The GREATEST post about INFP CAREERS in the history of EVER

Picture of man on top of mountainThis amazing post was written by Aelthwyn on Personality Cafe. I asked her if I could post it because it truly speaks to exactly what I desire in a career and my very feelings were echoed around the board.

Create your own user feedback survey

*******START POST********
The cunundrum I think a lot of us have is that it’s hard for us to do what we love for a living because it frequently requires us to go by other people’s guidelines and ideas and such, which makes it no longer our own creative expression and cheapens it for us. And if we do that all the time we want to do something else in our free time, so we don’t end up ever really getting into our flow and feeling really alive in the activities we love. However, we also have a hard time doing something that isn’t something we really love and believe in because then we are pouring our time and energy into something that doesn’t matter and that leaves us empty.

Likewise, we are neither interested in directing others nor following directions. The trouble for us with this is that most of the time being in charge of your own work/business requires practical knowlege, organization, and ability to get out there and convince others they need your goods/services – none of which are our strong point. We also tend to like security, which entreprenuership doesn’t often have. Not to sound too bleak, but it feels like a catch 22 as they say.

What we really need is someone interested in helping us in the practical matters of personal business, or as mentioned above being part of a small company where we can be seen as individuals, have a caring family feel, and have a chance to be recognized for our creativity and inginuity without having to be too bold or have authority over others. Other than that, what we need are Patrons, someone rich who wants to help support us so that we don’t have to worry about the mundane money-making aspect of life.

A lot of us Idealists probably find money a rather unworthy goal, and thus have a hard time with almost any job setting (even if it seems initially to be something we like) because a lot of time it starts to feel like it’s all coming down to money – how much work can they get out of us, how much money can we get out of them….and that just clashes with our value system. In a sense it starts to feel like baking brownies every day when you don’t like chocolate – why am I doing this again? I don’t even really care about this!

I think the common reccommendation that INFPs would like to work in people oriented service jobs is a bit off the mark. We do usually care about others and enjoy showing our care, but we are still introverts and we don’t generally like a lot of shallow interactions – which means that service jobs may be fullfilling and draining at the same time. I think we are much more likely to feel fullfilled serving a small number of people that we know well, such as family and friends. Honestly, I’ve always thought my ideal job would be either as a nanny or a stay-at-home mom. I love to invest in a few people who are close to me, and enjoy taking care of things for others – being the behind the scenes support system for those that do go out and do other things.

I definately don’t have any good answers to this Ultimate INFP dilemma, I’m going through this myself. A couple years ago I felt like I’d lost my soul working in a book store (hey it sounded great, I love books and I was back in the stockroom alone wih my own music, sounds good….but the burden of more and more procedures, and pressure to be more and more productive, and negative managers sucked me dry of life and creativity). I’m still attempting to get my own sewing/craft business going, and wanting to look into photography but feeling overwhelmed by that.

I think perhaps a lot of us could use a good career counselor who understands and respects our needs, but knows a lot of possibilities and can make the connections for us that are hard for us to make ourselves. sigh…..

Something I did at one point shortly after quitting my old job was to make a list of things that I really needed in a job – not interests, but practical aspects.

Some of the things I found important for me were (in no paticular order):
Working on Projects Alone – I don’t do well in groups, I either end up doing all of it, or get totally ignored.

Autonomy – I hate being constantly directed, I want to see what needs to be done and do it in my own way in my own order

Projects not Hours – I hate stopping when I’m in the flow, and I hate having to hang around when there’s nothing to do. I’ll put in a lot of extra work if you let me, but don’t make me waste my time pretending to look busy just because you want a body there during ‘work hours’.

Free Schedule – I need to be respected to have my own life and priorities. I will do the work – but does it really matter when? I hate having to eat when I’m not hungry, or not be able to take a break at an opportune stopping point.

Creativity & Intelligence – I need to be allowed to come up with creative solutions and ideas and have them listened to and appreciated. I hate being treated like an idiot just because I don’t have a big pay-check.

Personal – not Impersonal – I hate the impersonal ‘business’ attitude

My Own Space – I need to have a pleasing personal environment, some place I can feel comfortable in order to be able to feel positive and stay energized and focused. Working in drab, company standard environments, or having to listen to popular music all day makes me angry and depressed and distracted and….I just break down very fast.

Ideals & Values – I can’t invest in or promote things I don’t believe in, I can’t be asked to go against my values

Positive People – A Negative critical atmosphere really takes the life out of me, strained feelings in the air make me physically ill. I need to know that I am appreciated.

Security – stress over money is not something I do well with, being afriad of not being able to pay my bills tends to immobilize me and distract me from creative inspiration.

……who knows what job has all these things?

I’ve also considered what seems to be what I’m made to do, what do I do naturally that gives me fullillment in life?
1. Loving and encouraging others
2. Appreciating the beauty in the world and helping others to see it, also reminding people of the simple joys in life
3. Creating – coming up with stories, imagining, designing many kinds of things, arranging, making things beautiful
4. Thinking deeply and coming to an understanding of things

Surely these things are useful. Surely there must be a way to make a living through them???


When you’re done here, sign up for my mailing list below and leave a comment below that!


348 thoughts on “The GREATEST post about INFP CAREERS in the history of EVER”

  1. I am in the same boat with most of you. I’m going to include my story, as it might be helpful to some.

    In college, as an undergrad in a competitive and serious theater program, I hit a point in my junior year where I just felt like, in spite of being good at what I was doing and getting good feedback, I greatly disliked the competitive, networking nature of theater. (Not all theater is like that, by the way, or even most. It’s actually more about building relationships than networking, which is why I think it’s a very good fit for artistic INFPs, especially designers, but for performers, there is pressure to be “on” a lot of the time.) I also suffered from severe inferiority issues and anxiety (I did not know that’s what it was at the time). I consulted career services out of desperation, took the MBTI, and scored as an INTP, which I believed I was for many, many years. It wasn’t until I was having trouble even thinking about going to work without breaking down emotionally that I finally started therapy and realized that part of the reason I was unhappy was because I thought I had to be unemotional. I grew up in a house full of NTs. Both parents and a brother. I was constantly told I was “too emotional” — it was really difficult, especially when anxiety hit in mid-childhood. I had no words to convey what was happening to me, and they were all totally mystified as to why I was crying every day.

    After college, I tried a year in theater, but I disliked the environment even though I enjoyed the work. I cared for a sick relative, indulged in my other hobby (writing), and finally went to grad school for English because someone suggested it. Earning my masters was enjoyable but I was tired of being in school and wanted to not be poor anymore (ha), but my training had left me with no other clear career path but college teaching. I was fortunate to land a full-time job at a college doing just that. I want to include that experience because some of you have wondered if being a professor might be an option for you.

    INFP as a college professor:
    First, just know that yes, it is a great career for INFPs. You can spend a lot of time on what you enjoy; you have a great deal of flexibility in your schedule compared to most full-time jobs (especially other education jobs); your teaching load is typically much less than that of a secondary or primary teacher (and there is less face-t0-face with colleagues); you get to spend more time with students one-on-one; there is not nearly as much bureaucracy (paperwork) to deal with (although there is definitely some); you can be creative within your field; and having an understanding of the Big Picture of your field is a definite plus, because most of the time it is the big picture you will be trying to convey to students in creative ways. This is life in a small college (not publish or perish Research 1 university). And it is a small college professorship that I would suggest to my fellow INFPs (although I’m sure you could be happy in a large college too).
    That said, there are some cons (as there are in all jobs). First, it is the nature of education (and perhaps all work) that you will often be expected to take on extra tasks without compensation. You might end up feeling used. So good boundaries are a must. Second, if you don’t enjoy working with students who are being “forced” to take a class, or who may even have remedial needs (a whole other can of worms), you might want to specialize in a subject that isn’t typically a core subject (English, math, social sciences, or hard sciences), but the truth is that, no matter what you teach, you will probably end up with at least one class of unmotivated students and that can be really draining. Third, there is a lot of grading, but compared to most jobs that involve clerical work, this is really not that bad. And you get to invent the testing methods, which is fun, I think. Fourth, be prepared for the fact that the people in charge may not share your values or view points. They may care as much about the students and the quality of the education as you do, but they may also be (and probably are) extroverts, sensers, and judgers. They see the bottom line. They are probably traditional thinkers and feel uncomfortable with out-of-the-box stuff. They will make decisions you don’t agree with, and there’s not much you can do about it except to keep bringing them well-researched proposals.
    As an INFP, after a decade of teaching, I needed a break from the classroom. I like being in one-on-one or small group settings best, to be honest, and because I taught a core subject, I typically got larger, intro-level classes, and a large swath of remedial classes. I realized over time that I like many things about college teaching, but I’m just not happy teaching remedial and intro-level courses at that volume. So, I moved on.

    I hope this helps anyone considering being a professor. If you love philosophy, art, history, anthropology, or science, but you want to feel like you are helping others (making things better), and you want a somewhat stable, very modest income with benefits, I recommend becoming an expert in your area of interest and teaching college. There are certainly challenges for INFPs, but there are many talents we have naturally (creativity, logical thinking, being detailed-oriented about our projects, being project-motivated, empathy, writing ability) that lend themselves really well to being a professor (a job that is 20-50% researcher/writer/artist, 40-60% teacher/counselor/coach). And college teaching is very forgiving of some of our less desirable (by society’s standards) qualities, like absent-mindedness, or dislike for chit-chat.
    Practical advice if this is the path you go down:
    1. You won’t make a lot of money. You are sacrificing money for having a work environment you do well in, a lot of autonomy, and having time to pursue your interests. Just be realistic (don’t believe the figures you see online — they are an average of some wildly divergent incomes and institutions). Set yourself up for success by investing in the best education you can for the least amount of money. Avoid taking out loans altogether, if you possibly can. (Before you laugh, it can definitely be done. I did it both undergrad and grad.)
    2. Be wary of job security. Small colleges are more relaxing to teach at, but they are more vulnerable too. Some have closed quite suddenly, and more are projected to close in the future. Once you teach at one institution (get your foot in the door), of course, you can teach anywhere (you can teach entirely online, if you want, or part-time while you are teaching at a different school in person). But most of the online jobs will be part-time (adjunct) without benefits (your yearly salary for a full-time work load as an adjunct will probably be less than 30k a year), so do your best to prepare for that.
    Just be confident in yourself and use the opportunity of teaching somewhere to develop new skills and interests. When and if you need to change jobs, you’ll be a lot more ready to do so.

  2. Hi All,
    I’m an INFP, my background is as a grief coach, interior designer, and funeral director. Early on I was in medical/dental. I was fortunate enough to grow up in a rural community, and in a family with a strong faith and family ties. It doesn’t mean life wasn’t tough, and that we didn’t have our ups and downs; but it did teach me that if the horses needed to be fed or they will die, then you just got up to do it. Being the only “overly sensitive” one, did present challenges, to say the least. Yet, my parents always did their best in their practical nature, to guide me into becoming stronger. Sometimes it worked, other times it failed miserably. Lol. Often I learned along the way, and on my own. I just didn’t give up…So, instead of getting into those details, I would like to share some insights I’ve learned over the years–both from personal experience–and what others have taught me. Beneath it all though, my faith does keep me grounded and gives me peace, no matter what comes my way on the exterior. So that has to be added. Now, first and foremost, if anyone is dealing with anxiety, depression, OCD, etc. remember to deal with this first. Behavioural health is just as critical as physical health–and it will affect all that you do. Get that under control, and usually other areas start to fall into place too. As well, if you are in a personal or business situatiin that is unhealthy or even abusive, then take care of that first too. No one should be subjected to that, and those who need to be held accountable, should be… But, perhaps my practical and proactive nature, added to my extremely sensitive and empathetic side, can help someone out there with these main topics:
    1.) ANY field/job/career is going to have good days and bad. They will also have its fair share of bureaucracy, grievances, and pettyness. It’s just life. It is what it is. So, you need to learn to balance the good and bad. Even as an entrepreneur or retiree, there will always be pros and cons. (I’ve been self-employed and worked for the corporate world.) You need to learn doable coping mechanisms, tailored to your individual needs and desires. For some that means a hobby, dancing on the weekend, jogging daily, volunteering, filling your life with your particular faith, painting, traveling, hiking, etc. Put it in your calendar, if you must. Honour yourself with doing even free activities, to protect your mental and emotional health. 2.) As much as its annoying, a pain (or for some math-folks, enjoyable), we MUST learn to budget our money. If we don’t, it just adds stress. Capital S. If one can’t manage a small account, how can one manage a large one? Its that simple. I’ve known folks who work as waitresses, go on trips to Europe on tips; and other folks who make millions and squander it. I’ve also known folks, including myself, with severe health challenges, or others with child or elderly care debt, still enjoy small outings or occasional trips or treats. Sometimes it’s relative, but being a good money manager lets you feel in control. Feeling in control, leads to less anxiety, stress, and good feelings of security. Buy books, go to the library, watch You Tube, hire a bookkeeper, get a business coach, or just a friend that’s good at business, to hold you accountable. It can be downright sucky to write it all down, and keep track of where it goes. But I can tell you, that even forcing yourself to save just 1%, adds up. If you have a habit like excessive shopping, smoking, drinking, or anything done in excess, then sit down and calculate how much you spend. You will often be shocked. Take even a portion of that, and save. Watch how much it grows. Even if you have health related costs like I do, even the 1% works. When you’re in better circumstances, do 10% or 30%, etc. 3.) Many of us are usually good at many things. One of my employers once advised me to choose the one that will make enough money to pay the bills, and maybe have a little more. Use that money wisely, so you have time and energy to do other things that will bring you joy–because life will always have joy and pain. He said that it’s not always about feelings, but simply a choice. Then tailor that choice, to make it work for you. Use it as a stepping stone, if need be; but stay focused. 4.) Remember that WHO you are, is different from what you DO. If you’re living a life that is honest, charactered and filled with integrity, then it doesn’t matter if you’re a housekeeper or doctor. Pay your bills, treat your family and neighbours with love and respect. It’s all important for different reasons. Each person has value and worth. Know who you are inside, and not base your value on what others say or what you might perceive they are saying. That part can take experience and maturity; but we all know that if you don’t stand up for something, you will often fall for anything, eh? Inner strength is often more important than outer strength. 5.) Besides writing out a budget, write out your needs and wants. Realize those are two different things. Then ask yourself what can you live without? (This works like a dream for relationship a too.) Why? Because absolutely nothing on this earth is going to be perfect. One person or career, may have 99% of what you want…then another will have a whole different list of 99%. 6.) Finally, remember that a career and calling are two different things. If you’re lucky that you can do both at once, then its truly a blessing! Usually though, you can simply apply your calling in any situation and career. That’s how you find fulfillment in almost any circumstance. Be mindful of joy, no matter how small or in what form.
    Best wishes!

  3. It is so hard for me as an INFP to deal with this topic which keeps me struggling still. I am 27 and I have a girlfriend. I graduated with a computer science degree and worked as a programmer for around 3 years after graduation. I felt stressful and drained cause I could not see any value which makes the society better so I quit the job last year.

    I work as a music teacher in music centers until now. It is fun and valuable as I can use the time to teach and educate the kids to be better in behavior.
    But the fact is the pay is much lower than before and it makes me tense. I can foresee if I want to have a family or marriage, the salary is not enough to support a family.
    Besides, my parents will be retired that make me have to be responsible to take care of them financially. I am so struggled and wonder if I should go back to do the computing job? or should I find more jobs (which probably may not be music-related cause it is not easy to find students)?

  4. I am honestly so sick of articles saying that INFPs aren’t interested in money. I am an infp but money is incredibly important to me. It has been SO DIFFICULT so figure out my life plan. I want to travel, raise children, not stress about my retirement etc. So I sick of these stupid generalisations. I live in australia and housing is incredibly expensive. If I don’t earn enough, I’ll be renting for the rest of my life with little left for my retirement. Also I will never be able to travel or raise children. So yes as an infp, I care about money. Very much. However not for the status, but to enable me to freedom and flexibility.

    To be able to spend more time creating meaning with my life with the things/those I love. To be able to ever afford any of those things I would need to make at least $100,000 a year OR marry someone wealthy… Or win the lottery. I don’t want to rely in someone else, I want independence financially. I don’t want to stress about money. So yes, IT IS VERY IMPORTANT TO ME IN ORDER TO LIVE THE LIFESTYLE I DREAM OF.

    Stop saying INFPs don’t care about money. We generally don’t care for excessive greed and selfishness. Like billionaires who use child labour or the kardashians with ugly mass produced $50,000 handbags made from the tears of children. I would say most INFPs love money for the freedom and relief it can take from life so be don’t have to work for the rest of our lives somewhere soul sucking without any meaning.

  5. INFP reporting in.

    I haven’t had a chance to read all of the comments yet. As for the post, it resonated with what I feel and believe. I went through A LOT of schooling and I couldn’t attain a career that fits me. I’m currently working part time and going to a pretty good school for an AAS in Dental Hygiene. I went through Psych already and am actually really glad to be out of there. I knew in the long run that it would mentally wear me out and build up inside my head. If you’re an INFP who can do it, then great for you, go for it! It’s not for me. I think if an INFP doesn’t mind some of the politics, a teaching job as a professor or an adjunct/instructor would do very well. I actually find myself liking the job a lot! The downside, the politics and how some universities are governed which I couldn’t stand.

    As I got older, I found that I’m able to articulate my Te a lot better in terms of giving “coaching” directions which is why I would suggest a college level teaching job. The environment is really great too considering it isn’t super immature kids (most anyway). I chose DH because I’m skilled with my hands and I hate being pressured to critically think and make immediate decisions in abstract or social relational terms. DH to me feels a lot more grounded and so it’s easier and less stressful to make those calls. Don’t get me wrong though, I love critically thinking of abstract and social ideas.. I just want it to be on my own terms and in my own time so I can give it much more quality and depth of thought.

    I think in general, INFPs are much more physically handy than believed. I don’t recommend anything too physically strenuous like dock worker though. I for one really like working with my hands and sometimes leading and training, which is what I equate with college teaching and dental hygienist jobs. I also really loved carpentry and things like that too. Building and designing was a big thing for me and so is Philosophy which is my true passion. INFPs tend to excel in areas where it matches our values and we deem practical to our skills and to work. If it doesn’t make sense (seem superfluous) to me or seems irrelevant, I don’t care about it or bother to understand it.

    As a note, the schooling for DH is pretty much “no-lifing” but the work is when you apply it which is much different. So don’t get scared off by rigorous schooling if it’s not reflected by the work life you’ll lead in that field. When push comes to shove, I’ll do almost anything to stay away from homelessness, because it’s an easy hole to fall into and then fall even further down as you go.

  6. I know that this comment may be a couple years too late now, but I’d still like to say thank you to you, Mike Gulbin, for creating this resource and for putting up Aelthwyn’s oh-so-relatable post. I read a number of the comments, and one thing that I rarely saw reiterated from Aelthwyn’s post was that the people oriented service jobs that many consider INFP’s best suited for is somewhat off mark. I identify with almost everything I read about INFP’s…Except for that. Now, I do have Social Anxiety Disorder on top of a heavy dose of introversion, so that could make me more of a minority in this regard, but I can’t imagine this holding too true for many of the more introverted folk out there either.

    I work as an IT help desk technician for my city’s Police Department, and while I’m privileged to work with many great people, I find myself mentally exhausted by the end of the day. Aelthwyn’s post really struck a chord with me. I haven’t been in this field for very long, but I can’t help but wonder if this is really the kind of work I’m best suited for.

    When I was 19, I sat down in front of my older brother and my dad and told them what I wanted to do with my life. I told them that I wanted to learn woodworking. That I wanted to sell what I craft on my own shop on Etsy. That I wanted to devote my life to creating things for people. I’ve always been pretty adept at reading people, and although they just mentioned job security, their faces said so much more. “Are we going to have to support her for the rest of her life?”, “Is she going to bum her way through her entire life?”. There was pity there, and a touch of derision. It terrified me. I threw away the entire idea and continued to drift aimlessly for another five years, too scared to actually devote time and money to something I would just fail at. I worked a customer service job here and there, utterly hating it. It wasn’t until my brother gently delivered a terrible insight that I finally got up and started school. He told me that in relationships, I seemed like the kind of girl that wanted to be taken care of. The part that hurt worst was that he was right.

    I was raised by a feminist mother and an overly critical and patronizing father. I, of course, adopted my mother’s beliefs. I want a relationship where everything is equal. I work as hard as you do. I spend as much as you do. I take care of the kids and clean as much as you do. Did I really want to be the person in the relationship that let the guy suffer the job while I followed my passions and held us back financially? I had never put it into perspective, but it was true that I had let that happen in a few of my relationships, and it pissed me off. I immediately signed up for a computer animation degree. I stuck with it for about a year, but ultimately realized that the career was too competitive and that I’d have to leave my family and move to a big city to have any chance at succeeding.

    The following year, I signed up for a degree as a computer service technician. I put my all into the program, determined to change my life. It worked. A whole world opened up to me. My instructor noticed my attitude and set me up with my current job. New opportunities still seem to be coming from every direction. For a time, everything was great. My dad started to show me respect. My mom cried that all her babies were doing so well and getting their lives started. I felt great for accomplishing something and for making my family proud… But then the feelings of doubt started to surface. Do I really wanna do this for the rest of my life? My entire day is tense and awkward due to my social anxiety. At work, I’m as fake as fake can be. People think I’m quite nice, if not a touch boring. I get home and as soon as I shut the door I’m screaming complete nonsense because I’m just completely overwhelmed with relief to finally be alone. Giddy is the only appropriate word. I can almost feel the mask coming off. The answer is a definite no… I do not want to do this for the rest of my life.

    I’m scared though. I don’t want to disappoint my family. I don’t want to choose poorly. I’m confused and I don’t know where to go from here. Other jobs seem appealing but then I read more and discover that there’s something I don’t think I would WANT to handle.

    I’m stuck between wanting to make my family proud, validate myself by pursuing challenging occupations, and pursuing my actual dreams. See, every night when I goto bed, I always fall asleep to the same fantasy. The story, (minus the back story 🙂 INFP’s, amiright?), is that time stands still for me. I live in a house alone where I can have anything I want. I use all of this time to create and learn all the things that interest me. With foam, wire and paper, I carve out enormous trees that span the length of my walls and ceiling. I paint them blues and purples and greens and cut out each individual leaf from different gem colored fabrics. The trees look as though they are encased in my wall. I paint all the walls and ceiling, and hang battery powered oil lamps and create my own goddamn enchanted forest. I build silicone mushrooms with led lights. I learn how to work with cast and I create replicas of the armor from my favorite video games. I learn to sew and I cosplay Samwise Gamgee as I have my own personal LOTR marathon. I spend years on this huge colored pencil portrait of my mom. It allows her to see herself as I see her. It shows her just how much I love her. I try my hand at sculpting with clay. I create a cake topper that is personalized to be an exact 3d replica of my brother and his fiance’s engagement photo. I learn how to create objects for 3d printing. I learn the violin. I learn a new language. I slowly drift to sleep, content. Then I wake up and mentally prep myself for going in to work in a grey, bare office filled with small talk and unsatisfying work all. Day. Long.

    The fact that this is literally the most comforting thing I can think of to fall asleep to is very telling, yes, but it’s hard to think of a life where my family worries for me. A life where whatever man I end up with has to worry about the financial struggles where I live my dreams. My pride gets in the way. I don’t know what to do or what career would be most true to my heart, I just know that I have to find it. I worry that I never will.

    Almost positive that this thing will never get read to this point. I guess, In my defense, I’ve never told anyone any of this. I didn’t intend to spew emotions everywhere :/ i just started typing and all of a sudden I had a flood on my hands 🙂 It felt good to get that out though. I’m so thankful to have taken those personality tests years ago. I’m not alone 🙂 Thanks again, Mike. Well done.

    • Hi Crystal,
      I’m a few years late too but reading your comment brought tears to my eyes because i thought i was the only one that felt like this. I feel less alone in the world knowing you’re out there feeling the exact same way about work and a career that i am.

    • I did read your post all the way through…because I could so relate to it. I am now 76 and retired and it feels like I can breathe for the first time in my life! When I was young I chose teaching elementary school because as a divorced mother I needed to prioritize care and support of my children. I enjoyed many aspects of teaching but found that every day, all day with 30 children, parents and staff and then coming home to deal with my own children was mentally, emotionally and physically exhausting. Eventually, I returned to college ended up as a counseling psychologist working as a substance abuse counselor in an alternative high school. At first I loved that career as it “fit” with my personality and I felt that I was making a real difference in my students’ lives. However, eventually rigidity and politics (especially under “No child left behind”) began to interfere in my ability to really help my students and to push me into practices that were meaningless (ie: being pressured to spend my time using “lesson plans” designed by people who had never had experience in mental health/substance abuse treatment to “help” students who may have slept on the the street the night before). So my last 10-15 years in the field, I felt like I was letting my principles and students down and constantly felt guilty and inadequate. But I hung in there in order to earn enough to support myself, to see my kids/grandkids through college. And also, importantly, because I did not know what else to do that I would pay enough and be an improvement to my situation. During those years I became terribly burnt out and depressed, but had to get myself together each day to carry on for the sake of my students. I became two people: the one who was supportive and strong during the day, and the one who fell into mindlessness and exhaustion at night and on weekends. Since I retired I feel like I have been reborn! I can now take time to think about and do the things that are important to me, and have enough time and focus to take care of myself. I feel emotionally and spiritually strong again and live a satisfying lifestyle. I now volunteer for our local Hospice program and I love it. I feel that I am doing something meaningful and helpful for others, work with people with like values who respect others as they are…and as an added bonus, I set my own hours. I know this doesn’t help those who are younger and still have to face the work world. It is a tough world out there for INFPs. Just know that sometimes there is light at the end of the tunnel. Take care of yourself as well as you can…if you can’t live the life you were made for now, hopefully you will be able to some day.

      • I think that this is inspiring. 😀
        And what you did is commendable- you worked for to put food on the table and support your family. It may not have always been exhilarating, but you stayed true to your priorities.

        Thanks for posting this!

    • I might be three years too late but in the exact same spot you were at that time. And it is extremely frustrating, not to say my very own people say that I feel like dead inside nowadays. And at this point in life, I have lost confidence, am I thinking the right way or am I just being too stubborn. I don’t know. But Your post made me feel a little better, knowing that I am not all alone. And maybe I will have that courage again to see through, all this fog.

    • Hey, Crystal, I’m super too late, but it sounds to me like you are a wonderfully creative person. I love your room as you described it. I think your dreams are beautiful.

    • It’s 5 years after your post and I struggle with the EXACT same things. Except I am 48, single and teach kids all day. And I have two teens and am a single Mom. So the pressure to reliever and not disappoint family is real. And honestly never goes away.

      I’ve been teaching elementary art for two years. And have now realized that K-6 set is draining the life out of me.

      So I am looking into re-selling clothing and my art online. Teaching art to adults and using my MFA degree. Even tutor online to adults.
      Whatever I can do to make that money but without being stuck being in all day with children.

  7. Hi Blake. I can really empathize with you on this. Though we are in different fields we seem to be going through a similar scenario. I have been in accounting for 35 years. I started in a nonprofit and learned on the job. No degree. I’ve been a manager for most of that time, but that is due to technical skills. I’m very good at what I do, but the last 14 years have been going in a slow downward spiral. As an INFP, I’m not so good with the people side of management. The “F” means that I’m too empathetic. I’m fine when everything is going well, but really struggle with performance reviews and challenging conversations.
    My boss has been leaning more & more heavily on what she perceives as my management skills, to the point that it feels like bullying. I recently read that INFPs have a hard time not taking (constructive) criticism personally. Anyway, I realized that I will never be able to satisfy my boss’s expectations and requested a transfer to a non-management position. Unfortunately, it is taking much longer than expected to find a replacement. So I’m stuck here.

    I’ve been praying about what to do, considering a career change, but not sure what will work for me. I’m almost 60 so that is a little scary too. I’m reading up on INFP and careers to get a better idea what might work better for me. I have nothing definite yet, but I am in the process.

  8. I’m having a really difficult time with life right now. Its funny, I read this article, and seriously felt like someone just reached in my head and pulled all my opinions and challenges out. There were many great comments here, although there are sooo many I can’t read them all. So I have been working as a martial arts instructor for 10 years running a 2nd school for my Sensei. A year ago, I got separated. Divorce still isnt final. I have a special needs child, my ex hasnt worked in like 6 years. She is having a hard time finding work. So I moved back into my parents, and still pay all her bills until the lease is up. Over the last year, the school has been starting to decline, to where I have now just had to take my 2nd pay cut. As an INFP, I really relate to the idea of working for cause and not for money, but not being able to pay bills makes you think about money more than I wish I had to. So my boss has started. Coming out to my school to see if he can help reverse the problem. He says my teaching is incredible, nothing to be fixed there. He says the biggest issue is with rapport. He says I need to spend more time talking to parents, engaging in conversation, and building relationships. I already knew this, and truly do it to the best of my ability. But my introvert shines all the time. I engage in conversation with one parent, another parent chimes in, and all of a sudden I’m excluded from the conversation and walk away. I hate small talk, and it seems thats what I have to do. On top of that, he wants me to keep popular radio on all the time to bring some life into the dojo. That station really makes me sick and stresses me out, I hate pop music! Now on top of that, he wants me changing the style of classes, doing more games, basically taking away everything I enjoyed about the job to begin with. Rather than being about teaching quality martial arts, he wants it to become about promoting people even if I dont think they’re ready, and just doing what we can to make people stay and people pleasing in order to make the most amount of money, and I’ve realized I am just not cut out for this. Its making me miserable, and I really feell like killing myself sometimes. I never would, because I wouldnt do that to my daughter, but thats how unhappy I am right now. But now I’m stuck: at my peak, I was taking home 50k per year, and that is what I need to pay my bills and support my kid, I’m 32 and have no degree. I dont have the time to go back to school because I have to make money to pay for court mandated expenses, and all the jobs I see hiring either require a degree or experience in a field I have none, or don’t pay enough. If anyone has any suggestions on even a path I can start following it would be a huge help, because right now I just feel lost, trapped in an unhappy situation, and I don’t know which way to start moving, but just sittting still is causing me to go crazy.

  9. Thanks for this insightful post. It describes me to a T, and that is not easy to do.

    I’m in my late 30s and am still struggling with “what to be when I grow up.” I’ve been a lifeguard, swim instructor, rafting guide, climbing gym manager, an ESL teacher, a high school English teacher, and now an editor of educational databases. I loved the outdoors jobs, but found the high people contact incredibly draining. Teaching high school was altogether a nightmare: the constant people contact, the demand for charisma and energy, the disciplining of bad behavior, the criticism from parents and administrators who cared more about grades than learning, the interminable workload, the crappy essays, etc. The only parts I remember fondly were the Ah-Ha! moments some students had during book discussions, and the few, well-written essays from conscientious students.

    My current position as an editor of educational databases at a small company has been the best fit yet, with the glaring exception of the toxic work environment created by my narcissistic, manipulative, impulsive boss and his even more narcissistic, presumptuous, and controlling wife. I love that I get to work in a quiet environment, with mostly natural lighting, with intelligent and kind colleagues, on various projects with an educational or international focus that require research, working with freelance writers, and editing. I love that my schedule is somewhat flexible, and that I often learn something new and interesting about the world. However, I detest that I am pressured into doing substandard work because of emergency time constraints imposed by impulsive and misleading salesmanship on the part of my boss. I detest that the business model is fast and cheap, and that the focus is on quantity rather than quality. I despise my boss’ attempts to deceive his employees and clients to make a buck, and that I am responsible for providing him with the fodder to do so. I despise his wife’s false and manipulative attempts at intimacy, inevitably followed by interrogation or requests for favors. And I resent that work drains so much energy from me that I have precious little left to exercise, keep house, socialize, and do the projects that I want to do, none of which seem remotely financially viable.

    So there you have it. With very few exceptions, INFPs have the choice of selling their souls to survive, or keeping their integrity and subsisting by a thread. It’s no wonder I object to a system whose lack of values forces me into this predicament every day.

    • wow, loved reading this comment. the last paragraphs sums things up nicely. but the optimist in me will continue to look for silver lining.

  10. I was a commercial & intellectual property lawyer, & now I’m a workers compensation insurance public servant. As you can guess, both were/ are a disastrous mistakes for an INFP like me. The research/ tactical aspects of being a lawyer were vaguely interesting to me because they involve a level of creativity (not as exciting as researching art – which in hindsight I would’ve tried my luck at making a career out of i.e. art history lecturer or art curator), but it had it’s moments of intrigue. What I hated was the adversarial nature of the job. Meeting opposing counsel would give me heart palpitations & headaches. Desperate to escape, but with no transferable skills, I took up a public servant admin job processing injured workers compensation claims. I’m no longer terrified at work, but my brain is atrophying. It’s monkey work – heavy workload, endless, repetitive & painfully dull. The workplace is very strict & rigid too. Anyway, I’m thinking of doing a masters of teaching to be a kindergarten teacher. My friends & family think I’m nuts, given the salary I am/was earning, but all things considered, I think it’s the perfect fit for me. Money doesn’t mean much when you’re miserable all the time. I’m constantly itching to exercise my creative brain, I enjoy project-oriented work & I’m tired of the suffocating procedural rigid worker-bee environment of the public service. I fancy the freedom of running my own classroom with my own lesson plans without colleagues & strict procedures breathing down my neck. As long as my students test well at the end of the year, & they’re having fun in my classes, it doesn’t matter how I get there. Lately I’ve been daydreaming a lot about potential lesson plans. Cooking classes, music, arts & crafts, maths/ literacy/ PE classes – I enjoy thinking about these thinks, which is more than I can say about thinking of ways to deny injured people their government benefits.

  11. I am an INFP and am 29. Thank you for this page and all the insights. I highly relate to much of what is said in this comments section and find it illuminating to read of others plights and confusion over a “career path.” I’m currently in the same predicament, but have not had a job in several years (which I feel somewhat ashamed about). I have had an ongoing health issue for the past six years which has been life altering and it is rare, so many doctors I have gone to do not know how to approach treatment. It is fortunately not life threatening, but it is life altering and it has alienated me in my daily life, socially and work-wise.

    I did finish my undergrad. degree this year in Arts & Media Studies and have been applying to many jobs, nonprofits, community based organizations, art based organizations, working with people with disabilities. But I truly have NO IDEA what I want to do now. I just want to be able to make a living at this point and move out of my parents house. I have been so fortunate to have such supportive, loving parents through everything, but I echo others sentiments about being “babied” growing up. We INFP’s are stronger than we, or others give us credit for, maybe we appear vulnerable and overly feeling?

    My girlfriend of 6 years wants me to move down to where she lives (around a major city). I want to be together too and I understand her frustration in having to wait for me to finish school and be on the other end of my health condition. At this point, I am considering moving down with her, taking something to “pay the bills,” and work somewhere, like at a Trader Joe’s or something. Part of me wants to be an Art Therapist but this would require Grad. School and I was just in Undergrad. for many years since I had to take medical leaves, and then took only a couple classes at a time because that’s how I knew I would be successful finishing. But, after getting some more work experience, grad. school can be a future possibility.

    The point is, I am ready for a change and feel like my life is passing by quick. I would like to move and have my own life, as I’ve been too dependent on my parents. I’ve always struggled with anxiety/depression (ever since I was a teenager) but have come to the conclusion this is not really a “chemical imbalance” as much as it is a sensitivity to the environment, mood, and emotions of others. I would say I am an empathic person and pick up constantly on how people feel (without even intending to), which can make even going out sometimes draining.

    I posted here because I am in need of advice and have been feeling too confused for a long time. For any INFP’s dealing with health issues, anxiety or stress, exercise, eating healthy and clean has been a great outlet for me. Thank you to anyone who reads and thank you for this supportive page!

  12. Thanks, Mike, for the great posting and ensuing discussion. I have to say that I saw myself in many of the postings, but the one that resonated with me the most was the original one from Mike. I am and have always been obsessed with entrepreneurship, ideas, inventions, innovation, you name it, and an constantly dreaming up dynamic solutions to all manner of problems. I’m blessed with exceptional lateral thinking skills and a rich imagination. In some ways, I see myself as a ‘freak’ version of an INFP, as being so focused on developing some kind of product that can be released into the marketplace is somewhat of a deviation from the INFP’s stereotypical interests in writing, art, etc. That said, I also have powerful interests in the field of science, astrobiology, paleoclimatology, climate change, renewable energy, sustainability, food security, graphic design, holistic health and medicine, naturopathic medicine, harvesting of wild medicines from nature, philosophy, geopolitics, self-propelled sports of varying kinds (ie: cycling, hiking, paddling), innovation science, stem cell research, epigenetics, etc, etc, etc.. My work history has been frustrating to say the least, as I just can’t seem to integrate any of the aforementioned interests into a paying role. Often it feels as if I need at least 25 more of me in order to do the things I want to to do, either that or 25 more lifetimes to pursue these things. Occasionally I feel more like an ENFP or even an INTP, but repeatedly doing this test more or less shows I have an INFP disposition at my core. But I’m still puzzled about this MBTI classification for myself. My past jobs have included IT admin, teaching of environmental science, graphic design, outdoor marketing roles, as well as teaching a variety of outdoor sports. I’m a quintessential ‘all-over-the-mapper’. After a recent ocular issue (that was successfully treated), I felt a powerful urge to enter into a field of research geared towards resolving the issue that affected me, despite not having any formal training in biology or any other life sciences discipline (I majored in liberal arts in university, but wished that I had done arts and science instead). I still feel an intense urge to somehow, some way, become engaged in laboratory-based research that could potentially arrive at a disruptively dynamic solution to a common eye-related condition. But is this a practical and achievable direction for me at this stage of my life, especially with all of the other ideas I’d like to go after? Could I enter this field as a non-traditional mature student, and bypass the lengthy course of study usually required? Sometimes I feel I wish I could just win the lottery, and then build my own lab and start learning about and working on this problem from scratch, operating with the conviction that my drive, problem solving skills, and eclectic background would allow me to eventually connect the necessary dots in the necessary ways to arrive at a viable solution. I’m mid-forties, married with kids, and feel like a finely aged bottle of red wine about to come into its prime, but just need to find the area I’d like to focus on and stay there! Any advice anyone? If so, thank you!

    • Thomas I really identify with your interest in science & desire to make a difference through lab research. I did a career change for this reason. Before, I worked in a pharmacy and, although I enjoyed it at first, the job soon degenerated into money-making rather than patient care. Plus I would find it draining serving customers, especially as I suffer from mild social anxiety disorder. This put me in a dilemma, wanting to help people but at the same time struggling with people-facing work. I decided to switch to science because scientific research has a huge impact on people’s health, I realised I could still help people in a more behind-the-scenes role.

      I did a degree in Health Science with the Open University which I loved. I hated the regimented and spoon-fed style of learning I experienced at school, but doing distance learning allowed me to be much more of a free spirit. I think this is a great way for an INFP to learn and would definitely recommend it.

      I don’t know what country you’re in, but in the UK most labs employ laboratory assistants who only require a low level of education. Also NHS employ medical laboratory assistants. If you want to skip further education you could try these roles, however if you want to be a lab technician you will need a degree. A good option would be to work part-time as a lab assistant and study part-time, that way you can start in the career straight away but still have the option becoming a technician.

  13. Oh man, I’m so feeling my INFPness coming through as I’m typing this. I have an English degree, aspired to be a writer, moved to NYC and started working in publishing in marketing, got married to a total extrovert and had a son. 20 yrs and 6 different industries later I’m still in marketing and divorced. I never seemed to find the right place fit and felt like people just didn’t get me. I do kind of march to beat of my own drummer and like solitude, but love ideas, stories, art, exploration and adventure. Oh, did I say I’ve had a profound hearing loss since 2 and wear hearing aids. I’ve always thought that was the reason for my distance, dreaminess and not feeling connected/engaged. When I started my current job 4 yrs ago, I hit gold. I was marketing to other INFPs – academic librarians. Not only that my team was small and we were all home based – I could work from anywhere by myself. I was thrilled and doing great work. Over the course of last year, however, my company went through a change and now I’m part of a larger global marketing team of a dozen highly driven people – and I happen to be the only guy. My boss is a young, hard driving, results driven MBA. She also happens to be a bit of a bully which so does not sit well with my conflict aversion – crazy! So before I started looking around for a new job – the right one this time – I thought it’d be a good idea to take the MB personality tests. Guess what? Glad I landed on this page. Thanks!

  14. A psychologist friend suggested a personality test to me. I took it twice and receive the same results both times: INFP
    I searched a variety of websites seeking clarification of what this meant. Now I feel overwhelmed, yet enlightened. Every ounce of this new description of me is spot on!!!!!
    I am a flight attendant with a regional airline. Everyone says “you will make more money if you go mainline”. I always reply “I don’t care about the money and I like the small crews. I like being able to get away from my co-workers but also being within reach if needed and part of a unified team, with little to no supervision.” For the life of me, I couldn’t figure out why I was the only person that seemed to understand what I was saying……..WOW….INFP explains it so well!!!!!

  15. I agree with you my friend! The word “job” for an INFP, such as myself is a dirty word. It doesn’t matter what type of job it is, there will always be something about it that is unsatisfactory. So in all reality, INFPs should probably just get a day job (that pays the bills), so that they can be free to work on what is actually meaningful to them — unless they are willing to get A LOT of schooling, so that they are able to share their philosophical side, and still get paid for it. I read somewhere that INFPs are the most philosophical of all the types. I’m not sure about that, but man, I can’t stop philosophizing — not even for one day!!

    I personally find that I need a lot of freedom to explore the interests I have, and in a lot of ways the only way to do that is to have the means (financial security), and the time to do so. I am not good being creative on demand. It has to flow through me naturally, so being creative as a career doesn’t seem to fit, but I keep going back to it, since I need to fill fulfilled.

    For example: I too love the same things that have been mentioned in this post. I thoroughly enjoy beautiful things, and want to share beauty, so I thoughts the arts were for me. In fact, I study art most of my life — by drawing, painting, photography, graphic design, fashion. But the only thing I came away with in this arena was that I was good with color, and creating a mood. Drawing itself was challenging. I tried, and tried to be good at it, but have only become okay — and as an idealist, that is NOT good enough. So I have now left the drawing to my baby sister, who is a ISFP. It comes so naturally to her, although, I still love photography, and fashion.

    I decided these two areas of the arts fit me, as an INFP, a bit better, since I can gather things that are already created, and make something out of it. I am finding it is slightly tricky for Ne’s to know the end from the beginning, which allows for a step-by-step process to be managed properly, whereas, I am more of a pieces person. I gather pieces to make a whole — similar to the divergent vs convergent theory. So I am trying to apply this to the areas that I am interested in.

    The other area I have considered is writing. This is because I greatly enjoy anything imaginary. It is much better to live in a world that differs from your own. I once told a friend that if the world we lived in had fairies and magic, I would daydream about a world that didn’t — just because it is not what is regular or mundane. He said, “So you’re saying you’re like Arthur Weasly?” Anyway, yes writing would seem to be ideal, and it has been noted in several sources that this is the best field for an INFP. The sad thing is I can’t seem to make it work for me. I want to really bad, but no matter how many times I sit down and start a story, I cannot seem to finish it. I have decided it goes back to the Ne vs Ni thing. Ni’s are great at this because they see the beginning from the end, so they easily tie in all elements of the plot, and such. Ne’s are great with coming up with ideas, and are excellent in zoning in on versatile characters, but to actually flesh this out in a structured planned out manner is rather daunting. I have come to feel Ne’s do better with philosophical writing, such as poetry, journalism, or self help material (I have also been considering editing, or book reviewing). Things that zone in on working with pieces (Ne), and sharing their internal gift (Fi). Now I am just saying this from my experience as an INFP. It could be totally different for other INFPs. F.Y.I. I received a bachelors in English Literature.

    Okay, one more avenue I have been venturing into: music. I just started going down this avenue after being in an intimate relationship with a ENFP. He was very into music, and is constantly working on composing — mostly for games or movies, which is a better way to compose for Nes, since it grabs onto something that is already there, and creates something new from it.

    The connection I have noticed that links these interests is the ability to be philosophical, CREATE A MOOD, take pieces of things, and create something original from them, share beauty, having a project, always learning something new, feeding idealism, and…

    Here are the jobs I have considered, and feel I might be satisfied in (if I had the means to achieve them): Professor, Journalist/Blogger, Editor (book reviewer), Photographer, Buyer (a person who decides what should be sold in stores, such as clothes, books, and anything else you may be interested in), reading stories to children, and if your are brave enough – an actor (I LOVE the theatre). As well as, I’m not sure what this job would be called, but someone who decides genres of things, such as music (like in Spotify where there are links to suggest other artists, or music that correlate with the music you’re interested in), or movies (similar concept with Netflix and Amazon). Oh, and I can’t forget composing (mainly for movies, or the like).

    Sorry this post was super long! I really didn’t mean to share so much. I hope you were able to get through some of it, and relate to parts. And to tell you the truth, I am trying to hold myself back from sharing more…lol. But I understand the lack of attention span INFPs have, so I’ll refrain.

  16. This is amazing! I just quit my job thinking what a terrible worker/employee I am (4 years of recruitment) and kept thinking I’m depressed or something and will never be satisfied with life. I just took the test yesterday and I cannot believe I can finally accept me for who I am and stop trying to fit into the power-money-status driven world and keep feeling like I’m not good enough. I always wanted to do something creative – but there’s no security (money-wise) like you mentioned.

    Anyway I am glad I am doing it when I’m still young and have little responsibility. Now I will take a break and understand exactly what and how I can be more productive and happy (while being terrified all the way). You made my day!

  17. I think INFPs shouldn’t concentrate on their jobs so much and invest more of their time into hobbies. In our culture, we identify too much with our jobs, anyway. Even if you love your job to begin with, it eventually cuts you down like a guillotine. It’s unrealistic to think that you’re going to love your job all the time, because work isn’t really meant to be fun. This is coming from an INFP. I wish that weren’t the case, but it’s the truth. Most people don’t even realize that what they’re doing doesn’t benefit society at all and they get so wrapped in their jobs. I think we INFP’s don’t do that, because we don’t like lying to ourselves as much. Most people lie to themselves or they think something is wrong with them when they hate their jobs, failing to recognize that its a systemic and not individual problem. Freud may have gotten a lot of things wrong, but he was spot on throughout Civilization and Its Discontents. There’s always a tug of war between the society and the individual and the society normally wins. That’s part of the problem. We shouldn’t be working as much as we did a hundred years ago, because I think we’re like 400% more productive than they were then; that means we should be working 3 hours a week and not 40. It’s crazy how much people invest themselves in their job, because they don’t want to admit that they’re spending so much time in something that is mostly just wasted time.

  18. Wow, thank you guys for the post and all your comments! 😀 I am an INFP as well and can relate to most of the posts that I’ve read. Feels so heartwarming~~~ I’m only 19 and don’t have much working experience so like many others, I don’t have the answers too, but, I shall share some of my thoughts.

    Like many INFPs, I LOVE to daydream. From constructing my own alter ego, creating my own little kingdom to fantasizing different kinds of scenarios that I drew inspiration from the dramas that I’ve watched, there isn’t a time when I’m not dreaming about something. I can be thinking about it before I sleep, when I’m travelling on the train, when I get distracted from my studies/ work (daydreaming is the main thing that makes me lose focus) It can be about my love life, it can be about my career, it can be how my prom will turn out to be, it can be about becoming a superhero and saving the world… And the catch is I don’t get tired thinking of all these seemingly endless possibilities. In fact, the more I think about it, the more interesting it seems (like I would think “so what’s next? what happens after that?) as though I’m creating a serial drama. Like what many of you mentioned, we INFPs have so many ideas, and we get recharged thinking about them, and to me, it comes in the form of daydreaming. I have thought of maybe becoming a writer (it seems the choice career for infp on every website I visit), but writing a book seems so challenging too (I know it’s ironic) since it’s definitely not going be a stable job (as mentioned, we need security too).

    I also like music, be it pop music (of any languages), rock music, classical music (I play the cello), and I have thought of becoming a musician or someone working in this industry. I’ve always LOVE singing, be it to destress or simply because I want to sing. Even when I’m walking or daydreaming, there will always be background music playing in the back of my head lol. However, my mum would sometimes say that my singing is bad (I personally don’t believe her and thinks she is trying to discourage me since my friends say I’m good haha) and shakes her head when I tell her I might want to be a singer in the future. Someone mentioned about how your family would discourage you from pursuing things that you really like and I totally agree that it happens. Even my friend was not very supportive when I told her. Then, my mum said “perhaps, instead of pursuing it as a career, why not just make it your hobby? You don;t have to give up singing even though you don’t pursue it.” You know how we INFPs always feel restless and want to try different things, I think maybe having this mentality would help (at least that is how my mum tried to brainwash me into thinking lol)

    I fully agree that we INFPs want to find a career where we find meaning in what we do and that for every piece of work, it helps to contribute to making this world a slightly better place than yesterday. This is why I admire people like Martin Luther King, Mother Theresa etc. I have thought of becoming a writer, a singer, a musician, a social activist, a teacher, a travel writer (I envy those vloggers on Youtube lol), a translator (I love languages), starting a business that combines all of the above lol. Alas, despite having such interests, I am going to study at a university abroad and when I graduate, I’m going to have a debt of more than $100k, and 99%, my first job would be in the finance industry…

    I’ve talked to many people, and some of them said that they are going to pursue a high-paying job that they may hate. They would work for 20 years, become very rich, retire early and then pursue their own interests. Perhaps, we can adopt this approach (although those 20++ years would be such a waste…)

    I think in the end, what really matters is your own satisfaction. For me, I know that I won’t want to be a stay-at-home mum, I want to be someone who impacts many people’s lives. Some people might be content with having a job that has work-life balance (doesn’t matter if it’s boring admin job), some might be content staying in a job that they dislike because of wonderful colleagues, some might be working for the money so as to provide for family whom they dearly love (and would sacrifice anything to make sure they are happy and healthy). I agree that if you have not discovered your true passion/ calling, keep searching, even if you already have a stable 9-5 job or a job with fat paycheck. In the end, make sure there are no regrets (or keep them to as few as possible). When you look back at your life when you’re 80, do you feel like you’ve contributed to world? I agree life’s too short, you might die tomorrow (not trying to hex anybody here), and do you feel that you have experienced true happiness? One of my friends said that the purpose in life is to experience life (I don’t know though, I haven’t figured it out all yet). To all my fellow INFPs, I hope you can find something/somewhere that you truly belong to. And if you haven’t, it’s fine, because life is a journey, an experiment, till the end we breathe our last. Never give up, and I wish all you wonderful great people all the best! Be optimistic and always have hope!

    p.s. I just hope I can be the next Mother Theresa or something haha (at least let me dream~~)

  19. Hi! My name is Rob and I found this article to be very interesting.
    Just to recap the things the writer said that they were looking for:
    (“Autonomy, Projects not Hours, Free Schedule, Creativity & Intelligence, Personal, My Own Space, Ideals & Values, Positive People, Security.
    1. Loving and encouraging others.
    2. Appreciating the beauty in the world and helping others to see it, also reminding people of the simple joys in life.
    3. Creating – coming up with stories, imagining, designing many kinds of things, arranging, making things beautiful.
    4. Thinking deeply and coming to an understanding of things.
    Surely these things are useful. Surely there must be a way to make a living through them???”)

    So let me try to make an attempt at answering the pressing question at the end of the article which reads. “Surely these things are useful. Surely there must be a way to make a living through them???” At one time in life I was overwhelmed with the feeling of being a lost soul at sea (And might I add, sometimes I still have those feelings). Never knowing who I really was! Never knowing why I felt like I did! Never knowing why I hated my Job in construction! Often feeling like a misfit in elementary school and High School! And sometimes feeling that I was totally different than my family! I was a square peg trying to fit into a round hole. I wouldn’t have become involved in construction if my parents didn’t own the company and so I felt obligated to follow in my dads footsteps. The money was great, but I was miserable.
    Since the age of 16 I had this gnawing in my heart to be a minister i.e. Clergy / Pastor. So after I was married and after not being able to live with myself and a business that I couldn’t stand, I went to seminary and became a clergyman. At first the money was below the poverty level and then the kids started to come (three in all) but life was better for me emotionally, spiritually and physically.
    One day, as an assistant pastor, my secretary came to me and asked me to take a personality test. I reluctantly agreed and gave her the twenty five dollars that they were asking for. She said to me, I think you are an INFP and by taking this test you will be able to see what your personality really looks like. The Short version of this story is that I found out that I am indeed an INFP and that knowledge opened up a whole new dimension for me in my life. Wow! I finally understood why I do what I do, think what I think, and feel what I feel. To put it simply, I was shocked at how this simple test could pin point me so effectively.
    When I read the article by Aelthwyn, I was impressed as this writer has very plainly and simply expressed what most INFP’s feel and sense on a day to day basis. In fact there are still times I feel that way in my profession life and personal life, but with that being said, my career path has been exceptionally rewarding.
    The writer stated that INFP’s need these things:
    Autonomy: I have allot of autonomy in my profession. I am still accountable to a church board of deacons but as long as I’m doing my job well, I’m on my own.
    Projects not Hours: I have two sermons and a Bible study to deliver each week. That adds up to a lot of hours but from a project point of view, I love to read and I love to write to express myself in stories and illustrations. Basically I get to create most of the week.
    Free Schedule: When it comes to a free schedule, because I often work more than 50 plus hours a week, there is no problem with me taking the kids to the Dr’s., or the dentist, or slipping out to watch my Daughter’s music recital, or Christmas play. Or if I need a break from the office for a few moments, I head to the coffee shop and grab a cup of Joe and unwind for a moment.
    Creativity & Intelligence: This was summed up in Projects and hours but it bears repeating, I get to creatively write three times a week and do some study along with it. The study part is essential because there are people out in the congregation who are a whole lot smarter than I am, so I need to have my facts straight. But from a creative aspect, I get to write the story and then no one else can mess with I have written.
    Personal: As with every INFP we have a certain amount of “Shyness” and “Inward Privacy abounds.” This is often difficult to overcome as there are only a select few that we allow into our private lives. My wife is a great compensator for me in this area, she is an ESTJ and is hugely extroverted and very gregarious. I just stand back, nod my head, smile and let her go!
    My Own Space: All INFP’s need their own space, sometimes in huge amounts. My wife understands this completely but it’s always difficult when it comes you your job though. The beauty of my work is that at different times of the week I can find my own space, I can be sheltered from the peering eyes of the congregation by putting up the sign on my door: “The pastor is studying for Sunday, Please do not disturb!” For the most part people honour that and there are the occasional moments when you have to help someone with a crisis but My Own Space is relatively easy to achieve.
    Ideals & Values: Wow! I always get to express my Ideas and Values on a Sunday morning, and you know what’s great,…… They can’t interrupt me until I’m done! How great is that!
    Positive People: Ok, so this one is a little more difficult. Sometimes I can be inundated with some very negative people and it can drain the life out of me. INFP’s are healers, as a healer though there are times when you can be absolutely drained. Running to the hospital at 2:30 am to be with a family when their father has died from a heart attack. Dealing with a grieving family at the cemetery as they lower a tiny white casket into the ground that holds their precious four month old daughter. Sitting beside a friend who is dying with AIDS and watching the disease consume his body. Or dealing with all of the nit pickers who are “ticked” because you forgot to shake their hands on Sunday morning. All of this can suck the very life out of you. Because of this, I have found that it is very important to surround yourself with people who love you and who will speak strength into your life. This is where the right marriage partner comes in. My wife is amazing!!!!
    Security: The life of a minister for the most part is not lucrative. I think we have all seen the Televangelists who rake in big dollars, but the average Pastor of a church makes far less than a school teacher or a police officer etc. This again is the ultimate decision that I had to make. Do I stay and take over the family business and do exceptionally well financially? Or do I follow my heart and my calling and be fulfilled? Seeing that fulfillment and happiness mean so much to me, I made the choice to follow my heart. This is also a point where the choice of a marriage partner is so important. My wife fills the money gap by working diligently in her profession.
    The writer in the article made five distinct points. They stated:
    I’ve also considered what seems to be what I’m made to do, what do I do naturally that gives me fulfillment in life?
    1. Loving and encouraging others.
    2. Appreciating the beauty in the world and helping others to see it, also reminding people of the simple joys in life.
    3. Creating – coming up with stories, imagining, designing many kinds of things, arranging, making things beautiful.
    4. Thinking deeply and coming to an understanding of things.
    Surely these things are useful. Surely there must be a way to make a living through them???
    All I can say about these four points is Check, Check, Check and Check!
    In answering the question at the end of point four, all I can say is: I guess I’m lucky or should I say blessed beyond measure in the profession that I have been called too. This doesn’t mean that I have totally dealt with all of the aspects of being an INFP, it only means that the profession that I have chosen seems to meet most of the needs my personality demands. Many times I still feel like a square peg in a round hole. There are times when I still think; “I’d like to be a song writer or a poet or something else. I still have a rich and vivid imagination and I’m still shy and kind of backwards in some social environments. I still cringe at my privacy being breached and I still show a side of me that people don’t see when one of my core values is breached, but all in all, lower pay aside, my heart is full.
    I don’t want to get preachy, but hey, it is who I am. I’m in love with Jesus and Jesus has never let me down. It reminds me of an old song I heard when I was a teenager. “I have a friend who has never let me down, when I try to talk with him, he never shuts me out, but he listens and cares about everything I say, I can feel him close beside me ever single day. ‘Cause when I’m lonely and I’ve got no place to go, I just talk with him and a feeling starts to grow. I know he’s near me, I feel so warm inside and a love builds up within me that I just can’t seem to hide! He is the greatest friend that I’ve ever had, He is the greatest friend that I’ve ever had, His name is Jesus, He’s my truest friend.”
    There are critics everywhere and some might even criticize me for the little display of religious conviction that I have just shared. Just remember, I am an INFP and I let you into my little world so don’t be too critical as its hard to take.
    So with that being said, it’s my life, and my job is exceptionally rewarding.


  20. I used to feel this way and danced around my calling for so long before realizing it truly was meant to be. Reading your article affirmed it even further, and I was smiling by the end. I am currently in graduate school to become a Clinical Psychologist. It offers every single aspect of fulfillment described, and fits almost all of the to-avoid criteria. I will be able to teach college courses if I want, give psychotherapy as much as I want in my own practice in my own schedule, and will be able to conduct research and write as much as I want to as well, all while hopefully making a good living. There is a lot of flexibility here, plus for me the material is amazing. The grueling concept of graduate school in general is very difficult, but in several years I know I will have unparalleled freedom and fulfillment [of course I AM an idealist…. so maybe this is exaggerated haha] but I still think it’s more so than in most other careers. I would highly recommend this route for INFP’s, as I actually enjoy going to class and working with my clients- the day goes by fast and the moments of insight are sacred.

  21. Thanks to everyone who commented here, I’ve really learned a lot…
    I recently discovered my INFP personality although I always knew something was different about me.
    After leaving school I drifted in and out of various jobs for many years, never finding the focus that others seem to have naturally when it came to career development… I just didn’t get it! A square peg in a round hole would be too kind a description.
    Eventually I hit rock bottom financially and emotionally, having exhausted the good will of long suffering family and friends I took a job in a stressful industrial environment; not at all my comfort zone.
    The first thing that kept me going was I decided to approach it as just a role that any bit part actor might play. I couldn’t take it seriously as I knew it would surely overwhelm me. I played the role but I never surrendered myself to it. The INFP artistic gifts of imagination, intuition, and sensitivity are actually powerful tools when used in this way. We more than any other types know the value of dreams and make believe, and somewhere inside of us there is always a light that burns.
    Secondly, I actively sought out mentors and role models and tried to learn from them as I knew I would never be the catalyst of my own personal success and climb the greasy pole without a lot of practical help from my extrovert brothers and sisters.
    Finally, I decided that rather than suppress my emotional, please everyone, find a consensus side, I would try within reason to incorporate it into my personal management style, while still delivering results.
    If that sounds like a contradiction in terms, remember that there is no one right way of doing things, management of people included. The world needs more INFP’s.
    It wasn’t easy, but don’t forget that INFP’s have something other worldly, an advantage that less fortunate personality types sense, but often don’t understand, or know how to react to. They are good listeners, can read people, and know what their needs are, which is a tremendous advantage in any situation.
    Their ability to focus when they decide they have a cause or purpose in life, is second to none.
    So to conclude, I managed to raise a family, pay the bills and keep a roof overhead. I’m now about to retire and write that book I always promised myself.
    To echo some previous comments – seek out others that can help you; you may not have entrepreneurial skills, or be good with details, but that’s not your job, your job is to inspire. – seek out nurturing environments where you are valued and respected, in the right place you will flourish.
    There are a lot of successful INFP’s out there…decide for yourself what your definition of success is… embrace your different-ness and make it work for you!

  22. Enjoyed the post, yes, but…
    It’s simply not enough to recognize that there are others who struggle in this. The majority of responses on here are frustrating to me (no offense to anyone). I’m happy to (virtually) meet other INFPs (verdict is out on whether I’m an INFJ), but seriously…many INFPs really need help. Either hiring a life/career counselor, or marrying/bribing an STJ to help implement the necessary steps towards their dreams. Patrons were mentioned, but come on – they don’t exactly grow on trees… I honestly believe INFPs are the most passionate, hard working folk, IF they have a thorough knowledge of who they are and what their mission in life is about. Only then can they align with their true purpose while making a REAL difference in this world and EVEN getting paid to do it. The alternative? A wasted life. Dismal. Spending every hour trapped in a fruitless (albeit lovely) daydream that will NEVER materialize while working a job the INFP loathes. It is GOOD and healthy to be regularly confronted with reality that the other “more grounded” types can offer. I think partnerships really are the answer to many INFP struggles in careers and life. If you find yourself unable to make strides towards your dreams on your own, seriously consider hiring a suitable partner who can counterbalance this weakness. This way the world will be able to see and enjoy all the uniquely wonderful and NECESSARY gifts the INFP has to offer – left to themselves, many will never EVER get off the ground.
    Side note: I am in a business partnership with a successful entrepreneurial INTJ. I get to design and create, and he brings the finished products to the world. HIGHLY satisfying. I know my purpose, and I get to live doing what I’m made to do. Win-win situation. And INFPs love those, I’m told…

    • Hi Stef……thank you for your posting. I just posted my own blurb about my experiences with INFPism, and found your comments quite interesting. If you don’t mind me asking, in what field/industry are you doing your creative work? Thanks, Thomas

  23. Best post on INFP ever. It’s probably the most concise of them all! The interests, non-interests, the paradox. Everything! To love to encourage others, about money, difficult to stay about easily affected by the environment. (love of books.. haha) And the best part…. Seeing that I’m not the only one!!! 🙂 🙂

    On a side note, I’ve also been looking at ADHD-Inattentive recently and it reflects it very well on my personality too. It could be possible that INFP’s are high chances of being one. I’ve not been diagnosed ADHD yet, am going to seek a doctor’s advise on it, but I highly suspect that I am. I’m smart, but I keep changing my focus regularly, chronically late, miss out appointments, always misplacing things, making careless mistakes, never finishing the things I’ve started. Any of you having the same?

    What made me realise this most was when I read Thomas E Brown’s book “Smart But Stuck” on how even people within the top 9% IQ of the population also face the problems too. But whether it’s related to being an INFP or not, remains a question mark, but it is a possibility. You can look up the book here:

    Just curious if any of you INFP’s have similar problems? Even if you don’t just let us know, so we can all find out how real of a possibility this relation is

  24. Let me start by expressing my gratitude for Mike, his web page, and my fellow INFPs, and the honesty & insight conveyed through your comments. As I read the post and the subsequent contributions I was ushered through what felt like the entire gamut of human emotion; it was exhilarating – anxiety, confusion, empathy, frustration, hope, longing, love, and affection. Much of what many of you shared I can identify with, and what you’ve related comes as a liberating and welcomed affirmation. While we may never cross paths it brings me great peace-of-mind to know you’re here and that you are all so very supportive of one-another! You bring me great hope.

    Aelthwyn’s post is quite impactful: Autonomy, Projects not Hours, Free Schedule, Creativity & Intelligence, Personal, My Own Space, Ideals & Values, Positive People, Security – wow! All of it rings true. I got a chill just reading her words, and in due course tears streamed down my face as I sat there processing. We’re bonded. It was as if I had finally arrived home after being lost all these years; like you’d imagine in a movie, where the protagonist arrives from an exhausting sojourn, dropping their rucksack, falling to their knees, weeping uncontrollably into cupped hands, “Home…” Reading Mike’s thoughts, Aelthwyn’s post, and all of your comments is like coming home.

    While I’ve known of the MBTI® – having tested last in 2009/10 – it had been awhile since I revisited it. I did so recently and my type remains the same. The only difference is that back then I took it during a business class and didn’t put much stock in it beyond its novelty. Now, at 36, I’ve been scouring the net for the meaning behind it and for people similarly assessed. Thankfully, the search has brought me here to infpcentral. I have been happily & healthily married (fortunately enough) for thirteen years, and we’ve been blessed with three beautiful daughters. My wife is just as Lia has described. She is an ENFJ and is employed as a middle-school counselor – I adore her and we work very well together. It helps that she actually enjoys what she does for a living and gets paid well enough for me to explore and contribute in my own unconventional way as a husband & provider while she carries us monetarily. Currently, I keep a tidy house (I like to think of this as energy management), cook & grocery shop (occasionally), help the kids with their homework, am a bibliophile (collecting far more books than I can keep up with, and often reading more than 3 books at a time), think, camp, hike, daydream, have so many interests that it makes it impossible to become adept at any one thing, attend community college part-time, and love to blog/write (Peaks and Valleys: Life is a Journey. Get Lost).

    My LinkedIn summary reads as follows:

    “I search out the good in people and events. I am highly sensitive to people’s feelings and genuinely interested in understanding them. I am concerned with meaning and purpose. While guided primarily by my principles I strive for a reasonable balance between my ideals and reality.

    I find great value in beauty, honesty, and virtue. I often speak in metaphor and am a hypothetical thinker. I am an idea guy. What I lack in utility I more than make up for with a desire to inspire compassion & kindness and an ability to facilitate cooperation. I communicate very effectively, and welcome new ideas, information, and opportunities to learn.

    I need more than a job; I require a cause. Currently I am a stay-at-home dad who volunteers occasionally, attends college, blogs ( makes a mean vegan chili (really, you’d love it), networks, enjoys the outdoors and learning about craft beer culture. I am a good advocate, life coach, motivator, and mediator with an emphasis on interpersonal communication and the optimization of self-knowledge for everyone. I love people! More importantly, I respect life.”

    It took a great deal of reflection on and exploration of INFP information and discussions for me to arrive at the above. When writing, it was a revelatory experience – that is to say, my self-description unfolded as my fingers cut across the keyboard. Currently it helps to remind me of my ideals and helps to center me when self-loathing or doubt lurks. While much of my positive self-statement has reigned true for most of my life, although I’ve only recently been able to word it as accurately, I remain open to the possibility that things may change. But, for the first time in my life, I am finally embracing, rather than fighting against, my dynamic self. Doing so feels as if a large burden has been lifted, allowing me to more freely (and unapologetically) explore the depth & breadth of my interests, potential, and relationships.

    Much of what fascinates me spans Anthropology · Semiotics · Cymatics · Conservation · Psychology · Mythology · Mysticism · EcoVillages & Intentional Communities · Deep Ecology · Ecopsychology · Art · Music · Philosophy · Ethics · Politics · Religious Studies. · Theology · Geography · History · Physics · Linguistics · Sociology · Spirituality · Sustainability · Community Service & Outreach · Education Theory · International Relations · Nutrition · Vagabonding · Indoor Rock Climbing · Yoga · Meditation · Self Exploration · The Domestic Life · Poetry · and The Great, Sacred, and Wondrous Outdoors!!!! Man…there’s just far too much to LOVE! I wonder, as fellow INFPs what are your interests?!?!?

    My wish for each and every one of you is a profound sympathy towards yourselves and others. Regardless of the percentage of the population we believe ourselves to represent and the significance we do or don’t ascribe to such categorizations, together we are all adrift in what we may never fully comprehend – Life. So, let us celebrate our differences & similarities, let us leverage our “blessed” and/or “naturally selected” abilities for the benefit of all as a gesture of gratitude to Life – the natural order of things in all its infinite wisdom. Beautiful INFPs, I love you! Here’s to healing.


    Albert O. Reed

  25. I found out to be a INFP a few months ago and everything clicked.

    My parents both dreamed to be writers, but my father forced himself to find a job when I was born to pay the bills (he was 23) and never wrote again, while my mother still struggles with money (she’s a failed writer/artist). I was obsessed with music since the age of two. Everyone noticed and constantly told me how unusual it was.

    I always knew I was gay. I live in a small country town and I felt ashamed for a while, until I saw Brian Molko on TV when I was 13. I suddenly thought: maybe I could be him! That would take all my problems away and music could also become my life! Double whammy! So I started dressing like a rock icon, eyeliner, nail polish, everything. I was planning my revenge on all those dumb people at school…by becoming the next big thing. I felt GREAT for 8 years, really proud of myself with all that glitter, weird looks and weird friends. I mean, I had a status! I chose to go to university because in my subconcious I always thought someday I would move to a big city, join a band and become a rockstar. Reality hit me during my final year at university when I realized everyone was expecting me to find a job after graduation (quite normal, yes). I realized I needed to make money at the age of 22…and my whole internal structure crushed down. I looked at the mirror and saw I was a man and not a boy anymore. I didn’t play any instrument very well, I didn’t write any song that was particularly good, I didn’t sing too well and now also the looks weren’t there. I started to feel pathetic, and spoiled, and disconnecting from the world was not a joyful escape anymore but a real pain.

    That was a year ago and I feel even worse now. As you may know, creative jobs pay NOTHING and are usually extremely boring if you’re not friends with someone important. If I can’t be an artist, at least I want to express myself in what I do, be loved for it, create something that I can look at with pride when I’ll be older, make enough money to survive and show my parents that I was right in being different and not choosing a business degree, have friends that love me for my inner qualities. I must feel exceptional and useful at the same time. I know this is much more than what most people expect to acheive in their lives and it’s like I have nothing else to live for and it fucking scares me.

  26. Hi everyone!… I’m in my early 30’s and I recently discovered that I’m an INFP type and I read some comments on this post and other info. about INFP personality and I can tell I definitely belong here… Thanks for the reference to some books, I’ll get them and will read them all!
    So, here’s a little bit about myself… I didn’t have a lot of friends growing up and wasn’t the social type, I was rather isolated and still am… I’ve always been top of my class (except for a couple of semesters at college due to family issues) and hard worker… I have a bachelor’s degree in engineering (I’ve gotta mention that I had suicidal thoughts during my years at college – from what I read, that can happen to INFPs) – I do not practice in that field of engineering… In the last couple of years in college I got a job in the IT business and didn’t enjoy the job duties per se; however, I managed to work there for just over a year just because my co-workers were awesome… After that, I moved to another city and got my second job in IT, only lasted 3 months because my co-workers and manager were not that nice… then I took some time off, got my third job in IT, lasted 2.5 years, again because the people there were a tad more professional than the previous one, they moved me around to different areas, and the last year I was there I worked from home; but then the economy wasn’t doing very good and I got laid off which I didn’t mind it because I was already bored of that job and was looking to do something else… At this point, I decided to change careers and I thought I’d like to do some automation, went back to college for 2 years and did pretty good during my academic years and here I went again back to the job market, and two years after graduation here I am again stuck with this job that I don’t find fulfilling neither inspiring… So, what to do now?… (I should mention at this point that I’m married, we have a baby, and we recently bought a house)… In recent times (before finding out that I’m INFP), I started to think that there must be something wrong with me and was considering seeking professional help, because I look around and I see my friends and former classmates doing pretty good at their jobs, getting promotions and moving up in the corporate world and I’m still here trying to figure out how to catch up… It occurred to me that I needed to go back to school to get my masters degree in order to open more doors, but I wasn’t sure what type of masters, in engineering or MBA?… this is when I started doing career research and took a personality test and came back with the my results as being INFP, and all makes more sense now… I’m glad I found out before going back to school again… Apparently, doing engineering is not suitable for INFPs and I can confirm that theory, as to why I chose those career paths? there were many factors in my opinion: parents pressure/advice, social and economical factors (that discussion is for another day)… For now, I just have to suck it up at my current work, I’m going to have to get involved in other activities at work to get my mind busy, do some volunteering activities at work and in the community, I’ve always like photography, music, painting, drawing… I’m going to start doing those things more often during my free time… and researching careers suitable for INFPs… Cheers!

  27. Sometimes I just feel like all we INFPs need is just somebody to support us financially so that we could do, try and explore whatever we want to do in life not having to worry about making a living at all!

    • Hi fellow INFP’s !
      After reading all of the comments in this page I decided to make a summary of jobs and careers to consider 🙂
      – Driving (train, taxi, metro..)
      – Hotels
      – Associations
      – Film production
      – Journalism
      – Taking care of kids/babies in hospitals
      – Medical science
      – Radio
      – Firefighter
      – Actor, musician, photographer…

      And consider doing this in free time:
      – Sport is Crucial for us (it gives the self-confidence we need)
      – Helping poor people (giving food, medical care…)
      – Working in museums, galleries, non profit activities
      – Writing articles and publish them.

      Advice :
      -Don’t worry that much about the others. Only care of what you can do for them.
      We are too much in the thinking that we forget to take action, which should be in the end the result of the thinking 🙂
      – God made us INFP to be the salt of the Earth. Our job is to elevate the consciousness of the world, that’s why we don’t care about working to earn money, that’s not our mission here.

      Take care ! 🙂

  28. This sounds like I just wrote this!!
    100% of this is speaks to me. Reading this makes me understand myself and I feel like knowing this will push me away from my job and help push me to a career in which I actually enjoy. I work as a sales person and although I like socially interacting with people It gets exhausting for me. I’m the type who likes deep connections with individuals and that means I like focusing my attention where it matters. Thanks for the post! This uplifted my college spirits! kind of…. because there is no real solution. I guess its up to our own will to make it happen 🙂 good luck my fellow INFP’s!

  29. I’m sitting here wishing I could come up with a snappy comment, when all I really want to do is climb back in bed and sleep for a week. I agree with this post. The only thing that has kept me sane over the last 33 years as an accounting manager is a fair degree of autonomy. I worked in small companies, and didn’t manage a big staff, but that’s the hardest part now, managing people. (And being managed.) These days I’m just worn down to a nub. I want out, but this is all that I know.

    • This thread has been just incredible. I resonated with the blog post tremendously. I often feel like such an odd duck,like right out of place at work. I mean I’m well liked, get along really well with everyone, but whats happening in my head as I listen to what is happening around me I feel like I don’t belong.

      Curtis I can relate to the being worn out managing others (and being managed). I love my team, they are all wonderful souls and I do my absolute best to be a good manager, but the truth is I’m so far beyond exhausted there are no words.

      I feel like I should be grateful because I have a good salary, a nice office, fairly good worklife balance, and I work with very smart and interesting people. I wish I didn’t have this heavy feeling in my chest from it though.

  30. Wow! I totally get this. I’ve invested 2 years nearly worth of effort and it took one of our main clients deserting us today for the over the road competition to realise just how much I was wasting my time. My company branch is a sinking ship and all my help and enthusiasm has left me drained and hating my current lifestyle. This article was a breath of fresh air. It made me remember just exactly what I love about writing and why I so badly want to do it full time. I cannot wait for the day that finally happens and my words will be out there and on paper and hopefully helping and inspiring others. Thank you for this.

  31. I feel I must now post something meaningful here in order not to break the chain of truely awesome answers the initial article managed to gather.

    I myself did business studies (I know, pathetic choice for an INFP) and discovered I was INFP in a psychology elective I took back in September 2013. The discovery was even more astonishing for me because I do not usually believe in “psychology” tests” and all the other crappy exams they make us take in for employers order to hire people.

    I remember the teacher telling me “Well, I think you made a big mistake by choosing business. You said you wanted to work in retail or fashion because you’re “creative” ? You won’t even last 2 years !”. God was he right !

    Right now I’m completing an internship after which I’ll have my diploma, but Jesus is it hard. All that daily grind, marathon-like culture, standing-only commute trains and prepacked sandwiches make me sick ! And I want to get out before I become like them, shallow and lost, uninteresting skinny pale consultants, the working dead in other words.

    I just hope to find something more “meaningful” than going to “meetings” and being considered as a mere figure on a balance sheet.


  32. I am not so interested in what the INFP wants or what would be the ideal situation. I am reflective enough that I already know. What I am really interested in is how infps adapt to careers. I know I like to work by myself with ideas where I can be creative and have a lot of involvement. I’ve wanted to be a writer and studied creative writing at university, but this is typical INFP idealism. It takes decades to build a writing career you can live off of, if it ever happens at all. I’ve only been out of school a couple years and more or less accept the fact that writing is something I do in my free time because I am passionate about it, which may or may not develop into a reliable supplemental income. The economic reality is that I have to do something more practical and accessible to satisfy my need for security and be able to better control the environment I live in. The problem is how do infps adapt to the work environment when at times corporate culture seems the very antithesis of what infps are about? Do you just do it for your family? Do you have to see a way this helps you get where you really want further down the line? How do we use our natural strengths and talents to succeed in the workplace? How do you quickly recharge to be able to invest so much time and energy to pay your bills and have the energy to work in the areas that are really important to you?

  33. I was recently diagnosed with INFP and I am glad I found this website to see that I don’t have to live alone with this. I have been a wage earner for the last 30 years and every job I have had has been terrible with the exception of two. The first one was as a baby sitter for a friend for her child’s first two years of life. I loved holding that child and constantly telling him he was loved and special. The second job was working for a woman who owned a small business and when she saw how bruised and battered I had been in the working world, she always gave me little presents and told me what a great worker I was and how lucky she was to have me. I too thought stenography would be a good fit for my personality. Unfortunately, it didn’t work for me; but please don’t let my negativity stop anyone else from trying. The downside of that job is working with lawyers who scream and yell, have a lot of negative energy, and are extremely egomaniacal. Ultimately, I wound up despising that line of work, even though I did like it in the beginning and it took me ten years to get through stenography school. Now I have ten working years left and I feel like I’m starting at day one. I have absolutely no idea what to do because I will blow my brains out working in an office and I don’t have the money to go to school and I actually need to work to pay for food and a place to live. So I am really, really stuck. Plus, I truly believe that people don’t want to hire oldsters. Really, really, really stuck. It’s like we work double hard because the things that we do are so contrary to who we are, but we still always have to bring home a paycheck or be homeless.

    • I truly feel for you. Life is hard for INFPs especially when we’re older and feel like we have no one to care for us. My heart reaches out to you. I see that your name is “CritterWhisperer”. Have you ever thought about taking care of pets? A lot of people need someone to take their pets out for a walk or to use the bathroom during the day. I recently met a woman who has her own critter care business. But you could start out small. Make flyers and post your number on them or use to post online or even the classifieds! People trust “oldsters”. Especially approachable and kind INFP’s to take care of their pets and/or children. Why not pursue one of those avenues? You could also advertise for babysitting or nannying. Or look on They post jobs for nannies or caregivers in your local area.

  34. This is a great post and many of the comments are encouraging! I’ve known I’m an INFP for several years now but I’m just recently back to researching personalities and careers. I majored in History because I got excited about historical research, writing, and archeology, but I haven’t really used it, per se, in a career.

    I’ve had a few odd jobs such as house cleaning, tutoring, and working in gift shops; these can be very stressful as I strive to meet others’ (often unvoiced) expectations, meet a time limit, follow others’ schedules, deal with stressed-out people while trying not to get stressed-out myself, juggle several demands at the same time, etc.

    I’ve considered writing as a career since before high school and I’m seriously thinking about it now…maybe as an author or publisher I could have a satisfying career with less stress?

    P.S. Being a movie extra was THE funnest thing I’ve ever done, so I’m also wondering about somehow getting into film production, though that sounds impossible. Any suggestions?

  35. Kate,

    Thank you for the post. Your comments are thoughtful and moving.
    I find human beings endlessly fascinating – we are all snowflakes – all different, beautiful, fragile.
    I have spent half my life in an imaginary world of thought, feeling, adventure, exploration, beauty and fun. In the inner world, I am King. In the outer world, I am sitting on the fringes of the crowd watching the audience clap at the pointless puppet show of our society – money, TV etc. I am not entertained by this show…an after all, who are the puppeteers? But the audience are enraptured by the show anyway. I sneak off to meditate…and walk in the quiet places of the world.
    The anthropology sounds fascinating…now that sounds like an adventure!


    • Ben,
      Thanks for the response! =] Most of us, I’d wager, could absolutely identify with that feeling of simultaneously watching the show and the audience of life, so to speak. Perhaps the bittersweet part of being an INFP is having that tremendous capacity to observe the system in a way that maybe others can’t, don’t, or won’t. In a way, we are all sort of observers and anthropologists in this thing we call life =]

  36. Funny, almost nobody has a little profile pic above their name. Yep, we’re introverts!

    After reading (most) of these, I thought I’d share some experience about service industry/ helping jobs. Sorry if this gets a little heavy:

    I drove a cab at night for over 3 years in a college town. Which means for an INFP- 50-60 hours a week I did nothing but take care of drunk people. In my city, you don’t flag down cabs, you call a cabbie you personally know to come get you. Basically, being an INFP doing this; I became everybody’s big brother. Sure it was fun for a while, you have wacky adventures with funny drunk people, you meet and really get to know people and make a million friends, everybody likes you because they trust you to help them with they are unconscious, stupid, irate, belligerent, blackout, etc. . Since you’re an INFP, the helping people part really appeals to you, and you’re not stuck in an office all the time, there’s nobody breathing down your neck about rules, and people are appreciative of you.

    Granted I was dealing with drunk people in the middle of the night, but here’s the problem with taking care of people all the time: it will drive you completely crazy. As an INFP, you’re probably a listener and a caretaker. Which means people tell you EVERYTHING and involve you in their drama. Of course you can’t say no to a friend asking you for help. There’s only so many times you can break up fights, bail somebody out of jail, hold back puking girls hair, listen to a teenage girl tell you about being date-raped, clean a bleeding head wound, talk somebody out of hurting themselves, watch domestic violence, spend hours in the ER, and generally witness all the horrors of real life first hand before it completely destroys you.
    I wound up having a total meltdown one night, I mean a screaming, ranting, crying emotional explosion. As an INFP, we empathize waaaaay too much with people, and feel personally affected by the things that happen to our friends. Eventually you might just breakdown because you don’t think the world is fair and it’s full of evil.
    My point of all this is if you are considering a field or a job that requires you to help people in need, take care of sick people, people with problems, etc. . Just know that it is going to effect you down to the core.

    Nobody is better at taking care of other people than us INFPs, but we seriously need to remember to take care of ourselves too.

    • Adam,
      I loved your post! Absolutely agree with this.
      Thank you so much for sharing your job! I have always been fascinated with other jobs, and wondering what it would be like… taxi driver has always been an occupation that I would like to try.
      Some amazing adventures, and a lot of lives that have been directly touched or changed because you were there for them. You know, that’s the thing about jobs like this! See, I have been a volunteer firefighter for about four years now- I LOVE it, and I am able to help others, plus I get to have a little less conversation, and a little more action…. But the thing is, something like firefighting is often seen as a much more noble and glorious position than taxi driver here in the ‘real world’.
      I think that your post alone proves that no one can underestimate what caring can truly do.
      Physically helping others and rescuing them is an awesome thing to do, but it is what you do in the dark and quiet hours when no one else is watching that truly counts.
      I find it ironic that in the age of communication, it is getting more difficult for people to connect, and to truly care about others, or to listen. Being there for the one, and truly caring…. that is amazing.
      So, thank you Adam for posting this and sharing! And thanks for making the difference!

  37. INFP here, at least that’s what the test say about me :/. I guess I’m the only one here who can’t relate to what you say. :/. Now I’m doubt that I’m really INFP, or probably I’m just less INFP than other INFP :/.

  38. I’m an INFP, and I have this job! I’m a Personal Assistant (or peace-time consigliere, Hand Of The King, whatever your preferences)

    * You’re doing lower end work for someone important in the company, but its still important work.

    * You work the project, not the hours.

    * You get to lock in with one person and build a really good working relationship, where being able to read them, and those they interact with, is an absolute asset.

    * You’re in a weirdly powerful position, because its all proxy power. Which means you can do what you what to some extent as long as you’re not annoying people.

    * Its actually your job to be friendly and promote a positive workplace, because it makes your boss’s job so much easier!

    I love my job 🙂

  39. Hey everyone! It’s been such a pleasure to read all of these comments – we’re all pretty much cut from the same cloth, eh? 😉

    (I do apologize for the rant in advance!!) <3

    I'm 24, a recent college graduate (I graduated with a BA in English) and perpetually searching for my place in the world. I originally entered university with noble intentions to become a high school English teacher. Eventually I decided that before embarking on that journey I wanted to gain more experience outside of the classroom (I've basically spent my whole life in the education system and I feel like I ought to have more wisdom/experiences to share with students in any classroom), so I turned my attentions elsewhere. I briefly considered studying anthropology (cultural or ethnomusicology) in graduate school, as it's one of my passions; but ultimately, I decided against it for the time being because I consider myself at this point in life to be more free-spirited than scholarly.

    Psychology appeals to me, and I once considered going into the mental health field… But to be honest with you, my dear fellow INFPS, I think I'm far too sensitive and easily disturbed by things to frequently tackle some of the more darker elements of the human psyche =/ (I mean, I'm the sort of person who cries when those animal-rescue commercials come on…) I have a huge amount of respect for anyone in the medical field, and I'm interested in the notion of health and healing; but I think that frequently being around the sick and/or dying would make me run out of that place faster than a fat kid running to an ice cream truck.

    Previous jobs include: barista**, babysitter, olive oil seller, and basic data-entry positions.

    **(Initially it was difficult to be a barista since I'm naturally introverted and usually oblivious or lost in my own thoughts. I'm sure all of you can relate! Years ago, I think the prospect of interacting with strangers all day would exhaust and frighten the crap out of me; but after having spent a few years in the customer service world as a barista, I learned how to come out of my introverted, solitary shell [it's so nice in there haha] at will and act extroverted near others when necessary ^_^ It rather helps if I look at it like a game and don't take the interactions so seriously! #FakeItTilYouMakeIt)

    Previous career considerations include: poet; perfume-maker (please don't ask why, I was eight when I thought of this ^_^); archaeologist; ukulele player (but alas, there is not much of a market); working in a cubicle (to pay the bills, but this would surely kill me); historian; yoga instructor; psychologist/counselor; etc.

    Until I figure out what I'm doing, I'm planning to work as a substitute teacher. My view of the future is always changing – there's that P coming into play! – but I'm comfortable with it for now. I'm thinking about substitute teaching for the time being; getting into graduate school to become a librarian; and then, once I get settled and comfortable with that (and pursue my other passions on the side, like music and poetry), going back to grad school once again to pursue something else, like anthropology.

    I'll always be restless, imaginative, interested in fixing things, and willing to learn =] I don't have everything figured out, but I refuse to view my qualities as negative. If everyone else is beautiful, which I firmly and inherently believe, then why can't my own quirks be? =] Instead of going into something with a feeling like "this is it forever," I'd rather view each new thing which I adopt into my life as a season.

    After having read through all of these posts, I've realized that all of you are amazing, talented, and beautiful individuals with a high capacity for happiness and much to give to this world. We were born as we were for a reason. In our own little ways, as long as we spread the love that is within us to others, how could we go wrong? I think that all of us possess purpose, and it's our priviledge in life to explore and find out exactly what that is!

    Here's to wishing all of you the best =]
    Peace and love,
    Kate <3

  40. I’m almost 24 and I have no idea what to go to school for. I went to university for a year for Biology and I hated it so I dropped out. I also went to college for a year for a General Arts and Science program and another year at college for a Biotechnology program. Both of which I disliked. I am trying to find what my purpose is. 🙁 It’s so frustrating knowing that everyone else knows what they want to do and I’m stuck. I’m hoping something will come my way. Interesting reading everyone else’s comments and happy to hear I’m not the only one living in this strange world.

  41. I agree with everybody else here that this post described oneself really well, if not perfectly. I haven’t read all the comments but many many of them and it is very helpful and interesting to read them as I can recognise so much in myself. I am a very clear INFP and did a test with a counselor recently and a test on internet a long time ago, although not acting upon it then which I regret. I am also a highly sensitive person (HSP), but I think all INFP’s are highly sensitive even though all HSP´s are not INFP´s. For those that are not familiar with the HSP-concept it is ca 20% of the population who have an extra sensitive nervous system taking in more sensory impressions than the majority which is good, useful and rewarding but on the other hand can make oneself drained, tired and burnt out, especially in today´s world of extra stress, pressure and speed etc. You can find more about HSP if you google it.

    I agree that we INFP´s have difficulties finding our place and belonging in this world, and trouble in choosing career as we as idealists want to work with our life task or calling (which I think we should be proud of and need to aim for). This is probably difficult for others to understand, and generally we never really get understood by others, although we really want to be understood and long for it. I think it would be a good idea, as someone has said earlier that we join forces together as an INFP-community and start things together, working for what we believe in, whatever it may be. If we stand up and give each other a voice we will be heard and others will take us seriously. I would love to be able to work together with other INFP´s or just get the support and have a fruitful correspondence with you all regarding things in life and what I believe in. It doesn’t have to be big things, e.g. just how to unite the whole world :-).

    My life story, especially regarding jobs etc. is as follows:
    I am Swedish, grew up there and my childhood was good, but still I struggled to be understood completely I think. I did well in school, but was an imaginative child living in my own world, very early on a philosopher, feeling and thinking a lot. I happened to do and finish a degree in biology at University, while at the same time I saw myself as a poet starting to write a lot (published a book with financial help from a friend much later). Also without an active choice I just saw myself starting a PhD in marine ecology completing it in 1998 with a quite good record (mainly because of my good writing skills, many new intuitive ideas, analytical sense and stubbornness). But this was not me. Some of my poems were included on pages between chapters in the thesis, and I had started to become interested in eastern spirituality such as taoism and zenbuddhism etc doing tai chi, qigong (wild goose qigong) and meditation. The year after my doctoral degree I started together with others the University for Global Well-being, which aimed to integrate science, ecology and spirituality, but it didn’t quite succeed and I left it after half a year being quite discouraged in my soul. I did small odd jobs after that before going for a 3-weeks course at Schumacher College (on ecophilosophy, holistic science and spirituality) and that’s the only place I have truly felt at home in throughout my life. After that in year 2000 I went back into marine ecological science doing postdoctoral research in South Africa for 3,5 years (met my Indian wife there; now we have a daughter who is 6 years old). I liked this time a lot, and research can be a very free and good activity for an INFP (although the F-trait is not of any use), but the competition is fierce as well as the uncertainty regarding funding and positions. When we left South Africa going back to Sweden I was unemployed for a while, later getting some job in an energy company, then getting research funding again for some years, and later a position as a researcher in Finland until a couple of years ago when we thought we had to go back to Sweden so that our daughter gets closer to her cousins etc and I got a permanent position in a county government in Sweden as a marine biologist. But this just made me got burnt out with a depression to follow, and with my wife having no job and me being forced to bring in the money even if I cannot stand my present job. I miss the rocky shores of the world. I have recently started writing more again, on something I call “By the world’s waters” (in Swedish), that I am putting out on a blog. I am 47 years old now and I still do not know what to do in my career. I really want to save the world, and if I cannot somehow work with something meaningful it is no point working, even if I need to bring in an income. I am thinking of working in fields like ecophilosophy, ecopsychology and ecobuddhism (but this would probably mean studying again on the side and I do not know if I have the energy), i.e. teaching and/or writing within these fields, writing on the side, or become a qigong teacher, reiki healer or similar. I have also other thoughts such as film script writer, learning how to sing (my musical talent I have never developed although it may be there), acting, working for a humanitarian or similar organization. I have many more ideas, but these will do for now. Does anyone have any advice or have similar ideas as me and would like to discuss them? Then please do not hesitate to contact me.

    For all of you INFP´s that have written here, I can just say that I fully understand you, and perhaps the best advice I can give you and myself is to try to follow ones heart although it can often feel difficult. Meditation could be a good solution to get more energy, and that doesn’t have to mean that you do “proper” meditation but any activity that makes you more present and conscious about yourself and the world around you without a lot of disturbing thoughts. These activities may include gardening, kayaking, running, cooking or whatever you might enjoy.

    Warm hugs to you all!

    • Hi Johan

      I’m an ‘environmental scientist’. Have been pondering for some time the path of ecopsychology / ecophilosophy. Have you moved any further in that direction, or have any thoughts?


  42. First of all, I’d like to say that you are all incredible people. I’ve spent hours just reading what you’ve all had to say during some of my work hours, and I’ve never been as reassured by anything more than other people who think the same way as I do. I had a great time looking and seeing so many people who reacted the same way I did to such a well written article. I’d also like to add that I have no room to talk, being only 17.
    I stumbled across this wonderful post looking for careers because I was told by college counselors, parents, and even my younger sister, “You have to know what you want to do for the rest of your life!” After seeing you all with the same kind of mindset as myself doing the same things as I am (I’ve been searching for colleges and majors from June until now and not being totally satisfied with anything I’ve seen), I’m more inspired to follow what I want to do, rather than what makes more money in the end. A teacher of mine said that I should study what I like, not what I feel like I should. I think his words are a good example for all of us here! Again, I don’t mean to sound like I know all the answers to life’s problems, since I don’t.
    I forget who posted that we as a personality type are a bit self-indulgent, but I can agree with that. I play way too many video games XD But someone else probably said at some point that we like to explore, imagine, and create, and I think that gaming is a great place to get all of that. Art, interactivity, and a good market are all very appealing aspects to me. The prospect of running an indie game design company sounds good to me as well. Working with a lot of creative people and being my own boss sounds good so far.
    If anyone had any ideas as to areas I should explore for career fields, please don’t hesitate to email me @ [email protected]! To all of you fellow INFPs, I wish you the best of luck in all of your endeavors and may you always be a beacon of happiness in an unforgiving world!

    • Hi John,

      It must be very interesting for you to get this email over a year later from when you were writing about what you should do with your life. This post is over a year old so maybe I’ll email you too. You may have some completely different ideas now or a different perspective. But I wanted to reach out and tell you and others how it was a great pleasure and surprise to read your post. I feel my 10 years of self-exploration and experiences has lead me to also believing that I’ll be happy making video games and I want to share with you why.

      When I started college I was all over the map in terms of what I wanted to do. First I was undeclared, then a music major, a double creative writing and film major and finally I got a BA in psychology. I really wanted to do something creative but I thought I would be more in touch with my values by helping people and thought psychology would bring me to that direction. After going to an expensive private university, I went to community college to get a degree in something that would provide me with some practical skills and a job. This year I finally graduated and received my license in occupational therapy assistance thinking it would combine my creativity and desire to help others.

      I have had three jobs and it has been disheartening. I went from a corrupt company with a negative attitudes but with a good mentor to a place that paid very well, wasn’t corrupt but had no mentor and was very disorganized and stressful and had very low standards. Finally I found my dream organization that believes in intrinsic motivation of every employer and has intelligent staff who value growth and compassion and are willing to help guide you when there’s time. But that’s when the truth started settling in and I knew it wasn’t hidden by poor management. I started realizing how challenging it is for me to make fast decisions on the spot and be assertive and authoritarian in a fast paced and somewhat chaotic environment. It is difficult to create trust in my patients when I don’t know what I am doing since I don’t have time to plan. It seems that all my strengths of creativity, building rapport, problem-solving, finding the right balance of skill and challenge were all unable to manifest in that environment even though those are exactly the skills you need to use as an OTA.

      Soon I started dreading going to work everyday and being afraid that those four years of building expectation, identity and community around this career path have been destroyed by my pessimism within less than a year after graduating. Not to mention that everything in terms of work-life-balance, pay and security is something that is hard to find in this current economy. I’m trying to stay open to other settings within the field and understand that competence and confidence takes time but I keep finding myself looking at other options. It also doesn’t help to see that my peers all seem to be already content with their jobs and life when they are at the same phase and setting as me. It was in a desperate job search I came across a job posting for video game writers. It clicked that maybe I could fulfill my dreams of working in the arts and writing by making indie video games and it seems like a great fit for my personality type. Seeing that post made me question why I have been forcing myself to be extroverted and improvise a performance of leadership. I am yearning for a small creative group, collaborating with them, then going off and getting obsessed with my project. All my life I have never been paid to work on a project but instead worked at camps, schools and nonprofits under the gun of an exhilarating adrenaline rush. That was such a great experience for me and I have learned a lot, however most of those jobs were short term and I’m not sure if I would be able to handle that type of energy rush sustain-ably over the long run. So now I have come full circle. In a way I wished I committed to at least one or two of those majors because it would have been a very useful way to build my portfolio, repertoire and skills that I started a long time ago and then apply it to video games. Though it’s not necessary to have a degree to do that, it is nice to keep going with something and have the faith and courage to let it grow.

      I’ve just begun my quest for becoming a video game writer/designer reading books, watching videos, listening to pod casts, playing games, writing game ideas as well as making plans to advance my progress and start a blog to share the journey with others. I’m curious to know where are you now and what have been your thoughts in the direction you want to go. It seems that my value for bringing joy, wonder, fun and inspiration to people and sharing the exploration and fascination of the imaginative and emotional worlds is at the core of everything that brings me purpose and happiness. This core value seems like it is more at the heart of being a video game writer/designer than with of occupational therapy.

      When I was younger I felt I “should” help people and that it’s the right thing to do. For one thing that value was imposed by others around me and another thing is that the idea of helping people is so vague. Even the more specific value I mentioned earlier could be applied in many situations besides video games but I feel so excited and driven that it doesn’t matter because I feel I’ve gotten so much closer to the truth. I’ve realized it’s okay whether I want to help people or not. Being true to yourself is more important to me than that because even the people you are helping and working with will see right through you and may even tell you before you tell yourself that it’s time to find something you truly love.

      So that’s my story. You actually have helped me start the first post on my blog by inspiring me to write this email to you. I don’t want to be apologetic for the length because I am actually very thankful for it. If you are still interested in creating video games and want any resources about them or want a fellow INFP collaborator feel free to contact me.

      I’m so glad I ran into your post in the ocean of the internet and I hope this brings a slight bit of clarity to other puzzled INFP’s out there.

      With warm regards,


  43. I discovered that I’m INFP today after searching “career changes for registered nurses” and taking various personality questionnaires. Nursing was a bad career move in hindsight. I’ve worked across many places and specialties. I always end up having issues with the sick systems I work in and feel the injustice of the conditions we work under…don’t even get me started on the rules, group-think problem solving and disengaged management. My last ditch effort is to do immunisations/ travel clinic nursing which I hope is more autonomous, fulfilling and less political. Failing that, it’s time to look for something else…more creative.

    Thanks for all your posts, it’s heartening to know it’s not just me who struggles to find my calling in life.

  44. I like how things are in southeast Asia.. the culture and way things run are a lot less sj and make more sense to me. I think the perfect career path for me will be teaching English out there.. I would get to travel and as a teacher there I would have a lot of freedom and space as well as a chance to see and share beauty with kids.

  45. Alot of these posts were like i could have written it. I am a forest firefighter and I hate it. I have yet to stay at a job for more than 4 months. I keep trying to find one that i fit. but I think by its nature, I can never like a job. I get bored easily, I feel I have so much in the world to explore, to see, so much to learn, so much culture to experience beauty to see. I have a fear of settling down getting stuck in a 9-5 routine. But mostly because I disagree with the way my workplace and ever workplace I’ve ever seen sees things. I feel like I have to hide how I think because its unacceptable at the workplace.. for me to think in my own way. I dont agree with how structured workplaces insist on being, i value my freedom and independence, the whole framework, whole structure, the whole idea of how everything needs to be organized so in order goes not only completely against my nature but actually hurts, it feels wrong to me. it goes completely against everything iibelieve in. my strongest belief is in letting people be who they are, not trying to influence or train, you can give people knowledge but the way society is about training minds to think a certain way goes against every fiber of my being. it seems like where i work peole are striving to be exactly what theyoe told to be. It doesnt need to be this way. i know why they do it. and maybe its harder to explain why i am so opposed to it. my first year fire fighting I kept it a secret how deeply opposed to every last way that they operated. when i say it i am met with so ,much opposition and lack of understanding so i keep it inside. and that build up makes it worse. i feel very disconnected from my job, from the world and people because of it.

  46. I am so happy I found this today. Like most of you I found this while searching for careers that work well with my MB personality. I currently work in an academic research lab. I have been doing similar work work 16 years… I am now 42. I do not want to spend the rest of my life doing something all day everyday that I don’t enjoy. There were certain aspects that I used to like, but years of doing this has left me with a lot of ligament issues in my wrist that make everyday painful. After 2 surgeries, I am still not able to lift a beer with my left hand…. makes it hard to do fine dissections, and other delicate movements needed for cell and molecular biology.

    Where do I go from here? That is what I am trying to figure out. I want to do something that I enjoy, that contributes to the world, and at least allows me to pay the bills. (my current position provides none of these) I am a caregiver by heart I think. I raised my daughter, took care of my father at the end of life, I foster cats & dogs, care for local wildlife. I love being outside, and traveling. Any suggestions for career options? I am at a loss right now… thanks… I have enjoyed reading all these posts today!

  47. I have done so many personality tests and never understood the “most suitable career options” for INFP, until I found this post.

    Im in medical school now, which couldnt possibly be a worse position to be in while desiring to change careers. Im halfway through, $200,000 in debt and want out. Of course this sounds totally unreasonable and crazy to friends, family, psychiatrist. Just finish school and it unlocks so many careers options for you is the only response I hear. Being an INFP I completely understant their argument. Of course I should stay in, it would be completely irrational to drop out, both financially and respectably.

    But, like all of us, I can’t stop listening to my feelings! I’m so drained everyday, tired of exams which always crush my very being, and getting home with no energy to do any of my life fulfilling hobbies. I hate the stress, constant heavy responsibility and critisism, and most of all staying in a career where I will be spending the rest of my adulthood in a career with extreme lack of creativity and the need to constantly be studying only one aspect of my interests!!!

    You couldn’t have spoke truer to my desire of career environment. Im also so happy to learn that there are others who feel shame in regards to always wanting to change careers, and who’s ideal job would appears “lazy.”

    Truly there is a career option out there, and I hope we all find it soon.

  48. I’m curious….. Can I get some feedback or opinion on how an INFP might fare as a member of a clergy? Priest, monk, minister, pastor, friar, religious brother….?

    • The research says very well. You’d be giving to people, dealing with big, meaningful ideas and would work projects, rather than hours.

  49. I just spent an hour reading every one of these comments, and I have been literally close to tears throughout the whole of it. I have never in my life felt more connected to other people. I mean, TRULY connected. I feel like I’m part of some alien race and just discovered I’m NOT the only one on this planet! I’ve often wished I could somehow ‘upload’ my exact feelings and thoughts to others because I could never explain them ‘just right’ to the people around me, and the only way they would really ‘get me’ is if they could actually experience what I feel. Or that I could live in a primitive civilization…just live as part of a small tribe, self sustained, because I feel like I was born in the era of humanity. Or escape to a deserted island with just a handful of people. Maybe clones of myself haha? Except I’d really like to live in a giant house with all you other INFP’s now that I know you actually exist!
    I’ve always been a “flip flopper”, going through waves of motivation and intense interest in something only to have it fizzle out, wanting perfection and hating the thought of settling. I value creativity, understanding, curiosity and honesty immensely, and am quick to search for and applaud those traits in others but constantly over analyze myself and my own motives.
    Throughout my life I’ve wanted to be a writer, a dentist, an artist, and now I’m currently a 21 year old college student, studying Speech Pathology, a year away from graduating and feeling panicked that I don’t know what to do with my life. Speech path is interesting, but I don’t wake up thinking “I can’t wait to do this today!” The idea of doing anything, ANYTHING, 40 hours a week, every week, for the next 2 years (let alone the rest of my life!) makes me want to jump off a bridge unless it is something I adore. Problem is, I don’t seem to know what that is. My family and friends are starting to get weary of my constant roller coaster rants of enthusiasm followed by self doubt and fear of unhappiness.
    I came across this site after a disheartening skype session with first my mother and then my best friend trying to explain the push-pull of wanting stability and spontaneity, connection and independence, in a career and fearing that I will never find it (I’m currently in Spain as an English tutor, staying with a host family with room and board in exchange for tutoring…its just one in a long line of experiences that, while I’m glad I did it and learned a lot, looks great on paper but is never as fulfilling as I hoped it would be). I thought there must be something wrong with me, that maybe I was crazy feeling the way I did all the time. This post made me feel like I found a soul-mate or something, and I feel understood for the first time in my life!

    • I agree with everything you said. I never felt like I fit in this world until I discovered this personality test things and discovered there are others like me. My friends think I’m crazy that I’ve become so obsessed/ok with letting a personality categorization define me but I really was blown away by how accurate it was. We make up only a very few percentage of world population apparently. That explains why it’s so rare to connect. I am 21 myself, should be graduating but instead still working on my undergrad FOR THAT VERY REASON (being unable to settle and pick a program). The program I am in is great but still feeling dissatisfied. Ever since I was 4 I’ve always wanted to be a dancer/actress and as I got older I realized I wanted more than just actress but stick in that field. I want to tell stories..I wanted to write books, direct/produce movies. most say that profession is close to impossible. So I am not sure what I should do either. But I can’t imagine life doing anything but that.

    • I know this is from a while ago, but would you mind me asking what path you ended up taking with SLP? Fellow INFP here and I’m planning on applying to the program as well, but I already have a bit of that panicky feeling you mentioned. I’m also worried about having to do so much one on one interaction. On the plus side it is a career where empathy can shine through and you can make a difference in someone’s life. Also, it seems like a career that allows for a decent work-life balance and the ability to work with minimal supervision once you’ve made it.

  50. Hello, fellow INFPers! I’ve been on the same path so many of you have been on, trying to match work with what I am. One field I have fond satisfaction in is radio broadcasting, but like any arts type profession, that can be problematic. In 2002, after a decade in the civilian broadcasting world, I decided to take a chance and rejoin the US Army as a broadcaster. When I had a chance to do my radio thing, I was very much a success, the pinnacle of which was a show I had while with AFN Europe, where I got to make my own playlist and structure my own show, talking about what I wished. Eventually, I was made an NCO, however, and the Army wishes it’s broadcaster NCOs to be more broad, more “standard” NCOs and the broadcaster skills are valued a little less. A couple of bad NCOers are forcing me to leave the Army at 14 years, but to be honest, the further up in rank I got and the further I got away from what I loved, the less I enjoyed it. This current situations has forced me to make a decision that I really was angling towards the whole time. Fortunately, between Separation Pay and savings, money isn’t going to be an issue, a least for awhile. I’ve the resources to finish my degree. Now, on the other side of that, I plan on resuming my civilian broadcasting career and pursuing a side business in voiceover work as well as writing. Also, I will likely be preserving my military active duty years as a National Guardsman.

    So, if things work the way I plan, it all should be ok. Perhaps not ideal, but as ideal as one can reasonably expect in this world. At this present time.

  51. I have just read a lot of your comments and felt a sadness for us all. We live through our hearts first, intuition and learn to use our minds more because of being hurt along the way. INFP’s tend to pick dominating and controlling partners yes? We need to teach beauty to the harder types, yet we need the harder types to provide that sense of security, yet it’s dangerous to hand over our responsibility of looking after self to another, people come and go. I am very strong yet at times I want to curl up in a ball and ask someone to please show the way safely. I cry at night, I work hard, I love hard, I give myself fully to everything. Yet it’s not a perfect world, sometimes things are awesome and then there is that reminder you always have to be fully self sufficient, wise, keep your eyes open, don’t lead fully from your heart. Learn to use everything you have. I have psychic experiences often, dreams etc. I have felt 100% sure of an outcome which didn’t occur then I doubt my instincts, psychic abilities. One tool I really feel is important for INFP is to learn to trust ourselves fully.

  52. This is weird! I Just found out I was an INFP recently just because I felt like it, but what this articular said about starting a small individual company and getting someone with money to help you is dead on!!! Iv started my own firm and Iv got investors, which takes the stress away a lot (don’t have to think about money). But dam this articular is about the past me, more scared introverted me! If you want to loose the shackles that this INFP personality puts on you, you just have to force yourself to get out there and realize your are your own worst enemy. Put that crazy imagination and never ending ideas to use and you’ll be unstoppable. We feel people and I think being introverted is good because you can think about how to become more extroverted, mind processes can be changed just takes belief and persistence. People should not think of this as a definite personality, it’s a generalization of peoples cognitive thoughts. I was shy, felt moody all the time, was always in my head, got depressed and was always wondering why life was so hard sometimes for me, but for everyone else it was going great. They were happy at their jobs, but I could not stand the idea of ever working for anyone. So one day I said fuck it, I’m sick of being like this, the world is mine to mold the way i want it to be, no one can take that from me. So I got up put all bullshit aside and am now relatively enjoying life, its fun as soon as you stop thinking like a wet towel hahaha

  53. Have any of you ever woke up, got dressed, ate, went to work, sat down for 8 hours, drove home, ate dinner, went to sleep, and thought a few times during that mundane routine that “there has to be more to life than this”….that is me.

    I will sum it up in one word….alien. Yes, I feel like i’m from outer space. The way I think, speak, write, etc. I am 30 and I think of so many creative ideas/inventions throughout the day that would help the world be a better place for us all. For instance, I’m considering real estate. Now after that thought….i begin to think that absolutely NOONE SHOULD BE HOMELESS when there are THOUSANDS OF VACANT HOMES. That’s how my brain works. There is nothing on my left side lol…my right side is like a beautiful island surrounded by blue waters, dolphins, butterflies, and my children and I so happy to enjoy it all…without the rent, bills, deadlines, cellphones, arguments, one day sale advertisements, mindless music, poisinous food, fake politicians, zombie employees, etc.

    I love to write…… I write to love….. I write for peace….. Possibly my calling? Not sure….. but one thing I do know…. and that is to ask yourself, “what do i love”…. it may be something different from what your parents want you to do…..DO IT ANYWAY….. it may be something you’re afraid of….. DO IT ANYWAY…. live each day with no regrets…..

    One thing to also remember is… are never alone…. we exist…. we understand…..i understand….. but always turn a negative into a positive.

    With Love from my heart,

    Interested in getting to know an INFP? email me… [email protected]

  54. Wow. I just googled my personality type and found this article.
    I see the very same problems at my career – I’m fed up with B2B business and definitely want to do something more meaningful as a ‘money making thing’.
    I’m a bit disappointed not to see career choices or recommendations here, but I understand that everyone has to find his own way.

  55. I have so loved reading everyone’s posts. I can relate to the delights of being an INFP as well as the stuggles.

    I have been on a huge journey to connect the pieces of my life’s puzzle and it is so lovely to find out there are many beautiful souls out there just like me.

    I think it is helpful to look at your life as a tapestry of delicately woven threads. If you can find the threads you have the key.

    Money is something the INFP loves to hate and the interplay is a careful balance. In one exercise I decided to look at where in my lifetime had I directed my funds. I think if you all try to the same exercise you will find the threads.

    In a deeper sense INFP are a creative breed so also look into the things you have created and how you have directed them.

    Jut to giive you an overview here are the results of my findings

    I had these threads:

    Healing – homeopathy, flower remedies, crystals, theta. EFT, travel to beauriful temples and places

    Environmental – beach clean ups, holistic education, eco living, conservation, enviro travel etc

    Sick kids – Paediatric Nurse, Child Disability, Special Care Baby Unit, Charitable Trusts,Child Cancer Foundation, Starship Hospital etc

    Creativity; Fundraising money for all the above, creating beautiful gifts and baskets, creating fun events, therapeutic play for sick kids,creating beautiful gardens.

    You may relate to the fact that for most of this time , love and energy I asked for nothing in return except for the nursing which was government paid.

    I am learning now that to not include one’s own well being and comfort is not the way to go.

    Hope this inspires you to look at the threads of your life,


    Just as a side not for most of this work

  56. It took me a long time, a lot of writing, and many sleepless nights, but I finally figured out the best career path for me–that doesn’t interfere and ruin my life.
    I was driving along with my husband in the car when suddenly inspiration struck and I blurted out that I wanted to run an at-home childcare business. He immediately told me it was a great idea, and even though I spent the rest of the day trying to take it apart and find the holes, my ever-logical husband turned out to be right (again).
    I can’t stand 90% of adults, but I have yet to meet a child who doesn’t have a heart of gold. In my state it’s legal to care for up to six children at home for pay, and need no licensure whatsoever, so that keeps my need to be free of a controlling boss met. My creative side gets to shine when the kids and I do projects and play games, and then my perfectionistic side gets to shine when I’m cleaning and making sure everything’s safe and organized. Since I watch kids only after school, I get to spend time in the early afternoons with my husband, who works second shift. Then after school my only-child has kids to play with. It was extremely important to me not to have to trade my family time for money. Now, instead of it seeming like I sacrificed for the money, it almost feels like people are just giving me money and I’m like “Well…ok.” Things just couldn’t be any better.
    Except they are. In the early morning I work on my novel(s). With e-readers and Amazon, I’ve hired myself as an indie fiction author and publish free, then watch as money hits my bank account. Because I have a second income otherwise, I don’t stress about how much I make or how long it takes–I let the stories bloom naturally and write and research a little every day, pressure-free. A novel averages about $300 a month. Eventually, I will have a completely passive livable wage that will allow me to travel and satisfy the spontaneous, adventuresome side of me too.
    I too wish you your true path, my kaleidoscopic friend.

  57. I recently discovered that I am an INFP a couple of weeks ago. I just turned 25 yesterday and the last few months have been hell. Its like I’ve just woken up from a dream, I don’t know where the last 4 years went. I am from the UK and I still live with my mum. I have always worked but its been seasonal work at a job I never liked and always tried to do something else along the way. I love photography and went to do a degree at a local college but dropped out due to family issues, my other passion is skateboarding so last year a friend and I decided to open and start a skate shop business, I am typing this from the shop as I speak. unfortunately I don’t make much money at all from the shop and I still work part time at the same seasonal job, it recently hit me that if the shop fails then I am going to have nothing! I have NO idea what to do, I’ve gone over a million things in my head, try to apply for an apprenticeship and become a silent partner to the business, volunteer in the evenings maybe work with youth as I read that could be a good career for INFPs. I have recently fell into a deep depression and don’t know where to start or who to talk to, careers advisor? seek a therapist? I hate being so far behind in life I don’t know where the time has gone. I just want a stable career and to be able to save for a deposit and move out. so many things going through my head.

    any advice would be appreciated! I’m thinking about seeing a career counsellor and also giving in to seeing a therapist. anyone used either and thought it was worthwhile spending money on it??

    • Hi Darren,
      Just saw your comment about career coaching. It is extremely valuable, though not cheap!

      It seems though that you found something you’re passionate about and made a job out of it at the skate shop. I wonder if you’ve thought about why you’re not making enough money, and perhaps if there are things you could do to market yourself or make additional income (if you sell skateboards, do you repair them, too? do you have events at the shop that would bring people in to buy?).

      INFPs aren’t great at that part of the business, but perhaps you can find someone to help advise you?

      I wish I could think of a business that I feel would be successful and allows me to follow my passion (food/wine/books – i know, it should be easy!).

    • It sounds like you’re on the right track, just make sure to choose psychological and career counselors who are right for you. Good luck!

  58. This describes me so well! I went into music teaching, which is a recommended career, but I don’t feel comfortable asserting authority so I can’t control a classroom, and hours of private teaching are draining because of having to be constantly interacting with another person. Plus most students are beginners, and it’s just so boring to me to continue going over the fundamentals.

    I also have another part-time job which offers a lot of freedom but it is very repetitive.

    I am trying my hand at acting and actually booking some work, so that’s nice, but I really need to develop a fallback in the meantime that doesn’t completely drain me the way teaching and repetitive work both do. I am looking into being a fitness and nutrition coach, and I love writing and am trying to come up with ways I can monetize that. I’m not interested in technical writing or anything like that, that’s boring.

    I know that sounds spoiled, but I was sold the bill of goods that if I worked hard and got all As and went through graduate school that I would get to do work that interested me and that would provide at least a living wage. If I had spent my high school years having fun and partying and getting Cs, I’d feel like it was a reasonable consequence that I would have to spend all my time doing work I disliked in order to keep my head above water. At least, if I had to work long hours at work I hated, I’d want it to provide me with a terrific standard of living.

    • What a coincidence, I was told the same thing growing up! I’m trying to decide if the degree I’m pursuing is right for me. I’m getting really frustrated with being enthusiastic about a degree, using all of the pros to convince myself to go into it, then noticing how the cons outweigh the pros. You’d think by 26 I’d have my career all figured out, or at least more figured out than I did when earning my B.A. Maybe midlife crises hit me early, it sounds like I’m not the only one who has this problem. Any suggestions?

    • I have been thinking about going into music teaching as well. But I fear the same thing. I won’t be able to control the classroom. I couldn’t do it as a substitute teacher, so how would I do it in a full time position? I got my Masters in Music, but it was for performance, which I highly regret. I have the talent, but hate being the center of attention and having to constantly promote myself. I am currently teaching private voice and piano and I am drained and dread it frequently. Mostly because a lot of the kids walk all over me or don’t want to be there in the first place. I also am teaching many beginners and it can be frustrating.

  59. In my experience working careers as an INFP the fulfilling aspect is always related to the people I work with. If I work with a group of people I can care about I’m happy a lot of the time and if I’m not working with a group I care about I’m not happy most of the time. By nature my interests shift and change and circle back around but the people I’m with help ground me on a day to day basis. I’ve done primarily freelance work for a while now and while the money has been good the lack of committed relationships I get to be a part of in the work has been the big struggle.

    I think much of the struggle INFP’s have is because the work world is shifting toward shorter term employment with companies which leads to looser social bonds. We need people to appreciate us over time and deep connections are becoming a thing of the past in this modern work environment.

  60. I guess, like a lot of INFPs, I tend to jump into things in a bout of excitement and inspiration, and then that inspiration fades and I am left questioning why I chose this or that path.

    I had this experience recently (mid last year) when I was deciding on studying at university. I decided on Public Policy. While I had wanted to seriously research and find the right course for me, my enthusiasm (which tends to be high at the beginning), perhaps overrode my better insticts; basically, I ended up jumping in head first without really being patient and considering whether it was right for me.

    Now, there may be a career out there that I can use the PP Masters for, but my instincts right now may be correct; i.e. it may blow up in my face as it just won’t fit no matter how hard I try. I had this problem with my bachelor. I stuck to it and graduated with Labor Relations, but then when I went into the workforce, I got fired (not pretty to admit, but it happened twice) – my employers found me to be unenthusiatic and disinterested – and to be fair, they were right! Since then, I have had various jobs but no great career path. Which leads me to where I am, again facing what another individual in here has called an ‘existential crisis’.

    Ok, so that was a long background and some of it not relevant to my question, but here is my question – if indeed we are flippant people and are just destined to chop-and-change over and over, should we just stick with something when that time arrives, and our instincts tell us to change direction? I guess this comes down to everyones individual perspective.

    By the way, I am only 2 subjects out of 8 so far (and working 4 days a week in another role). So I guess that changes whether it might be logical to drop out.

  61. Wow. I just read every comment searching for a perfect career choice. But what I found was a feeling that others are just the same way. Thanks, everyone. I’m thinking of returning to college for either environmental studies (big organic farm advocate), or massage therapy. The search of our lives is really exhausting, but it’s nice to know you’re not insane because of it, just INFP.

  62. Hello all. I enjoyed reading this and allll of the comments. I’ve had the same struggles myself with finding where I belong and jobs seem mercilessly rigid and unforgiving. I graduated from liberal arts school, but never fully fit in there either. After several encounters with “the man” and real life, I thought ok, this is it, I’m doomed to misery and stagnation.

    That all has changed, but not magically. I went back to school to take classes and am now a “non traditional” second year medical student. It is an ill-advised career choice by many standards, and often times I wonder if it’s worth “going against my grains.”

    I’m a 29 year old girl, so it’s naive advice, but I can offer what worked for me. My circumstances had pretty much beat me down to the point where I had no other choice but to accept the fact that I would never fully fit in anywhere and that life would choose for me if I didn’t just do something. So I let go of my safety and certainty, all my fears and the disapproval of others. Sounds like settling, I know. But I actually found a kind of unexpected freedom.

    Think about our strengths. We see good and beauty in even dismal situations. We care deeply and connect ideas and use them for growth. We search for truth and meaning, and that often means finding it in unlikely places. I hate so many things about med school. The competition, the petty things, the narcissists, the drudgery, the rules. The white coats. But on the flip side, daily exposure to this regimented world has taken away a lot of my fear and even re-solidified my strive to do things in a just and kind manner, even when I’m “outnumbered.” I can be kind to a stranger in the hall, even if I’m late to another “life or death” exam. That’s an infp strength, folks. Perspective.

    Medicine is not for everyone, and I have doubts all the time. I should be studying now :). But for those of us who are stuck in real-life, inflexible situations, our ability to adapt and absorb richness from the mundane is a real asset that can work in our favor. Like a silent, secret rebellion. Infiltrating the enemy. You don’t have to love it, but you’d be surprised how far you can push yourself if you let go of the fear of not loving it. We’re infps. Life is going to be rough. But we’re deeply strong as a result.

  63. Hello fellow INFPs. I’m 43. I have a degree in Art History. Most of my adult life I’ve worked as an admin assistant–meanwhile pursuing creative endeavors in my spare time. I’m also a career student, constantly retraining for “something” better. Recently, I completely programs in photography and arts administration.

    This is what I think will work for me going forward: cultivating a lifestyle that will support two or three part-time jobs. It’s kind of like being freelance, but a little more stable. One thing I’d always hated about my full-time employers in the past is that they OWNED me. I felt locked in. Begging for everything from time to use the bathroom to when and how to use the vacation time they promised during the interview process.

    I’m currently working part-time for a museum, a gallery and a nonprofit.

    Maybe we INFPs don’t have to settle on a single career/employer. Maybe we can pull together a menu of opportunities (both paid and unpaid) that will fulfill us and keep the landlord/mortgage company happy and the wolf from the door.


  64. I am training to be an artist and I find it is really common for the famous artists that come and talk to us to say they are basically unemployable.

    I make my living doing storytelling and magic shows for kids which I really love (especially the part where I teach them about love). It is very part time vocation but I am blessed to also have a contract to visit sick kids in hospital and cheer them up one afternoon a week.. I have tried having staff but I am not suited to it – I am much more of a one person company or I can have a boss at a distance – typical INFP. I also have a job running an art class for children and my own thing running a weekly creativity class for adults – which is a small group (4 students at the moment) and very satisfying.

    I am 43 and it has taken me a long time to find such fun and fulfilling work and create all the marketing etc. around it to make it work. In fact I have just counted and I have been sacked from (or felt I Had to leave) over eight jobs – and they are just the ones that spring to mind.

    I think if you are an INFP you are wise to accept that you don’t fit in easily to western society especially corporate life and decide to be proactive and make your own niche. One way of looking at it is that it a real blessing because alot of people are deeply unfulfilled in their work but just struggle on ‘living lives of quiet desperation’ or numbing out with tv or intoxicants in their free time. If you are strong in feelings, living that life (‘faking it’ as previously mentioned in another post) is just not an option for you. I suggest embracing respecting your imagination, giving reverence to your values and doing something to make the world a better place.

  65. I found this article quite interesting. I’m supposed to be an INFP, but while I very much related to certain aspects of this post, I didn’t entirely get the, “This is me!” light bulb.

    I completely understand the need for autonomy – no one to order you around and no one you must order around. I’m also disinterested in money and am looking for something meaningful and creative.

    However, after reading many of the comments, I got the sense that many INFPs want to be “behind the scenes” and avoid jobs that involve daily criticism. Sometimes I feel like that would be best for me emotionally, but then I think I’m just letting fear control me.

    Because for me, it’s always been kind of a struggle between, “I hope no one sees me. I hope I blend in,” and, “I want to break free and show all of my talents in an exhilarating one-woman show that inspires and entertains!” 😛 Yeah, quite the dichotomy.

    For that reason, I thought starting a Youtube channel would be the perfect career choice for me.

    I could choose my own work hours but keep a basic, video-per-week schedule. I could have complete creative control of my content – no one telling me what to do or how to do it, and no one to keep track of or discipline but myself.

    I could build an audience that would appreciate my work and perhaps even be interested in my other projects (books, artwork, etc.).

    I could finally “shine”, so to speak, by amalgamating all of my talents and making people laugh, or inspiring them, or helping them.

    And if I got big enough, I could make a nice living for myself. It may not be the most stable career, but it would open up a lot of doors for the future.

    The only problem is that I’m struggling between the outgoing performer in me that thrives on having an audience, and the shy, private introvert that gets physically ill (not to mention wicked cotton mouth -.-) in a negative, critical atmosphere. I’ve got a touch of the social phobia, too, which doesn’t help.

    Youtube – and the internet forums in general – can be disgustingly cruel. If I put myself out there, I’m saying “Okie Dokie” to the inevitable public ridicule that everyone in the spotlight (Well…the low-budget camcorder-light) has to deal with.

    If anyone has read this through (kudos on the attention span), what are your thoughts on Youtube as a career/career-starter for INFPs?

    Can any other INFPs relate to the things I’ve said, or am I on the outskirts of the Myers-Briggs system?

    • The trick to dealing with criticism is don’t take it too personally. Yes, there are some people who will criticize you, but they are actually helping you improve. Read the comments, take a break, and reread them with a fresh mind. Also, a few people will flame you but they are few and far between. I say go for it! The time is flexible, and you can express yourself! Please let me know how this all turns out.

  66. Wow..thanks a ton for this article..i am so thankful for the author to have mentioned certain points which probably only an INFP can understand…especially when it comes to working in groups…either you feel you are the one who has to do all the work or end being neglected as if you are not worthy of doing it….this is something i have always felt although i have no idea if in my job i can really cope with it …

  67. Wow, this is amazing :D.

    I’m 18yrold girl INFP. I LOVE day dreaming, fantasizing about ideal situations, emotions etc (I have a hard time being sure of reality and what is in my head), listening to music & reading up on the lyrical meaning in great depth, having deep conversations one on one, writing out my thoughts (sometimes creatively), originality, authenticity, researching psychological theories (e.g. mbti personalities) and despite my usually ‘quiet’ nature I can ramble on passionately about subjects I really care about to people I am open with. I also am quite patient to others differences because I am always seeking to understand them as I know myself, I feel complex and spend ALOT of time analyzing myself. I usually self-sacrifice my time for the good of others. I remember in school I always doubted my creativity yet it seems to be something EVERYONE points out that I have in abundance? I second guess myself ALOT and my motives. I feel like I am very perceptive about others motives too, but I am nice enough to keep it to myself. I treat others the way I want to be. I never left a bad thought about someone uncorrected to something positive. I know deep down everyone is beautiful.

    I HATE boundaries, rules, deadlines – anything that limits my unrealistic expectations of life. In fact, the most painful experiences often result from people with rigid thinking often hint that I need to ‘be more realistic’ which ends up feeling as tho I’m inferior to there logic and the reality of something. It makes me feel unhelpful and as an annoyance to them! Authorities annoys me also but I rarely confront out of fear of conflict in general.

    Does any other INFP feel like this ??

    Another question, I’m at uni currently studying Speech Pathology and doubting whether this is really suited to me since I struggle to communicate clearly to others verbally. However I feel this career would grow me in my weakest area. I guess my ideal ‘idea’ of allowing growth through a career choice sounds pretty random..I do feel like it’s other aspects would suit my personality though. What do you think?

    Thanks for reading!

    • Hi Jess,
      I totally relate to this entire blog, but especially to you because although I am 47 years old, I’m about to go back to school to pursue a degree in Occupational Therapy…at least I think I am. I’ve actually thought about it for about 10 years now, and I keep talking myself out of it because I’m just not sure. And I hate not being sure. I even go back and forth trying to decide between Occupational Therapy and Speech Pathology. And like you, I feel that there are many aspects of these jobs that would fit with the INFP personality and needs. But I’m so afraid that I just won’t like the jobs after I’ve put in all the time in school, and taken out all of the student loans. I’m so afraid of wasting time. But the truth of the matter is that I’ve already wasted a lot of time. And what I’ve learned is that whether we choose to do something or not, the time is still going to pass by. And I’ve also been thinking to myself, I already know what I don’t want – because I’ve been doing that for years as an Executive Secretary, so now I have to at least give something else a try. And for every year that passes by, I feel like I’m slowly dying. I guess we both just have to make a decision, and let the chips fall where they may. Good luck to you…and to all of us!

      • I can so relate! I keep thinking about OT, but still haven’t done anything about it. Basically I don’t know how I can complete a full time day program while, supporting myself. I am 42, and working in a research lab which I hate. I also have the paralyzing fear that I will choose wrong again… and have another load of debt!

  68. Okay, this was a great blog entry and as an INFP I totally identify.

    Can somebody make a list of decent paying jobs that actually do have these kinds of conditions? Aside from writer, which obviously can pay so very little and in the one out of a million chance, pay a lot.

  69. Hi all, I recently got tested to be an INFP. First it was very relieved to know all my self-internal conflicts since I was a child was not that I am crazy, just it’s my perceiving function working in overdrive. I used to think I would never live to the age of 12. Reading how many of you had so many experiences trying different jobs make me feel envious that you guys all actually acted out on your feelings. I didn’t and sucked it up.

    Then, I realised working in my current career isn’t going to make me fulfilled, a tax specialist in a big firm. When I finally I got that, I now appreciate the stability and financial support the job comes with and stopped feeling as overwhelmed and suffocated as I did before. Less expectations. And i am saving as much as I can before i make my next move which is likely something more fulfilling and financially less stable.

    But thank you all for putting down your two cents to share. Remember us INFPs are so scarce given the MB stats, and economic theory said scarce resources are highly valued commodity. Our struggles are worthwhile because we work so hard to connect to other people to better their lives. Chin up all.

  70. Love your post. If you want help to find a career you’re best suited to, check out these books. I’ve been searching for a career that fulfils my infp needs for ten years and this is the first time I’ve actually felt close to finding it:

    Do what you are by Tieger and Barron

    The Pathfinder by Nicholas Lore

  71. I am also an INFP and have also gone through several career transitions. I studied economics in my undergrad then did a master’s in divinity. After working overseas for 3 years I came back to Canada and have worked in marketing for the past 15 years. Most of the time it’s boring, but pays the bills. Have been searching for the next career transistion as I get closer to 50! Was considering starting my own after school program for children or a Kumon franchise…

  72. Looks like this blog has been going for some time now, I just came across it and I hope many more follow behind me.

    As many I’m sure, I came across this post in search of a meaning to my life/work. I am an INFP in every detail, though I dont find myself artistic or well spoken, I’ve been told by others that I am, which probably further exemplifies my INFP stature. I am 30 yrs old now, I got into the Financial Services industry 8 years ago after college ( terrible career choice for an INFP I know). I lied to myself and my first company to land a job with dreams and visions of monetary success and social appreciation. I have moved from company to company in search of a non-sales, creative environment with much despair. I recently took the leap and left the corporate world which was killing me from the inside out, to become an independent advisor. I am one of the rare breads (aren’t we all) that got into the business thinking I could help people but have found over the years that the industry is focused solely on itself and provides very little for the human race, yet costs them billions. I have a very hard time trying to find myself in this world, and only stay true to the financial world because I lack the confidence in myself that I have any sort of skills or ability to enter a new field. Like many of you, my second true love (first being my wife) is traveling. Its the only artistic expression I have found that I can let myself enjoy and promote due to a sense of pleasing those around me, or fearing the reprocusions of what friends might think of me. I have joined this new company, which is very progressive in trying to change the culture of the financial world which allows me to be part of the creative process. I work from home, all my clients are managed virtually, which will hopefully allow me the free time to travel and further help along the road of self realization. But I find myself now in further fear of the future. Very little income, not alot of future growth due to the fact that I hate promoting my myself through prospecting and telling others how to live heir lives.

    I guess my question to all you INFP’s out there is what would you do if you were in my shoes? Do I try and re-create the wheel by joining this progressive company in hopes of changing the financial industry i know? If so, do I bite the bullet and struggle financially to try and achieve this dream (which may or may not be an un-obtainable dream). Or do I finally cut bait with the only thing I know and try to re-create myself? Great blog by the way, I look forward to advancements in an online community for our types.

    • If you are not satisfied within the financial industry, find something else.

      To help alleviate this transition I would suggest that you cut all excess expenses and manage yourself, financially, so that you have some breathing room. Being as experienced in the financial world as you are, you should have no problem.

      Follow your heart. We all have but one life.
      If we are not free to make mistakes, we are not free to live.

    • sdmatt151,
      I have been reading this blog for months and not responded yet, until I read about your experience in the Financial sector. I too find myself there. After my dreams of becoming a professional baseball player was dashed in my early teens (I was never great at baseball anyways), I haven’t found what motivates me. I went through college aimlessly (it took me over two years to select a major), and only settled on Business and Economics because they seemed “practical.” Ouch. I wanted financial security. Ouch. I wanted a job that would allow me to keep “work” at “work”–your typical 8 to 5 job. Ouch. Every decision that went into my career choice was a lie. It took me about a year working for a global banking business as a “financial analyst” to figure that out.

      Three years later, countless therapy sessions, and many small life changes later, I still feel the dissatisfaction of my career. I switched from a global banking company to a regional life insurance company. I am at that crossroads again. Like some INFP’s, I find the fear of success just as real as the fear of failure. What if I invest my time and money into another career that will leave me empty? What if I never find a fulfilling vocation? These are tough questions with no real answers.

      But this life is never as bleak as some of us INFP’s see it. I have a loving family who understands my need to find my purpose, a faith that clings to me even when I want to let go, and another day to finally find out what it is I want to be when I grow up. (fyi, I am actually a grown up…I mean that in the loosest of terms!)

  73. It is such relief when you think you are the only one in the world and you realize other people exist like you. I love who I am as an INFP when I am alone. As soon as I am around other people, I hate myself. And we live in a world where interaction is vital, especially for making a living.

    For me, being introverted is a curse. When you can’t find the right words when you need them when speaking to people sucks! I would love to be witty and funny as people love funny people but I can’t make my brain work fast enough to spit out some witty banter on the fly. But I can write and text message hillarious stuff when I have time to think about it.

    I have always been a dreamer. I fantisize more then living in this reality that I live in. I have an entire dream life and fantasy career in my mind where I am actually happy and enjoy my life as a world class race car driver. I wonder if other INFP’s dream like I do. I can be the man I always longed to be in my dreams.

    I am 35 y/o and have been a Paramedic since I was 19 y/o. I enjoy helping sick and injured people as many INFP’s enjoy helping people but I can’t stand being forced to make small talk with my partner or patients in the ambulance. I want a new career so bad but can’t figure out what to do with my life. Reading all these posts from my fellow INFP people here has me freaked out as so many of us don’t know what to do in life for a career. I dream of being a long haul truck driver as I can be alone. I love travelling and driving. But I don’t want to lose my family either if I went on the road as a trucker. What freedom and adventure it would be.

    I feel like I was meant to be someone else, be somewhere else, and do something else. I feel like my entire life is on the wrong path. Maybe it is the INFP in me causing this kind of thinking. Or did I take the wrong road early in life where I should have zigged instead of where I zagged.

  74. I googled ‘best careers for INFP’ and came across this website. I am surprised at how closely I relate to this article and much of what others have posted in reply!
    This may partially explain why I’ve left jobs in the past and basically have had trouble securing a job where I am a good fit. I am 23 years old going on 24 and am disappointed that I am far from where I saw myself career-wise just a couple years ago. A lot of the jobs I’ve had in the past (mostly retail/ customer service) I’ve quit because I grew dissatisfied with and the duties of those jobs did not fully align with my personal values. I’ve definitely been wanting more than just a job, but where there is freedom, independence, harmony, and creative expression available. Going back to school is definitely a strong consideration for me. I wish the best of luck to everyone out there who struggles with the same things I do!

  75. Wow I have never felt more understood, in my life. This is exactly how I feel about my career needs, and my interests. Like I don’t fit in to many job categories or others expectations… This describes me so well. I appreciate this post greatly!

  76. Feels surreal reading these posts. If there was any doubt that I am truly an INFP, it has been allayed.

    I don’t have all (or any of) the answers.

    However, I never stop observing the situation and thinking of ways to “optimize” (improve) my current situation. This sometimes spills over into my daily routine, and I find myself mentally optimizing how to improve my day by shortening walking paths, choosing the healthier menu items, etc.

    I believe this is why I’m motivated when helping those who also want to help themselves and improve their situation, not so much the lazy and the pessimistic. I know that if I ever become a counselor, I will become a career or academic counselor. Helping those who want to make changes in their lives and are not afraid of taking risks to do so. I doubt I’d be able to handle the heavy stuff, like working with drug addicts or the mentally handicapped.

    I currently work at a tech company, and it’s not too bad as I get to work with smart, motivated and (for the most part) nice people. The first thing I did when joining was give the link to the online MB test to just the people in my (small) team, which they were thrilled to fill out. Then we shared each other’s types, and this has made the team’s interactions with each other more enjoyable (and leads to a lot of humour).

    I’ve always enjoyed the creative side, so I continue to do photography on the side. I’m also taking acting and yoga classes, which help greatly. Writing is, of course, my strongest natural talent and the big elephant in the room for me. I know it’s what I’m best at, so sometimes I just feel like I’m avoiding it out of fear of success. Which is even greater than my fear of failure.

    I’m a regular guy in my mid 20s, so not a lifetime of wisdom here. In any case, here is a list of things I have learned that I think will help fellow INFPs on their search for a career:
    – Optimize for small group / one-on-one interactions.
    – Red flag fields: where compensation is tied too closely with performance. Low base, high bonus. This environment is great for others (competitive, cutthroat, hustling) but not for INFPs.
    – Avoid managerial positions in corporate environments. Let this be a liberating feeling – you don’t need to be manager, so just be happy at the lower level rungs of the company. They will scoff at your lack of ambition, or be amazed at your apathy. That’s fine – you are not like them. Let them fight it out.
    – Learn to say no to useless projects or busywork that’s handed out simply to take advantage of your good nature. Think of the corporate world as a prison (an INFP won’t have to exert himself too hard to make such an analogy) – your first day there, stand up for yourself. Let them know that you won’t make it easy to be messed with. Punch the first bully you encounter in his metaphorical nose, so to speak.
    – If your work offers no outlets for your natural creativity, find it outside of work. Evenings, weekends. This is where having a decent paying cubicle job will prove useful – you will be able to afford classes and equipment for your creativity. However, the truth is that most of us would be fine with just a clear head, stress free environment, a pen and some paper.
    – Ultimately, self employment may be the only solution for any of us. No need to quit work to begin that – start working on your ideas on the evenings/weekends. Work on reducing your expenses and living simpler to cut down your costs.

  77. So very enlightening to hear from fellow INFP’s in their quest for being authentic to who they are. I was very impressed with the articular by Aelthwyn and the care and incite that was taken in developing the list of what was critical in setting oneself up for success and being authentic. . .

    I think as INFP’s we should take that effort in developing that “list” I know that we we always find it difficult to navigate in a world such as this, but that should not ever change or alter the coarse we set once we know who we are.

    Early on in my childhood I chose a career in architecture because of the need I had to surrounded myself with all things creative. However, I also experienced many in my work that required me to do things that had nothing to do with my ideals of beauty, and art and creativity, etc…. But, during the journey, it also became apparent that no-one could take away who I was and what I wanted to become. That was up to me. Being true to who you are requires a commitment and effort to grow and seek the truth (your list). It requires a careful look into the future and assess if the struggles lead to where you want to be when the dust settles. . .

  78. Wow! And here I thought I was an anomoly. Ive made it up to a year and 13 days at a job. I always get fired because Im just so absent-minded, slow, and socially awkward that my medical degree (4.0 GPA) and two foreign languages are disposable. The only thing I feel good at anymore are languages and school itself.

    And I hate making mistakes! There is no lower feeling than your bosses searing knives of judgement, penetrating any self-worth and confidence you had left for that position.

    Im so relieved that Im not alone in this and that its not because Im a royal screw up. Im just INFP.

    On a side note maybe we can have INFP classified as a workplace handicap. That way we are safeguarded from being let go because of “Personality conflict issues.”

  79. WOW! This is exactly how I feel! This is the first time I have found a site that describes the need of an INFP perfectly!! I look at other sites and say “yeah but not completly.” I’ve been a nursing assistant for years now and the only thing I like now is the job security. I hate being treated like I’m stupid by supervisors that have only known residents for a few and I’ve known them for years (6 to be exact). The patients I deal with are psych patients which requires a lot of creativity and outside of the box thinking with them. And you have know each patient individually to understand their needs. However, it has gotten to where it seems that the resident’s well being is put aside. Right now its more about how long am I gone on break, who is monitoring the hall, am I on the break I am assigned to for today, are you sitting down, what are you talking about. I mean we can’t even interact with the residents, or be spontaneous, or do out the ordinary things that the residents like without being micro-managed. Its ridiculous!!! I feel like I’m sufficating!! I hate my job!! It wasn’t always like that but it is now and I can’t stand it. I used to like going to work but now I hate it. And that has caused so much depression for me. I have to convince myself eveyday just to go to work when I used to couldn’t wait to get there. My family has even noticed the change. I would sometimes wonder is there something wrong with me that I have to talk myself into going to work now. And finally I found someone who understands what I’m talking about. I just hope I can find a career that suits me so that I won’t feel this down anymore.

    • I’m a psychiatric nurse assistant too (and an INFP) and feel the same way. I love the creative problem solving this job involves and how really knowing a patient makes a difference. You can get them to get out of bed or avoid a shot or whathaveyou just by the relationship you have with them. However, I feel like I’m being micromanaged constantly. I work with geriatrics and there’s a constant coldcoughrunnynose thing going around and sometimes I catch it. I take those days off because I could literally kill one of my patients by passing it on to them. But whenever I do take a day off I get penalized for it. It feels like the management I work under doesn’t really value the quality of the job you do, instead they just want you to be a warm body fulfilling their numbers count that they need legally to have. I love my patients but I come home from work feeling drained. I realize that other employees are passing off jobs to me because I really do care and will be accomodating to patient’s needs. I rarely sit down and come home from work exhausted. I thought about going into nursing but this whole experience has made me reconsider. I’m looking at going back to school for public health an hopefully that will allow me to help people but in a less direct way. Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that I completely understand what you’re saying and I hope things get better for you 🙂

    • I’m a nursing assistant also and can totally relate to what you’re saying! I feel like I can do so much more than this. I am about to quit my secure job and go back to school for acupuncture! I’m scared to death. But if I don’t do it, I will mentally die in this job. Good luck finding your career path!

  80. I have a few thoughts. I am an INFP, too, and, like above, am on the border of Extrovert, but the older I get, the more Introverted I feel.

    I am a SAHM and a homeschooler, schooling my kids. I confess, there are days that it just zaps me. Days that I love it usually outweigh the ones that zap my energy, but the mundane every day tasks are exhausting. If I have to wipe the table one.more.time. Or do another load of laundry…I am usually okay if I am deep in thought, but if one of the kids comes in and there is a squabble, I want to go into my room and hide! 😉

    I have wondered, though, what I could do once the kids are older. I have thought about tax preparing/bookkeeping. It would give me the flexibility of not being 9-5, it suits my love for perfectionism and filling out forms, and the interaction is minimal with others, giving me time to myself.

    I wonder if anyone else has done this?

    I do really love writing and have considered counseling. I ‘counsel’ online, non-professionally, of course. I enjoy that because I speak more eloquently in writing. 😉

    The other thing I have considered is editing. Anyone have any experience with any of those things, as an INFP?

  81. Discovered I was INFP two years ago while trying to find out what was “wrong” with me. Never enjoyed any job since I left college 24 years ago and have always felt completely adrift in a world that has no place for me.
    Finding this site there is a sense of coming home – reading your stories is at times uncanny! I’d like to make a plea to anyone who recognises a young INFP in their family – help them! Please don’t let anyone crush their creativity and tell them the things they are interested in are only for spare time and not fit for a proper career/ life (sound familiar to anybody?) A young impressionable mind might believe them and feel guilty about every creative impulse and try to squash it, not understanding why they are miserable till who knows when.
    I’m off to re-read Infinite Self by Stuart Wilde, it does make me feel better

  82. Well, guys I feel your pain, so a big internet hug to all of you… I think career is secondary in my life to the more important things: Being true to myself, having a good relationship with my family, being in touch with nature, taking care of my health, living everyday as an adventure. I guess these things are all orthogonal to a career-driven world, but all I can say is that we INFPs do a hell of a lot with a hell of a little, so please be easier on yourself ! ^_^

  83. I have enjoyed reading many of the above posts, as I read several posts I felt a deep connection with your many of your struggles because they have also been my struggles. Unlike many of your stories I found my path by accident -I got hurt and went to therapy and was directed into the therapy field by my therapist. Well, I followed her advice and now I am also a healer of minds, a mental health therapist. Eventhough I feel like I make a difference in my work I also feel drained by it. The more that I listen to my client’s I often feel as if this world is not meant for us INFP’s. It is rigged against us because we are so in tune with our souls. If we don’t find our life’s calling we feel like we are slowly dying from the inside out. We feel so deeply and care so much that we are easily prone to burn ourselves out. We have such strong value systems and INFP’s tend to be so very hard on ourselves. I often see how life is not fair and I don’t understand how the most aggressive personalities often get what what they want – while the nicer folks don’t. Survival of the fittest seems so cruel and unusual to me. It just doesn’t seem fair to us INFP’s but it is what it is and we don’t have to like it just accept it. I often have to work very hard not to take life or myself too seriously. I also have learned over the years to slow down and pay attention to my health because I hold unto things too strongly and so deeply. I can almost feel my chest caving in and my heart chakra closing in on itself when I over personalize things. I can be incredibly tuned in to the feelings and thoughts of my clients but listening to problems for 6 to 8 hours a day can also be a very draining experience. I have come to appreciate how important balance is in my life. It is okay to tune things out and have some time to be alone to recharge my batteries. Fortunately I am also in a happy long term relationship which really helps me to stay grounded. I am the dreamer and my wife is a realist – I encourage her to get off the ground and take flight and she helps me from crashing into the sun.

    • I feel I am at home here and am encouraged by everyone’s posts. This particular post sums up my thoughts exactly. Some days it’s so hard to be here when you feel so disconnected. Finding a career that fits you is critical to your well-being, and our current societal structure is not set up to work for us, in fact it more often works against us. I too feel that I am often overlooked and/or ignored in a group setting, which only exasperates the feelings of not belonging. Balance is very important. I find that gratitude can work wonders for my well being.
      I work as a legal assistant and am currently taking prerequisite courses for Speech Pathology. I recently had a horrifying experience where I froze up during a group presentation…then the self-doubt creeped in again, and now I am considering dropping school altogether. But I keep going because I refuse to be a quitter.

  84. I am an INFP as well. I read every single post on here, some I admit I skimmed across quickly due to boredom, I noticed a lot of people coming across anxious and frustrated in their posts as they were looking for something.
    I pictured what that person looked liked as their eyes darted quickly at the words on the screen, scrolling frantically down the page holding their breathe, their anticipation at an all time high.
    I could hear their inner voice exclaiming within is this it, am I finally going to get the answer I’ve been searching for aimlessly all these years? Is someone finally going to tell me what my perfect career is for me, is my “golden answer” somewhere in these words?

    No it’s not, the answer is in your heart and has been there all along, you’re just choosing to ignore it, just like the rest of us. We all know what career or careers is best for us, our problem is FEAR!
    We let fear consume and control us, as soon as you find one, two or three jobs that suit your INFP needs, you immediately go into the self doubt and the “what if” mindset sabotaging it. You let FEAR take over and as long as you continue to allow it you will always be in this vicious cycle until you die, never fullfilling yourself.

    How many times in your life have you come face to face with a fearful obstacle and once you tackled, you thought to yourself that wasn’t so bad?

    Here’s a story that hopefully puts it into perspective and you can connect with…… As a child going to the water park in the dog days of summer remember the first time going down the monster 50 ft drop slide at speeds of mach 10 like a fighter jet, or so you were convinced of that.
    Hell you were 10 years old and it scared the shit out of you It was called the Green Beast for crying out loud. Every weekend you went to the pool with your family and watched your siblings and friends tackle the monster, but you were too afraid so you stood at the bottom and watched everyone have fun.

    Three months later as summer was coming to an end, the last weekend at the pool you decided you were going to conquer your fears and the monster. Your whole body was trembling from the fear of the unknown, as you climbed those never ending stairs.
    Soon you were standing at the entrance of the beast, and in your mind you were convinced you were going to die that day but you had to go there were people in line waiting impatiently behind you, not to mention the girl you’ve had a crush on since kindergarten, so you closed your eyes held your breath and went for it.

    The ride was a complete blur, and as soon as you came out of the end at the bottom landing with a giant splash in the pool, you surfaced wiping the water from your eyes staring up in shock and awe that you just conquered the Green Beast.
    Suddenly you realized that wasn’t scary at all, shit that was the most fun you had all summer, why didn’t I do this sooner you asked yourself? You started kicking yourself because you knew you only had one more hour of Green Beast fun before you had to leave the water park, for it was closing for the season until next summer.

    You let fear stand in the way of your summer vacation happiness at the water park……….Don’t let The Green Beast stand in the way of your happiness in life conquer those fears, close your eyes and go for it, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain!!!

    • I think you are so right, it is fear that stops us. However, I must have so much fear that I just can’t even see straight, because I have lost touch with what I should be doing. I wish that I could break free from the fear and be wise about my life! Once I throw God and my family into the mix, I get extra confused though. If I am supposed to follow Jesus, do I need to find a career? As a mother, should I have any other goals apart from my kids well-being and good development? and most of all…can I step up and be “on top of things” if I need to learn and improve skills for a new job? I am totally the nervous-eyed scanner, HELP!

  85. Like many ot the above comments, I’ve held so many positions that it has afforded me great experience. Albeit, mostly unrelated experience; the type that employers can’t look beyond. So, I can interview well because I see them coming at me with this and I have my stock answers as to why such a variety.
    I now know I can not sit at a cubicle or be in the same building day after day. I was a travelling sales person and enjoyed that the most, but not because of the sales, which was the job. To sell something that people don’t really need or upselling is something I can do, but don’t see the point. Sooner or later, it’s like pulling teeth to go to work. That’s when I hit a sales slump, when I don’t feel good about doing it.
    So, I am now debt free and work for utilities and basics for 3. Nice rhyme, huh?
    I live in a fairly cold, grey climate for about 8 mos. a year along in a community of mostly older retired people. I am married to a fellow who likes to grow food. I am toying with the idea of starting a soup business and have begun researching the prospect. I would also like to write and have some great ideas, but have a hard time sitting still for very long. Restless is the best word to describe my personality. Like trying to get a flying squirrel to stay in one tree……Think I could be a writer? Heh. Thanks for reading this. INFP, best of luck to you all and remember, no experience is bad experience. It all adds up like a bank account. Don’t concern yourself about the bad or good now. Just get out there, learn about yourself and get that much closer. You will arrive…..Eventually.

  86. This is so true for me. I wrote a similar list of career needs. I feel I have a dual calling, as a writer/social activist and as a yoga therapist. Just need to work out how to marry the two and how to pay the bills at the same time. I’m a single mum so that’s somewhat important. I have been a serial student, from chiropractic to anthropology, psychology to Japanese and I am still searching and seeking. Perhaps the answer is to find what truy calls us and see life as an evolving journey. For me yoga therapy is not just teaching an ongoing procession of strangers but working one on one with people in helping them meet their emotional and physical potential. It is a marriage of many of my interests but has the scope to be taken to deeper and levels to keep me interested. I do realise that it will take time to build a practice/business that will pay the bills, but that’s ok. I started this post feeling uncertain about my direction but sign off feeling more assured. I’m sure that will change and tomorrow I’ll want to be a musician. Good luck in the search fellow infps. I think many of us needto creTe our own paths to be truly fulfilled.

  87. Im only 2% introvert of the INFP, which means I am capable of being very extrovert, but man does that 2% make a big difference in my overall life. Ive had many customer service jobs as i like to call them, where I work with people and thrive in the ability to be creative even if it means developing systems and solutions to making people happy and projects run smoothly. Ive moved and have more jobs than anyone i know at 27 years old. I follow my nose like Toucan Sam, I say… but I have a hard time with sticking to a career path because I cant do something I dont adore and am in love with. The idea of being in love with a purpose in life, a career is fleeting im realizing… to rely so intensely on a sensation.. feeling satisfied at all times, cozy and warm and fulfilled will be harder for people like us. Some jobs I’ve had are: Art teacher (to children and adults), respite care provider for children in the foster system (its sustainable as part time work and its very rewarding), hairdresser (while its fun at times, its far more draining and boring than thought), out door education counselor (being outside is amazing and you can teach others/youth how to love it), cafe manager (its fun developing better ways of operating businesses but managing people is hard because you cant always be nice), house flipper (the general process of renovating a home is great fun and theres always something new, but its easy to get distracted during large projects and time lines are essential for successful flips), nanny (one on one care for new little human beings is the most rewarding job so far, as theres nothing I cant justify doing to growing a happy healthy child).
    Ive had many more jobs.. these are the ones that stick out for me as fulfilling more than the rest. All of these jobs allowed me to be my own boss and the aspects of being important or meaningful over rid my insecurities of lack of security.. all of these jobs have creative outlets and most importantly an opportunity to connect with people so I could share information..ideas.. beauty..
    I think the real purpose of the INFP is to share the beauty we are damned and gifted enough to see in this world… the challenge is finding the way that you can render it new to allow others to experience it.

  88. hmm, stuck in a clerical job in a tough market. have some ideas about what I would like to do but not sure it would serve the needs listed above

  89. This…is me. I work in media but it’s driving me crazy cause my boss is very demanding and sometimes moody which throws me way off cause I’m a people pleaser (trying to get out of that tho). For years, I’ve been a production coordinator and I hate that job because it’s more admin paperwork than anything else which doesn’t grant me any creativity at all. Now, I’m finally realizing that I want to be a writer and I’m writing my first book while taking a creative writing course at a nearby college. I gotta say…even if I spend 3 hours writing and fall asleep, I wake up so much happier.

    I’ve even considered becoming a flight attendant so I can travel and write. I look at it as a means to an end. I’m also looking into becoming a travel writer. I hope this new path works out. I’m excited and scared. Loving this new path and loving that I’ve finally figured out I’m an INFP!

  90. You should all get this book “Do What You Are” by Tieger. It’s way better than the what color is your parachute. You can probably get it from the library first and see what it’s all about. I did that, then bought it and love it. I felt it gave me permission to be who I am. And it is very hard to be an INFP in this world of extroverts and team players. I just want to be at home doing something creative that I love. I have a degree in teaching and am a substitute right now. I hate it. I will pursue anything that fits in with my INFP skills and it will work. You have to do the same. Be persistent. Work for yourself, at home if that’s what you want. Have several jobs to give you that variety & freedom we need. Where there’s a will there’s a way. I am also a die-hard conservative. How can we be so caring of people and support the killing of unborn babies?

  91. Like everyone else, I too, felt this article was spot on. At my community college, I had this same dilemma for so long. I know my family got tired of hearing about every new path. Every two or three months I would change my mind and declare a new major. Thank goodness for the General Education Program! I spoke to the career counselor at the college, and she was just wonderful. She listened to my many ideas and stresses as though she completely understood. The counselor had tons of literature on just about everything. She had about 10 tests for me to take. The list was narrowed down to two things in the end: photographer or architect. I decided on neither. The last time I left her office, I was so certain I wanted to be a graphic designer. After all, I would be able to chose from working in a business or work from home. I could make use of my artistic ability and creative problem solving. I wouldn’t have to worry about difficult customers or cleaning public toilets. There was a possibility of making great money, and I could go out in the world and see my work displayed. “How rewarding,” I thought.

    Then, reality set in as I surfed through forums and blogs on graphic design. Seasoned professionals and those new to the field were alike in one major way: job security was scarce. Back in the day, graphic designers were needed. Now, businesses opt for the cheapest way to get anything done. Business managers and owners use ready-made templates or create their own designs. They don’t have to worry about setting up meetings or if their message isn’t being fully addressed. I didn’t want to have to freelance. I have three children who really need their mommy and daddy to make regular paychecks. So again, I delved into myself and picked apart every aspect about myself until all of the pieces of the puzzle were neatly organized into pros and cons, likes and dislikes, needs and wants.

    As a INFP stay-at-home mom, I can tell you, I love everything about it… If only I could get paid for doing it, then I might be able to buy a new hybrid. I reminded myself of how at every job I had I would be so energized for hours anytime a child or baby came into my place of work. I would be filled with delight and passion. They would leave me thinking, “I wish I could work with children.” At last, I have chosen to get my degree in Early Childhood Education. Many of my wants, needs and values are met with this job. My career counselor and I came to the conclusion that there is no “perfect job” out there for anyone. There are always the downsides and frustrations. My fellow INFPs, focus on finding the career that is the closest fit that you are passionate about. The true challenge is in finding a way to cope with the challenges/difficulties that come with the job, and sticking with a job. Good luck!

  92. Sometimes I think that with all the time I’ve spent researching careers that what I really enjoy is the act of exploring careers. Career counselor?

  93. I just turned 30. I quit my career ~ 47K paying cubical job, now I am back in college for a AS in Music Performance & Sound with goals of realizing my early youth hobbies into a self produced artist. I work a flexible part time job at a 7Eleven. Just sold my 09 370z and will downgrade to something more affordable. Life is great and never been happier. Never suppress your intuition, it knows better than you think you know.

    • Thank you! Very inspiring. I turned 30 last December and in February I started (finally) taking music classes I’ve been wanting to since I was 16. If I could wake up tomorrow and not go to my job ($50K) but rather work at a clothing store (I have the exact one in mind) to pay the bills and then be free to practice music, that would be a dream come true.

  94. I’ve done a lot of different jobs, mostly in design / music. But now going in the entrepreneur direction. If there is no suitable job, create your own universe. I think entrepreneurship is a very interesting direction for infp’s.

  95. I went to see a career counsellor and he tested me as INFP. I can relate to only some of what is mentioned in the article and not really with any of the posts. Sorry ppl.

  96. Sorry didn’t really clarify that last comment, I am an INFP as well and I have been able to resolve my nursing with my ideals over the years and feel great about my job but it eventually wore me out and I definitely have compassion fatigue. However in ultrasound you are only dealing with patients in short 1/2 – 1 hour blocks and I am easily able to be very nice and supportive in such short bursts! Plus I still feel like I am supporting people through injury or pain so it is great for me. Obstetric ultrasound would be great too! But mostly I have decided over the years I need a job that I am comfortable to do every day but doesn’t take all the best of me so I have energy to fulfill my emotional and spiritual needs outside of work. I have decided after all these years of floating like a butterfly and avoiding commitment (I am 33 married no kids yet) that a well paying job actually outweighs the negatives of being tied down. Because it gives me the cash flow to travel and pursue things that really feed my soul, and I realise now being broke actually makes me miserable and isn’t spiritually akin to a vow of poverty. It’s just not nice.

  97. I have also been a nurse for 15 years and got to the point of crying before work- also doing permanent night shifts didn’t help! Anyway have now found ultrasound which lets me keep my own patient list and able to work alone but in a group. And the pay is double in Australia which means I will eventually work less days when I am qualified, for more money, better quality of life and time to spend on my passions. I didn’t want to start at the bottom in another career so it was a great move for me. Hopefully that helps someone…

    • Natalie I can relate! I have crying myself for the past 2 weeks before going to work. I’m a mental health clinician and I am totally burned out!

    • I found it quite interesting how many health care professionals posted on here …I am a psychiatric nurse and have been for 14 years ..I am beyond burnt out …I am on fire ..I feel as many older people on here do that I am getting too old to continue this search for a new career..but if I don’t find something else I will stay stuck and miserable …this is my last ditch effort to ‘get on with it ‘…I have enjoyed reading all of your posts .. definitely made me feel ‘less’ alone in the world ..back to the bookstore for more reading and searching..I feel like I am getting closer

      • I have been sitting here thinking that something in healthcare would be better for me. I sit in the research lab I work in and try to care about what I am doing, but honestly I don’t see anything coming from what we are doing. I was thinking that nursing or psyc would be a better match. Maybe not, maybe it would burn me out…. feel so lost.

  98. Great comment. This whole site is fantastic. I too am wondering what to do now (3 years out of uni and no job in my field). Bought the book you guys suggested and still not any closer. Might invest in a life coach or phsyologist for some more career advice 🙁

  99. Excellent article, I’ve only skimmed through the myriad of replies. INFP here, although borderline INTP (I’ve worked out I go more INTP when immersed in work). I can relate to so much of the above. I’m nearly there in my current career, I find locations for films and TV programmes. I get good autonomy, I get to be creative, my work gets seen by a lot of people so it ticks my “global reach” box. What kills me though is the pressure, the receiving of any criticism whatsoever, and the inherent uncertainty and conflict which comes about by imposing filming onto the real world. And it doesn’t really feel worthy enough, the filming and crew ride rough-shod over the world without caring enough about the other people within it. Suffice to say I often end up disliking the crews I have to work with (never to their faces though, that’d lead to argument, and arguments rock me to my core). I’d love to write for a living if I could but I have a nagging doubt that I lack either the talent or the killer instinct or both. How INFP is all of this?!

  100. I’m 33, currently unemployed after working for 4 1/2 years doing administrative assistant work, and I am thinking of taking a Social Worker program, but I have my doubts. I’ve dealt with a lot of anxiety and depression throughout my life, so I guess I feel like I have a good idea of what people go through themselves. I constantly question myself if I am capable and if I have the emotional capacity to keep my composure doing that type of work. It’s all very hopeless, but it is nice to have that comfort to know we are not alone. I still go in and out of dispare not being able to fit into a workplace, and have just as much difficulty seeing myself anywhere in the future. I’m going to decide on this college program though, it’s probably the best choice I have, but it’s hard because of feeling so uncertain.

  101. Wow, I can’t even believe how much this relates to exactly how I’m feeling. Everything on this page is just me in a nutshell. I’m only 21, but I went to school for 2 years for graphic design and it did not mesh well with me. I keep on thinking I’d do well in a human services type career, but at the same time I’m an introvert so I don’t think I could handle people 24/7. It’s so tough trying to decide these things. Like others have mentioned, I want a career not a job and something that makes me want to get up in the morning and feel fulfilled, not something I will hate.

  102. wow everything on here was completly spot on! im still having trouble…i dont want to go to school until i know what i want to do but i dont want to work at a dead end job bc it makes me miserable. part of me just wants to be a stay at home mom or somthing even though i dont have kids yet. any suggestions?

    • Have you considered doing daycare or owning a nursery school? There are two year programs available in early childhood education. It could fit well when you do have your own children. I had ‘dreamed’ of doing that, as I have dreamed of many other things, but my lack of self confidence sapped any motivation I had to pursue it. Sometimes we have to ‘just do it!’

    • I feel the same way, at 23 and a full time student, as a sophmore I’m losing motivation now that i have to define myself with a major…. I dont KNOW what i want to do. I thought going to school would help me figure it out, but I’m just as lost as ever. I just don’t want to be confined by a schedule! EVER. I’d really like to be a stay at home mother, but wonder if I’ll feel like I’m lacking meaning in my life or missed out on my “potential” since I am technically considered in the top 2% nationwide with my intelligence – im not trying to boast, Im just trying to explain the pressure that I put on myself- I’ve often been told I should be an astronaut or surgeon… but i feel like Ill be wasting my life with a full time job and wasting my potential without one! What a catch 22… im thinking about stopping school for now to have children and going back later… so confused.

    • I understand that “heavy feeling”… I started working at 14, now 23 i feel like i started too early and wore myself out. I no longer have that passion for work and now just stay at home and go to school full time (thank you to my wonderful husband). But I still have no idea what I’m going to school “for” and now as a sophomore, I’m losing motivation due to having to define myself with a major… how can I pick just ONE?! I love (like most of us here) animals, children, helping others see the beauty in life and find meaning, motivating others, health and holistic medicine, learning and being knowledgeable (i just like going to school for a living haha can’t that be a thing?), traveling, writing (great at it), art and gardening, family, but most importantly i just can’t settle down… not with a family I mean.. but with a career. I’d love to do something in teaching that isn’t every day. Having an every day schedule feels like prison! I’ve contemplated being a stay at home mom where I can nurture, teach, and inspire every day… but I want to find something else, too. I feel like I’m caught between wasting my potential and wasting my life in a money oriented strict job… I recently spoke to a few people about careers I have considered, but they all tell me they are too hard to break into. I actually (wonder if anyone else can understand) CHOSE to live off the grid and be homeless for almost three years in between the car, tents, bartering with friends for stay, etc… and it was actually very tolerable but when I got very sick, I had to settle down in one place (with my husband). I wouldn’t go back, but I am sick of being constrained by societal expectations (frankly I just don’t even care about them in the least). I feel fulfilled in life being totally self-sustained (although I still need cable, internet, and water thank you very much LOL but other than that). I garden, make my own clothing, shampoo, etc… I feel very misunderstood – I don’t understand why I cant just force myself to work! I would rather live off the grid again that have to work in a job that I hate as ridiculous as that sounds! I just can’t get past the idea of wasting my life away in an office when there are so many adventures and opportunities in the real world. I agree with someone up there who says bartering would make much more sense – money is stupid. I actually find it very difficult to make friends because all they want to do is go shopping or out to eat or spend money! I just can’t connect with them at all. I feel more connected to the elderly than someone in their 20s, 30s, or even 40s!

      Oops I guess I’m getting carried away with writing again – let me list the careers I have pondered to see if any of you can relate!

      – Some type of part time teacher (is there such a thing in any field? art, computers, or college, etc…)
      – Stay at home mommy <3
      – Travel Writer or Copywriting Editor
      – Blogger (I wish!)
      – Photographer/Makeup Artist (In this field for years and loved it but took so much energy to "network" for jobs).
      – Childbirth Education/Midwife/Ultrasound
      – Counselor
      – Interior Designer
      – Flipping Houses!!!!! (For some reason i LOVE houses).
      – Nanny
      – Environmental Instructor (for kids)
      – Life Coach/Teen Coach
      – Rehabilitation Counselor (coping after illness)
      – Career Counseling/Guidance Counselor
      – Household Manager
      – Dancer/Dance Instructor
      – Organizing charitable events
      – Gardener
      … am I forgetting anything else, guys?

      • I’m a middle-aged INFP, about eight years from retirement, with little hope of making a career change. I can relate to most of what you have said. I’m a manager and accountant, both of which feel like torture at times. I have a couple of suggestions based on your list of carreer options.

        1) Part-time teacher: Tutor in a subject that you like. There are volunteer opportunities for literacy and ESL volunteers. As a volunteer you don’t get paid in $$, but in good feelings, knowing that you have helped someone in their development.
        2) Stay at home mommy. God, how I would have loved that, but I’m a Daddy with a lot of pressure to perform financially. I was a stay-at-home Dad for three months while unemployed an absolutely loved it.
        3) flipping houses? have you tried real estate? There are many options available for real estate agents, flexible hours, and you can do the flipping, investing, etc. Some brokers (Century 21) have real estate classes and help you study for your state exam.
        That is just a little feedback on the items that caught my eye. I also love gardening & glogging in my spare time. Personally, I want to get paid for reading books. LOL.

  103. I have only very recently discovered that I , too, am an INFP. Like so many of others, I was shocked at how absolutely dead-on it was. And reading some of your posts, I feel as if there are clones of myself out there I knew nothing about! I have to admit I’m still reeling over the fact that there are so many others so like myself, struggling with the same issues. (I’ve felt my entire life like I’ve had to fight just to be myself. Anybody else feel that way? ) One thing occurs to me, though, and that is that as long as we-all keep looking at ourselves through the eyes of others, we’re going to continue to hamper ourselves in so many ways, denying ourselves the beauty of who we really are, and what we have to offer to the world at large. One common thread- and believe me, I struggle with this too- is the idea that we have to find that ONE career that’s THE right career. Who says ONE job has to fill the bill? Why not have a combination of things? Instead of following the societal norm of having that one thing your supposedly supposed to do forever, split it up with different things differnt days. Maybe work 2 days in a book store, work 3 in a day care center, or whatever interests or time arrangements floats your boat. Follow other interests as hobbies, and then they might just turn into something that generates some income, who knows? Its alot easier to find part-time jobs, generally, and its also easier to move on to something else if you get tired of it or it doesn’t work out. This can also give you an opportunity to try out different things to see if you like them, without it being too much of a commitment… We also so strongly identify ourselves by our jobs; if anybody asks, just say”I’m an Entrepaneur” ! If they’re really interested, tell ’em what you’re involved in, work-wise and hobby-wise. You might just make a valuable contact for a project that way! One thing I will say, is that I think society puts on everyone the idea that unless there’s a paycheck involved, any work you do (like a hobby or volunteering) doesn’t really have value. Oh, so DEFINETLY not so! You have to feed your soul just as much as you have to feed your body! Also, if you take the path of looking at every hobby as a potential income source, that in and of itself may ruin it for you. I take big exception to the whole “do what you love and the money will follow” approach, and maybe some of you have had the same experiences I have had: that in order to pay the bills, you end up compromising your dream out of necessity, only to find that you’ve lost what you set out to do in the process, and quite possibly end up destroying the dream altogether. (Been there, done that. Horrible.). I think we owe it to ourselves to try to sample, at least, everything that interests us as much as possible. I honestly don’t care about money; I don’t really “get it” in alot of ways…kind of hard to explain but it just is such an arbitrary concept (okay, I won’t go there). Personally, I’d rather be on he barter system, that makes more sense to me! Anyway, money is one of those evil necessities, so it comes back to the nitty-gritty of having enough to survive… which leads to the whole job thing. The big thing I’m facing down at 56 is that while I am a person of simple needs, the good ol’ USA still demands health insurance, even with whatever the Obamacare situation finally works out to be. I had to have emergency surgery a couple of years ago that ended up with complications, and no health insurance. I will NEVER be able to pay off the bill; I could buy a house with what I owe! And after taking care of both my parents when they became elderly and ill makes me keenly aware of the costs and lack of quality available care for people when they get older. I don’t want my loving but very non-INFP daughter making life decisions for me that I would hate because I wasn’t able to have the funds to set up something for myself… Depressing, I know, sorry! But unfortunatly, reality . For myself, I am currently flat broke after dedicating so many years to caring for my folks. I absolutely have to get a job, but jeez, its hard. And its tough out there, too, in this economy, especially when you’re “older” (I hate that, I don’t feel or act older, it’s flat-out predjudice!) I get great ideas for things career-wise, and I’ll spend hours thinking of ways to do them, planning it all out, etc., and have come to realize that alot of the fun of it all is the PLANNING, the POSSABILITIES of it all! We are idea-people, after all, and it is oh so easy to get caught up in all the “what-ifs” (sigh). We need to form a giant think-tank that’ll pay us to sit around and come up with great ideas for things! I know I’m jumping around a bit, but some income-streams that might appeal to some of you (as I am detecting some common threads in many posts) are dog-walking, pet sitting, house sitting; teaching crafts through a local craft store, selling stock photos to be used by others (there’s online sites for that, i don’t know alot about it). Some big pet store chains hire people solely to feed the pets and clean the cages etc. I’ve heard that zoos often hire people who first “pay their dues” as volunteers. In fact, alot of places do that. Just remember, just because its part-time, or not a convential kind of job, that doesn’t mean its not a “real” job! My own goal is to move to the little 1 acre lot with tiny cabin that my parents left me in the Sierra Nevada foothills. Needs a ton of work but nirvana in the making, believe me! Still, I have to have enough $ to be able to live there, plant my gardens (I’m very into sustainable agricuture, organics, heirloom herbs/veggies and heritage poultry/livestock), have my animals, etc etc. All doable but I stiil need the money to get it off the ground and keep it going. Its in a relatively isolated area so no nearby jobs plus ideally I’d work from home…sound familiar guys? Sounds great to me but those around me would think its crazy, I know. I keep it to myself for now, don’t want anybody stepping on my hopes! Then again, I’d love to move to the Southern Oregon coast, or even go live in another country for awhile…aarrrgh! Too many choices, not enough lifetime! Anyway, hopefully I’ve given a little inspiration and food for thought. Hang in there evrybody! Let’s hear as many success stories as possible to help us on our journies!

    • Barbara, thank you so much for the inspiration! I had to write some of your thoughts in my journal because they were awesome and relatable! I’m have been feeling stuck lately, yet I have so many interests to pursue, I become immobilized in doing them at times. (I think more so because I’m burned out from work). I have come away from these posts – and have always known- that I have to get more into these ideas and interests I have. God gave them to me for a reason- to embrace His creations and humanity for my happiness.

  104. As an INFP, I hope my story can help someone else… After getting a BA in Spanish, I’ve been a camp cook, a craft repair person for a fair trade organization, a free lance graphic artist, a watercolorist and private art teacher, a teacher’s aide, a newspaper website coordinator, and a secretary.

    Then I needed to help more with family finances…so went back to school at age 50. For 6 years I have been a Physical Therapist Assistant in an Alzheimer’s facility. I intuitively can connect with my patients to feel what they need…I became a guru at creative problem solving and wheelchair positioning. It was extremely fulfilling in one sense but I constantly fought burn-out from intensely working with people and the company’s pressuring for impossible productivity numbers. I worked 5 days a week, then 4, then 3….Then a month ago I couldn’t do it anymore, anxiety and sleeplessness..and am now on a leave of absence to heal. My boss says I”m irreplaceable, and I’m to write my own job description. I may go back one day a week PRN…I need to finally write that book/instruction manual/blog to teach others what I’ve learned about physical therapy for dementia patients.

    But the point here is…it looks like we are all on the same journey, wanting to help others while maintaining wholeness for ourselves, an oh yes, earning a living. As an oldster (!) I now can embrace the patchwork of my employment history. I helped many people, suffered a lot, made some good friends but not much money (until my PTA career) AND LEARNED WHAT I OUGHT NOT BE DOING. In (INFP)Parker Palmer’s wonderful book “Let your life speak”, he says you find your way not by doors opening ahead of you, but by doors closing behind you. This book is a MUST READ….wonderful! I also recommend “The Highly Sensitive Person”. Google it.

    And one last nugget to leave you with hope. My dear father was an INFP (thank goodness!!! ) He was a high school social studies teacher who wanted to save the world. He enjoyed it the first few decades, but the last number of years was extremely difficult, back in the 1970s. He stuck it out, retired, and then spent almost 30 years having a ball doing what he wanted to do: gardening, volunteering everywhere, traveling, reading…all for altruistic purposes. There is wholeness for us (“happiness” seemes too shallow a word). It is a journey that is worth taking.

  105. Hello INFPs

    What an interesting thread. I don’t normally wear my heart on my online sleeve but in the interests of INFP solidarity, I’ll throw in my ha’penny-worth of backstory, as someone content in their career.

    I can certainly second the person earlier who recommended university work. I’m doing a PhD in History and have never felt as fulfilled, or had such a sense of the ‘work that isn’t work’, as in the proverb somebody quoted. I work on my own time, in my own way, and when I teach it will often be to small seminar groups. There is a basic atmosphere which respects people’s independence and integrity, together with high expectations, and this all appeals to my introvert and my idealist qualities. I’m here for at least three years, and after 6 months, I feel that my colleagues are getting to know me and becoming friends; the more this is the case, the more comfortable, safe and confident I feel. The work is basically solitary, but my department is quite large and full of ‘good people’, in a vibrant university, so I get a nice balance of alone-time and society. I study the history of another country, so can both use my language skills and travel to archives, and my period is contemporary, so I get to interview people. I’m lucky enough to have an avuncular supervisor who ‘gets’ me and my musings on the meanings of things, or outlandish connections made between disciplines, and has only once suggested that I might be mad(!). I’m lucky enough, and this is crucial to me, as I definitely don’t come from money or have the desire to acquire it, to have a ‘patron’, in the form of a national research council-funded scholarship, which means I don’t have to worry (too much) about that mucky money stuff.

    If this sounds smug, I only hope it can stand as an example of an INFP who is ‘successful’ in the sense of being content in their life and activities. I have my share of issues – eating disorder stuff, relationship stuff, self-esteem-based really, but ultimately I have faith that I’m on the best path I can be, which given how damn complicated the world can be, isn’t bad going.

    I recognise the troubled searching of the INFP, and it was only a couple of years ago that I settled upon the path I’m on, after a relationship (with an INTP) went spectacularly tits-up and I broke down completely. That was when I was in my early twenties (I’m now mid-twenties). It revealed to me, I think, that you have to decide to want to live in this wondrous world, and once made, this decision is so rewarding to an INFP because we are especially capable of living authentically (I say this in the knowledge of what a troubled concept ‘authenticity’ can be.) It was a loss of illusions, which was no bad thing, because it enabled me to begin to acquire something approaching wisdom. The thing with ‘work’ is finding a balance between going with your instincts and being prepared to whip out the ESTJ tools if need requires (if it advances your cause as an INFP). Studying History is part of my way of seeing the unity of things, and for me it’s not really separable from, for example, my yoga practice, or playing musical instruments, or learning languages. I would particularly recommend finding a genuinely good (i.e. not just any) yoga teacher, or a holistic physical activity – martial arts, capoeira, dance – rather than a ‘sport’. Breathing, posture, health, will in my opinion all help an INFP find the self-possession needed to handle the tricky moments of life and of a career (for me, answering questions at conferences where I present my work).

    I have an underlying sense of being fortunate which has allowed me to get through some sticky patches: depression, aphasia, a broken heart. All I can suggest to an INFP who doesn’t feel lucky, or feels cynical, would be to learn to ‘let go’ of the anxiety which can accompany perfectionism (hence the yoga suggestion). Let serendipity take you (Jung was big on serendipity, no?) and because you’re someone who potentially has access to the unity and beauty of things, you’ll arrive where you need to be. We INFPs are very much part of the world, and I would recommend seeing as much of it as you can (can definitely understand the temptation to go ‘off-grid’ but not sure I can see the world in divisive terms myself). See new social interactions as a way to experiment with who and how you might be. However dreamy, we also have a gift for seeing things ‘as they are’ and if you feel an internal conflict, there’s probably a vision that you’re not trusting. Find an environment in which you feel ‘safe’ (so glad I don’t live in corporate America, or corporate anywhere, for that matter!). If you can find the drive and the self-esteem to express how you see the world, and can seek out the place/s where this expression will be valued, you’ll be OK.

    Good luck, and love to all!

  106. Yup I’m pretty sure I’m an INFP. And I just wasted more time than I’d like to admit while at work reading all these posts.. Why isn’t there an answer!
    I can’t go back to school unless the course is less then a year, its just not in me. I am sort of money driven and am good with managing my own money. But I don’t know what I LOVE! I “like” and am interested in all sorts of things, sewing, tiling, pottery, pilates, gardening, wood working, metal working, building things, renewable resources, traveling, animals, farming, camping, wildlife, etc etc but what do I choose and how do I get more involved in it?? I think I would be best meandering around a farm taking care of animals doing what ever sort of arts and crafts and projects suited me. (Actually this probably wouldn’t work because of having no real direction or motivation). I think I would really like to sell things I’ve created and grown (plants/animals) at a farmers market. But then theres this shadow creeping at the edge of my dreams and thoughts and its whispering, “Why not just drop everything and travel? Wouldn’t moving around from country to country be fun??”. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t enjoy that for long, especially by myself. It’s just my mind disguising my avoidance of commitment.
    Also, I’m not sure how creative I really am, I like brain storming with people and this gets me going and thinking of some really good things (IMHO), but on my own I don’t feel that original. Wait, no, let me correct, I don’t feel like a typical artist, infact I don’t feel I’m an artist at all, just very creative and very skilled with different mediums… I’m not sure where I was going with all this.. Oh, am I the only one that isn’t an “artist”? And where are the success stories?
    Sometimes I get stuck in my head, thinking up ideas and great ways to live my life and then I step outside, and its the real, boring world, and it feels so.. surreal.. Like I’m in my own book or movie, but not in a self centered sort of way.. Hard to explain… Man i sound messed up, maybe I have other issues…

    Anyways… back to work!

  107. Hi all! Have enjoyed reading your comments. I am also an INFP. I’ve been unable to settle in any job, always searching for somewhere to fit in. I have still not figured it out, and now at 30 I have nothing to show for my life apart from a bunch of experiences. I am currently working through several career books, muddling through, I have spoken to life and career coaches, but still felt I cannot find the ONE job that ticks all the boxes. I wish I could find somewhere I want to stay, so I can build up my savings, buy a flat and gain some stability. I know what I haven’t liked about other jobs, but I also have to pay the bills, and seem to end up in the high pressure jobs as I don’t want to earn below a certain wage. I am still trying to identify WHAT my next move should be, while frantically interviewing here there and everywhere, hoping something good is going to turn up.
    I’ve had a love-hate relationship with my creative side, studying to become a Graphic Designer, than getting crushed when I couldn’t deliver as well as I’d hoped to the blood-sucking clients, then taking other more mundane jobs, before getting stifled again and dipping back into design.
    I enjoy writing, like other INFPs. I’ve not worked with a company that has a humanitarian outlook but would like to do more meaningful things like volunteer abroad (or in my home country).
    In my experience, it is incredibly hard to be an INFP. Aren’t we like 3% of the population? I am very sensitive and easily upset in stressful situations. I drown amongst office politics, pressure, deadlines. I also need to work on my assertiveness. Too many people can walk all over you if you’re not careful. It’s like they take advantage of nice people! I am not a doormat and am building up my self-esteem – I will fiercely defend myself when I need to.
    Would be happy to hear from any INFPs – you’re certainly not alone.

    • We should all get together and start our own country or some thing like some thing tells me we would be the most advanced county in the world.

    • I was searching for career opportunities, when I found this website. Yay, I’m not the only one who has high, moral values, likes being creative ect. I’m pursuing a master’s degree while searching for a job to support myself, and wanting to make my living writing. Maybe there should be a list of interests to go with the list of jobs INFPs would be satisfied in, that way they can find their dream job better.

  108. Wow. I was literally just browsing for INFP information (finding rather useful and smile inducing information) when I stumbled upon this beauty of a post! Everything that was said and every single post I read from this community of INFPs touched me. It feels incredible to know there is people out there that ‘get you’ because they are like you. I am certain that to this day I have not met an INFP in person…it gets lonely! I’m always dreaming of better things, dreaming of the future, dreaming of perfection–not perfection as in the physical type but that intangible feeling of perfection where the world is just right and everything is where and how it’s supposed to be. It almost seems to be like an insatiable love. The truth that I think will set me free but always seems unreachable or unattainable.
    After being in sales and customer service (which I did just to pay the bills) I cut down my costs of living so that I could pursue college full time and work part time. The dreamer in me took a leap and applied for a job at a laboratory. Next thing I know I’m hired on and I’ve been working there for almost a month now. Although its a entry level job, I’m loving it. It will help me in my career in laboratory science and I’m learning so much every day. To see human specimen and not work directly with people other than my coworkers has been amazing. Seeing and dealing with as I like to say “real-life” matters instead of business hypocrisy and unreal, unworthy causes and problems is indescribable. Science fascinates me. To me Science means innovation, belief, dreams that cannot be just dreams but possibility, care, love and exploration into the unknown for the betterment of human kind. I can say that if Science was a person, it would definitely be an INFP 😎 if anyone out there is looking into career change or advice, I’d say science in medical or any of it’s branches is definitely worth a look 🙂

  109. OMG – this sounds so much like me. I’ve done a variety of things career-wise in my life, and am now 48 and just want to retire. Am over-tired of all the politics & rhetoric. I have tended to work for larger companies as I can generally find “niches” there that I can’t elsewhere, but the policies & restrictions make me crazy. I had a boss once who asked me what motivated me “because it sure isn’t money” & I had to honestly say – I don’t know. Sometimes I am and some times not, and not by the same things all the time.

    Now I work for the money, because it is the only reason to work (imho) other than insurance. No real enjoyment in working, and have given up hope of having that again in this lifetime.

    Thank you for sharing!!

    • Jackie, I have worked in insurance on and off for the past decade…it pays the bills, I HATE IT, but I can do it well. But I can totally relate to your post because there is SO much politics in insurance. It is so $$$ driven, and that BUGS me. But the stuff I love to do, doesn’t provide the necessities. I live frugally but every so often I had to get away from the stress of the insurance industry. My degree is in human behavior, and you have a lot of displaced psych degreed people in insurance. They HATE it too, but it draws them, ha. I inherited some money, and I just needed to heal after the loss of many family mbrs. The time I took off, really BUGGED my friends. They didn’t understand, but it was the best time mentally. I worked with a life coach, she told me she didn’t have much success helping INFP’s fit into the world. I was downsized from a call ctr insurance job and their parting gift was career counseling, the counselor told me that I wouldn’t ever FIND the job that worked for my giftings as she worked with many INFP’s and she said you people (gotta love that right) don’t fit or mesh in the greater society. Most employers don’t value INFP’s because what motivates us isn’t the norm, or concrete. I have to return to the workforce, and have tried to find another job NOT in the insurance industry, ugh-not going well. I have had many downsizings, and lay offs, and that works against me. Like I personally have total control over what decisions a company makes, and can control layoffs, or downsizing. That kind of mentality makes me LIVID. But I tend to hate HR, they are the saddest excuse for an occupation imho. Their tactics BUG me, their questions at interviews are retarded and basically mind games, and they wouldn’t KNOW talent if it bit them. Being older is a challenge as well, you are seen as irrelevant in the workforce, ugh…I would LOVE to be self sustaining on acreage somewhere.

  110. Thank you so much for this post and everyone here for their awesome comments.. wow. I’m in university and every time I get this depressing feeling in my heart that school is not for me I start searching frantically for alternatives.. and have concluded that there really isn’t anything in the conventional life for me. well shit son! What I really want to do, is live off the grid on an Earthship or some farm that’s mostly self sustaining, be outdoors all day and maybe have a camper van to travel around sometimes and sleep in.. under the stars, besides waterfalls, and then go home to more natural magic growing delicious, organic foods and herbs in my garden full of little fairy people. (shut up they exist!) I would like to combine veganic and biodynamic farming.. biodynamic, respecting the movements of the cosmos, but without the use of animals in the system. Maybe sometimes I’d go travel and volunteer on other farms and ecovillages, or Camphill communities (for disabled people, lots of arts and crafts and nature), since they give you food and lodging for your work and I’d never have to buy anything except transportation.. but that can be arranged. Living off the grid would do the same thing, being out of the “harsh” economic system, maybe I’ll plant coconuts. I frickin loooove coconuts. 😀
    it’s also crossed my mind to become many things.. art therapist, waldorf kindergarten teacher, wildlife rehabilitation, children’s book writer, etc.. (i wished we had spaceships because i’d totally be an ufo pilot) i guess in the end I’m just going to have to do all of those things, but always knowing the world is my playground, and acting from my heart, with a sort of volunteer attitude that doesn’t require me to do anything but what I’m passionate about at the moment. It could just be on the side, while I work on my farm, so it IS like volunteering and it’s not really for profit, just what I’d like to do someday. How convenient that these things are usually volunteer/self-employed work anyway. If anything they’d also pay for plane tickets to Hawaii where I indulge in amazing communities of like-minded people living off the land. Perhaps a trip to Peru and living with the ayahuasca shamans and helping out in the village would be inspiring and open myself to my weird mind. I’m sure I have some logical flaws in this general plan but eh i’ll figure it out as I go.. the world is getting “softer” and it’s time for people like us to shine 🙂 Just always follow the beat of your own drum. Give everyone some love. There IS hope and you ARE making a difference, there is no comparing big and small when it comes to helping someone, and the best way to do that is if you’re being yourself! Just don’t worry about it, whatever it is you’re worried about. there was long ago the age of working hard, and then in the last few decades it was working smart, and now is the time to work passionately. it shouldn’t even seem like work if you’re doing it right… I guess i’m doing it wrong right now, what with school and a major i only care partly about, stressing out over minimum wage jobs, but that is going to CHANGE!!! the time is now. Thank you everyone for allowing me this space to share and figure things out!! Much love you beautiful people.

    • My heart feels so happy to hear such fantastic dreams that so much align with my own. I hope you never stop continuing to chase after these possible realities. Your post has given me a needed boost to do the same in a time of doubt in the middle of this demanding world. All we have is now.

  111. thank you so much for this post. It almost describes me to a T! Though I am money motivated because I know what it feels like to live in poverty and I never want to go back there. This is however my current career problem. I am in a job that pays more than other more ideal fields for my personality type. I do well but I do not excel due to lack of aggressive business interests.

  112. I’m an INFP and it sucks. I can’t figure out what to do with my life. I want to make a decent income like around $45,000/year but nothing sounds interesting. Well, the things that I do enjoy would be taking a risk to get into the business. I’m really into arts/crafts and seriously love cooking. I feel like it’s not practical though. I already have school debt so I can’t possibly attempt opening up a restaurant or my own business. I feel like the only practical decision would be nursing, but I don’t want to do it. Trying to think of other in demand jobs with less interaction. Sigh I just don’t know what to do!

    • How about getting a job as a chef? I used to have an INFP guy friend who worked at a very nice hotel restaurant. He loved his job. He got to be creative with new dishes and loved the people he worked with.


  114. I probably shouldn’t have read this at work as my utterances of “totally” and “I know, right?” began to garner questions from my coworkers. I work for a big box electronics retailer, back in the warehouse. I’m the only employee in my specific line of work. This company encourages “having fun while being the best” and we change so often I don’t have a chance to get bored. There’s a community outreach team that I co-captain. We organize water-balloon fights & game nights for the employees. It’s as close to perfect as entry-level can get, I think. Still I’m beginning the search for another job, or career if possible, but if my current one just paid WAY more than the work is worth I could stay here indefinitely.

    I’m really REALLY lucky to have this position. Thinking about it, I probably only have it because they couldn’t figure out where else to put me and didn’t want to let me go. It’s certainly atypical. I do still have a set schedule, but my shifts change by the week where some days I’m up at 5a and others I can wake up at my leisure to roll in around 2p. The work itself isn’t the height of creativity, but at least I’m not doing the same thing everyday.

    Unfortunately, I’m living paycheck to a-few-days-before-the-next-paycheck. I didn’t realize how fate had smiled on me until I read this post and its replies. I’m going to take looking for another career slowly as it seems I might have it pretty good right now. For now, all I can do is continue being myself while on my search and to be true to myself, something I don’t think we have much trouble with. ^^

  115. Thank you!! What a relief. So many of these posts (almost all of them) are exactly like me. It’s such a relief to be able to relate to people. Does anyone know any INFPs that are actually happy in their chosen careers? I would love to hear what those careers actually are. Sometimes I often ponder this: Since INFPs are described as being “Healers,” are we supposed to be a healer in our career? That makes sense, but there are different types of healers. The ones that come to mind the most are doctors, priests, nurses, psychologists, etc. I wonder that if we don’t have a “healing” career then we will never truly be happy. Almost like it’s a calling or our destiny. Anyone else feel this way?

    • Yes, I’m an English Anglican priest. I’m now retired and only loosely involved with the church. I can now mooch around to my heart’s content. I do a bit of writing when I feel like it, a bit of this and a bit of that and watch the daisies in between. I might do a bit of painting this afternoon or go and talk to the hens. I might even speak to someone – although I’ve already spoken to two people today and that’s enough. Shall I eat today? Probably. But then my sister’s coming for lunch. I don’t know what to cook. It depends what’s in the cupboard but it will be very tasty! It was terrible being a vicar:I’ve had two burnouts over the years. Mainly because of having to deal with admin 90 per cent of the time (for seven churches) but I simply loved the pastoral and liturgical aspects. Anyway, I could go on and on but I’ve had enough of these memories already. I am so glad I have found this blog: it has freed me to write what I have written. Just for these few minutes I’ve found myself among like minded people who I know will take my kind of personality with a good measure of loving-kindness. What else does one need to get you through those times when you just don’t fit?

  116. Wow, I can’t explain how much I relate to you all! I question and doubt myself every day and it is SO EXHAUSTING! It seems as if I’m trying to find my place in a world i just don’t belong in. No matter how much I search, and i’ve searched, no career fulfills me completely. Whatever I decide on, I doubt. I give up. I want to be successful but it’s just really hard when you lack motivation and drive because you DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU REALLY WANT. I know I’m not lazy and I am very intelligent in any subject. I had honors classes in high school and always did well. I am an extremely hard worker. I love helping people. I’m worthy, but it’s so hard to believe because it doesn’t translate into my career actions. And I know you all are NOT LAZY OR STUPID, it’s just a tough world for us. What we want and reality don’t mesh well. *sighh*

    And I agree with the double whammy comment–this life is hard, but being an INFP is double hard! What to do…

  117. Like many of you I stumbled upon this site while trying to figure out what to do with my life next. Currently unemployed but have worked in various jobs from market research, retail, admin, manufacturing, waitress, IT Support and the list goes on. Still trying to find my ideal job, toy with the IDEA of being a writer but need motivation to just sit and write. I know I have left people confused with my apparent random career moves being asked in an interview, “who are you? What defines YOU” which I must admit left me questioning that for a few days. I too am an INFP and it good to know that there are other people who feel like me. Many companies are department separate (if that makes sense) with each dept. competing against each other or pinning mistakes against each other where I would prefer and feel would be more productive to have a more team-support environment between departments. Hopefully the next career choice will be the right one for me. I am very interested to check out the books and links mentioned above. x

  118. I too feel like this was written by me, for me. I now know what birds I an afeatherd with. Let me know if anyone comes up with an answer.

  119. “I think the common reccommendation that INFPs would like to work in people oriented service jobs is a bit off the mark. We do usually care about others and enjoy showing our care, but we are still introverts and we don’t generally like a lot of shallow interactions – which means that service jobs may be fullfilling and draining at the same time.”

    Oh wow. Well this certainly hit me hard.

    I have just taken the MBTI and found out I was an INFP. Everything was so spot on, it wasn’t even funny. All these years I thought my over-thinking, creative yet under-appreciated, Peter-Pan-syndrome self was all my own that you have no idea how good it is to know (and feel!) that there are others out there that are like me. 🙂 Yes, I’ve tried “Googling” bits and pieces of my personality which seem to resurface frequently—but then I could never come to a conclusion (i.e. “Why is it that I can socialize well, but feel emotionally drained whenever I interact too long with someone?”) Now I’m beating myself up as to why I haven’t found out my result to this earlier. (I took this one a few years back as a freshman in college, but then my procrastination kicked in, and kept putting off finding the result. Yeaaah.)

    I’m 20 and my first job is in the hospitality industry. I’m working as a Front Desk agent in a 5-star hotel. My initial thought upon getting this job was “Wow. This is going to be easy peasy. Yes, sure, I can socialize!” But soon after that the Introverted side of me kept popping up and I could not make anything of this because I’ve always thought that hospitality came easy for me, but why is it that I felt so drained after being with a crowd of people. I think because we INFPs tend to look at the greener side of the pasture that we sometimes fail to see the cons of things. (Yet another thing I have to work on!) Probably our empathic side at work. I also always mistook my idealism for optimism, which now seems quite funny.

    I’m so glad to see my other options. And I’m glad to have found this out early in my career. “Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life” (Confucius) — I wonder what that may be.

    I will definitely keep you updated. Thank you for this!

  120. I found out I am an INFP not to long ago but never really felt like I belonged there untill i read your article. In the past when i was younger i used to have a lot of issues with people who criticized me untill i learned in University that you should not take it personal but that it’s ment for learning, for you to grow further than you are and it really helped!

    As for a job I am currently a designer. I design websites where I take in account the usability and accessibility. I also program the sites. I work in a small company with 6-7 others. I am the only designer there but others do have a bit of design knowledge and I can always ask them for help and advice.

    If you like working with children and/or are a stay at home mom, why not start a sort of daycare? Where you look after the children of family members and neighbors who have to work? Just an idea 🙂

  121. I just happened upon this thread and it is one of those times when you ask yourself, how did I find this? What in the world connected me to this? Things happen for a reaso???, of course they do…
    I am sitting here at work, a job I have only held for 3 months now. I got the job based on by luck. You see I had tried to start a business several years ago and only because I didn’t want another job like the one I am in right now. Needless to say, that the business did not work out, I was ok with the day to day work but really left me unsatisfied and I am still dealing with money issues from those days.
    I have lived my entire life this way. Misunderstood. I get stories from my mother that teachers would tell her that I was very smart, had a high IQ, but just did not apply myself. She would say things to me like ” just do what you love, if you want to be a garbage collector, be a garbage collector, just love it. Well I could never figure out what I actually love. Fast forward 30 odd years and a multitude of jobs and I am still in the same position. That is a hard pill to swallow, when you look back and don’t see progress. Maybe that is not a fair assessment, I have obviously grown but I am talking about satisfying that inner voice. You all know what I am talking about.
    I have thought about becoming a travel photographer, a charter boat captain, a tour guide, a nutrition and exercise coach, a Natropathic doctor. Wild and varied career choices with no common thread. But that seems to be where my interests lie and my heart and soul guide me. The biggest hurdle is the incapacitating self doubt if this choice will be the right choice. I shudder to think that I will invest time and energy and not just my own anymore, as I now have a family of 4 following me around, only to find out that….nope this isn’t it either.
    I guess making no choice and continuing sitting here at a job that bores me to death is a choice in and of itself.
    Thank you all for expressing your fears and showing me that I am not alone in this tormented life.

  122. I don’t know if there is an answer to this dilemma. I’m in my late 50s, and still struggle with the Monday morning blues. In my late 40s I felt simply “unemployable.” I’d held many jobs, done at least okay at everything I’d tried, but had no “profession” to speak of. For instance, after working in the printing industry for a few years, I’d published a small newspaper. I’d done everything myself—writing, photography, computer graphics, selling advertising, distribution. I loved it, but couldn’t make a living at it. And, with no formal training or degree in journalism, I couldn’t find a job doing similar work. So I did the “logical” thing, and started a wallpaper hanging business. I’d never hung wallpaper, so I had fake my credentials for awhile, but I was good at it. And I could continue to “be my own boss.” One nice thing about both those jobs – you deal with customers on a professional level, but then do the work on your own. So you get to schmooze a tiny bit, on a sort of superficial level, and then you get to be by yourself. So you’re mostly alone, but not lonely. Anyway, health insurance became an issue, and I felt I needed a full time job with a group plan. I picked my next gig as I’d picked all the others in my life – I pulled it out of my hat. I went to school for nursing and became an LPN. I knew I was going to dislike the job even before I started, but felt I’d invested too much in the school to back out. I’d like to say as a confirmed INFP, nursing is not a very good fit. But things don’t seem so open ended for me anymore, and I think that’s the worst of it. I always felt I could move on, try something new, but that gets harder as one ages. Not on the inside, but on the outside. Meaning that people see you differently as you age and it’s just harder to break through. A 30 year old novice is still acceptable. A 57 year old novice it harder to accept. I have a lot of interests outside work (I write, sculpt, etc), and I try to focus on those things. Between us, I don’t think I’m very good at my actual job, which adds to my misery .

  123. For my first job, I served in the military, having joined for idealistic, “I want to save the world,” reasons. After a couple years in the service, I realized that I cared more for peace than I did war, and that although I believe “certain wars are better than certain kinds of peace” I had much internal conflict in the application of that principle. After four years in the military, I joined Americorps, which is the domestic version of the Peace Corps; This job offered me the ability to serve others, to work close with and get to know a small group of people on my team with whom I travelled around the country with. All of us in the program were altruistic, and such a bond of shared ideals contributed to making the experience truly a delight. Now, I am working with a business where I have daily interaction with customers. I don’t mind the shallowness of those conversations as much as I did at first, as I have great relationships with my coworkers and know many of them better than I do my family. In my spare time, I write voraciously. I’ve been a writer since I was a kid. Writing for myself now, I hope to someday commit to a wider audience, but only for the purpose of sharing with them my life path and the truths I’ve stumbled upon along the way. I am content and happy.

  124. Just Turned 30 and currently freaking out about what I’m doing with my life. I also suffer severly with what I call the immersion/avoidance paradox. When I am totally immersed in something, I do nothing else. I often work myself to death. I work off the clock and in my sleep. My family and friends dont see me for a while as I get lost down the rabbit hole. Then usually a natural transition or a nervous breakdown causes me to step back to rest and get perspective. After that I cannot make myself go back no matter how much willpower I exert, how many deals or promises I make with myself. But I also cannot admit that I need to end the experience and move on. So I avoid it. I play hookie, let the phone go to voicemail (even if its my boss). I let things slip in my performance. I get paranoid about being fired. I avoid people I am usually friends with. Its almost like I am intentionally sabotaging myself to get out. I cannot make the (irrational) descision to leave something I worked so hard on, got praise or promotions for, or have people counting on me for. But for whatever reason I literally am unable to make myself go back into such a deep level of concentration.

    Currently tinking about changing jobs (I work from home as manager of school division of a small photography company: it sounds perfect on paper, but there is literally no structure and no social interaction and I am going crazy and finding it extremely hard to stay motivated)

    • Allison you just described me perfectly with your “immersion/avoidance paradox” – only I’m 34 and male. This has occurred two or three times this year for me with musical projects – album production and indie rock band self-management.

      One year ago after an intense two months of promotions and touring I became exhausted to the point of a four month depression and avoidance and a complete re-think of what the hell it is I’m doing with my life. I’ve been wondering if more solid financial gains and monetary incentives for those projects would give me motivation to press forward but I don’t have the time to create a plan to make it work, or the energy and extrovert skills needed. The sad thing is I love the creative end of it and I’m really good at it so why don’t I do it more? Why do I go for a manic few weeks day in day out playing and writing songs at the piano and then for months there is nothing?

      I’m freaking out about life too and decided to return to University. But for what? I need to figure it out really quick here.

    • This is totally me, too, Allison. I’m currently in the avoidance stage, getting ready to start looking again because the bloom’s off the rose at work. But of course, I have no idea what job to apply for. My kaleidoscope resume doesn’t make me an obvious candidate for anything, and the idea many jobs either paralyzes me with fear, or makes my soul wither. I’m almost 40, and feel like I should have a grown-up, upwardly mobile, logically building career. There must be a place for us somewhere!

  125. Wow to think I am not alone!!! I loved reading the article and the comments. Like finding my tribe.

    So I just recently thought to revisit MB as I’ve been pulling at straws trying to figure out WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME???? Is it my bi-polar disorder (been diagnosed in the past but no long pharma’d for it, my Pisces moon, my Libra sun, what??? I’ve been a health researcher, a teacher stateside, a teacher abroad, a model, a designer, a boutique operator, a hostess, a freelance writer, a tutor, an admin assistant, and the list goes on. I’ve never taken myself very seriously with any of the above/never committed my full self for any great length of time. I’m sorta in-between introvert and extrovert, being a super Libra charmer but I always need that alone time to recharge.

    I’ve trained in nutrition and a bit in life-coaching then started thinking that was all just “stupid”. I’m now recognizing that the artist in me is dying to shine and that this book I’ve talked of writing for over 5 years must get written this year or I’ll die a fraud. If anyone wants to live chat and support I’m in the northern Virginia area. Oh yeah, I can’t stop moving either. This is NOT the best home for an INFP. 🙂

    • can’t stop moving?!? Me two. I envision a house full of us INFP types, super low rent so we can pursue our creativity.

    • Hi Nina,

      I’m in Virginia too (Richmond), and I used to live in Alexandria, and boy, was in not the ideal place for a non-conformist!

      I’ve been working as a vegan personal chef on/ off for quite awhile. And I’ve been on/off writing three books for awhile too.

      I’ve been diagnosed with ADD, and my doctor wants to “try me out” on bipolar meds. How crazy, I think, to just try someone out on pharmaceuticals without being sure they have a diagnosis.

      Let me know how things are going or if you ever want to pool our autonomies!


      I couldn’t have said it better myself. 32, and I just learned I am an INFP. I’ve always blamed my need for creativity and self-reliance/defiance on my a.d.d. THANK YOU for spelling out my brain. 😉

    • I’m sorry, but are we the same person??? I have bipolar disorder, am currently writing a novel and am an English girl living in Australia (I have also lived in Italy). I’m studying my BA but before this I was an English language teacher and tutor. Had to give it up because I couldn’t face going into work and putting on a smiley face and ‘performing.’ This is spooky lol

  126. Creative careers that allow us to work in our own environments.

    At-home: web design. You can set up a website for your company, have customers call you to discuss their web design project, fax and e-mail contracts back and forth, handle the payments online, and deliver the project online. We hate deadlines, so you can set a reasonable deadline that works for you. Take on the projects that aren’t overwhelming, such as 5-paged brochure sites. If you have orders for bigger projects, refer them to someone else and create a contract where they pay you a percentage of the fee they earn.

    Interior design: You don’t have to spend a lot of your time with people. You do a majority of your design work alone, and you can set the length of the meetings…you’re in control of the project after all.

    Song writer/ Author: Again, you can use your creativity and do most of this with autonomy. Perhaps you’ll need a benefactor for this one. 😉

  127. Oh boy, so glad to meet so many people like myself!

    I’m having a career crisis at the moment at the age of 35, really trying to think of something that will fit my ever changing whims!

    I started off working in medical labs. I liked this as I got to do practical stuff all day (I can’t stand to be chained to a desk), I was in charge of all of my own work and there wasn’t a lot of people contact. What I hated was the rigid routine. Doing exactly the same things at exactly the same times year in, year out. It eventually drove me crazy! Another drawback was the ever increasing implementation of policies and regulations. I absolutely hate working to rigid rules and had to leave. Rules are made to be broken 😉

    Next I worked in scientific research. That was better. Very flexible timetable, largely left to your own devices and largely alone,a lot of variety, very lax on rules, lots of practical stuff. Trouble was I didn’t really fit among the researchers. I was never that interested in anything to the level I should have been and really struggled with left brained things like maths and complex theory. They all thought I was weird because I liked to make rubber glove animals and have fun. Ultimately not the job for me!

    Next, a move into community health promotion. This was great as it allowed me to use my creative side, designing fun presentations and props with no set rules. I was also out somewhere different every day, meeting new people and exploring different and unusual groups and events. Fantastic! The drawback was the amount of social contact, from cold calling and emailing venues and negotiating visits (which I absolutely hated) to doing the events every day. I’m not the greatest verbal communicator and I can be quite shy. I found it quite exhausting at times.

    Now unemployed and wondering what to do next. I’d quite like another community based job, but shiver when I see ‘according to policy’ in job descriptions. Urgh!

    • Just curious how you got out of the lab, in the first place. I have working in various research labs in academia, biotech, and pharma over the past 16 years. I feel like you I don’t fit in with those that have masters or PhDs, and I have no interest in getting either in a lab research area… It just doesn’t interest me that much. I feel like I have no soul left! I don’t know how to make a change.

  128. Hello! So happy to have found all of you sisters and brothers here. I love reading your posts, recognizing myself in them, and coming to the realization that I’m not (and you’re not) weird or misunderstood, but deeply and thoroughly amazing!
    I just turned 50, have always understood and liked myself, but have never been able to explain myself or my ideas to anyone. I made my non-INFP husband laugh this morning when I said, “I love the IDEA of working, but not actually working. I love the IDEA of working with people, but not too many or too often.” He is being downsized soon and I am facing returning to a nursing job, which can be really challenging for INFP’s. Am about half-way trained in a holistic healing modality, which feels like the right fit for me–just having trouble with all the business-like details that are involved in starting your own practice. So, here I sit on the internet, “researching” why I can’t handle the business-like details 🙂 Love finding you all, best wishes…

  129. This is me!! I very literally could have written this article myself.

    I’m looking into filmmaking- as a director. I’m hoping to develop a style that allows me to encourage the creativity in others without having to be a dictator or, like you said- do everything myself.

    Thank you for posting this! Now I don’t feel so odd or alone!

  130. I’m really glad I came across this website and read everyone’s comments. I love this “community” feeling. That first post/blog sounded just like me and it’s comforting reading everyone’s responses as I don’t feel so alone or too idealistic. I’m struggling to find my career path. I’ve been in the mortgage industry for over 7 years now and I’m pretty much over it. I can’t stand being micro-managed. I like to get my work done on my own terms. I want to help people but either in a small group or one on one. I don’t like school (papers, deadlines)…so I’m not sure what I can do with just mortgage experience that will make me smile and enjoy my job. I do have my Bachelor’s degree in Psychology but we all know that doesn’t take us very far now days (at least with that major). Anyway, I just wanted to share my thoughts and show my appreciation to INFP’s!

    • I thought I was weird and lazy while everyone around me seem to be working their ass off and working towards what they want and I am just like, stuck.

  131. There’s a book I have found to be invaluable to my pursuit of happiness and fulfillment as an INFP, even though I am only 3 chapters in. It speaks directly to what a lot of you mention about a lack of motivation/drive/action/belief in yourself…

    Do yourself a favor and check it out… If it helps, great! If not, it still has some worthwhile information that can only benefit.

    The Power of Intention, by Dr. Wayne Dyer

    Also don’t judge a book by its cover 😉

  132. I am 30 years old and have just decided to quit Nursing School after 3+ semesters. I am an INFP. Like most of you, I have never really held a job for more than 6 months and have tried majoring in more things than I care to mention. I am done trying to meet the status quo and please my parents. I am a musician – it’s what I was put on this planet to do, it makes me happy, and it fills my soul with joy. Whether that means pursuing a Doctorate, playing for nickels on a street corner, or anything in between, I’m not going to fight what I know to be true in my heart any more. I find myself at a strange crossroads in my life, in a strange city, with no real direction at this point. I just wanted to write this as an inspiration to all who read this, INFP or otherwise – life is too short to settle! If you find yourself in an undesirable situation, then change it! Even if you’re still changing right up until the day you day, never stop pursuing happiness and beauty and the things that make life worth living to begin with. Life is hard enough as it is, even without being an INFP – lucky us, we got a double-whammy, but that only means we have to try twice as hard. Stay strong, brothers and sisters – happiness is out there, all you have to do is look.

    • Follow your intuition, your heart. If you’re motivated enough, the money will follow. I am glad you made the switch. Life is truly too short, and tomorrow isn’t guaranteed, so why live it miserably – doing something you absolutely hate?

      • I believe this whole-heartedly 100% – intellectually. Now, if I could only believe it in my heart, and believe in myself, I could be on the right path.

  133. I’m an INFP and working at a small library as a librarian, and I love it. I’m an introvert, yes, but still enjoy helping the patrons however I can. There aren’t too many co-workers, and the ones that I do have, I like. There are certain routines, yes, but I get to do a variety of things so it’s never dull, and displays etc. allow me to use my creative side. Also, steady income (although not much) if you can get work in the field.

    • I moved into librarianship in my 40s after having been a SAHM. I also enjoy it, but the author’s comment “We do usually care about others and enjoy showing our care, but we are still introverts and we don’t generally like a lot of shallow interactions – which means that service jobs may be fullfilling and draining at the same time.” really resonated with me. I always come home from work exhausted & now realize it’s because of all the small talk I have to do throughout the day. Not sure what the answer is, as I can’t imagine not speaking to our patrons.

    • cool! I’ve always thought librarians were amazing and under appreciated. I love the idea of being surrounded by books all day. Heavenly. Did you get a degree in the library field?

  134. I found this site the other day… and I am really appreciating its content… this article was very encouraging 🙂 … I truely feel like others DO understand after spending so many years being told ‘I make no sense’ (and being made to feel like I am crazy or unstable – but knowing I’m not)… I do sense that I may be a little more ‘left brained’ than some of my counterparts – I have the ability to call upon a very logical and organized side of myself when necessary – but generally I keep her locked in the attic…

    I have the money fight with myself often as I don’t care about money but can’t exist without it… I caught myslef saying “check” after each point in the article and nearly applauded when I read the part Projects not Hours – I can’t express how much I hate pretending to work when there is nothing to do…

    I also had two of my daughters take the personality test and my youngest [12yrs] is also an INFP – I am hoping I can gain insight to help her so her life isn’t as frustrating… (the other is an ESFJ [14yrs] – just the thought of trying to keep up with her makes me feel drained but thats another challenge for another day)

  135. This all sounds very familiar to me as well. I’ve often thought I was crazy. I just don’t get the collective consciousness of the mainstream it just seems bizarre. Especially the way it is unquestioned and blindly followed. I could never stay in so called proper jobs for too long the whole dehumanization of it all and hierarchical structures would just make me crazy ,too much cortisol in the bloodstream. I also had this overwhelming feeling that it I stayed in a particular loathsome position I would get stuck there a bit like walking into a cage blindly and the door been locked while you weren’t looking (the bars been made of new financial obligations/ spending power……) Also the fear of becoming institutionalized by the position of employee with it’s illusion of security /regular pay check ,hamsters wheel routine.
    Does been infp make you crazy or does been crazy make you infp?
    After many years of pain /I’ll be 40 in a few years/ I left the “sell your granny culture” of my country of birth and get by as a solo musician which is my calling/passion in life. Self promotion is a problem as most people on the circuit are extrovert entertainer types and taking the talk seems to get you pretty far in this game . There’s all the back stabbing and competitiveness that this kind of thing attracts. I have no part of this though I turn up to the gig, do my thing, exchange pleasantries with people, get paid, go home. I decide what I play and how I play it. I try to meet in the middle what I like and what the audience likes . I have finally found a life I can stand, I don’t mind getting out of bed there is no alarm clock dictator anymore. There is absolutely no security but it keeps complacency at bay. Some months your up others down but it seems more real to me than the regular pay check. Also the money is earned doing something I love so I’m not simply exchanging the hours of my life for paper to buy stuff I don’t really need. I just don’t buy stuff unless it’s necessary (do i need it or do i just want it?)
    My heart goes out to all you infps there’s not many places for us in this manufactured world. Just don’t contrive yourself fit ,your not supposed to.

    • First comment in the string from someone happy doing what you’re doing. I’m glad because solo musician is what I have settled on as well. I’ve just recently been diagnosed as an INFP and I think that’s a lucky thing. Not knowing has made it much easier to grind out the careers I’ve done to build the skills to get along in this world. If I had known early on I might have gotten stuck in the cycle of searching for perfection expecting it was possible and missed the journey.

      • Italy and Spain strike me as ESFP. I’m not sure though. They seem very Extroverted, and Perceiving – Spain and Italy are in Southern Europe, and SE is considered to have laid-back attitude (to which some people attribute current problems in economy especially in this region 🙂 )

  136. maybe we should create an infp work agency and pick up the pieces for each other. i worked in a high pressured office environment for 7 years – which happily meant 7 years mortgage repayment but it nearly killed me physically and psychologically. i have reorganised my life to have less financial needs because the demands of ‘work’ i find to be too high. i’m planning on a portfolio career – i play classical guitar, have good IT skills, speak French, can teach a little, can write also. I’d like to be a freelancer but thats quite hard also for an INFP – self promotion etc. but im looking to get some help on that front. I would also like to retrain as a counsellor (typical INFP!). I think not putting all eggs in one highly frustrating basket is the way forward. i would be really interested to communicate with other INFPs also finding career/life hard. It seems like the personality type that needs most peer support. I used to drink alot but that really doesn’t help!!

    • wow, good job suffering through the years at the yuck job! I hope you figure out something that is more relaxing and encouraging to your soul.

  137. i have been a passionate advocate of personality profiling such as Myers Briggs and am proud to be an INFP. I am pleased that I have Ben moderately successful in my hospitality career and have been able to enjoy creative expression in music, photography and writing, some of which I have even incorporated into my career path. but in general terms, I agree that INFPs are not well regarded as leaders in corporate America. Our sensitivity can be perceived as softness and we generally shy away from conflict. I know that I get bored easily and yet I do enjoy new and different activities, perhaps as a distraction from the more mundane aspects of life or work.

    I find many of these comments to be extremely insightful and would love to live and work in a community where more of us exist!

  138. I love you all so much you don’t even know. I have fought and struggled so much to live in the world everyone calls “the real world”. All it has done is hurt me to no end. I’m a scorpio, an INFP, male, pushing 40 now. When I was a kid, I loved talking to people and sharing stories. I loved to read, but didn’t really do it other than something to do. I loved to read the dictionary and loved words to no end. I loved to understand, realize, and grow. I started working on computers in a graphics sense. I loved to play games. Eventually, I left computers in my early teens, and started playing music. I then wrote more and more but because of bad parents, and a deep depression, as I felt like no one around me, I became more of an outcast. So I embraced my outcastdome and really let myself go weird I suppose as a way to spit in the face of the mainstream. I continued to write and play music. I wanted so much to let my heart love, but it’s not really the way of the real world or the masculine world. So I kept it to myself. At 18, I was on the street, and had to fend for myself. So I took whatever jobs I could, and just tried to survive. At 21, I got into computers and spent 7 years working and studying them. Then I finally got into repair, and technical work for 4.5 years. I loved working on PCs and doing more of the graphics and video which is why I liked them to begin with. After going thru some really bad things in my life, lost a 4 year old child in my 20s, and got divorced at 29/30 from my soul mate love because I couldn’t have kids, I was utterly devastated. I finally got fired from my job for not being productive enough. Well, let me just say this to that company, hey, eff you, I’m a human being, not a number on your freaking financial spreadsheet. Talk about dehumanizing. God!!! Save these morons. lol

    Anyway, after so many issues, I finally began to rebuild myself. In my early 20s before I got into computers as a day to day living, I started to fall in love with nutrition and diet. But got side tracked with my lover and eventual wife. And thinking I was going the family route, I gave up my dreams, and just wanted these people to love. After that all ended, I began to reinvent myself. I actually got really healthy after working with natural doctors and physical therapists and trainers to understand why my body was so out of whack. Well, I didn’t explain that I was up to 282 lbs, and was having grand mal seizures. These seizures weren’t neurological tho, they were hypoglycemic, diabetic related. Once I found this out, I began experimenting with diet. This lead me with the weight training I had learned, to get me to 170 lbs, and a 31.5 inch waist and be in the best shape of my life.

    However, before all this, I did have 2 other very hard I.T. computer jobs that I eventually got fired from because of the numbers game. I don’t even want to talk about the pain and self doubt I went through.

    Ok, I realize this isn’t in chronological order… But, I did fall in love again. With a close friend who was absolutely beautiful, or so I thought. I won’t get too into this, but they eventually turned on me, as I’ve realized how different we actually are. Yes, I so do love them, but they don’t love me and don’t understand me at all. My ex wife is more of a good friend and understands me, lol. But I won’t go back although she admits to the myriad of mistakes in our relationship. She sadly can’t take care of herself, and is very poor at managing money that just caused us more and more financial and emotional ruin. I don’t blame her, but there are some areas of my life that I am in better control of without her. I love her, but after all we went through, my life is much saner and calmer now, and I won’t trade my personal peace for anything.

    I am now a pizza driver, and my boss is a hard driving prick. But man, the gods have shined on me for all the pain I’ve been through. He absolutely loves me and has given me a place to live, and it’s nice, clean, and healthy, but he’s busted his ass and worked damn hard for 40 years. He’s been so good to me, I can’t tell you how lucky I feel today. I scrape by, make everything I can, take computer jobs, do websites, and the like when I can, but I am free. I drive when I have to, and when I don’t I go home and do my thing.

    Currently, I am looking into nutrition, diet, personal and physical training, and possibly physical therapy assistant. They make decent money, and the work conditions aren’t too horrible, and it’s a 2 year degree which really isn’t a long time. Yes, I went to school for computer science. I don’t hate it, but I don’t love it, and just went cause I got into program and it was useful to some degree. I’ve been writing all my life. I’ve been playing guitar since 13. I’ve been loving for eternity. Now, I’m in average shape, I eat right, and know how to eat. I have sweet new friends. My ex wife and I are good friends. My new lover and friend of over 5 years and 15 respectively is a strong person and has taught me alot, but we are not alike. Still, I love them, and now, I am looking to writing, everything and anything really… My heart is as big as the sun, and luckily, someone was able to see that. I am very much planning physical therapy assistant, dietician, personal fitness consultant. I’ve actually begun writing a health and weight loss book that contains my story. Not advertising it, it’s no where near done, lol. I still love music and still play. I still love god, love, words, music, health, writing, computers for web and graphics, repair and tech to a degree, and most of all my freedom to do and live as I see fit, for me, not for the company who makes me a slave 8 hours a day doing something I hate. I know we all need money, and I absolutely hate money. If anyone feels or hears these words I put forth, see a movie called ZeitGeist, moving forward. That movie really blew my mind. I found myself saying, YES! THAT’S HOW IT SHOULD BE! I only hope people see how important love, knowledge, and creativity, learning, and growing really are. Money is the most retarded thing I’ve ever seen, and is no measure of a human beings worth, that’s sick. All it does it make people fight and war over resources that we should all have equally. No one should go without, but our money and society creates a hierarchy that leads us to spit on each other because I am better than you, or you think you are better because you have money, status, whatever, etc. My dear sweet world, you can’t take it with you. Love and knowledge are all that matter to me. Not to say I don’t appreciate differences, but that also means you should respect how I feel as well. But it doesn’t seem you do.

    Anyway, just wanted to share. I read peoples post, and I have been researching me, and my personality more and more. The more I read about INFPs, the more I realize and see and feel like I’m finally home.

    [email protected]

    feel free to chat with me. I’d love to help if I can. I am looking for someone to work on my book and do research with me to make it the best possible. I live in the near west suburbs of chicago. 🙂

    • hey bro. i fully get your message and i also have a heart of gold but i think its because i was born in 5july1985 making me a cancertarian and we are a loving lot. im 28 and never stuck with any job ever! longest job was dairy farming! 6 years on and off with different employers. quite relaxing open land animals motorbikes freedom. but then my boss was a fucktard but if i got to management it might have got easier. as i was a farm hand i was the larky or at the bottom. made it to 2ic but then cracked under suprise there. when things get difficult i bail. i am a father of two young beautiful boys. they are the centre of my world. i also watched zeitgiest and yes i sat there for 2 hours start to finish my bro it blew my freakin brains out watching that. everything made complete sence. i am fully into anything eco. i try figure out any free energy heating ideas solutions. perpetual motion motor vehicles. anything that says up yours to large power companies or car dealers that screw us out of our hard earned dollars. i was deeply depressed only 6months ago and almost gave up completely. if i did not have my partner and my two boys i hate to think what might have happened. lowest point of my life! im good now and coming back stronger than ever! cheers dan new zealand 🙂

    • Keith, why not capitalize on your IT knowledge and your INFP personality type and become a help desk technician? I am one, and find it very fulfilling. I refer to myself as a “computer counselor” – people call me with their “issues” and I help them to resolve those issues. Many help desk jobs are work from home, which is a bonus. I find computers much easier to fix than people, haha. Just my two cents.

  139. Hey very cool website!! Man .. Beautiful .. Amazing .. I will bookmark your blog and take the feeds also�I’m happy to find so many useful info here in the post, we need develop more strategies in this regard, thanks for sharing. . . . . .

  140. A year ago I did my first personality test with a result of being INFJ, yet I didn’t take that seriously and left it to dust. Recently, however I was guided back to online personality tests (Kind thanks to my career guidance adviser) due to issues with studying BSc in Accounting & Finance which I have found overwhelming.
    After several tests on various websites and extensive research I am now confident to say that I am another INFP person.

    I was struggling with my career direction, personality and life in general for many years. While reading articles, blogs, and comments I have found very useful information that is helping to learn more about myself, my relation to others and see patterns that will lead to a better future.

    I was astonished by everyone’s’ experiences, life stories, values… It was like finding enormous amounts of resources that were written for me or by me.. It is difficult to explain that strange feeling.

    Before I go to take a nap I wish you all to succeed in whatever path you will pursue, stay strong, do not let others use you and enjoy life 😉

    Sincere regards,
    Egidijus (Ed.)

  141. Hi!
    Wow, thank you for this post! It seems that career plans are extremely difficult for us INFPs… Myself I have a M.Sc. in Business Administration and worked for a non-profit for 3 years (good years but very very tough for empathetic me) and then I have spent almost 7 years with an airline. I am currently head of sales in a country in Asia. Not exactly the advice you would give an INFP, eh. So of course I need to change jobs. But I have to take it slow. I also realize what a lot of you guys touch upon above, that we INFPs dream too much! We need to learn how to act, else we have no impact! So I started my private project and blog to turn my dreams into actions: I think many INFPs might recognize themselves…

  142. This describes exactly me, its crazy! I’m only 16, but I feel like I have matured faster than other children my age. I love classical music, reading, writing, and sometimes I get so deeply involved in my own head that I forget what is going on around me. I’m a junior in highschool and trying to find out what I should do with my life. I would love to be in holistic health or a professor or a writer or something creative, but I also want to feel like I’m making a difference in the world. Plus, how secure is holistic medicine or writing? A professor is idealistic but college kids minds are very closed off; they already have their own opinions, and no way would I ever go back to highschool, junior high, or elementary school. Anyways, what you said about not necessarily wanting to work in a service career was spot on! I never even realized until I read that. I know that I want to join the Peace Corps, but what do I do after that??

  143. This site is quite an eye opener. There I was thinking that I am the only confused person out there, and its so reassuring to see that there are other ‘likeminded’ people. I’m in my mid thirties, trained in environmental sciences, and have worked over the years with data analysis, policy making, the government sector.
    And yet here I am, knowing that deep down this is not what I was meant to do. Thinking back the most fun I had in my career was when I was working on a project which was a balance between doing scientific analysis and running local community projects. Not the greatest pay but surrounded by a great bunch of people and a fair bit of autonomy i.e. project set up, devising own methodologies, lesson plans in schools, creating teaching materials, and time inside and outside the office. There was plenty of scope for being creative and active, and best of all get a sense of doing something meaningful. The project came to an end and I moved on, but the fact remains that working at a more senior level on office based projects, including all the office politics, has proven to be dull…..I just can’t seem to get motivated. I ended my last contract six months ago to take a ‘sabbatical’ with the hope of getting ‘inspired’ for a new career path. Not surprisingly the long awaited ‘epiphany’ just hasn’t happened. I seem to be going from one idea to the next one. Looking at the list of suitable careers for INFPs I feel I could consider doing most of them, but which one to go for? I have long been thinking of doing an MBA, mainly because it seems like the most logical thing to do in my career progression…..and yet I just can’t seem to be able to really go for it. I guess deep down I know there must be something more fulfilling out there……perhaps not particularly lucrative but something that would make me feel like a more complete person.

    Thanks for starting this great forum. Just what I needed.

    • Hi

      You should try your hands on teaching and training other people who are interested in your field. Imparting your knowledge for others benefit could prove to be a great satisfaction for us INFP’s.


  144. I have to agree with so many of the other comments on here, sounds like I WROTE THIS about ME! It’s so very reassuring to know there are so many other, well-adjusted, struggling, happy, interesting people out there. Thank you all.

  145. Looking at this post and the responses, my perception and belief towards being an INFP is finally getting strengthened. It is an overwhelming feeling to know that you are not alone in this world.
    I have always been perplexed and confused about the existential question that has often haunted me throughout my life. What am I doing and why I am doing this?
    In my late 20’s now and striving to find a career that I presume should put an end to all the dilemmas I have been through.
    I have already attained a unique combination of degrees and ending up being what is highly unlikely career choice for an INFP (I realized this just a month back). I am a practicing advocate!!!! Since it is just the first step I have taken in the profession, my INFPness is taking me over and after a lot of research on the internet I have come down to the career choice that could possible give me a reason to work. All the resources on the internet say that INFP’s make effective legal mediators. The field requires creativity, empathy and everything that an INFP values (of course the monetary aspect is an issue). Since I have not gained any practical experience in the field of mediation yet, there are certain issues I need to look after. The major one being an assurance and self belief that this would be the right career choice for me.
    If anyone from the Universal Brotherhood of INFP’s concurs to my thoughts, I am open to suggestions, discussions and guidance.

  146. I am a teacher’s assistant at a progressive school with small class sizes and soothing environment. Summers off and the ability to live nearly stress-free, no homework, and ‘option’ to offer skills in the classroom as desired. Not bad, really. Maybe doesn’t sound all that amazing, as ones pride likes to sound important, but in practice it is really a nice fit.

    • I’ve always wished I was a teacher… but then I’d have to work every day and that feels like prison! I wish there was freelance teaching… I keep thinking about adjunct university professor…

  147. One feature of INFPness is the ability to see both sides of any argument. It has gotten me into trouble on many occasions and here I am doing it again. Many people here have talked about how their creative ideas have come to nothing. I sympathise but it reminds me of the saying that success is 20% inspiration, 80% perspiration. (I think I may have the numbers wrong but what do we care? – the point is obvious).

    Years ago I remember reading that INFPs can be indulgent of self and others. Be honest; isn’t there a bit of that going on here? Wanting everything to go your way? Maybe its a response to the fact that it feels like nothing is going your way, and I can understand that but Mike (INFP Careers) is right, we have to toughen up – just a bit – otherwise you’ll get to the end of your life and regret that you did nothing worthwhile with it.

    Dimitri, thanks for your very positive contribution.

    • Helen,
      I definitely see a desire to avoid things that are difficult in myself and young INFPs. Ideas are great because they’re easy! I can always see what I want to happen brilliant detail. But when I try to bring that idea into reality, I find that there are a lot of difficulties. So I quit. I think it has a lot to do with the way I was (and I’d guess all of us were) brought up.

      INFPs greatest assets are their empathetic natures, their intelligence and their creativity. Their greatest weaknesses are their lack of endurance, willingness to give up too soon, and beliefs that they should be happy all the time and get whatever they want.

      Most of my 20’s were spent figuring out how to get past my weaknesses and dealing with having to make things happen within the confines of reality. It was a huge chunk of my life and it was extremely painful. But now that I’m through it, life is good. I’m happy and it was so worth it. I just wish I came to grips with all of this stuff 10 or 15 years ago.

      I also notice a lot of self indulgence in myself and other INFPs. It’s funny; we care so deeply about other people but then focus all of our energy on our inner worlds and our own problems. That’s self indulgence in a nutshell. Having a family and a wife to kick my butt is the only thing that’s been able to help me. But in hindsight, volunteering and helping other people in need would have filled a similar need. I needed a purpose. I was too self consumed to notice that.

    • You are so correct! I have been fighting myself since my teens. I’m 32 now and have finally realized my self-pity and lack of follow-through only hurts me. The only time anything good happens in my life is when I bare down and stick with my goal.

      I am so tempted to jump ship when things get a tad unpleasant. It helps me to realize that I will always find fault with a less-than-perfect situation (which is basically *every* situation in life) and think “the grass is greener.” This obviously doesn’t apply to situations where you are truly miserable. I changed majors a zillion times, and looking back, I realize I could have found my niche in almost any one of those.

      Good luck, fellow INFPs … It is up to you to realize you are awesome and deserve success in this world.

      • Thanks Erin! Really needed that and all the other posts. I am truly dealing with a career change and trying to get out of my present job. I am so drained. I know whenever I put my mind to something I can get it done. Lately I haven’t felt that way. But I have to do something so I won’t continue to get more and more depressed.

    • I just want to comment so bad, even though I don’t have anything to say. I mirror this dilemma, and I’m so encouraged to read that others also relate to this. I am a stay at home mom, and I enjoy that very much. However, I am unhappy, partly because I am having trouble with believing in God anymore. I am terribly afraid that I’m going to go to hell because of that. Feels so good to type this out. I don’t know what I want, but I feel like I have no compass anymore. I used to sing in college, and I miss that. I miss foreign languages, but i am so undisciplined. i don’t know if I should daily practice my languages, or music, or maybe start writing. If I attempt to get better at writing, maybe one day that would be a career possibility? I’m waking up from dreamland. I know I have to do SOMETHING in this life. Death awaits. I must influence the world….lol I know I am so overdramatic….someone please tell me they understand, it would be so wonderful thank you!

      • Well, Vivid….your reply is a year late….but I couldn’t help that. I was too busy stressing over a solution to my own turmoiled life at the time! LOL

        But….if you’re still hanging in there….somewhere….God’s not looking for an excuse to send you to hell, He’s in the business of saving, not condemning. It’s the believing that you can make it through the tough times that can wear you down, but God’s heart is always one of love.

        Talk to God about it. Like….really talk to Him. We INFP’s are good at deep and meaningful conversation and I feel we have an unfair advantage in a sense in how that translates into our spiritual journey with God. It’s been a long, drawn out process for me to start to get a sense of where I am “supposed” to be in this life, and for me that also involves singing, writing, graphic design, health & cooking education, gardening, supporting young people,….and who knows what tomorrow may bring.

        Hang in there, sweetie!! You are obviously a deeply caring person with many gifts. What I try to keep in mind however (despite all the gifts etc) is that the bulk of life is made up by little mundane repetitive things..they are the foundation upon which our gifts eventually get to blossom and shine from.

  148. Guys, I think we need to put some resources together, as to how we can help each other, from posts to links to articles to books, to some words of inspirations, as it seems that even if we know that we are INFP it does not help in resolving the “dilemma” as stated above. Sometimes knowing something is just the beginning. We all have something in common, and then we all have our own paths and lifestyles, and cultures, and even languages. This article also outlines a lot of what I am going through or how I feel inside, but its nothing new to me, in a sense of finding the “right balance”. We all can write, and imagine, and encourage and see the world more positive and give ourselves for projects and ideas and values.. But we could also criticize and analyze, and work with content better then others can. Let’s start at least some way to share what we are reading and some comments on that, and what is a life situation and where we need some encouragement, and sense of direction. Where can we start?

    I am reading: How to make Ideas Happen by Scott Belsky.

    I think its 100% about us.

    He has a few websites for Creative Minds.

    ( I am not associated with this site )

    There are other books and articles one could read.

    Such as on the subject of “Peter Pan Syndrome”

    which can get you into Depth Psychology.

    For me, through out the years I found that “some day” I might want to become or have: A music producer, a Jungian Analyst, an Advertising Agency, a Life Coach, a Business Improvement Center, and so on..

    If anybody is interested in continuing these conversation, we should do it more often, and have some chats, and even meetings.

    There is

  149. So im in my late 20’s and a bit concerned. Ive known that I was a INFP for quite a while, but now recently its set in more than before. I have a B.A in History and im currently in gradschool for my Master’s in Special Education. Im in my first semester and im not feeling it anymore, I have straight A’s but I dont think im going back in the spring. I left a job working over the summer for a bank to pursue this career, but it’s just not me. Im not sure what to do, I seem to not be happy pursuing any career. I get that quote, empty feeling with almost any pursuit of a career or thinking about a career. I think mabye I should consider History again, but that seems only like a knee jerk reaction….any advice? I suppose reading too much philosophy and Nietzsche as an undergrad didnt help….

    • I totally relate Ian, I read too much Nietzsche too. I think the best thing to do is not feel bad about it. We’re supposed to try and fail and keep trying. Try to keep an open mind and keep looking at other career options. I went to grad school for a year, it was expensive, it wasn’t for me. I left. In hindsight, I didn’t know for sure that it was for me, but I wanted to try. The tendency for me is to make a decision now, sort it out now, but with a little patience, it would have been better to delay any big decisions and sit with anxiety before acting on it. Hope this helps.

    • Hey! I’m about the same age as you are and just left my 3rd “career”; each one having absolutely nothing to do with the one before. Try to be patient, and just explore and experiment… I think for us, it takes longer but we’ll find our way in the world eventually =) Just always remember that you’re a really special and rare type. Don’t ever feel bad for being different. INFPs are ugly ducklings, but when we blossom we do it BIG time.

      • Totally relate to this. I studied History as an undergrad straight after leaving school. I graduated at 21, am now 25 and have had dozens of completely unrelated and unfulfilling jobs. Just recently, I quit my job as a researcher in London (was working for a very corporate target driven firm and felt utterly stifled, compromised and undervalued) and have moved back in with my parents for the third time since graduating. Oh the frustration of being an INFP!

        Now I’m at a bit of a loose end as to what to do next but I love to write, think, read and compose music. If only there were a way to make some money out of this….

        To those around me, my decisions seem erratic and illogical. People always tell me to focus on my career but I can’t help thinking there must be something more to life than this. Each of us has only one life to live and the thought of spending mine behind a desk doing someone else’s trivial and essentially pointless ‘work’ feels like some kind of defeat to me.

        I guess the problem is not necessarily ‘us’ no matter how often we may feel this to be the case. The problem, instead, is a reflection of our misguided society which mindlessly pushes on into the future chasing targets and chasing profit without a second thought as to where it is all heading. The world is in need of INFPs now more than ever, yet our skills and strengths continue to be overlooked and undervalued.

    • Ian,
      I can relate! I finished my Bachelors degree in Social Science when I was 22. I had plamned it so I could appy to dental hygiene programs, which was what I thought I wanted to do because the pay is good and most RDH’s work part time (left plenty of room for artistic hobbies).

      I was accepted into a hygiene program, paid the thousands in fees, and moved to another city to start the program. Once I started, I hated it. I had this horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach that I’d made the wrong choice for me.

      I’d like to clarify that I’m not saying dental hygiene is a bad career choice for an INFP. It just wasnt right for me. I ignored the gut feeling I had and dove into it anyway because (something I’ve recently reaized) I idolize careers in heakth abd medicine. I chose it in order to feel validated. I didn’t recognize, appreciate, or place value on my true passions and skills.

      I left the hygiene program and floundered, unemployed, for a while. I immediatley tried to formulate a plan B. I contacted some registered dietitians and finagled a couple of informal internships, for one of which I actually had the opportunity to co-author part of chapter of a college-level text book.

      I got savy with social media and did some intern work writing copy. Next I took a job in retail because I could at least count on a paycheck. I’ve been in retail since then for three years, and I am si ready to leave, even though I worked in three different retail settings. I’m just bored and frustrated by the lack of room for creativity.

      Last Fall, I decided to go back to school to work toward getting a “real” job. But I didn’t learn from my mistake. I picked another career path in health care. Again I have that gut feeling that says its wrong.

      Maybe you should leave your program? If History is what you love, go after it. If it’s something else, do THAT.

      Perhaps most important, be OK living in the space between plans. Take more time to explore, if you can afford to work entry level jobs in different fields before you commit. It beats rushing into something only to realize it doesn’t meet your need for a rewarding career.

      Be OK not having a plan right now.

  150. I am so happy to have found this and yet disturbed too regarding how long I’ve felt out of touch with most people, reality, feeling alienated out of an incurable need for romanticism and perfectionism, and then feeling I was defective.

    I studied philosophy, then acting, worked in nonprofit, went to film school, and made a short film and wrote music. I am restlessly learning things and they are quite satisfying but the moment I think of practical matters, I am a deer in the headlights. I started studying stenography this past January, which has been surprisingly very enjoyable and offers me a sense of grounding between art projects, doesn’t require so much politics, has independence, security, etc. It’ll take me a few years, but I think it’ll be worth the wait. I can’t imagine having to do another administrative job, it is so underappreciated and meaningless at times.

    I totally feel lost every now and again, but I’d really encourage everyone to pursue their creativity relentlessly in a few and specific things until it feels a bit painful and then take a break and then come back to it to push even further. I often get complaints from all of my closest friends, ‘what will she do next, who knows?’ I am beginning to embrace this. I am not a quitter, I am just insatiably curious! *Sigh* I wish I could make others understand.

  151. So refreshing to read all these great comments from like-minded people! Have known I’m an INFP for years, and six months ago found an almost perfect volunteer job for me – sewing costumes for a theatre company. (Only one snag, the sewing room was right underneath the rehearsal studio. Herd of elephants, anyone?) Sadly, two weeks after I started, the February Christchurch earthquake hit, and the theatre company was left without a building. Oh well, at least I got some great experience out of it. Once all my kids are school age, will probably do the same sort of thing again, for as long as I want, anyway.
    The longest job I’ve ever held down was eight months at a rest home – big mistake! Everything had to be exactly the same, week after week. Then just as I was getting to know someone, they’d die and I’d get horribly depressed. Thankfully, my husband saw me spiralling down and kicked my behind until I handed in my notice.
    I’ve discovered I can only stay in one job for six months at most, then I have to quit or move onto another one. I actually kind of like being able to try something new for a while, then take the skills I’ve picked up to the next one. I just take care not to tell my employers this!

    • I’m a stay at home mum at the moment (lucky me) but before my kids were born I got into temping. It was brilliant! I was employed by a recruitment company but only went to actual jobs for a day, or a week to a couple of months max. Best thing was that although i was doing admin work (used to be a full time receptionist which was ok except for answering the phone – hate talking on the phone – and people walking into reception. Both broke my concentration and at times i would not even realise the phone was even ringing or that someone was standing right in front of me lol.) I was often stuck in a room by myself catching up on filing, binding books, and generally doing tasks that the extremely busy admin staff didn’t get a chance to do. Loved it! And I didn’t get a chance to be overwhelmed by responsibilities or bored by the same old same old, day in day out of working life, I got to move on without having to quit, and got to see lots of different things and meet lots of different people which was great fun. Only trouble is that it’s not really a ‘proper’ ‘stable’ job. You don’t necessarily know if there’s a job coming up. Good thing is that you are often the first called because you get a great report from employers, who rave about your brilliant work ethic and friendliness, and all the team enjoyed having you there etc etc. I never was without work, but I could turn down an assignment if I needed some time out for myself.

      Is that strange? I’m a total introvert but part of the appeal of temping was meeting lots of different people? Hmm, maybe that’s just one of the things that makes us INFP’s so strange is those seemingly total contradictions! Unless it’s that I like human interactions, I just don’t like to feel that I have to make ‘connections’, and if I know I’m only going to be around these people for a little while I can just enjoy it without having to invest too much of myself, or be expected to socialise outside of work.

      Im loving finding out more about myself. Ive always felt like a bit of a weirdo, bit of an outsider, and its nice to know I’m not alone 😊

      Just as a side question.. does anyone ever feel like they’re sitting there all calm and rational and smiley on the outside, but inside you feel like punching a hole in the wall? But you aren’t angry or anything, just like you want to express that wild side? I hope its not just me 😕

      Ps i know this is a super old post but might help someone with an idea for a job option

      • I could’ve written the same post myself! 10 years of admin-type work and walked away to pursue a a career in healthcare..? (lol, we’ll see how that goes) But thanks for the temp idea! It might be great to do while I’m back in school…

        “Do what you have to do, until you can do what you really want to do” 🙂 Hoping Oprah’s creed can sustain me enough ’til the next step. And yes: super calm outer appearance with tumultuous waves of emotions crashing inside. I kick over garbage cans for some reason…when I’m drunk. lol
        Thanks Kay! 🙂

  152. This article is very interesting and explains a lot about my work history as an INFP. My chosen profession as a home birth midwife fits most of the criteria the writer mentions. Interaction with a small number of people on a personal and meaningful level, completely aligned with my values and the intimate care of women and babies with an autonomous schedule (except for births!) felt very right and comfortable, yet I was having a difficult time marketing myself (now I know why!!) and had to get a “real” job. Currently my job is an 80% fit with the criteria above. I work for a law firm as a sort of legal secretary/accountant and although the job itself requires SJ skills, my work is self regulated, I have incredible flex time, the company is very small and has a cooperative atmosphere. My personal space is creative and inspirational and I can listen to any kind of music, drink a cup of tea and basically work at my own pace with little interruption and can take a break whenever I feel like it. I switched to working only 30 hours a week last year which has freed up my time for other creative pursuits – and my boss doesn’t care if i am a few minutes late here and there. This job came to me in a time where i was in need (i NEVER would have chosen this career path) and after evaluating it, I see why I have been there over two years. 🙂 The downside is that there is a lot of math, email communication and organizational details which, admittedly, are not my strong points and my values are not reflected in my work, but for now I will take it. I am sure that some day I will go back to midwifery, but for now all is good, so don’t be afraid to try something new and trust that it may be in a place you NEVER expected! Peace 🙂

  153. I’ve just discovered I’m INFP and I’ve been looking for suitable job ‘matches’ for myself as the children are heading off to uni this year and next. I’ve always wanted a meaningful career but somehow never found my place in the world. Over the years I’ve tried different jobs but haven’t really fitted in and made the progress I might have done if I’d been interested enough to take the opportunities that presented themselves. I’ve been a stay-at-home mum for the last 18 years and that suited me – I loved doing things with the children and organising my day. I’ve had the time and energy to indulge my own small interests: gardening, reading enlightening books, watering my houseplants, feeding the birds, cooking and baking, listening to R4, cycling and walking in the beautiful countryside here. Whilst being a hands-on parent I spent three years doing an English lit. degree, took an IT course and done voluntary work in a school, college and library. I’ve found that this pottering kind of life style suits me best. Now though it’s time to get a proper job so I can pay the bills. My application forms are good and thoughtful but I fail to impress when employers meet me!

    I feel that everyone’s comments ring so true for me. Working for something I believe worthwhile is crucial. I feel I can’t waste my life pushing paper around for no other purpose than receiving a salary. A pleasing environment (home preferably)is important as I find ugliness depressing. I’m no good at saying what people want to hear and while I care for humanity’s welfare I find it hard to deal with people on a day to day basis. I can only love and care for a few.

    I’d love a job where I can think for myself, be creative, get totally involved and feel I’m making a difference. Further training is probably needed but I can’t afford it!

  154. Study computer programming and work for Google.
    They encourage creativity (even have days just to stop and think of something new and creative), the workers are valued, their work matters and changes things and often helps people (though more often indirectly) AND you get to work at the googleplex… however it would be extremely difficult to get there.

  155. This article described me totally. And people don’t ‘get’ us or they tell us to face reality…”there is no perfect job”. I was a stay-at-home mom for 20 years and that was definitely the best fit for me. Now last child is almost off to college and besides helping out an aging parent a few times a week, I need a flexible part-time job from home to bring in a little money and give me a focus other than my kids. I have several hobbies that I enjoy, but none that I can make any money at. I am just glad to know that there are other people like me out there, and that this is just how we are wired…not lazy or stupid.

    • Julie!!! I’m feeling your pain, sister! I’m in the same boat. D:

      I homeschooled my kids up until last year. Thank God, my part time job does fulfill me in many ways….I am part-time “manager” at a local thrift (charity) shop, 2 days a week. I can interact with customers (I lean a bit more to the extroverted side) but I can also bury myself out in the sorting area and look for “buried treasure” as well as exercise creativity in displaying merchandise, and helping people to find what they need on a budget etc etc.

      The only problem I find is dealing with the other volunteers, as our store policy is to allow each person to exercise their own judgment in the work they do, and that means I often have to come along and fix problems they have caused. Attempts that I have made to teach some of the ladies seems to get ignored at times, or I have to take out old stained clothing because their eyesight is poor…. and that means my time is wasted re-doing stuff. AND I HATE THAT!!!! #%$@#%$^#$@^$@
      (Oh, yeah….I’m a recovering perfectionist too.)

      But I need to find other work now to help bring in more $$$….thanks to all the contributors, as there are some great ideas being shared here, and each post adds to the feeling that I am (we are) not freaks. And that’s a good feeling! 🙂
      (Especially since I cried myself to sleep last night freaking out about my situation.)

  156. Wow! I just stumbled across this post as I was making a last-ditch effort to decide whether to sign up for a public relations diploma program at the local university. I work full-time for the government which is about as opposite as it gets when it comes to careers that are compatible with INFP’s. I need to work though to pay bills and indulge my passion for travel and learning more languages. I already speak 5 languages just for fun, you’d think I would have found a way to make money with that knowledge by now but I haven’t.

    Would public relations allow me to be as creative as I want, travel and write and follow my dreams and ideologies? I think it could be creative if I find the right job. Then again, I’d like to be able to do my job from nothing more than a laptop from anywhere in the world (sigh). I do love to write as well. Any ideas, anyone? When it comes to ideas, at least I know I’m asking the right people. 🙂

    • Umm why don’t you become a travel writter? Traveling, writting, doing your own thing? I know easier said then done but still..

      • This is a late reply, sorry!
        There are some companies that don’t pay for your writing, but they will provide you with perks in exchange for your write up. Some perks include free music, free entrance to music venues, free cruises, free entrance to music festivals and sometimes free or partial payment for world travel to cover music festivals.

      • Hi! I’ve been enjoying reading the comments on this article that seems as though it was written just for me, and just had to reply to your response. A job as a travel writer would be a dream come true for me!! The only problem is that I’m clueless as to how I should pursue it. I would appreciate any input from others. Thanks! Stephanie

    • You could try pitching a pilot for a reality TV series about travel. You being the talent would give you the freedom to write the script for the show, if there is a scrip, and let your creativeness shine. Creative is entertaining, and that is a job in the entertainment industry.

    • I tried PR & Marketing for a little while… even as a slightly-more-extroverted INFP, those fields are still MUCH too extroverted for me. You really have to spend a lot of time networking and cozying up to people so they can do favors for you in the future. Bleh!

  157. I post on PerC but missed this post. It is very good & really hits on the key points concerning common needs of the INFP in a job, and where some seemingly good fits for a career can actually fall short.

  158. WOW. I don’t remember writing that. I must have been sleep walking, and wrote this incredible post about myself being an INFP, and signed someone else’s name to it.

    This is quite remarkable, finding this website, and reading the thoughts of so many people that appear to be my clones in almost every deep emotional detail. This is too good of a discovery (this INFP Community) to let go to waste. I should do something with this.

    How often do we all say “I should”?

    … speaking of INFP “Community”… I wonder what kind of actual community we would make. What would it be like to interact exclusively with people who understand where you’re coming from? I feel a kinship. Could we run the logistics of a community? I bet some among us could. Would we get along? I’m thinking we would. I don’t get along with a lot of people… but that’s because we mostly have different values and ethics. I suspect that woudn’t be a problem among us as a group. Is this particular connecting thread… this 5% of Americans… the critical thread that allows harmony?

    I’m going out on a limb here… please no one take offense… but… I’m going to predict that few if any of us are die-hard conservatives. Am I correct? I’ve often wondered how conservatives and liberals are wired differently. I hope no one starts a political discussion. I’ll avoid that like the plague. Just wondering about the brain thing.

    Back to the community… and that kinship… I have visited a lot of online forums over the years, and am generally pretty horrified at how people treat each other. It gets old, trying to defend someone who is getting treated unfairly, and then getting attacked for defending them and being accused of being thin-skinned. There is always some jag-off that’s throwing personal insults around of one type or other. Bashing this stranger, ganging up on that person, etc. I don’t even sense the smallest bit of boorishness in any one of these posts. Could that mean something? It’s really quite refreshing! We might tick off some people in the world (often because of our particular brand of values, I’m guessing), but if we are all the same kind of odd-ball…. hmmmmm….

    Okay. Who is going to start INFP, Inc? I’m in! Would be an interesting experiment.

    Perhaps we should start smaller; like a few beers at a bar. I wonder how that evening’s conversation would go. Any of you near Phoenix? 🙂 INFPs ROCK! \\m//

    • What I will say though is that it is hard to be a conservative INFP, but having been on both sides before… and growing up in southern California, I believe conservatism is the truth. Is this because we as INFPs are contrarian? Maybe a little, but the fact is the truth is somewhere in between, and we probably identify with the “underdog” ideology. And one more thing: Being conservative does not mean being racist, homophobic, for the rich, or whatever else liberals say about us. I’m conservative in the way that I believe people should be rewarded for their hard work, and for taking chances in their lives. What if artists and musicians were taxed into oblivion for being “rich”? Business people are the same. It’s not fair to take something from someone else and give it to someone who didn’t work for it in my opinion. Success should be rewarded and failure should be punished. Plus I find it too hard to be a liberal because they are so cynical, and I’m a faithful person. (This is just a little peek into the mind of a conservative INFP haha. I’m a minority within a minority.)

      • Not starting a debate with you, but why should “failure” be punished? If one did everything right and just didn’t “win”, why should they be “punished” for getting in there and giving it their best? This is why I’ve never bought into conservatism, this “winner take all” attitude. Not everyone can win, certainly not all the time, and risking and losing should not mean oblivion, for the “losers” have to live, too.

    • I’m a liberal 100%. I was babied as an only child. Don’t know if there are similarities in that. Yea. I think we need each other. There are not many of us out there. Thanks for these post.

    • Really wish I wasn’t nearly across the country for you! Beers and that type of conversation would be a phenomenal day!

      It’s funny you should bring up the political leanings of our type: By all reasonable measures I probably ought to be a conservative; I grew up in Tennessee and South Carolina, I am a Christian (currently working as an intern at an incredibly soft-hearted church), and my whole family is conservative as are the majority of my in-laws. But the truth is, conservatives today, even when I believe in their cause like valuing life from conception (though apparently not after birth for many of them?) and the inefficiency of federal government for many things, I find the politicians posing these reasonable counterpoints do so with what seems like a complete void of any heart. I often times feel like I am actually compromising on some of my beliefs and principles (we are uncomfortable with authority, us INFPs) by voting for a Democrat, but at the same time, I do so because they seem to be the only ones with any heart or desire for positive change and so they will continue to get my vote.

      I hope this wasn’t too political – it was meant to explain the internal conflict I have with our current two party system in the US and how I feel very limited being squarely put in a box with either of the two.

  159. I totally know where all of you are coming from iv just discovered im an INFP, and im always looking for something to make me feel as if i belong, i feel as if i need to find out who i am… so its been great discovering so many people are on the same page as me!! iv had so many ideas that have failed, or iv given up on, or not pursued and alot of jobs that were “just until i figure out what i want to do”… but that hasnt happened yet!
    Lately iv been trying to figure out what exactly is stoping me and others from doing something we would actualy enjoy and would hopefully make us happy, all i can come up with so far, is that it seems to be a real problem with believing in ourselves, i know i really struggle with this – i get an idea like starting my own cafe, or becoming an interior designer, or event decorator and it just never happens because i dont fully believe in myself that i am capable, or that it will be the right thing for me. Its hard to get though the steps towards your “picture” when you dont know if it will work out, and sure enough… if you dont believe you cant receive what it is you were hoping for.
    Lots of things can stop you like putting your family first, people telling you your a dreamer or unrealistic, so it makes it seriously hard to beleive, i like to keep the peace in my world so im the one who always steps down and quietly i feel like a failure..
    Im trying to focus on beleiving in myself and i “Beleive” it will help

    • Hey Jo! I agree with you. A lack of belief in yourself, and wanting to make OTHER people happy (like your parents) are big reasons behind the question of “why.” I also think we were probably babied as children and not taught to “suck it up” and fight through the hard spots in life. The truth is that everything has difficulties. Whenever I run into a difficulty, I move to the easiest thing in my head or concoct a new idea to distract myself. It’s annoying as hell, but as I get older, I find things that I’m passionate about, learn to use my voice (my physical voice), learn to fight for what I believe in and learn to stick to things even when the going gets tough. The biggest problem is that I want to have these skills NOW, but they take years to get ahold of.

    • Hey! I relate to what you said! I still don’t know what kind of career I want, too. But I like knowing there are others out there like me. 🙂
      I just wanted to share a quote with you, it helps me sometimes. “Your desire for success must be greater than your fear of failure.”- Bill Cosby.
      My father is the critical type, so I’ve always been criticized and I was taught that mistakes were BAD. So, to avoid failures and mistakes, I do not attempt anything. But, I realized that mistakes are a learning experience.. That I just have to accept and move on. It’s hard to, because I am too hard on myself, but that’s all I can really do.

    • I am an INFP. I like art, dreaming and fantasizing, but I’m also interested in people and how they think. I enjoy psychology a lot. So, maybe I’ll do some form of psychology, like an art therapist. Also, I like dogs, and I’d like to learn sign language, but I don’t know how I could mix all of those into one, haha.
      Anyway, for those of you who want some career ideas, I saw that most INFPs could be in Occupational Therapy, Speech Pathologist, or teaching.
      Also, if you want to read a book about a main character who is an INFP, read Anne of Green Gables. I really related to her character very well, and it’s now my favorite book.

      • How about doing art therapy and animal assisted therapy?

        I still haven’t figured out my path, but I did a lot of research into social work, and I came across a masters program that had a focus on animal assisted therapy. Sometimes people are able to warm to animals more quickly than to people, and it helps break down walls during therapy. Also, abused children may be able to relate and empathize with a rescue dog who had also experienced a difficult life prior to becoming a therapy dog.

      • Also, some people (especially young or developmentally impaired children), can sign when they can’t use words well…so signing can help you with art and animal-assisted therapies! 🙂

  160. I am astonished at how closely this post mirrors my feelings and thoughts about careers and the choices involved. Most of the comments already say what I have to say so I won’t fill up space repeating a lot of what has already been written. Suffice to say that I am no longer willing to do what others tell me to do and at the age of 51 I am finally examining what i feel passionate about and want to aim towards.

    • “From this hour, freedom!
      From this hour I ordain myself loos’d of limits and imaginary lines,
      Going where I list, my own master, total and absolute,
      Listening to others, and considering well what they say,
      Pausing, searching, receiving, contemplating,
      Gently, but with undeniable will, divesting myself of the holds that would hold me.”

      -Song of the Open Road

  161. My experience has been that employers just don’t want INFPs as employees. In fact, some employers conduct personality tests b4 hiring ppl.

    My ex-boss promoted me to supervisor, as I was extremely good at my job. However, I’m not a very authoritative person and often get bullied by other people, so of course this didn’t work out very well. Once I got promoted, one of my coworkers got jealous and started complaining about me to my boss. That created an uncomfortable environment for me. Also my supervisor style was to try to motivate employees by creating a fun and pleasant work environment–very unAmerican of me I guess. (If you appear to be having fun at work, apparently, some people assume that you aren’t working. Not true, I worked so hard I got stressed out.) I think my coworker as well as my boss didn’t appreciate what I was trying to do–to create an office filled with happy, highly motivated employees.

    My boss didn’t like my desire to improve employee morale. Even when I needed to criticize an employee’s performance, I’d emphasize his/her strengths b4 mentioning what needed to improve. I also wanted to provide top performing employees w/rewards, rather than emphasize punishing employees who weren’t productive enough (my boss’s style.) My boss complained I was trying to be “friends” with employees. Corporate America doesn’t like equality. Employees are inferior to their supervisors, you see.

    Unfortunately, ppl like me are just not wanted by this job market, so I’m not sure of what to do. Right now, as a well-educated, highly skilled person, I’m preparing for possibly becoming homeless while working on trying to launch my own business at the same time. Part of me wants to pitch a tent and live off the land in the middle of a wilderness somewhere. The other part of me thinks there’s hope I can somehow create my own livelihood.

    I’m sorry to say this, but I just hope there’s an afterlife that’s better than this one because I really feel that I was born in the wrong place at the wrong time.

      • wow, i can relate to many of these comments, but this one about gave me the chills. I have stated a couple times that I felt like I didnt belong in this time. I do feel very out of place, and I get speechless on how materialistic people can be. Sometimes I actually believe that I may have been reincarnated from an earlier time. A simpler time. If i were to wake up from this coma and suddenly be on the set of little house on the praire, I think i would feel at home. What if INFP’s are just the people that have some sort of residual connection to a past life? Have any of you been labeled “psychic” or how ever you spell it, by friends and family? I don’t think I’m psychic but I have noticed I am more easily aware of things that most people arent. But I do have occasional eerie dreams that come true. Plus, I did have a near death experience when I was a young teenager and I have seen the “light” or “tunnel”. I wonder if that has anything to do with it. So, I guess I am wondering if any others have this sort of thing going on. Perhaps I am just an even wierder subdivison of INFP’s.

        • Beth, I can really relate to your comment. Although I don’t think I am “psychic” but I do feel as though I am aware of things that other people aren’t. I have had a couple odd experiences in dreams… This may sound crazy, and it probably is, but I have had a couple of dreams from the deceased. And I feel as though they are messages. In one instance my Grandpa wanted to show me what his heaven was like. I couldn’t go out into it, but I could see it from a tunnel. It was very odd, because his heaven was black and white and yet colorful… Some of the waterfalls were in color and others weren’t. I’ve never had a dream like that.
          Also, this is random, but if you ever want to read a book who’s main character is an INFP, read Anne of Green Gables. I instantly fell in love with this book! Anne is awesome. She has such an appreciation for beauty, imagination, and naming things (I have a passion for naming things for some reason).

        • I am not psychic but I am pagan INFP. I am not employed and I don’t make any money but I always to try to explore greator things I can care less about money I have discovered the laws of nature and nature will provide you with every thing you need I investigate paranormal activities from ghost to aliens I have encountered both. I honestly believe in the connections with the past life but I don’t believe in my past life I was human I was a greator race a race the strives to grow and expand. I often thinks it silly how we chance after gold when it’s great eliment to use for other things than coins.
          I also think one of the greatis minds on this earth was also INFP Nickola Tesla if you read alot of his old writing and stuff you will realize that nature will provide every thing you need to survive and a lot other facts that can help us solve our problems.

          • how do you buy food? how do you live?

            i agree with you and tend “not to care about me” but this puts burdens on other people and a lot of stress for myself.

            curious how you make your way?

    • I am so glad (in a relateable way) to hear this.
      I have had the same experience with working. I try to lead by example and be happy in the work place and try to make others happy, and sometimes get treated as if i’m not working!
      Because I’m happy and encouraging to people?!

      It’s like people want you to be cranky & miserable & stressed at work, and if you’re not, you must just be lazy, or not working.
      It’s bullshit.
      Lately I’ve really been thinking about going back to school to be a Psychologist or Psychiatrist. I’d really like to, or to be a Make-Up Artist. But it seems like a dream. A far unreachable dream.

      I’m tired of people trying to mold me into something they want me to be.

      I’d love to go live on a deserted beautiful Tropical Island.

      I hope the afterlife is better than this too.

      “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”
      -Ralph Waldo Emerson

      • Steph, I totally agree with you!! I told my kids I was going to a deserted island and my daughter asked… what island can you go to that no one knows about? I said the kind that you end up on accidentally after a shipwreck. Who needs a job if you can self-sustain?!? Would be awesome! …if life were really that easy…

        • The idea of shipwrecking on an island has always appealed to me. I shared that dream with a couple people and they thought I was loony. Glad to be validated here.

      • Hey, there have been some comments about having fun in the workplace and how people don’t think you’re working if you do this. One field of work that I had success in in teaching tennis. One cool thing about being a coach is that you don’t have to be a great player, obviously being a great player will make you a different type of coach with different opportunits. But, there are many opportunities for stay at home mom’s, teachers, and just regular players to try their hand at teaching. Teaching can be close to babysitting at times, esp. with younger kids. I’ve avoided this age group in my later years bc well I don’t like babysitting. Tennis is also a small sport, a small community, but with alot of opportunites. And these opportunities are only available to this small community. So it’s always been a personal feeling when applying. And I’ve felt I had a decent chance. I went to school for tennis management and I had only played one season before attending. I am a good athlete which helped. You can find golf management programs like this as well. They teach you how to teach. As an instructor, students usually leave you alone, so your infpenis is safe. Teachers do well with a bit of mystery around them. It keeps everyone in check. Also, if you like to lead with inspiration and enthusiasm, you are free to be that person on the court. People are looking to have a good time on the court, some of being an instructor feels like being an entertainer. If steps are taken slowly you can build up your voice. I had great success. And I could go on with more info but I think it’s a pretty good option to look into becoming a coach of some sort. Maybe soccer is similar too. Also, you are going to be working with a small team, usually a director of tennis, an assistant, and then you, the tennis pro. Even when I finally tired of this position, I was welcomed back to the club to take care of the clay court maintenance, the racquet stringing, and pro shop work. This gave me a stable, independent, project based job. I just quit 6 months ago…country clubs do carry some baggage with politics and money. Hope this helps.

    • How unfortunate for you MBL….I’ve recently been to a business seminar by a man who coaches CEO’s of large corporations to do EXACTLY what you were trying to do. There’s personality type and then there’s just good ol’ fashioned “dysfunction” …like your boss who has succumbed to the ‘law of the jungle’ type psyche, where survival is ensured to the most opprossive.

    • Loved you comment. I’m probably too late to post but I could really relate. I worked for myself for ten years as a caricature artist. Trying to sell art is never easy as most people assume, especially caricatures, who appeal to an even smaller demographic. My business dried up overnight. Everything is shifting, even art. I think the key for us INFPs are to look at our hidden strengths and create our work.
      After my business dried up, I took a food service job that I absolutely hated and it barely paid the bills. I quit pursued my passion again only to become homeless in an unfamiliar place and with no support.
      After doing some research, and looking at blogs on INFPs I’m going to pursue taking all my skills,talents, and experiences and crafting something of my own. One of my passions believe it or not has been public speaking. I think if I combine that passion with my art I can create something that will help someone else.

  162. Its as if you’ve read my heart. Everything fit so wonderfully. I’m in college right now and I think I’ve changed my major about 10 times. I’ve spent hours and hours researching a career that will fit me and it seems hopeless. Everything that is almost perfect has no security which is something important. If only there could be some almost perfect job with security that I could do part time, and then I could do everything perfect on the side. I think for INFPs we just have to learn to settle, but at the same time I don’t want to settle! I want to find that perfect career, somehow.
    On a side note I’ve noticed that most INFPs feel really misunderstood. I always feel that people just don’t get me, and now I don’t feel alone in that. Thanks fellow INFPs!

  163. Great comments everyone! So sorry, I just realized 5-10 comments were lying around unapproved. But now they’re here for all the world to see how brilliant you all are!

    This is something I continue to struggle with. I had gotten back on track at work and was focussing pretty well. Then all of a sudden, I got stuck doing something boring and I just. Can’t. Get myself motivated enough to do it! It is killing me and forcing me to, yet again, re-evaluate my career.

    I’m still pushing for having a small Internet based business. I have some business sense and can take care of my money, but my wife is also very level headed. So that’s extremely helpful when I start getting my head to far in the clouds.

  164. Thanks sue, I’m definitely checking that out! But this describes exactly what I want in a workplace. I want to be able to care for others, but I want to be creative at the same time. I considered being a social worker but I’m not sure if I would be able to apply my creative side in that job. Very difficult! XD

    • Hi Nazy

      I don’t know how far you’ve looked into Social Work but from what I’ve heard it’s a time constrainted nightmare. I think the problem us infp’s have is that we would probably do really well in fields we choose if they were in an ideal world. The world of social work appears bound by many rules, regulations and targets and was by no means ideal even before the recession and cuts. I suspect being an occupation therapist or speech therapist may be more pleasant and constructive but I don’t know how much of your own creativity you would be able to apply. (I tried teaching many years ago – loved the lesson planning if I spent loads of time on one lesson – couln’t cope atall with all the crowd control, paperwork, and not being able to spend more time with individuals and small grooups)

      But bills have to be paid don’t they?

      One option would be to do one of the above and then do some voluntary work wher you can be more creative e.g. creating learning games for people with learning difficulties, activities for people with alzheimers….or maybe look into being art/drama/writing/gardening therapist

      Hope this helps


    • Forgot to mention re: above… there’s always opportunities in the long run to set up working for yourself and then you could be really creative. From what I can make out, politically, there’s going to be more private work in the social sector from now on.