INTJ Careers

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.

INTJs will often find ways to automate routine and mind-numbing tasks, and as they progress, their natural confidence, dedication, and creative intelligence will open the doors to the increased complexity and freedom they crave.

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.

INTJ careers

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.

Eric
4 years ago
I am definitely an INTJ. I went to top schools for undergrad and law school and worked as a big law attorney on K Street. 5 years ago, I bought a distressed company that I have turned around (although still not to my liking). I'm seen as self-confident by people who like me and arrogant by those who don't. I am extremely open-minded, but people think I'm a "my way or the highway" kind of person. This drives me insane, because I can only rely on myself to figure out answers to my problems at work. I am extremely determined, always trying to learn every little thing. This makes me good at shows like Jeopardy, but I always fast-forward through nonsense like when the contestants talk about themselves. I'm always calculating my next moves, and am very Machiavellian in nature. I hate most people, because I'm frustrated that I don't understand many of them. I like many (but not most) senior-level people because they act rationally. This allows me to predict their next moves, thereby giving me the information on what I need to proceed. But I have a hard time understanding those who make decisions out of emotion. This doesn't mean that I'm emotionless. I am often sad or angry with my interpersonal relationships because I cannot figure out why they do things that are not in their best interest. In fact, I like dealing with greedy people / power hungry people because I can understand their motives. I have a hard time shutting off my thoughts to go to bed. I was very bad at dating or even getting a girl to like me. But in college, a lot of girls came on to me. Each time, it was a period in which I wasn't looking for a relationship. I have a hard time giving praise unless my wife tells me I should to "advance the ball". My wife is the opposite of me when it comes to understanding people. She may not be the best Machiavelli strategist, but she is a constructivist that can tell me why a contractor that I hired irrationally admits to mistakes via e-mail to me, for instance. She told me it is because the contractor wanted me to like him and thereby ease the tension so I would forgive him, which is entirely true. I would have never have come up with that by myself. I also quasi-like leading. I naturally do well as a leader. But I dislike the spotlight. I hate going on TV or do interviews. But I believe I'm fairly good at them. I am very patient person, but I come off as someone who wants to see immediate results. The differences between who I really am and how I am perceived drive me nuts sometimes.
paul
4 years ago
Wow, Eric, you just described me to a T.
Angela
5 years ago
I am a Ger-Psyc nurse and find my personality works well within my field.
Monica
5 years ago
I am an INTJ female with a career in Human Resources. I think my rational, systematic, planning skills are exactly what make me successful in an environment that is prone to inefficient processes and high levels of human emotion. I can be the voice of objective reason when it's needed! I have people reporting to me, and I enjoy coaching and developing them to be the best they can be. I'm told that I'm warm and encouraging as a boss - but maybe I've just learned to be like this because it's the most logical way to get the best out of people! I can find people leadership draining, so I need to pace myself. I also like working in a team. INTJs are extraverted thinkers, and I get clarity when I think out loud. (One of my favourite sayings is "How do I know what I think until I hear what I say!"). It helps to have good team-mates around for this process, otherwise I look like a crazy person!
Becca
5 years ago
I am a 31 yo female INTJ. The description fits me to a tee. Like many of us, I've excelled in lots of career paths and have switched a few times before finally settling as a critical care nurse. It's challenging with lots of room for critical thinking and judgement abilities.
David
5 years ago
I am VERY clearly the NTJ part but have always tested ENTJ. The INTJ description generally fits me better. I have seen tests where there are percentage matches for each. I bet that I am 90% on NTJ and close to 50/50 on either the E or I. Leadership comes very easily, even though I don't necessarily seek it. I have been on a jury twice and was selected as foreman without say a thing, both times. The same when on Boards or other volunteer organizations. I am executive director of a mid-sized humane society, but the INTJ personality really comes into play. I handle the people/HR parts well but do get impatient. I spend a LOT of time discussing "expectations" with regard to meeting the goals of our mission. How INTJ is that?!?! I was a self-employed consultant for quite a few years as well. As a competitor in some aspects of my work, I can be quite ruthless and strategic, and don't tolerate fools easily. I've been married for 32 years to someone who is 100% right-brained. The fact that I don't know is pretty telling of an INTJ. We balance each other (and frustrate each other) well and have raised three terrific kids, who all of parts of each of us. Gotta say that I'm pretty happy with my INTJ/ENTJ self, but I wish I knew that very early in my life.
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