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Don't Fit In! - Career Choices for the INFP Personality Type
Case Study of an INFP - Using the MBTI to help design your life
This is a follow on from the prior hub on understanding the basic theory of the MBTI.
Now we understand where the code comes from and what it means we can now apply it to design our lives in accordance with who we are. In essence the quote 'horses for courses' where you choose the right racing horse to match the condition of the course to be run on springs to mind. People often times find themselves unhappy when what they do is not aligned to who they are and what they are suited to. Equally the same applies in reverse when the horse matches the course that individual feels more fulfilled and happier in their place in the world.
I will demonstrate this with a simple hypothetical case study. We will use a fictitious woman called Angela. Angela has been working in a financial services institution for the last few years but finds herself unhappy and unfulfilled in her job. Her discontent leads her to seek out a life coach who suggests the MBTI as a tool to better understand her strengths and weaknesses.
Angela does the test and finds she is an INFP - using the our prior knowledge from the previous hub we can see that this means that she is an introverted (I) individual who in theory prefers working on her own without external distractions, prefers to gather and work with information which is more abstract or conceptual in nature (N), to make judgements and decisions on this information using her feelings, emotions and values (F) and lastly prefers unstructured, creative environments where deadlines and structures are not so important (P).
If we now compare her MBTI preferences to her actual job the roots of her unhappiness become apparent.
Her daily job involves talking and interacting with many people either face to face or on the phone without much alone or 'downtime' (E), often she works with bank accounts and factual concrete details linked to finances (S), the job she does entails putting aside her compassion and empathy for those she deals with to make clear cut rational, logical decisions based upon the facts (T) and lastly her job requires the production of reports and assignments to strict deadlines and her day to day routine is tightly structured and regimented (J).
As you can see, she as INFP is in completely the wrong environment to thrive, which is more suited to an ESTJ - the exact opposite of who she is!! These frustrations she has been experiencing with her work have also been borne out in the interactions she has had with the people around her in her work environment and with the institution as a whole. Angela often finds she is able to develop rapport and help her workmates out with emotional issues (not in the remit of her job) but she finds she has nothing in common when talking about work related stuff with her coworkers.
Increasingly her managers have noticed her discontent and also have found themselves annoyed by Angela's need to work in different ways than what they are used to and expect from past and present employees. This has led to her bosses showing their discontent to Angela even though her work has been satisfactory. All in all relationships, both from her and towards her have been strained by the incongruence of fit between the job and her personality type.
If she were to change her work to be more aligned to who she is the coach believes she would find greater satisfaction and happiness on a daily basis. From the vast reading Angela has done online it seems she is better suited to a self-employed career as a creative writer, or investigative journalist, designer or spiritual healer which are more aligned to her own preferences and ways of working and which bring with the ability for her to work on her own terms, pace and loose schedule.
Angela realises that her career is only one area of her life impacted by her MBTI personality type and she goes about redesigning other areas of her life such as relationships, hobbies, travel and life goals based upon who she really is as opposed to who society thinks she should be. She finds it difficult to not conform but ultimately finds the greater reward in being herself.
This last point is very important - as stated prior there are no right or wrong answers and similarly right or wrong people - ultimately designing your life boils down to - Horses for Courses!