INFP Careers

It is perhaps more challenging for INFPs to find a satisfying career than any other type. Though intelligent, the regimented learning style of most schools makes long years earning an advanced degree a formidable undertaking for people with the INFP personality type – at the same time, that’s often what’s needed to advance in a field that rings true for them. INFPs often wish that they could just be, doing what they love without the stress and rigor of professional life.

Oftentimes, as with so many things, the answer lies somewhere in the middle, in a line of work that begins with passion and dedication, but which comes to require training so that the academia feels intimately linked to that passion. Too many INFPs drift in frustration, ultimately succumbing to the necessities of day-to-day life in a job that wasn’t meant for them. But it turns out that, despite such exacting demands, modern economics places a premium on the very keys to INFPs’ challenges: their creativity, independence, and need for meaningful relationships with individuals who need their help.

INFP careers

There’s Place and Means for Everyone

First and foremost is seemingly every INFPs’ dream growing up – to become an author. While a novel is a classic choice, it is rarely an accessible one, and there are many viable options for freedom-loving INFPs. The internet brings to the world the opportunities of blogging and freelance work – as organizations expand their reach beyond their native tongues, they will come to depend on INFP personality types, with their gift for language and written expression, to take their rougher translations and stale pitches and inject them with a sense of beauty and poetry. Smaller organizations will need more than ever to express with elegance the value they bring to local communities.

Most any cause, idea, or field can benefit from the artful and natural expression that INFPs bring to the table, and INFPs have their pick of the world in choosing who they work with.

The real beauty here is that it takes a core interest that people with the INFP personality type share, while helping a cause they believe in, independently, through creative expression and personal growth, and makes it applicable to any interest there is. There will always be a need, and now more than ever, to win people’s hearts and minds with the written word.

Some INFPs will prefer a still more personal touch, being able to work face-to-face with clients, seeing that their personal effort really impacts another’s quality of life. Service careers such as massage therapy, physical rehabilitation, counselling, social work, psychology and even academic roles and retraining can be exceptionally rewarding for INFPs, who take pride in the progress and growth they help to foster. People with the INFP personality type have a tendency to put others’ interests ahead of their own, a mixed blessing by itself, but when a patient takes their first unaided step in the long road to recovery after an accident, nothing will feel more rewarding than that selflessness.

If to Do Were as Easy as to Know What Were Good to Do...

Where INFPs will not thrive is in a high-stress, team-heavy, busy environment that burdens them with bureaucracy and tedium. INFPs need to be able to work with creativity and consideration – high-pressure salespeople they are not. It can be a challenge to avoid these roles, as they are the basis for so much starting work, and it’s often a risk to break away into something less dependable, but more rewarding. To find a career that resonates with INFPs’ values though, that’s more than just a job, sometimes it’s just what needs to be done.

Patch
5 years ago
It's wonderful such info exists now. I had my skill in languages taken from me for commercial studies by my mother who thought I should be like her - nothing like her at all! So I went down the office path and working in that way made me really lose my confidence. It wasn't until I had children that I discovered that this was the most creative thing I had in front of me - the lives of my lovely children. So after that any jobs were peripheral. I did waitressing for a few years to put into a house and found that rather good as I could be organised and give service my way ! Another time I did a Beauty Therapy course and found massage talents. But not enough intellectual stimulation. So when I had enough of work and wanted to follow my creative life I wrote and wrote, played with abstract art, then studied a sociology degree which really fired me up!! I found it a way of understanding how my sons' lives were in a world that had changed from my early days. I'm considering a blog now to pass on all I have learned in sociology and study of my own on what makes families tick ! In another life - a healer of some sort I believe.
Rhapsody
5 years ago
"INFPs seek careers that are more than just jobs." How true is this! I have been working in the corporate world for almost a year now ever since I graduated from college last year. All this while I have been doing administrative work at a 9-5 working hour routine, and I feel that I am wasting my life away. The politics, company culture, and the mindset of the staff just caring only about their own duties are killing me slowly everyday. It disheartens me whenever I see my colleagues pushing extra work away, pushing blame on people, complaining about every single thing, bad-mouthing about everyone in the office. It's so hard trying to get the people around me to understand my desire to do something that I like and enjoy. Every time I tell my mom that I want to head do something that I am passionate about, she tries her best in discouraging me, as she feels that having a "stable" job is better than living for passion. I understand that she is looking at the practicality purpose of having a job, but I still can't help but feel aimless at the end of everyday. This is why for the past one year I have been in a dilemma of chasing my dreams, or to keep this "stable" job. I'm glad that I found out what type of personality I have, and I must say it describes me to the T! I strongly agree on the points that we all strive to uphold our values, contribute to people's happiness, and it is important to work in a position where we find value and meaning. Hence, I have decided to pursue my goal of living my life with meaning (not just 9-5 jobs, I hate routine!), and not to care so much with other people's opinion on how my life should be lived. Because at the end of the day, the ones living out our lives is us, not the 99% of the population.
Ashley
5 years ago
I know what you mean Anthony. I have been through all kinds of career changes as well- I got my BA in psychology, then got a certificate in paralegal studies (along the way I took numerous classes exploring other fields like counseling, public health, etc). I found my job as a paralegal to be extremely unfulfilling, so I left. I always wanted to be a dietician but found the science was out of control hard... Just recently I got my real estate license. So far, I'm not crazy about this field because it is very fast paced and you have to make quick decisions and be very aggressive at times....this is not me.. A few months ago I was accepted into a masters in acupuncture program which seems to suit me PERFECTLY. I would love to do acupuncture...my own practice....and nutritional counseling....my idealistic side says, do it...its meaningful and something i believe in....im a healer....but I have student loan debt up to my eyeballs from a career that ended up being horrible (paralegal)...I'm 30 and want the whole finding myself phase to be over and done with at this point...ahhhh.....so frustrating....i wish i could just be satisified with a regular 9 to 5...
Anthony
5 years ago
This is completely and utterly accurate which is also tied with scary! I really wish someone would just hand me the career I was meant to be in. In college, I went from Art to Industrial Technology to Film. In my career I went from Film to Investigator to Dispatcher to Recruiter! I'm at that point in my job where I'm at the crossroads yet again rethinking the ENTIRE path. I just got married several months ago and really need this whole "career" thing down or I might find my wife getting so upset to the point of leaving me, but lucky for me she loves me for everything I am. *sigh* I was just looking around online for possible jobs and I was looking into real estate AND a healthcare receptionist. They don't relate at all! If anyone has ANY advice at all, please I'm open to suggestions. I love that we're rare, but the consensus seems to be, our career paths are not doing us any good...
Bernd
5 years ago
Hi Anthony. Try Human Design it's a bit more complicated system but could help you get the job/career direction that fits your type and this actually goes for everybody. I have the same problem you guys have am also INFP changed jobs a few times am very artistic and perfectionistic when it comes to my work. Looking into internet business at the moment. Seems like a good option, more time, own boss etc. i hate working for a boss. Try Empowerment Network, has to do with blogging and looks very promising. Good luck.
Kelly
5 years ago
I'm an INFP who is 41. I took 5 years of full-time school (including summers) to get my BA because I couldn't decide on a major. I graduated with about 20 credits more than I needed for my degree. I have gone back to school twice. I have very broad interests, but I'm not that passionate about any one thing. I ended up with a degree in biology because I love plants, nature and animals. I have worked for an agricultural biotech company for 19 years now. I started out working in the field and greenhouses for the first couple of years. I really enjoyed that because it didn't seem like a real job. I remember thinking, "I can't believe I get paid to do this." Then I moved to the lab. I worked in 3 different labs for a total of 17 years. It was a very cushy job, but I was never really happy. In October I moved back to working with the plants. I'm much happier in that environment than in the lab. I do volunteer work to satisfy my need to help others. I have teenage kids and they have been doing different volunteer projects with me for years now. We have packaged meals for the hungry, cared for shelter animals, removed trash from parks and bike trails, and transported shelter dogs to safe havens. It isn't a perfect solution, as I still go through cycles of despair, depression, anxiety and finally acceptance. I have never felt fulfilled and wonder if I would be fulfilled no matter what I was doing. I am now at the point where I'm looking at my retirement package, pension, retiree health benefits, etc. I have socked away a great deal of money for retirement. So far I'm on track. My company no longer offers a pension to new hires. Therefore, I would lose my pension benefits if I left the company and decided to come back later (a lot of people have done that.) I'll just stay where I am for now. I found a fantastic Toastmasters club that has helped me immensely. I have always struggled with crippling social anxieties. I have been going to weekly meetings for almost 2 years now. If I miss a few meetings, I can tell I am not as comfortable speaking to a group of people. I think I'll be working on this for the rest of my life. It makes me happy, improves my self confidence and is helping me to develop an area in myself that has always been lacking bothnpersonally and professionally. I would tell you younger INFPs to hang in there. I don't think there are any right or wrong answers. Just do the best with the information you have at the time. Keep trying to improve yourself, take care of yourself, give yourself some credit and don't be too hard on yourself. We are doing the best that we can with the personality we were given. It is not easy to live in this world when you are a shy, overworked, under appreciated, sensitive, empathetic, depressed, anxious person. Now I'm going to try to take my own advice and quell the voice in my head that wants to put an end to it all.
Becky
5 years ago
Well this adds to my inner turmoil concerning my future career path. I was planning on mechanical engineering for goodness' sake. I am so lost. on another note, is it just me or do we INFPs sound more prone to depression? the few descriptions I've read all sound rather sad.
Ian
5 years ago
Becky, INFP's live by the motto that "still waters run deep". They are the most idealistic of the personality types and this leads to alot of self-analysis and striving for personal growth, of never being satisfied and that can sometimes sound overly negative. Abraham Lincoln was an INFP, so was Kermit The Frog - it's not easy being green. You may be interested in knowing that the list of "10 most chosen careers for an INFP" includes Architecture which is closely related to Engineering (chosen by ENTP's). Good luck.
scropio
5 years ago
its true! iv been struggling with depression sense i was 8! Its hard to bare life when even the folks closest to you cannot understand u. Iv always had the feeling that i do not belong among the masses.
Patch
5 years ago
That's exactly what I was thinking...anxiety and depression...and I definitely think it gets worse when we find ourselves in careers that aren't suited to us. I know I have struggled with it since childhood. I've known that I wanted to be a psychologist and a writer since age 8 (publishing under an assumed name, of course). Yet...I quit writing in college because I could never let anyone read my stuff. I would read incredible books and poetry and think, "Yeah, right, I'll never come close...what's the point?". Plus, I can't think of anything more personal that one's writing...either way, I never tried because I was too afraid, and have regretted it every day of my life. I also gave up on my dream of being a psychologist because my parents and siblings kept telling me that I was too sensitive, I wouldn't be able to "leave my work at home", and I wasn't "strong enough to take on other people's problems". I ended up getting a j.o.b. in marketing...I did well, but I was miserable. My social anxiety escalated, I started having frequent anxiety attacks, and I ended up being agoraphobic for a while, at one point not stepping out of my house for 8 months. I eventually started to drag myself out of my extreme hermit state (a step at a time), largely through meditation and hypnosis. I'm 33 years old now, and I think I have finally come to the point in my life where I'm thinking...you know what...screw this. Screw this fear, and screw trying to please everyone, and screw everyone else's opinions, and screw being worried that I will never live up to my own ridiculously high standards that I seem to set only for myself. Above all - SCREW allowing myself to grow old, unfulfilled and bitter because I never had the cojones to just be myself, to "roll the universe in a ball" and just..do it.
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