INTPs are solitary, eccentric, and independent – none of which is listed as desirable for corporate positions, which are usually designed for very different personality types. INTPs duly struggle in finding careers that meet their needs, but what they do bring, qualities in much higher demand, are creativity, a passion for theoretical methods and ideas, and an entrepreneurial, innovative spirit. If they are able to put this better foot forward to secure a position in a suitable line of work, people with the INTP personality type will find that, whatever the job listing says, these "less desirable" qualities will prove an asset after all.
A Poem of Numbers
Chief among INTPs’ interests is exploring and building models for underlying principles and ideas, even going so far as to find these concepts, in their own way, beautiful – this makes them natural mathematicians, systems analysts, and career scientists, especially in more abstract fields such as physics. There are many other careers that allow INTPs to explore these interests, but many of them are far too rooted in uninteresting practical applications. As useful as it is to develop a better vacuum cleaner, it is no Large Hadron Collider.
INTP personalities are self-driven and have very high personal standards – "good enough" is never good enough – but have few environmental needs. Despite this relative simplicity, they are often hard for more people-centric types to understand. INTPs live primarily in their own heads, and have little interest in social distractions like chitchat and motivational speeches.
For this reason, the flatter the workplace hierarchy, the better, making small, technical workplaces and fields such as law, forensics, and laboratory research very desirable for INTPs. Insightful and open-minded managers who can accommodate these needs will find their INTP subordinates to be a tireless generator of brilliant and unique ideas. However, many people with the INTP personality type may do away with the immediate hierarchy altogether, opting instead to provide their services on a freelance basis as consultants.
Emotional Values: A Mere Illusion
Where INTPs do not thrive is in workplaces that require them to provide a high degree of emotional satisfaction – cruise ship masseuses they are not. INTP personalities struggle to understand emotional exchanges, and service-oriented positions will prove baffling and exhausting for them. Though INTPs are talented analysts who are perfectly capable of understanding the theoretical importance of customer service, the day-to-day application of such a scheme is simply better left to more people-oriented personality types.
Business is growing more complex every day, and this complexity is managed with technical systems, economic theories, and data. The need for novel approaches is stronger than ever for people and organizations to distinguish themselves. Though general people skills are often phrased as a must, it is the technical work that creates something to talk about, and it is in this pursuit that INTPs thrive.
Work as business analysts and corporate strategists is well suited to INTPs, but they can also move things forward as data analysts, mechanical, electrical and software engineers, and even as technical writers and journalists, provided the field is interesting enough. If they can smile and shake hands just long enough to establish themselves as the brilliant innovators that they are, people with the INTP personality type will find that whatever the expectations for social conduct, it is the qualities unique to them that are truly in demand.