Have you ever wondered why you prefer certain kinds of jobs over others? Have you considered that it could be your personality type that influences which jobs feel like work and which feel like a fun and enjoyable hobby?
Of course there are many factors that determine happiness and success in the workplace, but understanding your personality type can greatly improve your career choices, job satisfaction and workplace relationships.
In the following article we will take a look at the INFJ person at work — you might not be that type yourself, but maybe you know a colleague who is.
Out of all 16 personalities, the INFJ personality type is the rarest personality and the one most driven by a sense of quiet idealism.The Sage (A.K.A The Advocate), these people strive to make positive changes in the world and are very concerned with the happiness and wellbeing of others. But they aren’t ones to just sit around and daydream — INFJs are eager to take actionable steps toward turning their vision into reality. This type is also quite creative and they enjoy expressing that creativity in their own unique way.
Which are the ideal careers for them, based on their unique bouquet of characteristics? Which occupations should they avoid because of poor compatibility with their personality? And which college majors strike their interest and have a considerable potential to bring out the best in them?
You will find all these answers and more below.
INFJs at Work
INFJs are deeply empathetic and caring people. They are also known as behind-the-scenes workers — possibly due to their unique set of preferences. Given that they are Introverted, they are more oriented to careers that suit their energy levels. Even though this personality type can come across as quiet and reserved, they are very dedicated and principled workers, who are always diligent with their tasks. Being organized as they are, INFJs are fully able to get involved in complicated projects and carry them out flawlessly. However, most of the time they prefer to stay behind the scenes and contribute from afar. Their ideal career is in a calm, quiet and peaceful workplace, which allows them to fully ponder their ideas in a tranquil environment.
Because of INFJ’s idealistic way of thinking, they prefer to carry out meaningful tasks, which can positively influence the world. They are helpful and reliable team members, who sometimes take on more than they are realistically capable of doing. This might be because of their heightened sense of responsibility both for their work and for others who work with them. They are always willing to help and even stay later than their working hours to make sure everything is completed to their high standards.
INFJs are primarily independent workers. If given the choice, they would much rather work alone than in a team. Because of their tendencies to be deep thinkers, they often view others as distractions when they need to get in a certain state of mind. It’s important for people who work with INFJs to make sure they give them the space they require, in order to be most productive. In the best case scenario, INFJs really thrive when they are put together with similarly minded people, who share their working style and passion to make a meaningful difference in the world. Even so, their harmonious and gentle personalities make them likable to others and generally they are perceived positively by their coworkers.
INFJ Career Matches
A job The Sage would feel most comfortable in is one that is highly consistent with their strong value systems. This personality type is extremely altruistic and wants their actions to impact the world in a positive way. They are caring and thoughtful, and achieve a great sense of satisfaction from helping others. This is why careers in humanitarian fields are very well suited for them. Given INFJs’ deep empathy and superior understanding of people’s feelings and emotions, an occupation that deals with people can be very good for them. They can truly excel in jobs in healthcare, not-for-profits, education or counseling. They like to be intellectually stimulated through their work and to be presented with new challenges that need to be conquered. Often, it’s important for them to know that their job is meaningful and it contributes to something positive.
INFJs have a creative side as well, which widens the range of their preferred positions. They also enjoy working with languages. If they manage to combine these preferences with their deep intuition and emotional understanding of others, they would feel most happy.
Here are the top careers INFJs are likely to feel most comfortable in.
Psychology is a field that INFJs are naturally good at. It combines all of the best qualities of this personality type, potentially making them very adept in this profession. One good thing about a job in psychology is that it can be very versatile. From clinical research in a lab, to private therapy practices, INFJs have great freedom in choosing where to develop themselves. No matter what path they choose, it is very likely that they would be greatly satisfied. Working as a psychologist also often means working individually and relying on their own knowledge and skill sets. This intimate privacy appeals greatly to the reserved INFJs, as they get to practice their deep intuition and understanding of individual human emotions more freely.
A job in psychology has a lot to do with helping others out — another important value that people of the INFJ personality have. As psychologists, they can help others understand the inner workings of their minds and guide them through their issues. The ability to meaningfully help others is one of the things that make INFJs most happy. Furthermore, their sense of empathy and thoughtfulness can help their patients open up, making the whole process easier.
2. Environmental scientist
INFJs are often passionate about global issues, as well. As environmental scientists, they can dig deep into global conditions and actively work toward bettering it. They might do so either by working in labs, educating people on the state of the world, or practicing science in another way. For an INFJ, this is a job that combines multiple important values for them, such as helping the planet, helping others and making a difference, however small. Often, the work of an environmental scientist is done alone, with them spending countless hours evaluating a topic from different angles. These people also need to read a lot about the work of others, so they are sure that they are on the right track with scientific trends and the latest findings.
The Sage always finds it much easier to work toward a cause they strongly believe in. In most cases, these causes are humanitarian, and environmental science ticks a lot of boxes there. This personality type is not particularly interested in making a profit or gaining power and recognition, but rather being a part of something bigger than themselves. Finding such a job (like protecting the environment) can easily lead to them spending countless dedicated hours working toward achieving their goal.
INFJs have a very well-developed emotional intelligence. Not only can they accurately pinpoint their own emotions, they can do so in others as well — with an impressive accuracy. This makes them particularly good at working with adolescents, whose emotions are often not firmly controlled. INFJs working in education can sense when their students are struggling with something, be it connected to their studies or their personal life, and are able to approach them appropriately. Their inner knowledge of how to best assist someone in a non-intrusive, yet meaningful, way can be deeply appreciated in such a profession.
The INFJ teacher often has a personal approach toward every student. Their keen perception tells them which student is struggling with what, and they are likely to take extra time to individually resolve these struggles. Their gentle, caring approach doesn’t go unnoticed and can easily inspire their students to learn and grow intellectually. The passion that an INFJ is likely to have for their subject can be contagious, as they have the unique ability to break down complex concepts into easily understandable chunks. INFJs are very diligent and responsible people, which builds trust in both students and university administration.
4. Graphic Designer
Often, INFJs demonstrate a creative side to their working style as well. They find it easy to express themselves and their unique personality traits through their own creations. Reading more about the traits and characteristics of this personality type can give you an idea of exactly how multifaceted they are. Often, the ideas of INFJs are very stretched out and these people don’t shy away from their big and ambitious vision. Through more creative jobs, such as graphic design, the shy and reserved INFJs can find a different way to communicate their ideas with others. Given how perceptive they are to people’s feelings and emotions, it shouldn’t be hard for them to capture these intricate details of the human condition in a proper, accurate way.
Graphic design is a very versatile career match, in which people from this personality type can comfortably find their niche to grow into. From advertisements, logo design, corporate reports and even billboards, there are plenty of chances for growth. The best thing about graphic design as a field is the many opportunities for doing freelance work, which is a big upside for freedom-loving INFJs. Speaking of freedom, the chances to shape the very aesthetics of the final product according to their liking is also something that they are very likely to enjoy.
5. HR Specialist
Even if most people associate a job in HR with extraversion, INFJs can be a great fit there nevertheless. Their intuition, sensitivity to others’ emotions, and ability to empathize make them very approachable individuals who can solve anyone’s problem. This personality type tries their best to stay away from conflict and thus has an inner sense of resolving it quickly and effortlessly. They can be very good at onboarding new workers, making them feel comfortable and welcome to their new work environment. Since INFJs like to help others and make them feel happy, they can find much satisfaction in a job such as this one.
INFJs are organized people, who enjoy planning and order. They are also very dedicated, and are able to practice increased levels of empathy should a complicated situation call for it. As they are often very dedicated to their jobs, they are likely to spend however much time is needed to guide people through complicated benefits and compensation packages, without it burdening them. And because they are very responsible, their employers can be sure that the INFJ HR specialist will diligently comply with any necessary regulations.
There are plenty of other jobs that The Sage can excel at. The key ingredients that make a job appealing to them are: helping other people out, working for a noble or meaningful cause, being able to practice their creativity, being able to work individually and overall impacting society in a positive way. It’s no wonder that the INFJ counselor, social worker or educational consultant are some of the best in their fields. Their idealism, passion and willingness to connect to others on an emotional level are very likely to truly leave a positive mark on the world.
Here are some more suggestions for a suitable INFJ career choice:
- Alternative Medicine
- Child Care
- Child Development
- Church Worker
- Educational Consultant
- Medical Doctor
- Social Worker
INFJ Careers to Avoid
Any type has the potential to succeed in any given occupation. However, it is better if a person’s everyday job is relevant to their interests, talents and strengths. If it’s not, the risk is higher that this person soon becomes unhappy and unsatisfied with their work. In this line of thought, The Sage should stay away from competitive fields, which are solely results-driven. They often appear very consumeristic, with little thought given to the impact they have on a global scale. It’s very important for this sensitive personality type to feel like they are making a meaningful change in the world, which is why careers connected to sales, IT, banking and customer service might not be the best choice for them.
Here are the top jobs that aren’t compatible with the INFJ idealistic approach to life:
The world of finance and accounting might be thrilling to some, but it’s very likely that INFJs aren’t among those people. To them, working with money means having an impeccable eye for detail and making a mistake can often be disastrous. It’s not that they aren’t responsible enough to take on this job — they just aren’t the best at dealing with numbers and data. What’s more important, to them working with money isn’t perceived as exceptionally noble or inspiring. Being the idealists they are, they are likely to view a job in this field as boring and meaningless, when they look at the bigger picture.
INFJs could be good with financial management if it’s about a cause they deeply care about. Even so, the dull, routine tasks which often need to be carried out by financial professionals are likely to quickly burn INFJs out. This personality type needs more creative freedom in their workplace and this occupation hardly ever offers anything like that.
Another job that INFJs are likely to be notoriously bad at is politics. Even though they are idealistic individuals with big dreams, a job in politics often involves a lot of interaction and socializing with others. This aspect of the job could be very difficult for the introverted INFJ, who likes to keep out of the spotlight. Even if their way of thinking can be deeply inspiring to the masses, it can hardly make an impact if they keep it to themselves, or to the groups of people they know.
Political behavior also involves plenty of manipulation of information, which definitely won’t sit well with INFJs. People from this personality type are painfully honest and likely won’t be able to bend their principles in order to comply with this job requirement. INFJs are guided by their Introverted Intuition (you can read about the meaning and effects of Cognitive Functions), which gives them a strong inner moral compass. Making compromises with it is simply not an option.
It’s worth noting that even though this isn’t their preferred career choice, some of the most famous INFJ personalities have been politicians.
3. Sales representative
INFJs aren’t well suited for the competitive and fast-paced world of sales. In order to succeed in this field, people often need to surround themselves with a lot of people and establish a good network. They need to be persuasive and say what needs to be said, in order to sell a product or service. The honesty and integrity of INFJs likely won’t allow them to say things that are untrue or exaggerate product qualities. They also need to feel like they are contributing to solving global issues, instead of just making a daily profit and moving on.
The corporate environment typically poses problems for INFJs. They are likely to view it as a cold, sterile environment, where they can’t express the personal qualities that make them who they are — namely, compassion and creativity. Their high sensitivity makes it difficult for them to be truly competitive and have a “the end justifies the means” mentality. The notorious INFJ selflessness could be easily taken advantage of and prevent them from getting past a certain point of their careers.
In conclusion, INFJs aren’t good with jobs that they perceive as being too materialistic and out-of-touch with the problems of the larger world. Their idealism doesn’t make it easy for them to be manipulative, lie or behave ruthlessly, even when others might say the situation calls for it. This behavior goes against some of the deepest values of this personality type, which is why jobs with such characteristics are better avoided. Some other things that can turn them off from a job are: interaction with too many people, following rules and working in a chaotic environment.
Here are a few more examples of INFJ jobs that they wouldn’t be naturally compatible with:
- Customer Service
- Public Speaker
- Emergency Medical Technician
- Restaurant Manager
- Military Officer
INFJ College Majors
INFJs are quiet, creative and enjoy learning about different ways to help society. This is why they are more likely to study a major that is closely related to supporting other people or the environment. Any Social Sciences major (Psychology, Sociology) is likely to do them a lot of good. The Sage is also very creative, so majors that urge the expression of that creativity are very beneficial for them. Think in terms of Painting, Photography, Creative Writing, etc. These people often have a knack and passion for contributing to meaningful research, so pursuing a later career in academia isn’t out of the question for them.
We have listed several majors below that INFJs may find themselves particularly drawn to, and have the potential to truly excel at.
- Environmental Design
- Family Studies
- Graphic Arts Management
- Human Resource Management
- Interior Design
- Natural Resources and Environmental Management
- Religious Studies
- Social Sciences (Psychology, Sociology)
- Urban Planning and Development