This INFP is Changing Careers—Again

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Well, whoop-de-doo, here I go again, changing careers.

Childcare just wasn’t right for me. It was partly the fact that some of the children started hitting and kicking me when they were woken up, as gently as possible, from their nap time, and partly because I got rather tired of speaking at a “child’s level”, in a “baby” voice to the children all the time, and mostly because I just realised it wasn’t what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. So, while I’m searching for a new job, I will keep working at this job, a job that is not ideal. I spoke with a psychologist and occupational therapist, and together, they will be helping me find a new job. That’s the plan.

Unfortunately, it’s not so easy as that: my mother has threatened to kick me out of the house if I dare to quit, and there is the small matter of my needing the money that comes from having a job, in order to pay the rent and buy other things like food. So I’ll have to try and convince my mother that changing a job will be for the best, that it will be a change for the better, not the worse, and that continuing to work in childcare would result in a mental breakdown, if not worse. I have been through my share of careers—if you count writing, I have worked in a total of five different industries and am only 20 years old. I have worked at a fish shop—in other words, in the retail industry—in the tutoring industry, teaching 5-6 year olds English, in age care, and in childcare, which, considering I am someone who has social anxiety and a host of other neuroses, not a bad achievement. Most people my age are still in university, and haven’t even worked in a single industry, let alone five, although I’m not trying to toot my own horn or anything; really, I’m just trying to make myself feel better about the fact that my life seems to entirely lack direction and purpose.

As for what career I shall choose next, well, the world is my oyster. Time and time again, something within me calls to be a writer. I know I’m not the best writer around, but I have finished a couple of books—by which I mean I’ve written a couple of books—so I was thinking something that involves writing would be a good fit for me. I mean, so far, none of my books have been published, but that’s just something that will take some time. Again, I’m not the best writer, but writing is one of the few skills I do have, and to translate that into a job wouldn’t be too bad. I would love to be a counsellor for people, such as schoolkids, but one that uses the written word to counsel children, writing letters back to their letters, providing words of wisdom and advice, or maybe a copywriter, or even a journalist, although journalism is a little too social and fast-paced for me. Either way, I do believe I have a lot of potential—I’m no dunce—and can make it far in life, as long as I put my mind to it.

If there’s anything you can take from my experience, it’s that there’s nothing wrong with trying many things until you find the right “thing” for you, whether that is the right job, partner, friends, or anything, really. There’s no harm in trying. This year, for instance, was the first year I tried dating, and while my experience with two gentlemen was less than stellar and didn’t lead to actual relationships, at least I tried it and gave it a go. The art of giving a go is to have the courage to leap into the unknown, without being aware of what is going to come next. Giving something “a go” is good, not a bad thing. It is better to try something and realise you don’t like it, than to never try it at all. Meanwhile, as a small update, publication is still something which eludes my grasp, and may forever do so. In the meantime, I plan on working hard at a job I dislike while I wait for another one to appear, living my life, writing and dreaming, living and loving—-and giving it a go.

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Is Childcare A Good Career for INFPs?

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The answer to this is maybe. Maybe. It really depends on the kind of INFP you are. While childcare is a rewarding and challenging profession, it may be suited to INFPs on a certain level. Since I have recently started a childcare traineeship, I would like to offer some of my advice, for those INFPs out there who might be looking into childcare as a career option.

It’s not just about looking after kids. I would say, as an assistant in a daycare centre, especially if you are placed in the babies room, most of your time will be taken up by tasks such as getting the food ready, cleaning up after the kids after they have eaten, disinfecting surfaces and taking out the trash. In other words, a lot of menial tasks, which a lot of people might not think of when the word “childcare” and its entailing tasks pops into their head. Having said that, the rest of the 25% of your time is spent with the kids, and you get to play and interact with the cute, little darlings. That part, in my opinion, is the best part of the job—giving them hugs, cuddling them, and touching their chubby, little baby faces.

This job is very practical, and hands-on. You will be changing nappies, and dealing with faeces and urine, although the smell isn’t too bad (I can’t say too much on this, as I haven’t been allowed to change nappies yet). Most of your time is spent in a flurry of physical activities, and yes, while these activities use a certain part of your brain, and require a certain kind of practical intelligence, other parts of your brain, that are used for studying, reading and writing, which are parts that I often use, or like to use, remain, well, unused. In other words, don’t go into this job thinking you’re going to be quoting Shakespeare anytime soon: you’re going to be changing nappies, and wiping noses, and cleaning, and preparing. It’s very physical, very hands-on, and for me, as someone who is a little bit on the intellectual side (not much), this came as a bit of a shock to the system, if you will, and I’m still not entirely over it. After work, I have to immerse myself in reading and writing in order to feel like my old self again.

That being said, considering there are so many jobs out there for which INFPs are unsuited for, childcare is a good option. There is little room for anxiety, because you’ll generally just be interacting with co-workers and children, and, unless you are actually a daycare leader, which I’m not, you’ll not be speaking much to parents. As a daycare assistant, the most I’ve ever said to a parent is a simple “Hello.” The noise from all the crying is something you just get used to—I found it wasn’t a problem for me, because the sound of children crying, while it is distressing because it means something is wrong and I feel the need to help the child, isn’t something which provokes anxiety or I find to be irritating.

Once again, even though I’ve already repeated myself several times, childcare is a very hands-on job, and for the cerebral, and oftentimes daydreamy INFP, this can be quite difficult, and hard to get used to at first. I don’t think I’ve completely accustomed to it yet. But as a way to survive, and make money, and support yourself, it’s not too shabby. INFPs are naturally gentle and nurturing, so we oftentimes warm to the kids very easily, and vice versa, and there’s nothing better than seeing a lovely little smile on a cute, little face. If you’re OK with a hands-on, very practical job, aren’t afraid of a bit of faeces and urine, menial tasks, and love children for who they are, enough to help put on their socks and shoes and change their nappies, then this is the career for you.

An INFP’s New Career

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I’ll be starting my childcare traineeship soon, and words cannot describe how nervous I am about it. It’s not the prospect of dealing with co-workers that worries me—it’s that of dealing with children.

I’ve never been much of a children’s person myself, and yet, here I am, entering the career, and I am terrified of little babies crying in my arms and tiny children hating me. Honestly, I don’t know if it’s just because I am paranoid or neurotic, but I feel terribly hurt when I am rejected by children; it’s as if I’ve failed in this fundamental, human way. Once, I smiled at a baby, but my mouth might as well have twisted itself into a rictus, because the baby promptly started crying, and wailing for its mother. It’s incidences like this that make me feel less than optimistic about my future childcare career. But, anything must be better than age care, right?

Anyway. I will definitely keep you posted on how this new career goes; and perhaps, just maybe, I’ll find myself actually liking the job, and this can be invaluable for other INFPs, who are wondering what path to take in terms of their career direction. As an INFP, I can test-drive the situation for you, and report back whether or not I believe this or that career is suitable for other INFPs, since I am, and always have been, a very “strong” (by which I mean, I score very highly on Introversion, Intuition, Feeling and Perceiving) INFP. Just a thought.

Nothing much else has been happening in my life, apart from a good afternoon yesterday spent eating pizza and shopping with some of my friends. It was a nice afternoon. Some part of me, however, no matter what I do, feels somewhat unfulfilled. I always thought I would be published by now. I know it’s the same old spiel, but no matter how content or happy I feel, some part of me, deep inside, feels lost and afraid, and quite, frankly, bored with life, simply because this one, deepest, brightest dream of mine has never come true. I feel as though someone has punched a hole through my chest. Now, there’s just this emptiness, in the middle of my chest, a perfect circle, through which you can see to the other side of my body, the other side of the room, and nothing and no-one can put me right again, just like it was with Humpty Dumpty.

Humpty-dumpty sat on a wall. Humpty-Dumpty had a great fall. All the king’s horses and all the king’s men, couldn’t put Dumpty back together again. As a child—and those of you who live in and grew up in Australia will know this—I watched a lot of ABC children’s shows, from Bing and Bong, to Playschool, a show where they constantly sang, read stories and talked to stuffed toys. I’ve always wondered what it would be like to work on Playschool, to be this grown-up adult, singing and dancing, pretending, exactly as if they were a child. Do they ever get tired of it? As a childcare trainee, I will only be in charge of peripheral activities, I think, like changing nappies, supervising children, cutting up fruit, that sort of thing—I won’t actually be a “teacher” in the classroom, directing the students according to lesson plans, and that sort of thing.

Oh, I don’t know. How can I possibly describe my nerves? I don’t have any experience working with very young children. The youngest child I have ever worked with was 5 years old, and now, I will be working with 1-4 year olds, for the very first time. Have you noticed that babies, and very young children, have a sort of scent? A milky kind of scent? It’s not unpleasant, but I don’t find it particularly appealing either. All in all, I have no idea what I’m getting into, and just the thought of working in a childcare centre is enough to make my heart beat faster, and anxiety to start blossoming up inside of me like some kind of underwater monster.

The manager there is nice. Unfortunately, the other workers seemed a little more brusque, and perhaps stressed. I’m a bit worried about actually working with them. I’m very sensitive to negative emotions, and whenever I feel them wafting from someone, I just want to curl up into a ball, and hide. Either way, I guess I won’t know until I try it.

Down In The Dumps

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Nothing was going right; not her career, or her books, which she had been writing for over two years. And yet, just when it seemed like things were going to become pear-shaped for good, someone dropped into her life. A handsome, young man, a lovely person, with dashing good looks, and a beautiful house, and a wonderful job. With a sweep of his arms, he welcomed her into his life, and together, off they went, living luxurious days on beaches, in holiday houses, with their three cats. He was friends with a publisher, and they quickly published all three of her books, which then went on to become bestsellers, and all was well and right with the world.

Yeah. Right. More like, the reality of the situation is, I am twenty-one years old, broke, living at home, unemployed, with three children’s books under my belt which no-one wants to publish, and I have no dates, no potential suitors, no potential jobs, for that matter, and am just typing away, alone in my room, wondering what I am doing with my life. It hasn’t been a good week, my friends, if my last post was anything to go by, and I haven’t been faring well. Anxiety attacks, feelings of despair, suicidal thoughts—you name it, I’ve been feeling it.

So, what are my plans for now? Nothing, really. I do have lined up a week’s worth of work experience at a childcare centre, just to see if it is a career I would be interested in doing. I have no idea whether I will like it or not; just today, I smiled at a baby, and it burst into theatrical tears, so I am pretty sure children aren’t going to easily warm up to me. I don’t know why; I’m just a young woman, and don’t look particularly threatening. Nevermind: maybe babies are just afraid of strangers.

Honestly, I don’t know what I am doing with my life, and, at this rate, I almost feel as though it would be a good idea just to go out onto the streets and start living the homeless life, I really do. Of course, I’m nowhere near homelessness yet, but that’s all due to my dear mother, who slaves endlessly for hours a day cleaning people’s homes, just to keep the house afloat. I want to work. I want to contribute financially to the household. It’s just a matter of finding the right kind of job, that’s all.

I am thinking about going back to university, but the level of study it takes to return is something I find very daunting. To be honest, in my entire life, I have never been good at anything much except writing. That has been the one, single thing I have felt any passion or liking for, and even that is swirling down the drain these days, since no publisher seems to want to pick up any of my books. I am just at a complete crossroads, and have no idea what to do, and if it weren’t for the fact that money is necessary to survive in this world, all I’d be doing is reading and writing all day, and keeping this blog going, which would be my ideal life.

Tell me, dear reader, since you have followed me for some time—or even if you are just stumbling across this blog—based on my writing skills, and what little of my personality you can glean from my writing, what kind of job do you think would suit me? I, personally, have no idea, I really don’t. I sincerely hope you are engaged in a job that you enjoy, and that it fulfils you. It is important, I think, to spend most of your days occupied with activities that provide joy and happiness, rather than dreariness and misery.

In the meantime, I will be doing my best to navigate the waters of career searching, trying to find some kind of job I would be suited to, one that doesn’t require a university degree—or at least has a TAFE or diploma pathway—and which allows me to write on the side, fulfilling my passion and paying for food on the table, all at once. Thank you for reading, once again, and once again, I hope your own career pathway or search for a career is going better than mine.

When An INFP Can’t Figure Out Their Career

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**To get INFP and general life advice, or Skype counselling conversations, click HERE or the link: http://www.patreon.com/dreamerrambling

When an INFP can’t figure out their career, a number of things happen. Here are 10 of them.

  1. We decide the world isn’t a place for us, and we belong on some other planet, somewhere in the ether, where there is no such thing as working for a living, which is a silly concept, really, if you think about it…isn’t it?

 

  1. Suddenly, all of our time is spent on the Internet, searching for different careers, career tests and various other career information. We become obsessive, and after the end of hours of research, we come up with a handful of careers we could do, like childcare, or writer, or magazine editor, all of which, most of the time, might be too difficult to get into, or maybe a little too difficult to handle.

 

 

  1. We think, literally, about how bad it might be to be homeless. Surely there is housing out there for homeless people? That can’t be that bad, can it (yes, it can)?

 

  1. We start eating as much as possible. INFPs can be prone to eating away one’s feelings, and, usually careful with one’s diet, we start eating junk food, chocolates and biscuits, and eating larger portions than we usually do, feeling extremely guilty as we do so.

 

 

  1. We begin lamenting the fact that we are broke, and beginning to daydream about what it would like to have a million, or even better, ten million dollars, winning it through the lottery or through some chance inheritance. Eventually, this daydream dissipates, and reality returns—cold, hard reality: you are young, unemployed, and need to find a job.

 

  1. Trying to tell yourself everything will be fine, that eventually you’ll be slotted into a job you’ll enjoy, and failing, because you lack the self-soothing mechanism everyone else seems to have.

 

 

  1. Imagining yourself in various job roles, and realising you will suck at a great deal of them, because of your social anxiety and natural awkwardness when dealing with people.

 

  1. Having a mental breakdown, where you cry a little bit, and feel a little bit sorry for yourself, and eat a little bit, and look out of the window and wish the sky was orange or pink or purple, so you would at least be able to tell you were in a different universe.

 

 

  1. Reading a lot of books, or watching a lot of films or TV dramas, because you NEED the escape, and only through daydreaming, or living vicariously through characters, are you able to feel better about yourself and the current rut you are in.

 

  1. Get depressed. Moan and groan, drape yourself over your bed and roll about in a state of absolute misery, stare at the ceiling, feel a cloud of darkness descend upon you like dark veil. Hopefully you find a career soon, because the longer you stay in a state of depression, the worse it gets.

 

How To Love Yourself When You Are An Outsider

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The clamor for good self-esteem has become almost cliché, an excuse for parading out a barrage of aphorisms: Love Yourself For Who You Are, Accept Yourself, Love Yourself and Others Shall Love You, Woman.

Whether that means loving your skin, or eyes, despite the White Beauty ideals seen on magazines and television; or flaunting those curves or hips rather than hiding them, it is part of a new wave of Self-Love scouring across society.

And sure, I can relate.

Being Asian myself, and very thin to boot (throughout school, I was teased mercilessly for my stick-thin wrists, and a girl once, upon raking her eyes over my spindly body in a bathing suit during swim class before puberty hit, pronounced me a “monkey” – skinny-shaming is just as debilitating as fat-shaming), I have had to deal with self-confidence issues related to these two traits, just like people who are a little on the plump side, people with disabilities, any physical signifier that classifies them as “Ugly” or “Other”.

But so much of the recent Self-Love onslaught focuses on appearances, particularly the appearances of women. And while that is all good and important, humans being highly visual creatures, very little attention to paid to the confidence issues one has to deal with by having a particular personality.

Personality is the true determining factor of your self-confidence, I think, at least in one’s younger years. It is much easier to feel happy with yourself when others seek out your company, like to talk with you; when you feel loved, approved of, accepted – and when peer acceptance is not present, low self-esteem is often, unfortunately, a natural consequence.

For instance, for many years I was made to feel defective for being introverted, so introspective that I barely paid any attention to the real world reeling by before my eyes. In the media, in modern literature, a new breed of the ideal woman was sprouting forth to smash traditional gender barriers: independent and bold and confident – in other words, extroverted. Though this “New Woman” allowed for greater opportunities among the female populace, at least in Western countries, doing so only replaced a previous admittedly debilitating standard for women with another – less constraining, yes, but a new standard to measure oneself up against, nonetheless.

Being Asian, in this case, actually made matters worse, as there is this absolutely nonsensical stereotype that all Asian women (I do hate using racial monikers; we’re individuals, not groups; people do not think all, say, brunettes or Caucasian men possess the same personality type, so why the generalizations?) are shy and submissive. As an INFP, a personality type which naturally, even among males, is conflict-averse, withdrawn, dreamy and, yes, has a tendency to be quiet and shy and burrowed in a corner with a book, I fit into this stereotype perfectly.

But, racial stereotypes aside, it is a fact that introverts, or any outsiders, have greater difficulty with self-esteem than their extroverted or more accepted counterparts. People find “confidence” (Read: Extroverted) beautiful, they find a “sense of humor” (Read: Usually Gregarious) attractive; and those who are shy, reserved, slightly weird, are overlooked or disliked, dubbed sometimes, infuriatingly, as possessing no personality at all.

It is hard, to learn to love yourself, when not only do people not seem to like you, they do not even see you.

How can you love something that does not exist?

On top of being shy, introspective, and skinny as a rake, I also had Asperger’s, suffered from social anxiety, and, lo and behold, was a creative thinker and writer – and we all know how solitary and odd writers or original thinkers have a habit of feeling in mainstream society, probably accounting for their general recluse lifestyles throughout history. This is not me complaining (Oh, Delia, my dear, I had such a hard time of it, you can’t possibly imagine!); all I am doing is trying to point out the various contributing factors, along with living in a low-income household that could not afford items such as new clothing more than every few years (“daggy” clothes are not great for popularity), that led me to have such low self-esteem for years, and years. Long, long suffering years.

Oh, actually, I am garnering for a little sympathy here, but it comes from a good place: perhaps some of you out there can relate, to any of this, and will feel less alone for it.

The bullying from my peers, ranging from abuse to exclusion, the days spent hidden in the back of the library, the days spent watching television showcasing people who looked nothing like me, a lack of supportive friends, not looking right, acting right – all this, for an excruciatingly sensitive and aware child, and later teenager, added up. I did not like myself – no, I loathed myself.

As if that wasn’t enough, once the Self-Love movement took off, self-help books flying off the shelves, people told me I just had to realise I was “worthy”.

Yes, indeed; it is easy to feel worthy without the particular history I had, without the particular brain and psychology, the particular body, skin, experiences; it is easy for you to say that, when you are talkative and loved and have never spent time alone in the bathrooms, imagining yourself being flushed down the toilet in a gurgling swirl of oblivion; it is easy for you to say that, when you are not slightly neurologically different from others, when you do not feel like an Outsider, when you are not so sensitive each day is a tiny battle, each night a time to cry, and bandage your accumulated wounds.

It is easy to say that, when you are Extroverted, or Straight, or a Non-Minority, or Well-Liked, or Neurotypical, or Male (though this is unfair, men, on average, tend to suffer from fewer self-esteem problems than Women), or Non-HSP, or Non-INFP, or Well-Off and can Fit In Happily.

(Note: I do not mean to say that Extroverted, Straight, Caucasian, Well-Liked, Neurotypical, Wealthy or Male individuals do not have any problems: I am simply trying to make a point that when you are an Insider, it is rather presumptuous to dole out voice to an Outsider)

It is easy for you to say that I simply must feel “worthy”, when everything and everyone your life has affirmed that, and everything in mine has pointed to the contrary.

Frankly, just being an INFP and Highly Sensitive, especially if you are male, is enough to lower your self-confidence drastically, let alone the extra baggage I dragged around. What’s worse, being sensitive dreamers, we have a tendency to blame ourselves whenever anything goes wrong.

People, extroverted individuals surrounded by friends, told me, I should tell myself I was “worthy”. They were speaking from a good place; they just wanted to help. But when I was unsuccessful at raising my self-confidence that way, I believed there was something wrong with me. I grew ashamed of my lack of self-esteem, which only fueled the self-hatred.

I was a big, fat Not.

Not curvy enough. Not talkative enough. Not outspoken enough. Not friendly enough. Not normal enough. Not realistic enough. Not pretty enough. Not. Not. Not. Not. Not. Not.

Also, I was a big, fat Too.

Too weird. Too quiet. Too shy. Too strange. Too sensitive. Too poor. Too androgynous. Too isolated. Too skinny. Reads Too much. Thinks Too much. Head Too stuck in the clouds.

Above all, what drove the pain deeper, and still stabs me now and then today, was my unbearable loneliness, for I had no friends – and loneliness, as you may well know, only breeds further insecurity. A young female, or male, lonely and misunderstood, is bound to have some problems loving themselves without either a dose of wisdom or intervention.

In my case, the intervention was internal. And the recovery slow.

Yes, I did realise I was fine, just the way I was; that many writers, throughout history, had been considered eccentric, reclusive, shy, and many even had Asperger’s – so I was not alone, really; and perhaps, if I was not the way I was, I would not have my creativity, or interest in writing, or my imagination. That being shy daydreamer does not make me submissive woman; I have my own inner strength, only it is expressed differently. That the negative opinions of other people, though they hurt when expressed (“Shit! Look at your wrist: Are you anorexic?” “You’re too, um, quiet”) are less important than how I think about myself.

But the turning point, for me, was the realisation that, in the end, no-one really cares whether you are strange or different or shy, as everyone is too focused on themselves, and that everyone, even the most privileged, like all humans, go through their share of suffering. Sure, you may suffer more, you may feel lonely more frequently – but is that so bad a price to pay, for your unique gifts of sensitivity, compassion, creativity, perspective etc.? You may be disadvantaged in some respects, but blessed in others. Everyone is good at something; everyone has a spark, deep within them.

It is true, what they say: self-acceptance does come from the inside; but you will not find it by repeating mantras to yourself (I am worthy, I am worthy, please let me feel worthy…), or pretending you like being an outcast, or wearing a mask of superiority (Those unoriginal commoners!).

Instead, it comes from having a realistic outlook – no-one really cares that much about you, so you might as well care for you – and feeling compassion for all human beings. Even those who possess all the traits society accepts, they, just like you, have their moments of awkwardness, isolation, their own internal conflicts and problems.

We are all outcasts, deep in our hearts, only some people are better at hiding it. By the same token, we are all beautiful, in our unique and wonderful ways, and even if other people do not see or affirm it, you must. Hard as it may be to possess a trait that deviates from the norm, you can use it to your advantage and, if not like, at least accept your differences, in spite of the pain, in spite of the suffering.

Loving yourself, as an outsider, is not about never feeling uncomfortable or out of place among other people; that will never go away. Instead, it is about feeling Acceptance and Compassion: For The People Around You, For Others, and, most of all, For Yourself.

INFPs Can Find Fulfilling Jobs

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So, recently, I’ve been working at an age care centre, looking after the elderly people. So far, I’ve only made some beds, talked with the elderly, helped set up the lunch tables, and showered one lady, but I’ve found it rather fun and enjoyable. It certainly beats spending time at home, wasting away hours.

I would definitely recommend age care to INFPs. Of course, there are many who are averse to some of the tasks involved in age care, such as wiping bottoms and things like that, but you do wear gloves the entirety of the time you complete these tasks, and wash your hands afterwards. However, if you have a sensitive sense of smell, and can’t stand the smells of urine and number 2s, I definitely would not recommend you do this job.

Part of the reason why it is a good job is because it is not very fast-paced. First of all, the elderly are, well, old, and you have to be slow, patient and careful with them. What is more, there are no loud noises, you are usually one-one-one with a person, and a lot of elderly people are very sweet and kind, though you do get the irritable and cantankerous ones sometimes. All in all, after searching the globe (AKA the internet) for a suitable job, I think I might have finally found one.

I even considered doing childcare once, thinking I was good with children, and calm and patient; but it didn’t end up working out, because the job was far too high-energy for me. I couldn’t keep up with the energy of the kids! It exhausted me beyond belief, and now, the energy around elderly people is much more calmer, and there is far less stress, although I am in fear, when showering someone, that they will slip or fall. There is no job, is there, that doesn’t have any stress? Not even writing, which causes tremendous stress when it doesn’t go well, which is often.

It is a very fulfilling job. You really feel as though you are making a difference in someone’s life. I’m glad I found it, this early on in my life, otherwise I don’t know what I would have done with myself. It does have its downsides; it is rather physically demanding, and when things go wrong, they go very wrong i.e. a resident becomes non-compliant, or perhaps even lashes out. So far, however, everything has gone rather smoothly, and I hope to see myself in this job for years to come, writing part-time on the side. Thank you for being with me on this journey, and, if it so happens that I change careers, I’ll definitely keep you posted, my dear dreamers. I hope you are in relatively fulfilling careers yourself, and if not, I hope soon, in the future, you find one that is suitable.

Immature INFPs Vs Mature INFPs

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LOVE

Immature:
I will float away on heavenly clouds of joy forever more, because he and I (or she and I) will meet in a chance encounter, faraway from human civilisation, where we will mutually love each other instantly and become absolute soul mates. That is how it will happen. Yes. In a woodland, probably, surrounded by fairies only we can see, and feed each other bits of cloud and stardust. Probably. What do you mean, unrealistic? Listen, I don’t think we can be friends anymore. You obviously don’t believe in true love.

Mature:
I will meet a person, most likely in my everyday life, in my everyday social circle, such as my school or workplace, or through a friend of a friend; and we will get along, like ordinary people, and sometimes, we might not get along, which is fine. And there are the obvious good parts—the endorphin high of falling in love, the protective and loving nature of having a partner—but you do have to compromise a lot, too. Ooh, look at me, being all grown-up. WHERE ARE THE WOODLAND FAIRIES.

CAREER

Immature:
I am going to be a writer. I don’t care what you say, it’s going to happen, and if that means living out of the back of a caravan for the rest of my life, so be it. What do you mean, no orange juice? I can still buy it. And electricity…well, there are solar panels. And for showering, I could go to the gym. Listen, I have done a lot of research, and this is the best way for me to live; it’s the only way I can pursue my passion, because, frankly, it is rather impossible for me to hold down a full-time, soul-sucking job, I would really rather die. All I want to do is daydream and write and float away on the clouds of thoughts all day long…shut up, I’m not being unrealistic, tell me again why we’re still friends??

Mature:
It’s not that hard, holding down a full-time, ordinary job, once you actually get used to it. Yes, it is boring—after all, I work at a chemist, scanning items and stacking shelves—and sometimes soul-sucking, but otherwise, it’s not that bad, and has its good parts, too, namely the fact that you can keep a roof over your head and food in the fridge, something that writing will take some time yet for it to do.

REAL-WORLD ISSUES

Immature:
Are you kidding me? I AM A BLEEDING HEART. THOSE POOR PEOPLE, THOSE ANIMALS, THOSE, OHMIGOD, WHAT ARE THEY DOING TO THOSE RABBITS?! EXPERIMENTING ON THEM? Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t actually personally helped any of these people—after all, I am a single twenty-one year old living at home who still thinks she can become a writer and change the world—but, at the very least, I feel for them. At least I CARE.

Mature:
OMIGOD. THIS IS A TERRIBLE WORLD, FILLED WITH EVIL Okay, so, in the future, when I have the funds, I will make sure to donate to this charity, and that charity, and that charity, and that charity, and that charity…animals rights…gotcha…sexual assault…definitely, can relate (another post, guys)…wateraid….EVERYTHING. Poor people, poor animals. I love them to death. They need my help. I might one day…give some money. Yeah. Because I don’t have the social stamina to travel halfway around the world yet and look after people after they’ve been affected by hurricanes or floods. Help. EVERYBODY, HELP THEM.

EMOTIONS

Immature: ASDFGHJKLQWWERTYUIOPZXCVBNM. My mother just told me I would never become a writer, that I was wasting my life on airy-fairy dreams. *bursts into tears* I hate my life, I really do. You know, I think Juliet was onto something. I think I maybe should do something drastic, and destroy myself, because this life, with its soul-sucking jobs, and unfeeling people, and cruelty and horribleness, and horrible, realistic mothers, is just not worth living anymore.

Mature:
Well, I think that maybe one day, if I try hard enough, I will be able to publish my work. My mother is wrong—or at the very least, I think she is. But I understand where she is coming from; I mean, writers aren’t exactly known for being able to pay the bills on time, and she wants to make sure I have some security in this world. I guess it’s a good thing I am studying to be a nurse.

FOOD & EXERCISE

Immature:
I’m going to eat all this junk food, because I am so depressed about my life, and I like sweet foods a lot, like cookies and ice-cream. And after that, I am going to sit on a chair all day, typing up my book on my computer. And after that I am going to watch a movie, to forget the real world, and then read a book, to forget that I was trying to forget the real world, all while never moving from the same position.

Mature:
The benefits of a job is that it gets you moving around, which is healthier for you. Things like running, or working out, while tiring, are good to schedule into your day, as they have numerous health benefits, such as making you feel healthier and happier. Moving around is very important—and if you’re happier, you’re less likely to eat lots of junk food. Unfortunately, I will still spend a lot of time sitting down, because I still write and watch films, but I can do other things standing up, or even walking around, like reading a book. Health is important, remember that. Oh, gosh, I can’t even believe what I am saying…is this real? Or is it the Matrix?

INFPs and Work-Related Stress

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Well, I think—I think—I may just have perhaps over the last week induced a fever through work-related stress.

Yes. An actual fever. A low-grade one of 37.5°C (99.5 °F), to be exact.

I mean, I knew I was wildly stressed-out; after all, not only did the job  entail plenty of draining chit-chat in the form of customer service, but it was also quite physically strenuous, as I was on my feet all day, with only one break in-between, walking around the store. I knew, as the weeks passed, that my stress levels were building. That I was pushing myself too far. That dealing with people non-stop, day after day, would take its slow, but terrible toll, on me, especially wrangling with less-than-polite and sometimes downright sweetly-mean customers.

The signs of stress started off innocently enough. A painful pimple here and there, which I put a little cream on and hoped would go away. Some small, devilish canker sores on the inside of my mouth. Then things started to upgrade themselves, and I woke up one morning with a searing, throbbing pain on either side of the back of my mouth, and discovered my gums had swollen there, become red and painful and inflamed.

By the next sunrise, the fever came on, and I found myself bedridden and calling in sick for work, my body aching all over and a headache pounding at my temples like a hammer.

That was Wednesday. It’s Saturday now, and I have finally recovered enough to be able to sit at my laptop (after buying an extendable keyboard, since the letter “t” has stopped malfunctioning on the laptop’s keyboard) and write. I still feel pretty bad, to be honest—my gums are still swollen and painful enough for me to feel as though my body is quietly torturing me, and I still feel a little shivery—but the need to write came upon me like an insatiable urge, and I had to do it.

Look, let me just say it: INFPs are fragile creatures. What I just wrote about is a clear example of just how delicate people like us can be. And I’m not the only one. Lots of INFPs I’ve read about, or who have reached out to me through this blog, suffer from career dissatisfaction and unbearable, work-related stress because of our gentle personalities and fragile souls. That’s a fact.

We are not as strong as other people, not mentally or physically. And by physically, I mean our constitutions, our immune systems. We are soft, and sensitive. Stress can strike us down just as bad as any virus, and a spiteful word or look is enough to cut us to the bone, or make us feel physically sick. There’s simply no way of getting around it—trust me, I’ve tried.

Actually, you know what, I don’t think I’m making it clear just how fragile a lot of INFPs are. Sure, we have our books, our big, powerful imaginations, but all of that is spiritual, cerebral. Everything else that makes up a human being, in us, is soft and delicate beyond belief. Fear of the meaninglessness of life is enough to exhaust us. In case that still isn’t clear enough—if we just spend too much time thinking about life and death, we get tired. Our souls get tired. Our will to live, and be happy and animated, shrinks. As a highly sensitive person on top of that, places like brightly-lit shopping centres or loud and busy roads add extra stress, bombarding my senses until I want to just curl up under some blankets somewhere and hide, and lose myself in a daydream.

A quiet, simple and slow life is the healthiest life for us to lead. I, for one, when allowed to at my own pace, take everything simply, slowly and quietly. I do not type these words with the crazed fervor of someone struck by the creative muse—in fact, even when struck by the muse, which happens rarely, I still type at a relatively steady pace. When left to my own ends, I am the tortoise, plodding and slow, gentle and soft, in everything I do. Wolfing down food too fast makes me feel ill. Too much high-intensity cardio exercise contributes to stress build-up in my body (which is why I always jog for short intervals, never run at high-intensity for a long period of time). Sunlight after a bad or average night’s sleep is horrific, which is why I much prefer the night, and rainy or cloudy days. I don’t race through books. I read them slowly, savouring the words, sometimes re-reading sentences because they’re just so pretty. I am quite skinny, pale, and perpetually absent-minded.

.

Whereas the modern workplace? Bright, artificial lights. Loud voices, raised in chatter and talk. Constant verbal communication, and, if you’re working in customer service like I am at the moment, never-ending false cheeriness. Physically strenuous marching up and down the store, to tackle customers, move from one display shelf to the next. Long hours spent standing on my feet at the cash register. No-one there understands me, so I have to employ my acting skills and pretend I am talkative and robust just like the other employees or run the risk of being told by my boss to “to put in more effort”. Really, if it wasn’t for the money, I would have tossed in the towel long ago. Probably my first week. But I gritted my teeth and stuck with it—I needed to help cover living expenses, and pay for upcoming nursing school fees—and sort of muddled through the whole thing in a kind of painful daze, and then everything just blew up and I found myself lying in bed, feeling like a corpse, and staring at the ceiling.

Am I going to go back to that job after I’m better? Yes. Probably. I don’t know. For a while, I was on government benefits, but that was a pittance, and getting the money involved applying for job after job, engaging in interview after interview, and it was simply not a good way to live for the long-term. I don’t think anyone would want to live on government benefits for an extended period of time. Not only is the money not enough to cover basic needs, not to even mention school fees or supplies, but you feel rotten while you’re on it, with the sense that the government is breathing down your back everyday, nudging you to be a good, hard-working citizen like everyone else, you lazy “dole bludger”. I want to contribute to society like everyone else.

It’s just difficult to find a proper job suitable for people like me, INFPs, that allows us to be both compensated for work and not severely taxed by the requirements of the position.

I am seriously re-thinking my long-term goal of becoming a mental health nurse. At the very least, if I do continue pursuing that path, I can only work part-time. After this job, at a busy pharmacy in a customer service role, I have become all too aware of my limits.

Which brings me to the question: what should I do with my life? How should I earn a living, when all I really like to do is daydream, write and read?

Obviously, being a professional writer comes to mind, but that’s out of the question for now—I’m still writing, but none of the books I’ve sent out have received any replies from publishers. As for this blog, well, while it has built itself up over the years, traffic isn’t high enough for me to warrant buying a domain name and getting any money from advertisements.

I did consider starting a Patreon for my blog, dreamerrambling.wordpress.com, so that people can choose to donate, if they want, for each blog post I put out, even if it’s just a dollar. To somehow try and become self-employed, through the expertise and knowledge I have accumulated over the years about the INFP personality, based on research, personal experience, writing on this blog, and talking to other INFPs. In my imagination, I fancy myself a kind of INFP guru, or fairy godmother, who whisks a magical wand and—writes about secrets inside the hearts of INFPs, the daydreams, the struggles and tears, the love and joy.

These are all possibilities, Tenuous ones, I must admit, because I don’t know if I have the readership to do such a thing, or if anyone would be interested at all in donating or supporting my blog posts. Or how exactly to go about offering services—maybe advice columns?—that would be enough to create my own business and become self-employed. Really, I have no experience in anything of the sort, and kind of find myself expecting it to fall over on its face if I try, like a puppy taking its first steps.

In the end, as with everything in life, and in the healthiest possible way for INFPs, I will take it slow, and steady. I will be quiet, and gentle about things, as I naturally am, and we will see what comes of it. I hope you are all in good health, and doing much better in your lives than I am.

—Dreamerrambling

20 Habits of INFPs

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**To get INFP and general life advice, or Skype counselling conversations, or to choose a blog topic, click HERE or the link: http://www.patreon.com/dreamerrambling

  1. Taking different routes to places because they feel more “unique” and “exciting”, like following fairy trails or something like that.
  2. Always trying very hard to focus on the other person and their face when speaking to them, in case we look like we are bored and are daydreaming, as we often are.
  3. Unable to resist the urge to try and befriend cats, and always getting disappointed when they turn out to be wild, feline creatures who do not warm up to us as much as they should.
  4. Falling in love with someone from afar. That’s it. There’s no plot twist, no ending: the only thing that happens in this love story is that the young woman or man pines beneath the balcony forever, while everyone else happily goes on with their lives, including the object of their affection.
  5. Wanting to be a writer but unable to realise this dream completely because of one’s scatterbrained nature or the reality of earning an income in this world.
  6. Scrolling through career options late into the night for the same careers or jobs—childcare worker, nurse, and other “caring” careers—just to reassure yourself that you do have some utility in this world despite your daydreamy nature.
  7. Feeling an urge to drop everything and escape to a farm somewhere and never letting this urge become a reality. Because INFPs, in case you haven’t noticed, are not good with reality.
  8. Wanting to escape into fictional worlds and lives for all eternity so the realities of life, such as earning a living in this world, never have to be faced.
  9. Feeling so lost in life in terms of career options you could scream, because it seems you were born for nothing more than sitting around in meadows, picking flowers and philosophising on the meaning of life. Unfortunately for us, no-one in their right mind would pay someone to do that.
  10. Making a decision to eat only organic and healthy food because that way one is more “in balance” with nature, but then giving it up because junk food is too tempting and you get too depressed not to rely on it sometimes.
  11. Contemplating, after realising how limited one’s career options are and how most of the ones INFPs seem suited for pay not very much at all, how bad would homelessness be, really, I mean, as long as you’re not starving it can’t be too bad, right?
  12. Wishing you were born into a different family, one that was able to nurture your sensitive, creative nature instead of trampling all over it, or worse, ignoring your “special needs” as an INFP offspring.
  13. Being unable to find things. Period. I don’t know about you, but there seriously must be an invisible wormhole following me around for much of my days, because that’s the only plausible reason I can give for losing everything I own.
  14. Gazing wistfully at other people and their lives and wondering how they manage to have it all together so well, so perfectly- poised and comfortable and happy. I can’t remember the last time I was utterly comfortable and happy in this world.
  15. Watching episodes of your favourite TV show instead of doing more important things, like chores. Actually, scratch that—reading books instead of doing chores, because reading is a much more pleasurable activity than pretty much anything else.
  16. Completing chores improperly. What do you mean, the dishes are still a little greasy? And that spot on the floor, I missed it? Well, I must have been thinking of something else.
  17. Getting lost when you go to new places and panicking to no end because when you get lost, you feel like you’ve fallen off the edge of the Earth and will never find your way home again.
  18. Rescuing tiny creatures, like slugs or ants, saving them from being flushed down the drain or drowning in a puddle of water. Because you care.
  19. Always being the friend who supports/admires/helps/compliments the other louder and more rambunctious friend, while silently daydreaming and writing on the side whenever you think the other friend isn’t looking.
  20. Having a long list of coping mechanisms for dealing with the realities of life—such as writing lists like these, eating junk food, and watching various movies—that do nothing whatsoever to help you to deal with the realities of life.