5 Careers for INFPs Who Want to Earn a Healthy Salary

Freewheeling, independent-spirited INFPs don’t just want any job. They want to do something they care deeply about. They want a career that ignites their passion, expresses their values and contributes something good to the world. And they want to do it on their own terms.

The problem, however, is that society kicks jobs like this to the curb. The few careers that tick the right boxes are either hard to get or simply don’t put enough money in the bank. Indeed, out of all the personality types, Introverted-Feeling types sit right at the bottom of the salary scale. So how’s an INFP supposed to put food on the table? Fortunately, several lucrative careers live up to the INFPs deep ethical values. If you’re not an INFP, take a look anyway. You might find something you like.

Psychologist

Starting the list off is psychology, a profession that plays to the INFP's strengths. Psychologists must be skilled at reading between the lines (an N trait), able to spot inconsistencies in themselves and others (an F trait) and adept at responding to whatever happens in a situation (a P trait). Emotional problems are putty in the INFP’s hands.

Excellent at reading the feelings and motives of others, INFPs love being able to work face-to-face with clients and seeing how their considerable talents have impacted another's quality of life. Nothing feels more rewarding to an INFP than watching people flourish under their sensitive guidance.

Psychologists operate in all fields, from substance abuse to business consultancy. Average mean salaries are high: a psychologist working in childcare services earns $96,180 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Architect

Artistically inclined INFPs might answer the doubters who say that INFPs can’t join the dots and never have a clear answer with a rewarding career in architecture. The profession demands just as much creativity as logic. Renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright is widely reported to have been an INFP.

Architecture allows INFPs to exercise their creative muscles without letting them fall into the stereotype of starving artist. Being idealistic can be a huge plus in this profession. With sustainability hot on the global agenda, INFPs can choose to design buildings that serve and protect both humanity and the environment— a motivation that really strikes a chord with the conscientious INFP.

An architect’s mean salary is $74,520 across all sectors, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. High earners are able to pull in well over $120,000 per year.

Human Rights Lawyer

If there’s a trick to earning good money as an INFP, it is this: select a traditionally lucrative career and find a field within the profession that allows you to help people. By this exposition, a career in human rights law ticks all of the boxes. 

A human rights lawyer represents people who feel that their human rights and civil liberties have been abused. Practitioners specialize in the fields of mental health, asylum, discrimination, social justice or war crimes, among others. So they might help an asylum seeker who has been subjected to torture and abuse or they may draft protocols that protect mentally ill employees from discrimination in the workplace. Advocacy and empathy are must-have skills.

The road to qualification is tough. Aspiring human rights lawyers will need to get admitted to a law school with a strong human rights department and earn their Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree. Practitioners are handsomely rewarded for their efforts. Lawyers earn an average salary of $133,470, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Medicine

Medicine can be alluring to INFPs as it combines their interest in helping others with their natural curiosity and quest for deeper meaning. This career really appeals to the INFP's humanitarian side.

By definition a vocation, medicine offers ample varied opportunities for deep learning that allows the inquisitive INFP to give themselves fully to their craft. And, with average physician salaries coming in at $189,760, there’s no denying that a career in medicine will put a very nice roof over the INFP’s head.

So, why is medicine towards the bottom of the list? Mainstream modern medicine poses a few problems for the INFP. It can be impersonal, stricture-ridden and more drug-focused than the person-centered INFP can bear. Life and death decisions are not an INFP’s strong suit, either. But with the multitude of specialties available—radiology, pathology, dermatology and so on— scientifically minded INFPs are sure to find something that gels.

“Slash” Entrepreneur

One type of entrepreneurship that seems particularly appropriate for INFPs is the “slash career.” They may, for example, view themselves as “business coach/author/expert/consultant.” Slash careers are particularly appealing to entrepreneurial P-types, who are known for their versatility and adaptability.

Slash careers play to the notion that certain job motivations are not so much a choice as they are a way of life. Mixing and matching allows the INFP to be taken very seriously as an entrepreneur, which gives them self-confidence, but also allows them to create a less disciplined and less structured work day. By selecting the right combination of “slashes”—some fun, some magical, some soul-enriching and some high-earning— INFPs can fulfill a whole range of emotional needs. As far as earnings are concerned, the world is the slash-entrepreneur’s oyster.

So there you have it—proof that the INFP’s artistic and reflective nature is not a roadblock to financial success. Which profession has given you the greatest reward?

Molly Owens

Molly Owens is the founder and CEO of Truity. She is a graduate of UC Berkeley and holds a master's degree in counseling psychology. Since 2006, she has specialized in helping individuals and organizations utilize personality assessments to develop their potential.

In 2012, Molly founded Truity with a mission to make robust, scientifically validated personality assessments accessible to everyone who may benefit from them.

Molly is an ENTP and lives in San Francisco, where she enjoys elaborate cooking projects, murder mysteries, and racing toy cars with her son.

Comments

JohnC (not verified) says...

I am an INFP type, but I surprisingly work in a technical field as a software performance tester. I think it's comparable to the architect job described in this article--"demanding creativity as logic" resonates familiarly with me in my career. I do love my job, but my contentment had to be learned. It's an 8-5 office type of job where most people are STJs. I've been here for more than 7 years and wouldn't change it at all! At least half of an average workday I'm running on auxiliary functions (never the inferior extraverted thinking type though). My job primarily and consistently hits on the INP cylinders. I would love to delve into much more detail if anybody is interested.

Molly Owens says...

I'm curious how you deal with repetition in your work, John. Most INFPs hate repetitive work but it seems to me that software testing would have a good deal of it. Have you found that to be an issue?

GraceBee (not verified) says...

as an INFP, I am able to deal with repetition in my work, by using my creativity to tweak and improve my script as a tour guide. I also enjoy meeting new people and ensuring they have a great experience on my tour. On the downside, I care more about the people than rules and have broken rules at time to accommodate people if the rules are silly.
The repetition is wearing me down however, so I plan to leave this job and am starting my own business as a professional organizer for businesses and homes. I enjoy taking on projects and seeing a final sparkling result. I have worked in the past as an Admin Projects Coordinator and loved the role. It was for a nonprofit and helped improve the experience of staff and many volunteers, and it was a contract role, so had an end in sight. My full resume is terrible with all the jobs over the years, but learning to embrace my personality and capitalize on it has been the key to happiness while earning income. I also write quite a lot and have a regular published column but it pays poorly.

JohnC (not verified) says...

Thanks for sharing Gracebee. I also imagine that dealing with tour groups means you don't get to know certain people as much as you'd like. In my case, I can imagine running into a couple of people in my tour group who comment on something with a level of wit that would catch my attention, but I would be a little saddened over time of not really following up with any people later. Then I can also imagine some people excited about the tour acting as Jack Russell Terriers jumping up and down by the end of a tour wanting to be your best friend forever. I can see BOTH extremes wearing on me over time!

GraceBee (not verified) says...

Yes, I have met some wonderful people and sometimes make one or two great friends on the tours. And you're right... some kind/witty/funny people really stand out! I am a bit sad when it's over sometimes, but also exhausted. There have been some men who want photos with me, and have invited me for lunch, but I've had to decline of course. :-)

JohnC (not verified) says...

You raise an excellent point, Molly. Your observations are indeed accurate in the field of software development. Repetition is common in this industry. That reputation also couples with a negative stereotype that testing is just about checking boxes and making sure something works. In my job, much of what I do is actually thinking about what really is expected because it's not straight-forward. During my job search, one of the most appealing things to me during my interview was management's answer to my question of whether or not the work gets stale. They mentioned how the product is dynamic and feature-rich, and they'll never let just one tester stay on the same product for its lifetime, so I get shifted around and am constantly learning new areas of the product. The product evolves faster than I could ever learn it.

Testing embraces technical creativity with open arms at my company, and I think that's rare to find in the area of large enterprise software development. The 'N' side of my personality is satisfied through the creativity it gets to exercise. I'm fully entrusted to write the test plan and brainstorm all the ways to test a product. I get to think about the usability experience and how a user would feel throughout navigating an interface (would a user get frustrated if they experienced XYZ? Why does this window pop up? It makes me want to microwave a bag of nails and gasoline! ...or hug a fluffy bunny.). The 'P' side gets placed on cruise control because testing determines the deadlines and not the other way around--longevity testing simply cannot be rushed, and I rarely feel pressure to bring full closure to anything since testing is an ongoing process that rarely is repetitive (always dynamic and changing). The 'F' does get a little deprived since half of the day I need to be pragmatic and logical in the gathering of my results... so I am usually exercising the introverted thinking cognitive function during a work day--so some days I do get drained more than others, but it doesn't take away from my job satisfaction. I work with a ton of STJs, which also means I experience a lot of strong objective criticism that sound like attacks. This job has truly helped me relate with my arch-nemeses of personality types. On the contrary, it's easy for me to empathize with their undisclosed feelings of high stress because I can observe their heavy workload and extremely tight deadlines. I can gauge accurately when to give somebody space and when I can dump my exhaustive details and findings of my work. My actual work is not group-based, so my 'I' trait really loves that I am gauged on individual performance. I also have my own office with a door, so I'm not in a cube farm like many other software development places too. I'm also never put on the spot for impromptu results. If somebody needs my results, it's just, "Hey John, whenever you get time can you post your results from last week?" I still treat that question as high priority, but the fact they respect my time goes a LONG way with me.

Lastly, I get to see direct value added to our large customers. I've never felt like my work was a waste, and I get to see our biggest customers show their appreciation regarding the quality of our product. There couldn't be better motivation for me.

Is it a dream job? It's definitely an unconventional dream job because I would never have thought of it on my own. I've made it my dream job over time though. I love the articles and content you post too. Keep up the great work Molly and Truity!

Molly Owens says...

That makes a lot of sense John! Thanks for introducing us and your fellow readers to a possible dream career for INFPs. :)

Guest (not verified) says...

Hi -- me too. However, it is somewhat unfortunate that i really don't see that many INFPs in the testing profession these days as "new" test engineers often seem to tend to be button pushers and not thinkers or writers. I wish you well.

JohnC (not verified) says...

Thanks, and I wish you well too! I'm curious what type of testing you do. I agree that we don't have as many thinkers or writers any more.

JEllen (not verified) says...

I am also an INFP and have been a software engineer for over 30 years. It gives me a lot of pleasure to solve problems. I tried the management side but that wasn't a good fit. I found that being a contractor, sometimes working for several customers and working from home is great for me. I can be creative without all the corporate politics.

Lianne (not verified) says...

Hi John,

I studied geology in school but most of my classes were with engineers. Geology is a fantastic field! But when I graduated most of the jobs were in oil and gas or mining. I needed to feel that my career was contributing to society in a positive way - I just couldnt bear to work just to get rich off oil. Now I work as a data coordinator for much less than I'd make as geologist but my company helps prevent groundwater contamination, sinkholes and deaths from gas explosions. It's extremely satisfying to know that my work helps people and saves lives.
I too run on auxilary functions all day. My favourite part of the day is when I get to create maps - design things my way. Fortunately tech is booming and they were willing to pay me more once they found out that my maps are fabulous and people with computer programming and GIS skills are hard to come by.
As someone educated in science I value good quality data and I am super please to have found something I can stand (data quality and assurance) and the repetition doesn't matter because checking boxes lets me feel good about my work knowing the data is high quality. Our engineering clients will be happy with our product (databases) and their computer doesnt crash when they try and run a corrupted file (mine crashes instead!!!). I have the freedom to be creative at work - problem solving requires out of the box thinking and I enjoy finding new better ways to do things - tweaking processes and thinking up new solutions.
They other day I drove one of the field crew vans to go grab everyone coffees so no two days are exactly the same.
I started painting on the side and designing aquascapes to let some of my feelings out after work but I couldn't ever imagine a full time career as a painter or writer - I'm willing to take risks but I could not abandon a steady M-F office job for something like that.
However a lot of jobs in engineer seemed really appealing - I'm glad now I didn't take that path. At work I see what engineers do. They rely so heavily on T and J that I would never enjoy the work - although I find working closely with strong T and J types actually keeps me on track.
I think each personality is highly valuable at a company - but I could never go into management business or marketing. Project management irks me in a way I can't explain...
Lately I've been wanting to jump ship and do another degree...find something that makes a bit more money like becoming a psychologist - I fear that my only path to a higher salary at my current company is through management. But on the other hand I recognize that as a character defect and I know there's a lot of value in sticking around and becoming highly talented in one field.
Any thoughts?

Thanks for your valuable input!

Lianne

Adelaide (not verified) says...

Hi Lianne,

I graduated from high school this year and I'm entering my freshman year at college with two years worth of credits under my belt, and really fell in love with geology. Im done with my generals and planning majoring in geology, but I ran into the same issues as you in that I really don't want to work in oil or drilling--I want to to more to contribute to society and help preserve the beauty I see in nature around me. 

I've been going back and forth a lot about what I want to do, because I love the field but not necessarily the job opportunities. If you could give advice to yourself when you were in my position, what would it be? 

Thanks so much!

Addie

Nandan (not verified) says...

Interesting. Have you explored geothermal energy? Its an under explored clean renewable source of energy. Your education will be very useful in this field.

Lianne (not verified) says...

Hi Addie,

I would suggest going to your university career center, local government funded career center, and emailing or speaking to professionals in different fields, friends and family who know you well so that you can an intership/coop that leads you to an INFP friendly branch of geology.

About the job opportunities thing...because of a downturn in the industry a lot of my classmates are not geologists. There are a few working your typical entry level geologist at a mining company. Those are the people who found that geology is literally a perfect fit in every sense. But others did community college or a master's degree or networked their way into becoming an ecologist, a real estate agent, a hydrological researcher, gemstone sales professional, museum designers, financial analyst etc.

Their geology degree/geology knowledge got them there! Others found that simply the piece of paper saying you finished higher education was the only thing that they really ended up using in securing that first entry level job.

I've gone back to school to study more...after my internship ended management switched me from data coordinator/GIS to an engineering techician role. I hated it! I love physical geography and geology, researching and teaching so my goal now is to get a masters degree in physical geography.

What I'm hearing is that youre jumping back and forth between ideas...sticking to the education plan is something my E, S, T, J friends and family have helped me with to keep my INFP personality from going off the rails by running around chasing a different dream every few years. But make sure that NOW you start working odd jobs and networking during the school year - that will allow you to blend your geology degree into something that is a good INFP fit.

My career center gave me a typefocus profile and login and it really opened my eyes. Even if geologists are usually INTP, ENTJ, INTJ, you can work in any career, and be wildly successful. I worked as a recreation worker for many years and loved it even though it is an INFJ ISTJ career acoording to the typefocus website, and not good for INFP personalities.

It aligned with my values and interests and eventually let to coaching a swim team and teaching first aid classes...which was a sweet fit for INFP. Plus I love swimming.

Are you a clumsy INFP like me? Or are you and INFP who has all the interests and values of a geologist? 'Geologists' scores as a 'practical occupation' in the interests category, meaning you have to be 'hands on' - gifted at physically at things like dialing geophysical instruments, packing your bag quickly in the field, etc. My clumsiness led to the realization that geology want for me. How about values? Do you want to work somewhere where the company values are achievement, independence, recognition? Or do you thrive more in a supportive workplace culture where your boss and the company values social gathering, supporting their workers, etc above all else?

Depending on your answers to the above, like recreation work was perfect for me, geology could be perfect for you. But if you find after a coop or internship term that its still not INFP enough, I would recommend using your degree and network into branches of geology like environmental science, physical geography, urban planning, teaching, research, type positions that are very 'INFP' and you can achieve with your geology degree.

A degree is just a piece of paper. You can go anywhere. My ESFJ dad taught me to keep my faith strong and follow through with my original plan despite moments when I go back and forth, excited about other possiblities and no longer seeing where its taking me.

Best of luck!

Lianne

Lyra (not verified) says...

I would like to hear more of how this satisfies your INFP tendencies.  I've been a language teacher for about ten years and am looking to make a career change.  On the side, I have been learning to impliment agile management practices with engineering teams building electronic musical instruments (I know that what I'm describing is more like 'hybrid agile' but I find the processes very powerful)...  I've supplamented my income for the last few years with this.  Now I'm getting more seriously into studying math and science and planning to go back to school for engineering.  Programming is a nice part of this, which I'm just getting into myself.

Anyways, sometimes I wonder if I'm being a total fool for even considering technical fields, but the creative elements are very worthwhile.  So, yeah, I'd love to hear more details of your experience.

Mayapm (not verified) says...

Hi John,

I hope you are still happy with your work as a software performance tester! I was wondering, how do you determine that it does not use the extraverted thinking function? I'm doing technical support for performance testing software (so related to what you do) and am trying to determine whether it uses extraverted thinking... It involves a lot of research and investigation (which I assume uses extraverted intuition, but not sure), but it also involves having to move cases forward quickly - a lot of support cases, very often urgent, that need to be updated on time. It's exhausting me quite a lot...I suspect that part uses extraverted thinking, but again I'm not sure, so I'm trying to confirm...

Thanks!

Katerina (not verified) says...

I am very interested in details. If it is still actual for you please share. I also work in technical environment and your words seemed close to me. I want to know more of your experience, please. Would be very glad :)

 

Erica Von Kcaat (not verified) says...

Soi happen to be an INFP. As it happens I am a psychic or fortune teller. I also write and draw. For a few years I had a shop front as well. I am reinventing it as a gypsy vardo or trailer so I can come and go as I please rather than have set shop hours. It certainly is interesting, for me at least since I spend my time reading people for a living, how accurate the description of the INFP is for myself. A lot of my big wig corporate clients subscribe to this method of discerning personality types for the corporate world, it's cool. I use astrology and the end result seems to be the same sorts of conclusions just a different path to get there. I enjoy the tidbits of information and insights I get from your site. Thanks

Molly Owens says...

That sounds like an awesome gig for an INFP, Erica!

Anthonie (not verified) says...

I did not know I'm INFP untill a few years ago. I'm 39 by now and work in Engineering doing tenders and project costing. And I've realised that while I earn a good salary I've not had a work day I looked forward to in years. So I am doing a few short courses in other fields while I decide what the heck to do now. It seems that INFP's make great estimators only problem is the job is soul destroying so I would not advise this for any INFP.

meh (not verified) says...

I am in the exact same situation! same age , same job. I make good money compared to others but I was never satisfied and I wondered why! I ve been trying to know myself better for so long and I came across the personality test recently and it all resonated .I also took some short courses but networking, people skills are not my thing so I really dont know where to go from there. If you do not mind , would you please share your experience and what courses do you take?

Victoria Reeves (not verified) says...

Help! I'm a. INFP type 39 year old divorced mom. I live, and was raised in an area of limited cultural and professional diversity. I've always wanted "something more" than what my counterparts find acceptable. In determining career goals I have always been seen as frivolous and indecisive because I wasn't able to pinpoint where I fit in. Most of my graduating class went on to become nurses or teachers. I come from a family of teachers who could never understand why I wouldn't major in education. My ex husband is a teacher. He never understood me either... Any time I explain that my bachelors degree specialized in interior design, I am met with polite nods followed by a reluctant "Ohhh". Then a confused look of 'What the hell is she doing applying here?'
Ironically, I've worked in over half of the fields that were listed on the list of least successful career paths for INFPs. Most recently, I keep getting hired in commissioned sales positions, although I try to tell the employers that my communication skills and professional appearance are misleading, and better put to use elsewhere in the company. I guess I'm not great at communications w/supervisors though, because they somehow know better. I'm not succeeding. I need money, with flexibility to raise my 12 year old daughter. I can't float any longer. I need to right this path immediately! Any advice is greatly appreciated!

Molly Owens says...

You seem like a very skilled and eloquent writer, Victoria. Have you ever thought of writing professionally?

Victoria Reeves (not verified) says...

Molly, thank you so much! I enjoy writing, though it isn't a career path I've pursued. You aren't the first to suggest writing to me. I suppose I'm just not sure where to begin. I agree with your comment about INFPs needing fulfillment in our careers! I feel like I've always "worked"' trying to find purpose within the most readily available position. That might be the reason I don't usually lead the ranks in production. I need to do things my way, in order to reconcile the whole process in my mind. Otherwise, the task doesn't make sense, and I usually mess it up. My supervisors don't like me being a step ahead (or beside) of them however. I'm sure that my questioning the validity of certain tasks is exhausting, and I sympathize. I simply don't see the point of adapting to a flawed system. If I can use the provided information to find a more direct approach that results in the same outcome; with all of the included data, then why is that bad? Besides impeding my own initial productivity, but also aiding the group overall. Most times I don't get past the immediate supervisor. Generally speaking, they won't listen. Then I find out six months later that my methods have been implemented, or have led to changes. I fully realize that I need to take control of my professional life. Writing may very well be my avenue.

Molly Owens says...

Totally identify with what you're saying, even though I'm an ENTP myself. I think us NPs just don't see much of a reason to go along with senseless procedures, which makes us sometimes unsuited for corporate life! I wonder if you've read the article we did a while back about an ENFP who leaves her office job to become a writer? I think you might find some inspiration there!

Good luck to you, whatever you choose!

GraceBee (not verified) says...

This is a great site, Molly, and I highly value your insights and encouragement!
I do wonder, however, in suggesting writing to a single mother who must make a good living. Writing is highly competitive and pays little, unless you have a degree in Communications/English/Journalism and are hired by a well paying firm or publication. I apologize for nit-picking, but I traveled that road. I've come to terms with the fact that I will always love writing, and will always write in various capacities, but to earn a healthy income I must pursue other avenue.
This lady already has a degree in Interior Design... What about pursuing Home Staging, or Administrative Projects positions in a large company? It's all about improvements to lack-luster systems. Best of luck to you, Molly, and the single mother.

Victoria Reeves (not verified) says...

Thank you Gracebee for the input. I do love writing! In fact, I think I wear most people out with my need to look at situations from every angle. I think that's why I chose design. If the basic elements and principles are followed, you can bring into existence whatever idea is in your head. What a wonderful world it would be if all things were aesthetically pleasing! Anyway, I want you to know that this week has been full of inner dialogue and self examination. Admittedly it was neither my best nor most productive, but I'm learning. I truly appreciate the positivity and support this forum provides. Much love to you all!

Molly Owens says...

Great suggestions, Grace! Home staging is a really interesting idea.

Totally agree with you that writing is not a way to a steady job with a big salary. However, I think the internet has really changed writing as a profession, making it much more democratic for people with natural talent but without the usual credentials. Especially if you are willing to become a specialist in web writing, and even more so if you have some marketing expertise and can assist clients in crafting blog posts, web pages, and articles that help them reach their business goals, it is possible to make a living as a writer.

The downside is that you may end up writing about farm equipment or medical devices if that's the business your clients are in, which may not be the writing career of your dreams. But I wouldn't rule out writing based on income potential alone. The ENFP we profiled here, Sarah, says she actually earned more in one of her first years as a freelance writer than she did in her old corporate marketing job!

Victoria Reeves (not verified) says...

Once again thank you ladies for your input! I'm truly fascinated by your show of interest in my career path. It feels really good to not have jobs like bank teller or car dealer sugested to me. Those jobs are great for suitable candidates! Unfortunately, I'm just not one of them. The area which I live has very limited opportunities for professional level jobs outside of the education and medical fields. That's how I arrived at sales and insurance.
The reason I originally steered away from my design endeavors, is because of the time demands. In my last semester of college, I worked in a furniture store setting displays, and commissioned sales. Toward the end, I was also beginning to contract small design jobs, such as staging spec houses for contractors, designing custom window treatments, etc. The work didn't last though. The store's owner retired, and his children weren't interested in taking over. He wouldn't sell the store, so he closed. With the store went the flooring installers who were subcontracting with the builders. Upon graduation, I married my now ex husband and helped raise his two young daughters. He had graduated earlier, and was making a salary, so his career took precedence over mine. Parenting demands meant that my retail schedule just wasn't possible. Evenings and weekends, with holidays being king of commerce, my goals just no longer fit. A few years later came my daughter Laural Glynn, and she has been my priority ever since. Since leaving retail, I've worked whatever jobs kept me near her. My closest shot at success began in 2006, when I opened a bakery from my home. My daughter was 3 years old. I was in business for 3 years before the business outgrew my home base. The decision had to be made, either expand or fold. My ex was neither willing to invest in renting a commercial kitchen, equipment, and cost of hiring a staff; nor was he willing to help out with our 3 growing girls. I had 4 children! Finally, my oven's thermostat failed....game over! The oven still baked, but the temperature couldn't be regulated. I could no longer make the cheesecakes and cookies that brought me so much notoriety. I continued baking cakes and cupcakes for small jobs, and even did a few weddings. I loved baking, and still do! Since divorcing my ex, and moving back to my hometown, I bake for my family and friends. It's very labor intensive, and still follows the retail schedule of high demand on weekends and holidays. Now when I bake I focus on specialty items like chewy gluten free brownies topped with dark chocolate whipped ganache, homemade power bars, chewy and crispy coconut macaroons, and my Grandma's favorite coconut cake. Oh, and I still make the New York Style cheesecakes, and other items that make my family smile.
I hope you've enjoyed exploring these few branches of my life's tree. I'm sorry to put out more than the needed amount of information. I find though, that it's very hard to presently understand someone, without at least some knowledge of their past. Especially a complete stranger! After all, I'm not asking for anyone to fix anything. I just know that if I had taken an interest as you ladies have, I would have questions.
Thank you again!
Victoria

Guest (not verified) says...

Oh my...reading this is causing me to say woohoo, my tribe does exist. I can relate. I came from the era that you put your ALL into furthering your spouse, and tending their kids. It left little for my self preservation. I held jobs that could supplement the income but never sustain me or anyone. I went to insurance only because it was stable in the boom and bust economy that I resided in. I lost the bread winner, not once but 2X. I HATE insurance, was good at it, but never found any fulfillment in it. I even had life coaches tell me that -INFP's were beyond help. They never achieved any kind of real success due to their personalities. REALLY, I say BUNK. Yes, we need stuff that isn't easily or readily available but to doom us as useless bugged beyond belief.

Guest (not verified) says...

Try medical transcription. 1 year course, you work from home. I am a mom of 2 very young children, this is working for me right now. Money isn't the greatest but you work from home and set your own hours.

sheila says...

I tried a little scientific transcription earlier this year and would do it again in an instant. Easy money. Flexible hours. Definite need here in Japan. Training resources, please, if you can share them!
Thanks in advance,
Sheila in Itoshima

gentleratel (not verified) says...

Thank you for this article. It only convinces me that I am INFP. I imagine myself having a profession of one of those 5 that listed above. Actually I was thinking of every of them, but at the time I chose, I didn't know I am INFP... I have just graduated year ago (Process Engineering) and I am already thinking about switching my career to become entrepreneur. This seems so much more exciting than what I am doing right now:)

Guest (not verified) says...

So I am an INFP, and I really liked the selection of high-paying careers in this section. I want to find a job I am passionate about, fun, have the opportunity to travel every now and then, but I am more interested in the high-end pay. I have struggled being a hard worker for many years, but I've gotten stuck in dead-end jobs (with very low pay) because I've had a horrible time deciding what career would be right for me. And every time I have gotten to actually study something, I get bored of the classes and end up dropping out. It is the most frustrating feeling in the world and I can't seem to fix it. I like the choices on this list, which coincidentally are careers of my interest (except Architecture, which I love and have tried before but not interested career-wise), but I can't seem to decide!

Does anybody know what I can do about this?

Lianne (not verified) says...

Hey!

I totally know what you mean about being unable to decide - interested in something and then getting bored of it.
I never dropped out because I'm quite stubborn...however I did study geology GIS math physics civil engineering and computer science...I just made sure all those courses counted towards my degree as electives. I have a friend who even got a witchcraft course to count towards her computer science degree. I kepty courses varied - in any given semester I was always taking courses from the different departments above, but never more than 4 in total. I did my degree in 1 part time year, 3 "full" time years, 1 part time year, and another full time year.
I worked full and part time teaching swimming in between all my courses, depending on my course load.
What really kept me going though is that as a principle I can't give up on things once I've set a goal and written it down. My parents instilled that in me strongly - live with the consequence of your decisions, work hard, and never give up. My mom wouldnt let me drop out of a tough high school program no matter how much I wanted too - I encourage you to set a goal 1 year, 5 years, 10 years - imagine yourself, draw yourself, write a letter to yourself, and let that guide you! I also find that I can chat with my FJ NT friends and family about career goals (I can be super dreamy and unrealistic sometimes) and then I stick to it!
My TJ sister told me very sensibly that choosing extremely tough classes like quantum physics could hurt my goals - she was right - but I pushed through anyway and I'm determined to turn my dreams into goals and achieve them anyway! Where there's a will there's a way!
I often post my goals on my wall on a cute little note to myself from myself and even on the worst day when I struggle to find discipline - my commitment to my value of commitment keeps me going.
Good luck on your degree! I wish you all the success and happiness in your field :) :) :)

Cheers
Lianne

Tiffanei (not verified) says...

I truly enjoyed reading all this info. I can relate to much that was shared. As a child i loved many things and never narrowed that down like i hear others speak of, etc. knowing at seven that they wanted to be a doctor or judge and then going for it, full throttle. I love most things creative and artistic but never pursued that either until I was in my 30s. My problem is I feel stuck in my present job and am not sure how to transition to another field. In college a professor suggested teaching and I frowned and said that was not an option given my temperament. But, ironically I needed a job and have been teaching high school English since 2000. Sad to say there is nothing I enjoy about my job, kids are rude, disrespectful, and I realize that I am too thin skinned to stick with this much longer. Mentally drained like I have run an extensive marathon everyday and I need some help. When I am unhappy it seems the cloud hangs over my head and dampens everyone around me, I complain about this situation non stop to anyone that will listen but it's getting old and I don't want to be that person, complaining, crabby, and snarky because of my situation. Any insight or suggestions would be great. I am 41 now, living with my mom for financial reasons, and raising a 12 year old son as a single mom. I don't want my son to relate to his jobs, as an adult, the way he sees me at the present. Love animals, psychology, and many of the jobs suggested but after earning an MAT, student loans to go back and learn a new skill are out of the question. I feel stuck in quick sand, is this what they call "analysis paralysis"?

ArtsyAllen - Guest (not verified) says...

Not often will I write something out of the blue like this, but what I have read on this site and the comments above have stirred my heart enough to justify a response. I, like many of You who have made comments above, have unknowingly lived the challenging yet passionate adventure of being an INFP. I wish I would have known this twenty years ago when I was in High School so I could have prepared better. I did go to college for Fine Arts, but did not finish, as I was not really strong enough to deal with the criticism I was getting. Also, they were asking me to focus on one medium, ie: drawing, painting, computer graphics, etc - all of which I enjoy. God Forbid if we INFPs were to limit ourselves that way! After that, I jumped from one job to another, seeking the ultimate fulfilling career. I excelled at all the jobs I had: Grocery store bagger, Tele-Survivor, Vender Display rep, Furniture Installer, Various manufacturing jobs, Mowing Yards for seniors, Rehabilitating houses for the less fortunate, Housekeeping, and Hospital Cleaning. Worked hard at them all, found some of them fulfilling, but there was no advancement in any of them. Currently, I clean the local hospital full-time; clean a restaurant part-time; Mow grass and provide home repairs for local seniors as a small business;.. ...and once in a blue moon get a freelance Art project to work on. The hospital job pays the bills and health insurance, restaurant job buys the food, and the business buys the art supplies. I fit the low income statistic of INFP to a tee and I do not like that, as that is something I really would like to be "out of the box" about. I should mention also that I have been 100% blind in one eye since birth, overcome a divorce, overcome a drug addiction, overcome consumer debt and have kept a loving relationship with my 15 year old daughter (also an INFP) even though she does not live with me (I see her on a weekly basis). Some of You know, that most secondary parents, esp us dads, lose connections with their kids after three years of separation. It has been nine years for us... I mention all of this not to shed light on me or to have a pity party: A lot can be said for our resistant nature to overcome, find more of our greatness and inspire others. Career is a tough one. Even looking at the career choices on this site, being true to INFP, I have a hard time narrowing it down to one choice. To this day, I have a drawing studio, woodworking shop, stained glass studio, Workstation PC for computer Graphics, and a Home Theatre room to build and test Speaker systems I build. I enjoy doing it all, esp, when given the chance that it will help someone else. Not enough demand in my rural location to base a career off of. So, like many of You, I am looking at other possibilities:

I would Love Architecture, (being a total Lego Fanatic as a kid) yet it requires a massive amount of schooling, as does Psychology and Law, neither of which I can attain locally, nor see a demand for locally (except human rights Law). I have considered relocating after my daughter is ready to leave this area.

I currently work in the low-end of Medical. It can feel "impersonal, structure-ridden and more drug-focused" as stated above. The scheduling is very demanding also, requiring, working weekends, holidays, and midnight shift. Make sure You are paid enough to make it worth it. If you go into Medical, go full boar and make it worth the holidays you miss with Loved ones, as You can take a good vacation with them instead.

My favorite of the options mentioned above, is the "Slash" Entrepreneur, I am already a Cleaning/Mopping/Mowing/Repairing/Helping/Artist, but at my age, it is getting pretty tiring! And like many of You, a second round of Student Loans are out of the question.

So where does that leave me? Right now, I am considering a demotion at the hospital in exchange for a M-F regular schedule, paid holidays off and no more Midnight shifts. Many times, time and healthy living is more important. I would like to think with all this work experience and creativity, I can come up with something! I have only known that I am an INFP for about a month so I still have a lot of exploring to do. Thankfully, my daughter knows she is one too, so we can help each other out and she can get a head start on it.

For You, Tiffanei, it sounds like You do not feel appreciated by the kids that are "forced" to be in your class. How would You feel teaching people that wanted to learn? Maybe instead of being in the structure of a public school system, You might find your teaching experience more rewarding in a "caused" based industry, like social work, GED programs, adult extension classes, etc. I do not think all of these require a graduate degree. Would You like being an events coordinator in an assisted living center for Seniors? You could design crafting projects for the residents. Also, there is the self development field. A lot of companies need someone to present material in training sessions. I am just hoping that speaking in front of people is NOT the part of of job You do not like!

The "analysis paralysis" You feel sounds similar to what I feel: Surely there is something great for me/us to do with the experience I/We already have. We have invested so much, this should count for something, right?

I hope reading this has helped someone if at the very least, it is to realize, that You, fellow INFP, are not alone in this fight. The global market is very busy, creating more and more superficial distractions, and God has put us on this Earth to once and a while inject a little bit of something worthwhile, to spark that little bit of greatness within us all. God Bless.

sheila says...

Hi Allen,

I am an atheist but I wish you all the best. You sound a lot like a friend of mine, a fellow INFP who is multi-talented with an MA in a field I admire...and he coaches track for a living between jobs. It is indeed difficult to meld our values to the careers that are out there. That means we have to make careers of our own, Allen, and it sound like you could do so much in the right environment. I also admire how dedicated you are to your daughter, and how you have overcome divorce and addiction issues. Keep searching for the best in life, and you may just find it! Let us know if you do!

Best wishes,
Sheila in Japan

jen says...

I'm an INFP. I've been an advertising counselor with my own company 22 of the years, then I wrote 4 patents and developed my own skin product--however, the market just won't let us in under the current funds environment, so I've had to seek other work after roughly 30 years in flexible "jobs." I've never minded working long hours, but I've raised 2 sons with the capability of being there. Now they are "late" teenagers and one is going to college. I've interviewed for a catch and release sales job in the field (I would run my own schedule and really not be supervised)--for a meaningful group/purpose that I believe in. Do you think that I should be able to deal with the routine of an over and over presentation job, as long as I can be self-supervised? It appears to be something that would pay well if I did well. I'm an excellent sales closer and fundraiser, proven, but I'm concerned about my all-day people contact. I feel as if my face is being peeled off when I have to be with people a lot. My area is a pit. No opportunities at all in higher levels. I have a huge skill set--have been published, accomplished writer, Accounting degree, published cartoonist, accomplished fundraiser, and extremely polished. Kind of scared of this new opportunity. Any thoughts?

sheila says...

Hi Jen!

It's 3:55 am here, and I have to work from 12 noon today, so I'll try to keep this short. Never be afraid of an opportunity that comes knocking at your door! You can always quit if it gets to be too much. I can see that most of us INFP folk are deep thinkers, over-qualified for the positions we have because we hate the "schmooze" factor necessary to get ahead in the corporate culture...but like Sheryl Sandberg said, we shouldn't be afraid to lean in! The worst that can happen is rejection, and while that stings a bit (I got one today, as a matter of fact), it can spur us on to new things.

So, in short, go for it! I am looking forward to hearing how things go with this position, Jen!

Best wishes,
Sheila in Japan

Dennis.W (not verified) says...

My name is Dennis. I am a student taking a major in computer science and I only recently learnt about personality types and after a test I realized that I am an INFP. Since then it has changed my view of the world. I found the answers to most of my questions about my life. I always thought that I was wierd for getting bored with stuff really fast. I can't listen to one song for more than a week without getting bored. This reality has opened my eyes to some extent but has raised so many doubts within me. I feel like am in the wrong course now since most of the infp careers don't involve IT and stuff. Am not really competitive in life and the problem is am always satisfied with whatever I have as much as am happy. I fear what will happen in a job situation since I might not earn enough or get to where I want in life without pushing people around. I have very high standards sometimes which makes me terrible at group work. I need some advice on what to do to adapt or what I should not change about me

sheila says...

Dennis, you have my Dad's name!

Please don't doubt yourself or your path. IT needs a lot MORE feeling types, IMO. There's so much that can be done with IT and I regret not knowing much about it, as I live overseas and just missed the computer revolution of the 1990's. Thanks to social media and other outlets for self-expression and communication, I have been able to chip away at the isolation I feel here in Japan. Using your skills, think about what only YOU could do to make the world a better place. What causes do you care about, and how could you put those skills to work to further the cause? I sign and share petitions, try to buy slavery-free products, support charities helping survivors of sexual abuse and women in extreme poverty, all of which reflect my values. I'm sure you can come up with some way to mesh your values with your career, so as long as you enjoy IT, please don't give it up. If however, you find that it no longer suits your needs, don't be afraid to change. I'm not!

Cheers and best wishes,
Sheila in Itoshima, Japan

sheila says...

Konbanwa! Greetings from rural Japan, my fellow INFPs!
My name is Sheila, and for the past twelve years I have been working six-day weeks teaching English at a small private language school my husband (almost certainly an ISTJ, though he's never been tested) and it has worn me out body and soul. While I don't hate teaching English to people marginally motivated or skilled at acquiring it, I certainly don't LOVE it, and true to INFP values, life is too short not to do what you love. Of the five jobs listed above, Slash Entrepreneur and Human Rights Lawyer appeal most to me. However, I need to build up my skills to achieve in the former and go back to school big-time to aspire to the latter, so in the meantime, I'm trying my hand at...Japanese and French to English translation. While I've made a few mistakes, often stemming from carelessness caused by lack of time and sleep, I feel I have what it takes for at least general content work in these languages. Japanese in particular is a language crying out for proper rendition of its nuances, and I hope to develop the skills necessary to be a sought-after resource. The problem is, for the next year at least, I am committed to staying in my current location and position. I'm trying to be proactive by joining Truity and getting the career assessment done, which is totally worth the money, IMO. I'm also taking advantage of a trip to Tokyo next week to network with women, and a few trusted men, to look for future opportunities in paid blogging, content creation and translation, all of which I can do in the wee hours after I get home from my day job. I've also tried my hand at tour guide narration, and I LOVE that. The pay is good, too, at least when the work comes in. So my challenge is to juggle all of these part-time jobs I do with my full-time gig, and with luck I'll keep a promise I made it myself to go to grad school in 2017!

Dido (not verified) says...

I am the happiest INFP you know - I retired last year!
I didn't really like my job anyway but I survived pretty well, although over the last few years my company seemed to get flooded with young go getters of the worst kind. I found myself in a constant state of people avoiding and dreaded our 'team' meetings which seemed to multiply, I'm convinced just so they could all flex their extrovert armoury of bullshit behaviour.
Now I can settle down and be creative again, something I don't need to shout about.
But as my Granny used to say "empty vessels make the most noise"!

CJP (not verified) says...

Hi All,

Really great post and so interesting reading everyone else's stories. I am aged 29 and am a truer than true INFP. I am at a point in my life where I feel lost and I am struggling big time. I live in London, UK and it's hard to make a decent living here, let alone when you're not sure what the hell to do next :/ I am a creative person and can't bear office jobs, I have a degree in Film but fell into office jobs to help me live/pay rent etc.. Unfortunately, I come from a fairly poor family background and making a good living has always been high on my list. But, I am well and truly stuck at this point in my life. I love to write songs, poems, short stories... I had a band for a bit ans gigged, I love to sing. I've just started some acting classes and am trying to avoid office work at all costs as I just don't fit or belong. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I'd love to write songs (possibly perform) for a living or be in films or start/run my own business (healthy food for local communities or train then teach yoga?). I'm just not sure where to start. I want it all and to live the life I have dreamed but am stuck.

Any advice greatly appreciated and valued.

Thank you so much,
C.

Calvin 1234 (not verified) says...

HI everyone, I wanted to weigh in on this topic. Everyone has written descriptions of experiences that mirror mine exactly. I think that maybe INFP's are designed to be well rounded and seek variety. I've been fortunate to find a job that I love! I'm happy to go to work and on my days off I sometimes feel like I'm missing out by not being at work. What do I do? I work in the pro shop at a country club. I love golf. Golf is the perfect sport for INFP's. My job is easy, I mostly sit around and occasionally talk golf with some of the members. I know everyone by now so I love the social aspect. Its not low stress, its NO stress! The club is member owned and it exists for the enjoyment of the members as a not for profit business. Only problem is if I think about it, its a waste of time. I'm not really doing anything with my life. I make very little money, which is fine but sitting around in a shop I think is a waste of my creativity. For me its impossible to separate what I do with who I am. I don't find my work fulfilling and Its fun but I don't feel like it uses my natural skills. So yesterday I quit.
And thats ok! (I hope). I wish I could spend my life studying philosophy or religion or history! But I think that INFP's need variety and periodic change. It gives us time to reflect. I think that there may not be a perfect career for me. Nothing that I would want to do 5 days a week for the rest of my life anyway. Even a job I love I need to get away and try other things. I'm going back to school to study landscape architecture. I was hoping that I would make that my career, but after reading what everyone has to say on here I doubt I could just do that and be happy forever. I'm going to want to quit and pursue other challenges before to long. Thats just our way! Lets look at it as a positive! We are awesome!

Barbara_K (not verified) says...

Hi,
Thank you for a great article. I am a journalist. As a INPF I am very good in spotting interesting stories and I would love to be a screenwriter and documentary producer one day. I am working towards my dream but I also need a salary and to feel safe in my job. I tried freelancing full time and it was very stressful for me, did anyone have the same experience?

My second question: I think I have an 'INFP dreamjob' - I am working full time in a radio station where I can write and broadcast solely about topics that interest me, however the structure of the working environment is very unclear, many of my colleagues do not own university degrees (I a working on my phd) and I cannot see a 'future' or a promotion. I have a lot of ideas about the station but I am done trying implementing them since it is not my job now, it is often fristrating and no one is asking for my advice anyway. Should I trade the freedom of choosing my own topics with higher status, salary and more professional environment? What do you think?

Jojoe (not verified) says...

Hey all
I've recently discovered I'm INFP and since finding this out it has been like seeing the world with both eyes open, but I can relate to most here who express they have been falling from job to job and a immense feeling of being continually lost which slowly chips away at your self and becomes detrimental. I've noticed INFP's are the odd one out in this society but all it feels like we need that extra guidance and help and in return we can offer so much to the world.

This may sound too forward but how easy would it be to set up a site to connect with other INFP in our towns/cities for face to face meets for mutual support, friendships etc...? It has been a tough journey and I've learnt to be more cautious around people who don't share INFP traits as they are predatory.

I'm also thinking of going to university to study environmental science/management as I feel this would be rewarding/diverse career and as more pressure is placed on the planet this maybe a career in demand and well paid? If anyone is already in this field can you please let me know.

Thankyou

Lianne (not verified) says...

Hi Jojoe!
I studied geology in University and I worked one summer at the Ministry of Forestry and one summer at the Ministry of the Environment.
I really clashed with some insensitive gossiping arrogant ETJ and ISTJ Engineers in my geology degree and especially the oil and gas professor. Being stuck for two weeks in the bush in a stressful field course with people like that was challenging. But those kinds of things are just a part of life and I respected their professional work enough to get through the group projects and the classes - my group was pretty solid at the end of the day - but I never fit it. I found that I fit in with the GIS people in my classes as well as the physicists in my geophysics classes and everything just clicked. I want to continue in this field...maybe do some GIS work in the future related to satellite imagery processing. My best friend is an INFP too finishing her Master's degree in GIS.
My managers at the ministry were super cool. One of them had a PHD in GIS and he was just the sweetest elderly scientist. Brilliant as well. My other manager was a Geologist/Biologist who went in GIS management and we would chat about rocks, bike trips, plants. It was really nice to work under people who are caring. My manager's boss worked for the United Nations. Everyone there shared my passion for nature. Just beware - study hard, get good grades, because to make real solid money without going into management you need a masters degree/PHD and connections with management at an Engineering/Environmental Firm/government office.
I got in through a student intern program, with persistance and sheer luck. There are plenty of jobs in tech fields - I now work as a data / GIS technician and my current pay is subsidized through a National Environmental Professionals program for new grads.
I would never go back. I love nature. However I do dislike the management side of Environmental Hazard management. Managers need people like us though. I find that some TJ personalities get stuck in repetition and are scared of change. They can't connect to their emotions enough to realize they're held back by them. I feel strongly that my company has really changed since they hired two GIS people...and women too ... in STEM it is still not commonplace.
Good luck!!! All the best :) :) :)
Lianne

Karinas (not verified) says...

I am curious, as an INFP, what sort of part time jobs could I obtain that would be fulfilling but also challenging in some qualities that I don't have, but could work on? My background is in Psychology, English, and Education. I currently am in transition, just moved to a new country (East Asia) and would love to try some fun, part time work. I am a bit tired of teaching English, and salary does not matter at this point. Any recommendations?

Guest (not verified) says...

Hi all,

Firstly, I would like to say that it's great to see replies from like minded people. I now feel that I am not alone :)

I have always been frustrated being an INFP whilst working in a professional environment, in my case Corporate IT. It was great to begin with as it was all fresh fields and the entrepreneurial spirit required just fitted me down to a tee. Now it is so restricted that sometimes I feel like screaming. Unfortunately, I also found out that being too diplomatic can come at a cost, as I had to quit my job due to very bad personality clash with a senior manager who certainly was not an INFP.

I attempted to make a start as an independent sound producer but it hasn't worked out yet, so I am looking to get back into IT contracting to pay the bills. However, that has not stopped me from ramping music production to a full time hobby, trying to make that Grammy winning album :)

Bottom line, what I found is this. INFPs are certainly of the creative type. If this applies to you, as it does to me, don't hold it back. It is likely that you already know what you want to do, but there at self-imposed barriers like self-doubt etc. holding you back. Just let it loose and see what happens. You may not initially succeed, but it does lead to thinking of ways of making "it" happen - whatever that "it" is for you.

Have fun getting there.

Tumwine Prosper (not verified) says...

Funny to note how this INFP stuff is this serious. Judging by the replies to this article and the commonality of the factors affecting all of you guys, am afraid to say i belong to this tribe. All the stuff you guys mention affects me only in a way that you people here understand. Unfulfillment yet desirous of more from life seems to affect this ingenious tribe of ours. Indeed this personality group qualifies to be a tribe. Our lack of focus even when deep inside we know we need to have focus is testimony to our shared characteristics. Now am going to go abit crazy here and ask Molly, the originator of this article and chief instigator of all the emotion pouring out here, how on God's green earth can i create a 400 businesses empire across 5 continents providing all these jobs in the markets I'll be operating in with this INFP personality? I just mentioned my dream. the only job i'm committing myself to achieve inspite of all other responsibilities on my worry plate.

ElizabethCalifornia (not verified) says...

Hello all...I am an INFP and struggled for many years, all through my 20s, to finally find a job I really like. Now, I am a family law attorney. It might sound odd, but it really does fulfill me to help people through a difficult time. The work is not repetitive and I am constantly learning something new after years of practice...there's an element of social work in it...but I also feel like I have the capacity to advocate for people in need. Plus, there is the opportunity to earn good money. Just my 2 cents!

SarahS (not verified) says...

So many INFPs searching for answers! Wow!

I, like many of you, have been searching for myself for a long time.

I always wanted to be a psychologist but 6 years is such a long time to study and university degrees are so expensive. I have a mortgage! A careers counsellor suggested social work to me but I just feel that it would be so draining.

I am currently looking into interior design. I built my house and am obsessed with decorating and landscaping.

It's hard for me when people ask me 'what are you passionate about?' 

I don't have this answer. I don't have many answers at all.

I am terrified that, if leaning down the artistic career path, that creativity will dry up and I will face an inspiration blockage. Career over.

It's interesting that Elizabeth above me has found her calling as a lawyer as many articles steer us away from this type of work. I had thought about it. Then I thought about the human rights cases I couldn't win and how helpless I would feel; how angry I would feel.

It's comforting knowing that I'm not alone in seeking my career fit for my personality; and a little sad that you guys also feel this sense of 'who am I and what am I supposed to be doing?'

Meliany darsono (not verified) says...

Can i get some advice? I am an infp, i realize i am not good at business, specifically im not a risk taker, however i have started an online bussines, though it doesnt work too well. So many times, i think about it whether i should give up trying bcause of my nature or i should try harder to be a better risk taker. On the other side, i really want to independently take care of my own money without my parents' help.

Adeline (not verified) says...

Thanks for this Article, 

I'm really stressing myself out. As a borderline INFJ/P, I can sense that within me, I want to fit in with others around me; most of them are 'T' types, and often I feel out of place, inferior, and lack of a better descriptor- useless in a group. Seeing the job prospects out there and in the world, there is little to no place for the Feeling types. I'm actually really bored with my job (Telemarketing) and dissatisfied because of how little I believe in what they offer/how they are going about with the telemarketing campaign (tbh I find it really unethical, even illegal. But I go with it because I need money...). I hope to get out of there and move onto a better career, like high-level marketing management, psychology, or something. 

Just that I want to evolve and become an INTJ instead of being an INFP/J so I can click a bit better into this world. 

RicPMP (not verified) says...

I'm wrapping up a 5-year stint as a psychotherapist in my private practice with a masters in psychology. I came out of a 20-year climb through IT and project management and went back to graduate school. Most INFP sites that list jobs include "be a therapist". So I thought I'd describe what I've learned. The work itself was great and tapped into my natural strengths. I've developed a high confidence level in my ability to build rapport, read people, withhold judgement and resolve conflict (plus a few more great skills). However it's a business, and a self-starter entraprenuerial business at that. Also, it's very competitive and many therapists (not INFPs) are much better at building a business than being a therapist (my soapbox). Coaching is an alternative but requires an even stonger entrapreneurial approach. Can I recommend the private practice therapist route for an INFP? Yes, absolutely but with 4 of caveats.

1.) People don't want to go to therapy. And it's a bit of a slog to keep them coming. For them, it's like going to the dentist with a tooth ache ("please fix it so I can move-on"). I tend to see good people at their worst and that has taken a toll on my overall perception of people. I don't listen to news anymore and don't engage in political discussions. I've seen many people right out of jail, coming off heroin addiction, having affairs, berating their kids, etc. At that level, only 25-30% get better. It's disheartening. More functional people with "lighter" issues have a higher rate of success. For example, while anxiety and depression can be very difficult to live with, both can be resolved with therapy and it changes people's lives and the lives of their family. It's a great feeling to be part of their growth when that happens. But it really depends on the kinds of people you see and their issues. The more people you see with functional issues (like: deep addiction, can't afford housing, current physical abuse, developmental trauma) the less likely you'll see full-on success. In these cases, I've learned to accept that I'm simply one part of their overall journey and will likely never see them become "successful".

2.) It doesn't pay well. The average income for a private practice therapists across the US is $39,000 a year. For most people like me (a man) with kids and a mortgage, that is simply not breadwinner income. I was able to raise that average to $45k last year by simply working a ton of hours. But most appointments were at night so I didn't see my kids until after bedtime : (  As a reference, I was making $100k with benefits in IT 6 years ago and was always home by 6:00pm.

3.) There is a bubble afoot in the industry. The organization that acredits universities for counseling (CACREP) has finally defined the curriculum and universities have happily obliged by spitting out dewey-eyed graduates with $30k masters degrees in counseling. Thing is, many of these new graduates (90% are women) won't make enough income from their counseling degree to ever pay it back. They'll need a patron (spouse) or alternative side-hussle to help. 

4.) A serious consideration for all INFPs... if you're spouse or partner is funding your low-paying career - please pay close attention to their level of patience with you. They may "say" they're ok supporting you, but I've found that most people become resentful over time. This kind of arrangement needs to produce at least a "perceived" equal exchange of value. For example, you're probably very emotionally adept and bring emotional stability to your partnership. That's an excellent, high-value strength you bring. But does your partner perceive the value enough to offset your lower $-producing career. As an INFP, I totally see the value (I LOVE INFPs). But not everyone attaches high value to low-stress/high-connection relationships like we do. If this is an unspoken agreement in your relationship, please bring it out into the light and make sure everyone is on-board.

I'm sorry to bring a negative tone to this amazing conversation. Honestly, I wish someone would've told me these things before I started. I still would have done it, but I'd been ready for the big bumps along the way. I've been reading INFP forums over the years and finally I took their advice to become a therapist. I thought I'd come back from being "in the field" and report my findings to my tribe. I hope it's been helpful. I'm now entering a transition period while I research my next career move. I'm consdiering HR (which caps at $120k) or being a recruiter (which involves a lot of detailed sales work). If anyone has experience as an INFP in either of those fields making above $100k I've love to hear from you.

Cheers and blessing to you all. ~ Ric

PS. Thank you Molly for creating a space for this excellent discussion.

SarahS (not verified) says...

Thanks for this - as someone who has been considering a career as a psych or social worker vs design it’s good to hear about your journey.

Share your thoughts