INFP Careers

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**If any of you who read my blog or are just stumbling across it are needing any life advice or guidance, especially if you are sensitive, introverted or a dreamer and feels a little lost in this cold world, please send your Skype username to dreamerrambling@hotmail.com. Though I can’t guarantee I can speak with everyone, I will try my best. These sessions will be free, as I’m just going to be practicing my life coaching skills and developing my own techniques and learning how to talk and counsel people. Thank you for helping me practice and taking me a step further on this new little journey of mine, and I hope that I can help you in the process too. Please no spam: I don’t want to find myself contacting any creepy people, so it’d be good to send a message along with your username telling me a little about yourself. Thanks. Keep dreaming.

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.

Surely?

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35 thoughts on “INFP Careers

  1. I totally understand what you mean. I haven’t logged in for a while to read any posts, but this is exactly what’s been running through my mind for these past few weeks. Interesting that this happens to be the first one I came across.

    • Sigh. I’m glad there are people who understand, even though it’s not a great thing for all of us to be in such a dilemma. Great to see you again! If only I could meet people similar to you in real life, people who could UNDERSTAND. It’s quite lonely sometimes, being this particular personality type.

  2. I definitely understand how you feel. I’m job hunting now and would love something a little more meaningful or at least join a company that is socially responsible but they are so hard to find. I don’t know, I might end up becoming a teacher in a few years if I can’t find anything that is sits right with me. Good luck in your job hunt!

  3. In reading your post, it does resonate with me. While I am not an INFP, I am an INFJ, work can be equally as frustrating. Although my J part can work in many environments, the F and N get in the way often. My husband is an INFP and he feels relentlessly stuck in the mode of what is my purpose and what should I be doing. He being an African American male, he feels even more the oddball. He is trying his hand at his own business but getting clients has been a challenge for him. It can be a blow to the ego when things don’t work out or work fast enough. I would like to write also and make a living at it. Being a 100% introvert on the scale, I like working one to one and would love to write and work online. I am trying to make a go of it. I am also trying to interject my counseling skills into it to help others. It is hard being INF’s but I feel confident that we have something important to say to the world. I think the world needs us desperately. Hopefully the shift will come if we all gain momentum together.

    • Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. I completely understand where you’re coming from. I’m really introverted as well and sometimes it’s like I’m too sensitive to exist. Making a living at writing sounds like the ultimate dream, doesn’t it? Just sitting at home, alone, tapping out my one’s thoughts.
      I think we have something special to share as well. Not trying to blow my own trumpet or anything, but surely people like us have something great to offer, whether it be art or simply compassion?
      And yes, hopefully. Life is all about hope, after all. I’m never going to give up trying to make my dreams come true. Let’s all fight it together.

  4. Thanks for that website. I enjoyed the post as well and can definitely relate. I find career search challenging yet I believe since we are so passionate and caring and rare we are what the world needs most. I am all for gaining a certificate in lpn nursing in order to pay bills while I return to school for a bachelor in arts. I am so fed up with being unhappy that I am unwilling continue to settle and it is a work in progress yet one I’m sure the world will find well worth it! I wish you all the best in each of your life pursuits and challenge you all to be true to you and do what we do best “make a difference somehow”!

    • Thank you so much! I’m so sorry for missing your comment. I wish you well too. Through the internet, we are banding together and becoming stronger. I have great hopes for our futures. After all, hope is the bread and butter of idealists. I pray every day that my birth was not useless and I can give something to this world, somehow.

  5. I can really relate to your post. I am almost done with high school and there is a huge pressure set on me to decide what I want to do with my life (which college, major, etc). I hate the idea of having to choose one thing and stick with it for the rest of my life. I do not want a lot of money, I do not want luxuries others desire. All I want is satisfaction. Which I do feel, albeit in small quantities, when I create something (I often play the Rolling Stones song in my head when i am especially dissatisfied).
    I am also an INFP and aspiring writer. I experience bouts of insane inspiration (l love this! I suddenly have a purpose) and then, persistent self-doubt. It is like I’m the old pong game and I reach one side full of ideas and then bounce off and return to the other with doubt and disappointment (ad. infinitum, I like to call it ‘modern sisyphus’). Maybe my doubt regarding creative work has to do with my idealist behavior. I know that my writings will never be perfect, yet i can’t help but feel disappointment. I guess I will have to accept the fact that my writings will never be as good as I imagine.
    I am amazed at how much I have in common with you. It is refreshing and comforting to know that someone out there feels the same way regarding this weird thing called life.

    • I’m so glad you could relate. Sometimes, knowing that you are not alone in your battles is the best source of comfort.

      I loathe it as well. It makes my skin crawl, sometimes, the idea of wasting away a large portion of my life in some job in this capitalist society when all I want to do is put all my efforts on writing. Time is the most valuable resource and yet we are forced to squander it. I wish I could help you with the whole major and job thing, but I’m stuck in the same boat at the moment. I’ve chosen a rather ‘useless’ major, English, in the hope of becoming an English teacher. But I don’t know if that’s just too much socialising for me. I suppose all we can do is carve a life between the cracks.I just couldn’t give a damn about money. I just want enough to cover my basic needs.

      Golly gosh! I know EXACTLY what you mean about that whole writing thing. It is like a Ping pong match sometimes. I feel immense surges of purpose and satisfaction when inspiration hits me like lightning and crackles out from my fingers into the paper. I feel alive. Then, when I’m feeling down about my writing, it’s sometimes like there is no reason to live. Writer’s bipolar? We just have to keep on going and believe in ourselves, even when everything we write makes us cringe and hate ourselves. Yes, I know the feeling 😉
      I wish you all the best. Truly. 🙂

  6. I am an INFP that ended up in a career out of necessity and though it was painful to get here (too much interraction) I survived doing tech support for years. Now I work in an IT dept where I rarely have to interact with people and I have learned to enjoy it. I still struggle with the whole meaning thing and actually have thought of teaching (I can get in front of a group as long as i can slip out the back door and not talk to them after). I have considered ministry but I had a bit of a religious meltdown. I pretty much have given up on a deep meaningful career (I think my youthful idealism has faded in my old age and has been replaced with a jaded sense of survival). I have always felt like nobody gets me. I think the worst job ever was sales. I lasted 8 months and could take it no more. IT is a mixed bag as I love computers. Its the people that use them that bug me. So should you stay or go, That is no simple question. Has this job gone contrary to your values? I know as an INFP once I feel a job has wronged me (or worse wronged others) its time to leave. Working in government I have not had that yet. In corporate america, it was a wake up call. Teaching does make a difference.

    Also make sure you get lots of you time. Being alone to recharge is good. I like the Tibetan monk idea. Cant afford it though

  7. This is rather late, again, because I found your blog like, an hour ago. But anyway, I clean houses for a living and I love it. I don’t have to talk to many people – most people go and hide somewhere in their house until you’re done. And I can spend the ENTIRE DAY DAYDREAMING, which leaves me with excess mental energy once I get home so I can actually do something with everything I thought about. Admittedly, I don’t usually have a lot of room for physical activity. But hey, you don’t seem to want to get married or have kids so who cares if your house is clean or if there’s a nice dinner cooked? Honestly, 90% of the stuff most people worry about doesn’t really matter (ahhh such a nice revelation for me this year!)

    I worked at a call center before this, just intending it to be temporary. It paid pretty good. It was tech support/customer service. I COULDN’T STAND IT. But now I’m poor, cleaning houses, and loving it, for the most part. I may not have a dishwasher, an office, a window where I can watch rain or snow from, or counter space, but us idealists know that time to daydream, think and collect ourselves is all that really matters.

  8. You ARE an amazing writer! I write more poetry and also had the self-doubt, but I just decided maybe that’s not what I’m meant to do…not everything we are good at, doesn’t mean we want to pursue at as a career. Maybe it’s only a clue to what career we want to have, not every person good at writing has to be an author. Maybe a director idk, lol. I’m 17 and don’t know what I want to do. From encouragement from parents to go into law, I still don’t know. I don’t think I want to have one career, I want something that let’s me change scenery a lot. I don’t want to be at a desk for how many years of my life. What do you think about law for INFP and HSP? I heard it’s very competitive, though I can be competitive, I’m not a show off or flaunt my abilities. I fight with my written words…
    But once again you are an amazing writer, whatever you plan to do as long as it involves writing and gives you the freedom you need as an introvert and the space to be creative. You will probably excel, ignore the fact that this is coming from someone that doesn’t know her talents as well but YOU do! 🙂

    • Hi, Simi, again! Thank you. I will try to take the compliment, though it is my wont to brush them off and proclaim my writing to be horrible. It’s hard to be objective when it comes to yourself. Hm. Law. Personally, I’m not too fond of the notion, because I’m a bit too airy-fairy to stay grounded enough to care about cut-and-dried regulations and whatnot, but I think that an INFP could do well in it. Really, your personality type shouldn’t dictate your career. It’s just a vague guideline. Have you tried joining the debate team at school? It is quite competitive, but that’s the case for most fields. I think that if it makes you happy, then you should do it. If it makes your heart sing, do you know what I mean, that delicious happy feeling in your chest? Thank you, for your sweet comments, and I wish you all the best! I really do. I hope you life your life with fervor and wonder. And you did hit it spot on. Writing, introversion, creativity. My temperament is geared towards fiction writing. Fingers crossed it will work out. Let’s both live our lives wonderfully and reach our potential. 🙂 I wish I could say more but this comment is far too long already…there’s always more to say about passion…maybe a blog post…

      • That’s the thing though I haven’t found that thing that makes my heart flutter like you so gracefully describe! 🙂 Honestly, I’m just following others sadly. The things that do make me happy or too unrealistic, like I often dream of myself want to write children’s books and make cartoons or be on a children’s show like Mr. Rogers lol. I still feel like a big kid, you know? 🙂 Maybe if I do psychology because everyone is always coming to me with their problems anyway sometimes can be annoying (some just take my limited innie energy but never give back) but I always listen. But it’s those types of things that seem to make adults roll their eyes, and I can’t help it because I actually don’t know if that’s what I really want to do because like you I need to look at the practical side of things I need money. I never felt like just because I’m a good at something that’s what I should do for my life. They always used to tell me as a child to be a writer, why not a director? The thing right now that is giving me hope right now is John Grisham, a lawyer who writes mystery/crime novels now. I’d love to do something like that, mystery novels/shows and cartoons/comedies are my favourite things. (In fact I’ve been watching a lot of Studio Ghibli movies and practicing cartoon impersonations) So I’m planning to do law as a major and then sociology (which I’ve loved since I first started reading university pamphlets) as a minor. *sigh* It’s all a learning process! 😊

  9. I really enjoyed this post. especially the part where you said:

    “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.”

    I really wanted to be a counseling psychologist more than anything in the world but researching the education requirements made me want to stab my eyes out. lol. but seriously tho. Now I have to figure out another way I can provide my value to the world and help others. This site is so helpful. Nice to know that I, an INFP, am not alone in this world.

    • It is wonderful, isn’t it? I think, without this blog, and reaching out to people, I might even be suicidal, or the very least, severely depressed. People like you who comment on my blog, and relate, fill my soul with warmth. Thank you. I understand your battle, because it’s mine as well. I think you should do whatever makes your heart sing, though the money part is irksome.

  10. Dear Kind Soul,

    After struggling with this writing notion too, I’ve come down to the realization that writing isn’t so much a vocation or choice as it is a way of life. A person can be a writer anything, a writer-designer, a writer-alchemist, a writer-engineer. Writing is an activity, that, from what I’ve read about famous authors and creators, becomes akin to living itself. You can live through writing and do anything else and devote loads of time to it, but looking at it like a chosen profession, I think, is a mistake. It can definitely be disciplined and structured, as it should be, and be taken very seriously, as a serious writer would do, but it should be fun and playful and magical all at once. This world isn’t a world constructed on the arts, but on industry and commerce, so artistic creation takes a distant second place to those main activities of human life. If there were Wall streets devoted to writing production houses with billions of dollars, there would be an enormous focus of human intention on the creative spirit and we would have incredibly enriched lives as a result. Creativity and writing in some sense, is a luxury, as it is beyond basic survival, and those willing to take such risks do so at sometimes an enormous cost. But if you believe as I think I am coming around to believing, these risks matter all the more, and writing becomes a way of life and can supersede other luxuries of life.

    I believe that every writer, indeed every artist, struggles massively with their own confidence, even the greatest, most influential writers, because the act of writing exposes the depths of one’s innermost thoughts and is a very revealing, naked, and bare activity. Writers suffer. What writer was blessed with unlimited confidence that his work was of exceptional quality every time he put pen to paper? Many writers live mundane, uninteresting “outer” lives and some, like Hemingway, eventually give up on life, even after achieving its highest earthly “prize” – the Nobel one. The exposition into one’s thoughts can become too much, too revealing, too difficult.

    What can give you enormous confidence and in some sense, an enormous duty and responsibility, is the central fact of existence, that death’s spiny arms are ready to take you in at the slightest moment, the slightest flicker of light in the universe. Death is the most motivating spectre. Say it now or say it never. You cannot compose a sentence when you are dead, you cannot lift up your frail hand to inscribe some worthless inky collection of letters, you cannot change a mind or heart with an arresting phrase or image, you cannot do any of this while dead. Writing, like everything else, takes place right now, right in this very second of life and of time. It will never take place tomorrow or yesterday and will never take place in 5 or 10 years.

    Write, then, to defeat death. Your own mortal truth. The universe is indifferent to what you have to say, but to your own conscience, it is a means of conquering the universe. Take pen to hand, hand to paper, and put anything down at all, from your heart, from your brain, from your left foot or right knee, some strange thing inside of you that wants to bulldoze its way into reality. And by doing so, you become a part of the universe, for you have defeated death, made some utterance from your spirit, and perhaps changed someone’s life, someone you may never meet or conceive of. Writing is the gateway to the soul and if you’re up to its difficult task, put a word down, then another, and see what happens.

    Good luck on your quest,

    Timothy JF

    • Wow.

      Wow.

      This was beautiful. You put into words all my fears, and yet made it inspirational and comforting. Death. Self-doubt. Life is writing. It really is.

      Thank you. I wish you luck too, no matter what part of the journey you have already reached. It is a never=ending journey, after all.

      Thank you. Thank you.

  11. Thanks for sharing your perspective! I am certain that you are already making an impact on the world with your posts 🙂

    I am an ENFP, but can empathize with many of your points. I came to your post however because my partner is an INFP and has also pondered the question of ring true to his nature while still surviving materially.

    He worked for many years in a telecom implementation job that let his mind roam free. Then he studied medicine and ran his own clinic. Like many INFP, his presence and touch are truly healing. It is almost magic, how in tune he is with people’s energies. However, since many clients come with pain, this has proven exhausting to him and he is now on a sabbatical to pursue painting, inventing, music and fishing! 🙂

    It seems our society rewards extroversion, sensing, thinking and judging traits with cash–doing, not being and creating. You may have to work part time at something you can stand (teaching? Case work? Carer? Spiritual guidance? Counseling? Admin? Yoga or meditation lessons? Music lessons?) in order to eat. But, crucially, never abandon your writing. If that is where your soul resides, you will only be happy if you can ‘live’ there most of the time.

    I work at a corporation and have had to seriously bulk up my thinking and judging skills, even if my heart longs to do what I am born to do: Advocate. Edit. Write. Be the mouthpiece for a cause. I am busting my butt to save money so I can dramatically scale back on expenses and try to buy a field and build a very small wood house and have no mortgage. Then as you say, have a pile of books and an internet connection and do that for which I am here.

    Only you know what is right, but my advice is, have your job to survive and pick one that lets you have your mind to yourself. Then out your heart into your calling. Or, though it seems quaint, perhaps find a partner who enjoys a greater degree of engagement in the ‘practical’ world. There is a way. As a popular quote goes, throw your heart over the bar and your body will follow.

    • Thank you! Thank you so much, for taking the time write that all out and read my post. You’re perfectly right, I think. There just doesn’t seem to be any other alternative at the moment, though the thought of being shackled by a job that I find uninspiring and heart-deadening fills me with horror. It’s not a perfect world, but I’ll try. Thank you, and I hope you achieve your dreams and buy your small wood house (which sounds so quiet and lovely and gorgeous, by the way!) and find happiness.

  12. Pingback: INFP Careers | silentshadesofhumanity

  13. I know how you feel! I have spent more time than I would like to admit stressing over that, and when I was a little kid and people would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I wouldn’t know. I couldn’t think of anything was skilled enough at to support myself…. which adults found odd. I mean, most girls wanna be famous actresses or princesses or something. I took it far too seriously.
    I have finally arrived at my decision though, if it’s of any consolation- you’ll figure it out. You have to. It’s always darkest before dawn just at that moment when you lose and hope of ever knowing what you can do with your life forever- it’ll come to you then.
    I’m going to go to community college and get an associates to get a nice-ish-for-what-it-is day job where I get to practice my social skills in a safe setting and help people, which is awesome, and in the meantime I’ll work on my musicianship. Eventually I can transition from my day job to a band member full time… or that’s the plan anyway. :p
    Good luck! You’ll get it! For what it’s worth, I enjoy writing lots as well and almost made that my career, but found I am just more productive at producing music than words. I LOVE Holly Lisle’s website. She has a huge amazing section for authors that anyone can learn from- but for what it’s worth, with how amazingly written your blog posts are, I don’t think you have a thing to worry about. You’re a way better writer than I (good thing I’m a musician then, huh? lol).

    • Thank you so much for your encouragement. And I think it is so wonderful that you make music, as it is one of the greatest blessings of life, the greatest forms of art. I hope you find a good balance between making a living and following your passion, as we all aspire to. I’m sure you will. Lots of love.

  14. Dear dreamerrambling, please listen to David Byrne’s song “The Soft Seduction” from his album, “Feelings”. It addresses our INFP malaise so well, I think. You’ll appreciate the rest of the album too. He, Joni Mitchell and Peter Gabriel are a few of my favorites to recommend to INFP’s. I hope you enjoy them too. 🙂

    • Thanks for the recommendations Christopher. 🙂 I’ll go listen to them now.
      *Just listened to The Soft Seductions, it is lilting and melancholy and wonderful. I adore it. I’ll go now and check out the other artists you mentioned. Thanks so much!

  15. If such a job exists, I haven’t found it either.
    I am continually searching for that thing that will excite me and make me feel like me. I’ve sampled all kinds of jobs. I went to grad school to study literature. I get excited about jobs and then decide they’re boring after all. I wonder if infps are ever meant to be content or if we’ll always be searching for something that doesn’t exist? Maybe our ideals are too great for this world..

    • Yes, our ideals are definitely too great for this world; my latest post will be an update on how things have been going for me in terms of careers, if you’re interested. Thanks for reading. 🙂

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