Career Advice From INFJs | INFJ Forum

Career Advice From INFJs

Discussion in 'Education and Careers' started by Theorem, Jul 2, 2020.

Share This Page

Watchers:
This thread is being watched by 4 users.
More threads by Theorem
  1. Theorem

    Theorem Three

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2020
    Threads:
    1
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    8
    Trophy Points:
    448
    MBTI:
    INFJ
    Hi all. Looking for a little career advice from other INFJs. Why from INFJs specifically? Mostly because I am an INFJ and I don't currently have any INFJs in my life. In my work and personal lives I'm surrounded mostly by xNTx and xSxJ types. They all give great advice, but it all reflects the (sometimes highly divergent) values of those types. I have no one who can help me look at things from an "insider" perspective, so to speak.

    Anyway - a little history. I'm in my mid-thirties, married with one kid, and have been working in the software development industry for about 12 years. I've held positions ranging from software engineer, engineering manager, software architect and even (for a short time) VP of engineering. From a purely practical standpoint, the industry has been very good to me. Great pay, challenging projects, smart colleagues, opportunities for advancement, etc. As an INFJ it has stretched me to develop aspects of my personality that would have otherwise remained dormant. Overall, I have much to be grateful for.

    However, there's one big thing that is missing (as most INFJs can probably guess) - the job provides me little/no opportunity to apply what is probably my greatest strength - counseling/healing/guiding/teaching/etc. I'm a classic case of an INFJ who has had to beat his intuitive/empathic idealism into submission in order to be "successful" in the "real world". And while this strategy has "worked", I often feel like I'm living someone else's life and letting one of my greatest personal "gifts" go to waste. I kinda hoped that after enough time this sense of disconnection would subside, but after 12 years it's still there.

    That said, I am terrified to make a career switch for the usual reasons (e.g. loss of stability, income, status, certainty, etc.). Also, as an INFJ, I know I am prone to emotionalism and idealism, and am wary of chasing after a feeling. However, I also don't want to wake up when I am 60 and feel like I've led a mis-lived life.

    Any other INFJs who are or have been in a similar situation? What did you do? What's your advice? Are there any INFJs currenly working as a counselor/therapist or teacher? What's it really like being those professions from an INFJ perspective? Any insight would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. mintoots

    mintoots Also: Tooth, 뚵수, Tootsu

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2018
    Threads:
    27
    Messages:
    5,930
    Featured Threads:
    23
    Likes Received:
    33,812
    Trophy Points:
    3,487
    Gender:
    Female
    MBTI:
    INFJ
    Enneagram:
    1w2
    How are you with teaching?

    I'm an architect, same age as you, single. I've made several career shifts in life. I started out with a design start up together with some creatives. When that failed, I took a teaching job at uni which surprisingly changed my perspective about my career entirely. I dissolved that startup and took my career in the academe seriously. Some political troubles and failed scholarships, I left uni to join the corporate. At the corporate, I realized my best workers were my former students and that's how I knew it was my calling. Teaching gives me a sense of fulfillment and meaning that is boundless. Whatever it is, choose a career that you associate with the profundity of life. With that, you'll find yourself living your career more than just complying with it. I am now a practicing architect and academic.
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
    Theorem and PapillonT like this.
  3. OP
    Theorem

    Theorem Three

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2020
    Threads:
    1
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    8
    Trophy Points:
    448
    MBTI:
    INFJ
    First, thank you for the response!

    Regarding your question, I occasionally get the opportunity to teach in my current line of work and I enjoy it immensely. I used to tutor students in college and really enjoyed that as well. I get a lot of satisfaction both from learning new things and teaching them to others. I originally considered going into teaching but I heard so many horror stories from friends and family that I decided not pursue it. If I were to go this route, I'd probably want to teach at the college level, but I'm not sure I'd want to do it my current field (computer science). Intellectually, I am much more interested in the humanities, but I hear the job market is absolutely brutal.

    So are you currently working as a professor at a university? Did you get a PhD?
     
    mintoots and PapillonT like this.
  4. Chickensoup

    Chickensoup Community Member

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2014
    Threads:
    6
    Messages:
    555
    Featured Threads:
    3
    Likes Received:
    2,134
    Trophy Points:
    1,136
    MBTI:
    INFJ
    I quit my job in finance three years ago after hitting somewhat of a similar point as you. At first, I considered going into teaching. It was something I thought I’d do when I was younger. So, I was already anticipating a career switch. But, I ran into the same train of thought as you which is, are you really going to give up a well paying, albeit soul sucking job for a poor paying but equally soul sucking job (though in other ways).

    It is a massive misfortune that in the US teachers are so poorly treated and completely disrespected, in general. This is in contrast to teachers in East Asia where they’re deeply respected, appreciated, and revered, almost to the degree that priests are here. I think that is a difference you’d have to consider.

    For me, when it came down to it, I knew teaching wasn’t right for me. What I really wanted was to switch from something that gave me what I needed, to something I would love. So what I’ve done instead is work on going into a creative field, though that’s taken time given that it’s a 90 degree turn. It’s no-paying, but I like what I’m doing and feel like I’m growing into myself more as a person.

    The only advice I would give you is, do it sooner rather than later if you’re going to do it at all. I waited until I was forty and think maybe, I should’ve done it when I was thirty. Though, financially that wouldn’t have been feasible. So, for me, it’s better later than never, I suppose.

    Having said that, I’ve turned down higher paying offers to stay at the company where I was at, which is unheard of in finance. I’ve also switched from a higher paying job to a lower paying one purely for the sake of better work. So, money for money’s sake really isn’t a motivating factor for me. You kind of know what’s important to you by these kinds of decisions, and that’s a better guide than anything.
     
    Kgal, Theorem, mintoots and 2 others like this.
  5. OP
    Theorem

    Theorem Three

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2020
    Threads:
    1
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    8
    Trophy Points:
    448
    MBTI:
    INFJ
    I couldn't agree more. It's a shame that our society undervalues such a critical occupation. I was making more after 5 years in the software industry than my grandparents were making after 30 years of service in education. It's ridiculous.

    Wow, good for you! Do you miss having the structure/regularity that comes with steady employment? I'd love to quit the rat race, but it's not yet in the cards for me financially.

    Yeah, several people I've consulted have said the same thing. Trouble is (as mentioned above), I'm not financially ready to quit the race entirely, so if I were to transition, it would have to be into a new occupation. I've considered counseling, teaching and freelance writing. But like you said, I'm not really interesting in trading a higher paying soul-sucking job for a lower paying soul-sucking job, and I'm not sure I have the drive for true entrepreneurship at this point in my life. Maybe I should just try to focus on getting to financial independence as soon as possible. Or maybe try to find part-time work in the my current industry.

    I've done the same. I've held a VP title twice and voluntarily stepped down from both, taking a pay cut each time. The VP money was great, but the politics and bureaucracy were exasperating. Talk about a soul sucking job...
     
    Chickensoup and mintoots like this.
  6. mintoots

    mintoots Also: Tooth, 뚵수, Tootsu

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2018
    Threads:
    27
    Messages:
    5,930
    Featured Threads:
    23
    Likes Received:
    33,812
    Trophy Points:
    3,487
    Gender:
    Female
    MBTI:
    INFJ
    Enneagram:
    1w2
    Yes and also no. I am going for a second master degree prior to pursuing a PhD to because I took an interest in an interdisciplinary course. I'm definitely still a work in progress. I haven't even gotten confident enough for publication so no phD yet but an instructor. I've been an instructor on and off for almost the last decade.

    Teaching is indeed difficult. There are many points of dillemmas. Getting over invested in students is a risk and a skill that must be mastered. Sometimes I pass over publication opportunities because kids come first. It also significantly hurts when they graduate and go bad but the success stories of some kids more than make up for the pain. If you decide to go for it, you will have to strike the balance because it is often the case that some kids will try to encroach on your personal boundaries.

    Uni life is not any easier either. There's a lot of drama and politics to be handled and the pay does not match corporate. You have to be careful in choosing your university. Ultimately, if the uni is generally serious about education, you will be fine. Some unis are not like that so then it becomes another mountain to climb. Choose a uni that fits depending on your willingness.
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
    Chickensoup and Theorem like this.
  7. AzureVase

    AzureVase Regular Poster

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2018
    Threads:
    0
    Messages:
    74
    Likes Received:
    359
    Trophy Points:
    912
    MBTI:
    Infj
    Enneagram:
    5
    Sounds like you possess a wealth of talent. Have you considered volunteering? Perhaps providing some of your knowledge and skills to a nonprofit would meet the need you are feeling.
     
    Chickensoup, mintoots and Theorem like this.
  8. Chickensoup

    Chickensoup Community Member

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2014
    Threads:
    6
    Messages:
    555
    Featured Threads:
    3
    Likes Received:
    2,134
    Trophy Points:
    1,136
    MBTI:
    INFJ
    Tech money is insane. I mean, you’re just going to have to realize nothing is ever going to pay that much, but also 98.5% of the population live on a lot less and manage to survive and be happy. Another thing to consider is working in tech means you’re at the forefront of a lot of things. The people, the thought process, the systems...so be aware of what you’re giving up that’s not just money.

    The middle management grind is a gauntlet, totally. It’s a lot of ego. Death by a thousand small cuts and all that. It might be helpful to think about yourself in twenty years. Sitting on, or near the top of the mountain and if you want it. I’ve always known I’d do this, so it wasn’t like I was taken by surprise. It was more a question of circumstances and timing.

    I have structure / regularity. I just don’t live by the clock and instead, go by my own rhythms. I love it, honestly. Love it. What I don’t have is a family to support and that would be a big source consideration if I did.

    Good luck as you go down your road - it’s a bunch of difficult decisions, that’s for sure! You just feel it out step-by-step and see what works for you.
     
    Kgal, Theorem and mintoots like this.
  9. mintoots

    mintoots Also: Tooth, 뚵수, Tootsu

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2018
    Threads:
    27
    Messages:
    5,930
    Featured Threads:
    23
    Likes Received:
    33,812
    Trophy Points:
    3,487
    Gender:
    Female
    MBTI:
    INFJ
    Enneagram:
    1w2
    Making some lifestyle changes would also be something but since you have a wife and a kid, I believe these are things you must discuss as a family as well. I think you family knows you best so they might have some good suggestions.
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
    Theorem, Chickensoup and Wyote like this.
Loading...

Share This Page