A person sitting at a desk working on their computer.

Gone are the days when a 9-to-5 office job was the only option. Today, you have the opportunity to break free from the constraints of office desks, set working hours and micromanagement. Instead, you can choose a more independent work style, such as freelancing, gig work or a “slash” career. 

However, the freedom independent work provides comes at a high cost. Without the safety net of traditional employment, there's a certain level of anxiety that naturally comes with these types of jobs. You can't be sure you will land enough clients or gigs every month. On top of that, these kinds of jobs require a lot of self-organization—they may not be for everyone! 

So, let’s talk about which Myers and Briggs types are likely to be drawn to independent work—specifically, freelancing, gig work and slash careers—and which one may be right for you. 

Freelancing - requires motivation and self-discipline 

Being your own boss. Waking up whenever you want. Working whenever and wherever you want. It’s clear why people pursue the freelancing career path—it offers a great degree of freedom. In fact, over three-quarters of people choose this lifestyle for the “free” in freelance.

When defined like this, it’s clear why freelancing appeals to certain personality types—especially, those with the Perceiving orientation. Perceivers are more spontaneous compared to their Judging counterparts and prefer freedom over structure. They prefer to go with the flow rather than follow a routine, so they particularly value the ability to set their schedule. 

Perceiving types are also more flexible, adaptable and more comfortable with uncertainty and risk. This makes them better equipped for dealing with irregular hours, changing projects and a lack of job security. 

But here’s the rub: ”freedom” is only one part of freelancing—and it can be a bit of a myth. Freelancing is essentially a type of self-employment where the freelancer delivers work on a contract or project basis. Each client will have their own demands and deadlines, and the freelancer is wholly responsible for finding those clients, managing the relationship, writing contracts, invoicing, paying taxes and all the other admin that goes along with being a solopreneur. Viewed through this lens, freelancing may not look as free!    

So, an interesting nuance is that although Perceivers are more likely to choose a freelancing career, Judging types may be likely to achieve greater success in it. This is because Judging types tend to be organized, responsible, dependable and goal-oriented, and these qualities are very advantageous in the context of a self-directed work style such as freelancing. 

Freelancing can be fairly lonely sometimes as well, so it tends to appeal to Introverts more than Extraverts

Fundamentally though, freelancing is a “choose your own adventure” career. There’s a big difference between a freelance coder, a freelance fashion designer and a freelance real estate agent. That means anyone can find success as long as they pick the type of work, clients and structure that suit their personality – and are prepared to take some risks along the way.   

  • Types who are most likely to pursue freelance careers: INTJ, INTP, INFP, ENFP, ENTP, INFJ, ENFJ
  • Types who are least likely to pursue freelance careers: ISFJ, ISTJ, ESTJ, ESFJ.

Gig Work - best for those who want a life of action

Gig work is a type of freelancing that’s based around on-demand tasks or short-term projects (e.g. taxi services, food delivery, handyperson services) and workers often receive payments soon after completing a gig. Gig economy jobs are typically service jobs and require less formal training and professional experience compared to traditional freelancing jobs. 

Other than the low barrier to entry, many people take on gig work to supplement their primary source of income. Some people may also go for gig jobs for the autonomy and flexibility they provide—gig workers are not generally tied to client contracts and have the freedom to accept or decline gigs as they wish. 

For this reason, these kinds of jobs are also likely to appeal to Perceiving types. Specifically, they appeal to Sensing Perceivers who love practical, hands-on work and prefer to live in the moment and see tangible and immediate results from their efforts. 

Gig work would probably not appeal to personality types who are less likely to work for financial incentives alone and need a greater purpose in their work, notably ENFJs and INFJs.

  • Types who are most likely to take on gig work: ESFP, ISFP, ISTP, ESTP.
  • Types who are least likely to take on gig work: ISFJ, ISTJ, INFJ, ENFJ, ENTJ, INTJ.

Slash Career - for the person who wants to do everything

Slash careers involve juggling multiple careers or streams of income that may be unrelated. The idea behind a slash career is that people can pursue multiple interests or skill sets simultaneously, often through a mix of part-time employment, freelancing or self-employment. For example, you can be a "Writer/Content Creator/Trader" or "Doctor/Writer/Speaker.”

A slash career may be particularly appealing to personality types who are adaptable, dynamic, and crave adventure, challenge and variety. For example, ENTPs, ESTPs and ENFPs may choose the slash career path because it satisfies their need for stimulation, excitement and novelty. ENTJs—who are known for their ambition and the desire to push themselves—could also be drawn to a slash career for the constant stream of diverse challenges and opportunities for professional growth.

  • Types who are most likely to develop a slash career: ENTP, ESTP, ENFP, ENTJ
  • Types who are least likely to develop a slash career: ISTJ, ISFJ, ESTJ, ESFJ.

Final Words

When it comes to choosing an independent style of work such as freelancing, gig work or a slash career, it's important to note that anyone can decide to pursue and become successful in any of them, regardless of their personality type. Even structured and risk-averse types, most notably the Sensor-Judgers of the 16-type system, may go for (and succeed in) independent careers if they're passionate about the work and motivated to make it happen.

As always, the key is finding the type of work that suits your natural work style. Consider taking a career aptitude test as your first best step. This will help you identify the type of work that aligns with your natural inclinations, helping you make a more informed career choice.

Darya Nassedkina