How many jobs have you had so far?
How were them? Do you enjoy it?
What do you like or dislike about your current or previous jobs?
I often receive questions from my INFJ readers asking for career advice. Finding a suitable career is not easy for an INFJ because what an INFJ desires in a career is rather different from what most people believe a good career is. Even though getting paid is important, we don’t value the salary or the prestige of a job as much as the other personality types.
This creates conflicts between INFJs and their parents and partners.
And we INFJs don’t like conflicts! If our close ones are not able to accept and understand why we choose certain jobs, we might feel discouraged, misunderstood and even resent them for forcing us to adhere to society’s standards and be realistic.
Why INFJs Find It Difficult to Pick a Career Path?
Personally, I had changed my career paths way too many times. I had been an auditor, accountant, and animator. Now, I am an author and tutor. I also used to design and write songs in my spare time. People think that I’m fickle-minded. But it’s more like I’m a polymath and I love to learn.
Furthermore, our idealistic tendency and our ability to see the end so clearly can cause us to change our careers frequently. When we realize a job wasn’t what we have imagined or it will lead us down a path of dissatisfaction and frustration, we will call it quits before the job gets to us.
What I have learned from my experience is:
There is no perfect career that matches the INFJ personality type.
The reality is jobs that are available in the market are there to satisfy the companies’ needs. It’s not really about the employees even though job satisfaction is important at work and it affects the quality of the work.
No doubt career is one of the biggest problems that INFJs face. It can lead to depression and feeling lost in life. But it’s much easier to create our own lifestyle and decide how to spend our time than to find the perfect job.
In this post, I’m not just going to list down all the careers or industries that are suitable for an INFJ. I don’t think that is very useful. Choosing a career is not really about the job title, it’s more about the nature of the work done. A career that seems good for an INFJ might not be what an INFJ needs. A lot depends on the job scope, the work environment, the organization, and other factors.
Instead, I’m going to talk about the characteristics of a career that an INFJ can look out for or avoid when building a career.
The Best INFJs Careers to Consider
1. A career that is meaningful.
Meaningful work might sound confusing to the other personality types. For most types, work is just a mean to earn an income. They show up at work and they get paid at the end of the month.
For INFJs, we want to make a difference to other people’s lives.
Call INFJ an idealist. But this is our life purpose. This is how we want to spend our time. Careers in healthcare and counseling industry work well for INFJs because it allows us to help people and get paid at the same time. If I could go back in time, I would have taken a degree in psychology or something that helps me to understand people instead of something impersonal like accounting.
But having said that, some professions in IT industry can work for INFJs. Even though you are sitting in front of the computer the whole day dealing with codes, if what you are building helps people or improve the systems, you will find fulfillment in your job too.
If you are currently in a job that you dislike, sometimes it’s about finding the slightest meaning in your job. Recently, I went back to help my ex-company with their accounts because they have a shortage of manpower. Although accounting is not for me, I still do it because I want to help my ex-colleagues in this difficult time.
It’s not a grandiose, life-changing job, but a simple act of kindness is still rewarding and meaningful to me.
2. A career that has the freedom to express our insights or creativity.
INFJs can see different points of view. We can see the underlying issue and provide valuable insights to others. That’s why INFJs make a great therapist, counselor or psychologist.
However, we must be in an organization that allows us to change things and share our insights. Otherwise, INFJs will get frustrated easily. If we want to help someone and we realize we have no power to help them, it might be more miserable than doing something with no meaning.
We INFJs trust our insights and want control over how we help others. We don’t just want to help people when they ask for it, especially when we know that doing so will do more harm to them than good in the long-term.
INFJs want to help in a way that we think it’s good for others.
This applies to creative control too. INFJs love a job that uses inspirations and creativity, for example, creative careers such as a writer, designer, and artist. However, if we are constantly being micromanaged and not given the freedom to express our creativity, we will lose interest in the job eventually.
Previously, I wanted to be in the animation industry because I was attracted to the animated features that Pixar is making. Their stories are touching, meaningful, and help people grow. But when I was in the animation industry, I realized that most animation studios aren’t doing the type of animation that Pixar is doing. Their animations might look cool, funny, and somewhat violent, but they are not the type of animation I wanted to do, so I left the industry.
Although INFJs enjoy creative work, we probably have to think twice before we get a job in the creative field. Working for someone in a commercial setting is totally different from doing creative work on your own. You have to listen to the creative direction of your employers and clients. They dictate what you have to do and that might limit your creativity.
3. A career that allows you to work alone, 1-1 or in small groups.
Many people ask me why don’t I be a teacher in a school since I’m a tutor. Well, I prefer not to manage a class.
Obviously for introverts. we prefer to work independently and given the quiet time to think and reflect. But it’s also that when I work with the student individually, I can identify their problems and needs better. It allows me to change my communication style accordingly to each student and find more meaningful solutions for them.
Talking to a large group of people feels impersonal to an INFJ.
But in a school, you can’t really do that. You don’t have the time to pay attention to all the students and you have to follow the teaching curriculum closely. Careers in education can be rewarding for an INFJ, but it can also be very stifling because sometimes education system can be very rigid and big organizations like a school come with red tape.
INFJs understand social convention and obligation, but might not like to follow them, especially when it doesn’t make sense to us. We prefer to work 1-1 or in an organization with a flat structure instead of an impersonal, corporate kind of setting.
The Worst INFJs Careers to Avoid
1. A career that demands an immediate response.
There are two kinds of problem-solving. One is the short-term kind and the other is the long-term kind. INFJs love to solve long-term issues when we can get to the core of the problem and solve it once and for all.
INFJs get stressed out or burned out easily when they are handling emergencies or solving problems that require them to be spontaneous and act on the fly. Our minds tend to drift off into thoughts. So jobs such as firefighter, paramedic, driver, customer service, are not that suitable for INFJs even though these jobs help people too.
INFJs need some time to reflect before giving a response.
We would rather help others with our insights than through concrete, practical means or be dealing with complaints. Furthermore, these jobs don’t let us follow our visions and be independent. If you want INFJs to just respond and react to the changes as it comes, it’s not fulfilling to the INFJ mind. We will feel as though we are being controlled by the physical environment.
2. A career that feels routine and stagnant.
An INFJ doesn’t have to work in a job that is humanitarian, but we must at least feel some growth at work. We must feel that we are improving or making progress. At the minimum, our work must make use of our strengths.
INFJs can’t do a job that is the same day in, day out.
We want a job that is challenging and allow us to solve important problems. So administrative work that is too routine will make an INFJ feels restless and tired. It’s also best to avoid working in organizations that are not willing to change or improve.
Regimental and compliance roles such as military officer, police officer, and auditor aren’t suitable for INFJ too. Even though INFJs comply to these strict rules and regulations on our own, but it doesn’t mean that we agree or like enforcing these regulations on others. We usually adhere to the rules for the sake of maintaining social peace.
INFJs can accept and are willing to listen to different points of view. It’s difficult for us to be in a role where we need to manage other people’s behaviors based on rules set by others. It’s against our values.
3. A career that doesn’t make money.
This might be a no-brainer to the other personality types. But as an INFJ myself, I understand how idealistic an INFJ can be sometimes. So it’s important to point this out.
Work is still a mean to earn an income. Yes, fulfilling our vision is crucial to us. But we must constantly remind us not to pursue our vision to the point that it affects our lives.
It’s very tempting for you as an INFJ to jump right into your vision. But you might put yourself in a situation where you become incessantly worried about having no money. When you don’t have money, it runs your life. It limits your choices and dictates your decision. Most INFJs are realistic enough to know that money is important to a certain extent. But we find it hard to balance between meaningful work and getting a job that pays a decent salary.
One of the biggest things that stress INFJs out is having no money.
One suggestion is to be creative and look for a combination of work. Have one job that makes a living and another to fulfill your soul. Find something that is mildly meaningful but pays the bills and works towards your vision on the side. For example, I give tuition lessons to earn a minimum income and then use all my remaining time to write.
INFJs are actually very suitable to be self-employed, work from home, and even set up our own business. However, most INFJs don’t consider entrepreneurship as a career option because we have fixed, negative beliefs on business and making money. It’s a pity since INFJs make great leaders if we choose to be one.
If you are open-minded enough and truly understand about entrepreneurship, you will realize that a business is a good medium for you to make the positive impact you want and fulfill your vision. It’s not all about making money. Business can be non-profit or for a good cause. It all depends on the purpose of the organization and the leader. Of course, for an INFJ doing business, it’s good to have team members that help you balance the practical side of things.
INFJ Careers List
Below is a list of professions and jobs that INFJs said they enjoy doing. You can use it to help you figure out your career path. But remember the work itself is more important than the job title. Good luck!
- Physical therapist
- Internal medicine doctor
- Massage therapist
- Oncology nurse
- Clinical psychologist
- Social worker
- Speech pathologist
- Vocational rehabilitation counselor
- Substance abuse counselor
- Family therapist
- E-learning developer
- Childcare principal
- Tech support
Creative and the Arts Industry
- Song composer
- Music instructor
- Graphic designer
- Video director
- Video editor
- Multimedia developer
- Stand up comedian
- Software test analyst
- Web development
- Software developer
- Data management consultant
- Business intelligent (BI) developer
- Consumer research
- Human resource assistant
- Ads designer
Animals and Nature Related Industry
- Animal trainer
- Canoe guide
- Wedding planner
- Heritage conservation planner
- Cake decorator
If you want to find out more about how to love yourself as an INFJ, be sure to download my free eBook called Self-Acceptance for INFJs.