Linking ‘type’ and ‘careers’ would be easy if it was just about listing specific jobs that perfectly fit specific personalities. However in truth it is more difficult than that as ignores other, more important issues, such as the organisation, the values and the culture, which are far better determinants of suitability than a job title. Also individual jobs vary widely from industry to industry, organisation to organisation and person to person. Therefore our focus on ‘type’ and ‘careers’ will be far more on you: your personality, your aptitudes, interests, likes, strengths and weaknesses and then matching these to the sorts of environments, cultures and norms within organisations that will allow you, given your character, to thrive grow and flourish. We spend a lot of our time at work and so it is important to get these issues right or we could spend a lot of working time unhappy, unproductive and unfulfilled.
The INFP inhabits the internal world of imagination and creativity and are not bound by traditions or the usual conventions. They won’t deliberately go and buck the system they will simply withdraw and do things their own way. INFPs have the maxim ‘live and let live’ except when something encroaches on their personal values and then the INFP can change and become inflexible and judgemental. INFPs will need to consider the wider ramifications and any activity, task or project must have some bigger meaning or be part of something to which they feel they can expend their emotional energies and, if this is the case, the INFP can be so productive and even sweep up the detail - provided there is a clear causal link to the bigger picture. In some organisations it is the fact that an INFP is committed to the cause that makes things tick although they prefer to remain independent of spirit and of control they can, paradoxically, be excellent organisational people. The INFP has an interesting, unique take on the world, will be generally seen as reserved but their passions know no bounds if they are committed to the task/project/people/organisation. INFPs, although quite shy and under the radar, nevertheless need harmony and in its absence will work hard to create an environment where everyone rubs along.
If the work has no meaning INFPs will struggle to maintain interest and their minds will drift off to loftier thoughts. They are not naturally detailed individuals but also do not respond well to deadlines or targets preferring to feel bought in to activities, or cultures and then they will work long and hard for ‘the cause.’ This need for meaning pervades the INFP world and motivating INFPs is around making them feel valued for who they are and then their contribution will be fulfilling and immense. The INFP need for harmony means that they may struggle in a tense or aggressive atmosphere and also that they have trouble giving negative feedback as they don’t like to upset the equilibrium. Facts and details bore INFPs and they tend to ignore them in favour of big picture, future orientation and meaning. They are optimistic and positive types which is great at acting as the glue and raising morale among people but it may negate them accepting or even seeing anything negative as they tend not to ‘confront the brutal facts,’ focusing on what might be rather than what is. This optimism and positivity also means they do not like to be constrained or micromanaged needing flexibility to do things in the way that is best for them and, to be honest, this approach will get the best out of INFPs allowing them to contribute more.
Best INFP work environments
The INFP prefers an environment that fosters harmony and cooperation. If they do not find such environments they will help create them. They are people-centric even though they are introverts, and will look to nurture, care for and support people. They make excellent nurses and carers as they do not get constrained by rules, they are so insightful they pick up the cues on how people are feeling and they genuinely ‘feel’ others’ pain and want to help. The ideal world of the INFP is one where they can immerse themselves totally in some interesting and personally meaningful tasks and reflective activities. The INFP will however be devoted to things they personally see as valuable and so can make excellent supporters of organisations and causes. They are not naturally practical and indeed may have to force themselves to do the mundane. However if the INFP can see some clear meaning in tasks, that it is part of a wider cause and the contribution can make a really difference, then they will work long and hard on all aspects because then it all makes sense to them and they feel part of it.
Worst INFP work environments
The INFP does not respond well to being constrained by rules and regulations, and they dislike the routine and the mundane. Colleagues will probably see the INFP as flexible, positive, gentle, carting yet difficult to understand. INFPs like to do things in their own way, in their timeframe and just get on with it, uninhibited and not wanting to be micromanaged. The INFP would not appreciate criticism or a hard taskmaster or an environment where rules, regulations or targets are the norm. INFPs tend to be hard workers but they will become demotivated if there is pressure or, as they would see it, ‘harshness,’ as they are free spirits and need to be trusted to do it their way. Environments, which are non-cooperative or where there is competition, would not be one where the INFP could thrive and bring their talents to bear. INFPs in themselves are individualistic but they like cooperation and harmony and to see people taken care of. INFPs often have a unique style of managing projects and performing tasks and so doing things by rote, processes and procedures will not work for them.
Best INFP careers
Although the extremely caring nature often means INFPs will pursue overtly caring professions such as nursing, or other careers where looking after people is key and harmony is needed, they tend to bring these qualities to any organisation they work for, often acting as the glue or the counsellor whatever their role. They naturally tune in and feel what other people are feeling and have genuine empathy. They do however require a reason, some sort of meaning and context to their roles so that each task is linked to something bigger and more important.