Are you an INFJ personality type?
If so, does your career support your very unique motivations, strengths, and preferences as an INFJ?
People often choose their careers for reasons that have little to do with their personality type.
Sometimes their parents push them in a particular direction.
Many of us choose a career path because of the financial potential.
And some of us just land in a career because it was the first thing that became available after graduation.
That’s what happened to me, and as an INFJ personality type, taking a job in retail public relations when I graduated from college wasn’t a bad move, but it wasn’t the best.
There were parts of the job I loved (writing, creative thinking, brainstorming in small groups), and other parts I hated (public speaking, the competitive environment of the retail world).
While some INFJs get lucky and are able to find a career in something they love, too many don’t love what they do. Some people actually dread going to work.
Someone may dislike their career for many reasons, such as low pay, a bad boss, no ability to grow, long hours, lack of benefits, and stress.
But personality type plays a huge role in job satisfaction.
This is especially true for INFJs who seek more meaning from their careers than other personality types.
The Unique INFJ Personality Type
The Myers-Briggs Personality Test places people in one of sixteen personality types, with INFJ being one of them.
INFJ stands for introversion (I), intuition (N), feeling (F), and judging (J), describing the preferences of this personality type.
According to the Myers-Briggs Foundation website, INFJs have the following characteristics:
Seek meaning and connection in ideas, relationships, and material possessions. Want to understand what motivates people and are insightful about others. Conscientious and committed to their firm values. Develop a clear vision about how best to serve the common good. Organized and decisive in implementing their vision.
The INFJ personality type is rare, making up less than 1% of the population. They tend to be caring, complex, and intuitive balanced by an ability to plan and make things happen.
There are some INFJ careers that are great for people with this personality because they support the INFJs deep need for meaning and service.
You often find INFJs in the helping professions such as counseling, the ministry, social work, and teaching. They also make great writers, artists, designers, and musicians.
However, there are several career paths INFJs would do best to avoid if they want to stay true this personality type.
6 INFJ Careers To Avoid For This Personality Type
INFJ men and women are very private people.
They tend to be reserved and don’t easily speak up in meetings or when they are around other people. This makes it challenging for them to work with on a team or in a large group setting.
Marketing requires a lot of open and free discussions with multidisciplinary teams of professionals. However, INFJ professionals work best alone.
They can work with like-minded people, however, they do not work well with people who come from different intellectual backgrounds.
People with an INFJ personality have more difficulty in the modern corporate world, especially in the cutthroat world of sales.
Because they have sensitive personalities, INFJs can be too compassionate to be competitive. Their selflessness can easily be taken advantage of, preventing them from getting ahead.
In order to be successful in the competitive world of sales, people need to be aggressive in their strategies to land the best deals. INFJs tend to be less aggressive, this is not one of the ideal INFJ careers.
On a positive note, INFJs are insightful and intuitive, which can be highly useful qualities in some sales positions when understanding the personalities involved can make or break a deal.
3. Customer Service
Being in customer service requires interacting with different types of people on a continual basis.
If there are too many people with different personalities and agendas, INFJ professionals find it challenging, especially if their values or principles are not respected when they are trying to achieve their goals.
INFJs feel a strong need to contribute something meaningful to other people’s lives, not just concern themselves with people’s superficial problems.
They also need constant opportunities for intellectual growth in their careers. Customer service does not give INFJs enough satisfaction to be happy.
However, if a customer service jobs involves more in-depth relationships with clients or customers where intuition and insight are necessary, this kind of job might work well for an INFJ.
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People with an INFJ personality are not keen on details and data. They often find money and finances devoid of inspiration and tend to be weak in managing money. So clearly, a career in finance wouldn’t be a great fit.
INFJs pay attention to financial details only when they are dealing with a cause they are truly passionate about, especially if the cause has a large positive impact.
Otherwise, INFJs don’t want to focus on the minutiae involved in money management, which could have a serious negative impact on their clients if they worked in finance.
This profession also requires many hours of sitting stagnant at a desk and performing routine tasks. It also typically doesn’t involve a lot of innovation or creativity. This can make someone with an INFJ personality feel deeply unsatisfied and bored.
Politicians are always in the public eye, and it is important for them to be approachable and “on” all the time.
Socializing is a huge part of politics, which requires interacting with many different types of personalities. This could be excruciating for many INFJs.
Also, politicians must learn how to manipulate information in their favor with the media and their constituents. This is not an easy thing to do for someone with an INFJ personality who has high principles that they are unwilling to compromise.
Because of their deeply-held values and beliefs, INFJs might do well in a political environment as a support person, such as a speech writer or communications coordinator.
When serving in the military, people are trained to follow specific orders without questioning them.
There is a rigid schedule to follow along with strict rules. Because INFJs value creativity, individual purpose, and intuition, obeying commands without question and being restricted to a certain set of rules would be extremely difficult.
INFJs are extremely caring, sensitive, and gentle people, and a military environment can be intimidating, brutal, and insensitive to individual needs.
INFJs might like the organization and structure of military life, but the lack of privacy, creativity, and personal freedom would be difficult.
For INFJs to feel satisfied in a career, their daily work must be aligned with their own personal values and principles.
They need to do meaningful, gratifying work that helps others, while also having creative freedom and opportunities for growth. Only then can they reach their full personality potential and feel happy in themselves and their lives.
Spending eight hours or more a day in a job that doesn’t fit those requirements can leave an INFJ unmotivated and depressed over time.
If you’re an INFJ in the wrong job, you owe it to your mental and physical health to find something more suited to your innate characteristics.
There is no job that is perfect for all of the sixteen personality types, and there is no job that is perfect for every INFJ.
Finding a great career match is an individual journey for each INFJ person. By becoming familiar with your personality type, you can have a better idea of what type of work can provide you with more happiness and satisfaction in the long-run.
4 thoughts on “INFJ Careers: 6 To Avoid If You’re An INFJ Personality”
Great article, Barrie!
As an INFJ and therapist in private practice, I am grateful to work in a field that really suits my MBTI preferences. It was not always so during my early and mid adult years when I once worked in areas that did not bring out the best in me in my core. Once I learned about the MBTI preferences and was freed up to truly be me, I no longer felt “forced” to do work not best suited for my personality (like sales, marketing, and customer service!). Following this revelation, I was set free to pursue my life dream of working one-on-one with people (through counselling, coaching, and writing). Thank you for encouraging your readers to be true to themselves and to live lives of integrity from the inside out.
Thanks for the insight. I’m an INFJ. It completely resonates with my personality. You have said marketing might not be a good fir for INFJs. But what do you think of online/digital marketing?
Thanks for the article. As an INFJ most points resonated with me and I appreciate any clarity on the complex function. The only career I would challenge is Customer Service. The core of Introverted Intuition is understanding different perspectives and being able to future pace as a result. Customer service forces you to quickly assess another person’s situation (aka – see their perspective) and make recommendations. The INFJ needs to utilize introverted intuition in tandem with their secondary function of extraverted feeling – understanding the customers perspective then helping them get their needs met. I believe that a technical customer service presents an even healthier INFJ expression by engaging their tertiary function of introverted thinking. They have to logically think through the behavior of the customer to figure out how they arrived at the technical problem and then logically determine a solution and come up with the language to explain that solution. I think the right customer service position is a great path especially for a younger INFJ. I’d love to hear your thoughts on my perspective;)
Totally agree with Marketing. I always hate marketing but for some reason fate keeps putting me in those jobs. Although I’m a Designer and my main line of work are in design and in more technical side of it which I absolutely love but still there are times that I have to be ‘extroverted’,collaborate with my very intimidating co-workers and I find it so draining.
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