It is a truth universally acknowledged that an INFP (Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling & Perceiving) in possession of a conventional occupation must be dissatisfied with their life.
Okay. That may be an exaggeration. Perhaps you’re an INFP reading this who is perfectly content with your job and life, and to that I say, kudos to you. I envy you from the bottom of my heart because you have achieved something which I feel I will never attain.
After surfing through the internet and wasting my life for an hour today, I came across many plaintive posts in various forums from INFPs who were lamenting their lot in life, in having so wayward and unconventional a personality that it precludes them from finding a job that they like. My heart fingered out waves of sympathy from my chest through the computer and across cyberspace, in a futile effort at commiseration with these gentle, creative and lost souls.
Choosing a career is the bane of my existence as an INFP. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not a lazy person. Well, I do procrastinate excessively but I don’t want to be one of those indolent people who laze around on their couches all day watching television and living on welfare because they’re not bothered to get off their keister and do something with their lives.
I want to contribute to society. I want to help humanity. I want to play my part. I want to make my life meaningful.
But it is just so difficult to find a career or job that would be fulfilling. I feel like Sisyphus pushing that massive boulder up the hill every time I contemplate the issue. The thing is, many of the occupations adored by INFPs are few and far between, hard to get into and even harder to make a living at. I’m talking about writers, artists, film directors – you get the drift. I can think of no better personality type suited to the stereotype of the starving artist. But those jobs can’t put money on the table, can they?
Here’s where the trouble starts. I am the epitome of paradox and have a love-hate relationship when it comes to writing and money.
I know there are many writers who are making a decent living out there, whether through journalism or freelance or whatever. But I am so riddled with low self-esteem and bereft of belief in my own abilities that I don’t think I could possibly pursue a career as a writer, my ultimate dream. Why? First, because I believe that I don’t have any talent when it comes to writing, that there are scores of more brilliant literate folks across the globe that can do the job better than me. This self-doubt gnaws at me everyday. Two, because I come from a low-income background and have my mother to support. I’m not fortunate enough to have parents I can depend upon for fiscal means. I need money. Without the sense of security (and by security, I mean knowing that I won’t starve and be sleeping on a flea-ridden bed in a run-down house), I feel like a ship that hasn’t been moored, just sailing off to goodness knows where across the turbulent seas. And pursuing writing? It’s too much of a plunge, a risk. I’m too much of a coward. I don’t want to be poor, I don’t want to be homeless and live on the streets, I want to provide for my family and writing seems like a frivolous hobby that sucks away time better spent on churning out dollars.
At the same time, my idealized brain yearns to give myself fully to the craft. To become a starving artist and to hell with everything and everyone else. But even I know that’s not realistic and its selfish. Then there’s the fact that I don’t give a damn about the luxuries that money can provide. All I need to survive is a roof over my head (preferably one which I own, I like the thought of having my own place rather than renting a dwelling for all eternity), enough money to cover the basic amenities such as food, water and electricity, a mountain of books, a laptop and an internet connection.
This post was meant to be logical and cohesive but its just turned into a puerile ramble, as it always does. I’m just trying to say that I’m so lost in life right now. I realize that society needs accountants, lawyers, businessmen, doctors and that when it comes to survival the creators of art are kicked to the curb. But I know, deep inside my heart, that I have something to offer. INFPs are sensitive, compassionate, full of warmth, see the deep truths in life, are creative, good at inspiring people and bringing their own kind of magic to the world. But we’re just fragile faeries gobbled up by the bugs of society. I feel worthless because I’m not interested in the hard sciences that make planes fly and bring water to our homes. I’m interested in the imagination, the wonders of the mind and the transcendence that art can facilitate.
I want a job that’s meaningful.
I want a job that has minimal social interaction, preferably one-on-one.
I want a job where I can utilize my creativity.
I want a job that requires sensitivity and compassion.
Surely there must be some job out there that could be half-way perfect? Surely my abilities aren’t worthless and the only path in my life is to become a philosopher who drugs themselves to death or an artist who claws through life of poverty. Surely there must be some job out there for introverted, creative and sensitive people.