying information design (a bit broader than graphic design). Thinking back I'll admit I could never have guessed I'd be studying design, but I have really enjoyed it, especially because of how the course is set up where I'm studying. It's very stimulating as it's constantly changing and no project is the same as the previous one. I'm also an extremely socially minded person as I really want to help people some how - and that's part of design, especially these days as design is shifting to be more socially focussed by using their creative problem solving skills in fields such as education, health care and all kinds of social issues. This what I'm hoping to get involved in next year as I start working. Anyway, sorry if I've been rambling but just thought I'd give my INFJ 2cents and tell you what career I chose.
Maria
5 years ago
Hello INFJs! So happy to know there are so many of you out there in the world who are also looking to find themselves! When I took a personality test and was told I am rare and part of only 1% of the population, I felt very lonely.... I just checked the world population and realized that 1% of 7 billion and growing is 70 million!! I am not as alone as I think sometimes even though it has been a struggle for me to "fit in" my 33 years of life... I have had many different jobs in customer service (ugh..), secretary, administrative, office jobs in many different industries. none of them gave me any satisfaction. I love helping people and making a difference even in the smallest way. Am I really artistic and creative? I need to able to express myself in a creative way as it seems most jobs I have to fit in a box which made me feel very unfulfilled, angry and depressed. Now I want to get into a role and an industry that allows me to reach my full potential. My husband gives me the strength to keep going and keep trying to find what it is that I like to do even if it takes me my whole life! Let's keep each other motivated! Go INFJs!! :)
RHS
5 years ago
This is so interesting! I come from an I.T. background, graduated Computer Science. On my 3rd year of college, I thought I would prefer a Psychology course but decided against it wanting to graduate sooner than later. I have worked as a programmer, systems analyst, I.T. Manager, etc for 10 years until I finally decided to switch careers. I am now a Birth Photographer and enjoying it immensely. If I knew earlier, I would have followed my gut and pursued Psychology. I have thought about going back to school to pursue Psychology... or possibly Architecture several times before but reading this affirms my thoughts. Im seriously thinking of doing it....
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