I’m at a crossroads once again. I got recently fired from a job that I liked… sort of. It was badly paid and kind of abusive, but many tasks and the place itself gave me a sense of fulfillment at times. Being happily unemployed and spending my time doing nothing productive in my parents’ country cottage has made me reflect a lot upon the meaning of work for humans and the ideal INFP career. Why do people work (apart from the need to earn money, of course)? What makes work satisfying, if that’s even possible? Is every INFP unhappy at work? How to make it less unpleasant, or maybe even enjoyable? What can I do to start getting paid for what I love doing?
Let’s be honest. Work is often a source of suffering and frustration rather than fulfillment. As an INFP and a millenial, I believe that employment is a violation of human nature. Ever since, my idee fixe has been to find another way to make enough money for a frugal living, so I can remain unemployed and live happily ever after withouth having to sell my soul.
Call me a pathological job-hopper, but I think it’s actually bizarre how much emphasis our society puts on money and how you make it. Have you noticed that, whenever you meet new people, they want to know what you do for a living so they can pass their judgment? I am guilty of this, too, but use it more as a conversation starter because I suck at small-talk. I’ve never had a job I would identify with.
The very idea of renouncing your freedom, selling my time and energy cheap, and committing to something less than fascinating for at least 8 hours a day, only to earn enough to pay my bills, is repulsive to me. Add the hours you spend commuting, subtract the time you spend sleeping…
How much is there left to actually LIVE?!
Not much, really.
I need a job that doesn’t feel like I’m wasting my life and potential while slaving away for peanuts. A job that… well, let’s define what I want, to begin with.
INFP Career: What Are My Values?
Apart from a decent pay and fair conditions, what needs a job to offer me? What truly motivates me to do my best?
- Opportunity to learn and grow. Whenever a job becomes automatic, I completely loose interest in it. I need my job to be intellectually challenging.
- Variety of tasks. If it’s the same thing all over again, I don’t think it can keep me engaged for more than one day. Routine is lethal to the INFPs.
- Creativity. I believe that every problems can be approached from a variety of angles. If someone wants to control every minor aspect of my job, I don’t feel motivated to do it at all. Strict supervision kills all my creativity and makes me do just enough to avoid complaints, which is the opposite of engagement.
- Flexibility. It would be great if I could work when I feel inspired… I’m not lazy, I just work in bouts of inspiration and motivation.
- Some meaningful human interaction, but not too much. I often go to the hermit mode, but spending too much time there isn’t healthy.
- Low stress. When stressed, I don’t perform well. So no dead lines, no dresscode, no emergencies, no cubicles, no dealing with nasty customers and no phonecalls please.
- Work-life balance. Even the best job becomes unbearable if you’re forced to work over hours. Ideally, I would like to work 6h a day at most, and get paid accordingly.
- Meaning. I want to do something that makes the world a better place (even if just a tiny bit), not only makes the rich shareholders even richer at the expense of the poor. I am not the kind of person that can sell fridges to Inuits, or life insurances to 80-year-olds.
- A small team of kind humans. Even if you already have all the above, but have to spend the whole day with a group of judgmental, manipulative, fake people, work is still no fun.
Does a perfect INFP career even exist? I doubt that. No wonder that INFPs make less money than almost every other personality type around. I’m also not surprised that, statistically, INFPs are the most likely to become a stay-at-home parent. From what I’ve seen, for most of us making tons of money to buy things we don’t need so that we can impress the people we don’t care about is not even half as motivating as doing something we genuinely believe in.
And not only that. As Heidi Priebe, the author of The Comprehensive INFP Survival Guide states,
[…] the INFP’s job satisfaction is ultimately dependent upon the structure and values of the organization they find themselves aligned with.
So it’s not even about the job itself. The organization and its structure are critical for our job satisfaction. I know it sounds bitter, but browse the job offers available and you will realize that we’re everything the employers are not looking for, even if they declare the contrary. And the worst is that they don’t want you just to work for them. They want your soul, your lifelong commitment and loyalty until they find someone cheaper to replace you. They want to OWN you, but give very little in return. Your desires and well-being don’t matter because you’re nothing else but a human resource they are using to make profit.
I wasn’t born to a wealthy family, nor did I win a lottery, so I have to make a living somehow… What are my options then?
INFP Careers I Am Considering Now…
#1. Farriery & Equine Osteopathy. Since I made friends with a female farrier, possibly an INFP too, nothing seems impossible. I wanted to work with horses ever since I was 12, but my parents convinced my it was not feasible. It’s a job that makes a difference to the world (at least for horses), and meets almost all my requirements. I’m not sure about work-life balance and the actual demand for this kind of specialists, though. But it’s awesome that I can try it without an investment or a lifelong commitment.
#2. Gardening. Gardeners are reported to be the happiest among all working people. The job is low-stress, meaningful, allows creativity, and gives plenty opportunities to grow (literally xD).
#3. Blogging. Well, I’m already doing it. Writing is awesome and can be a quite profitable INFP career. And it favors authenticity, which I am good at. The only problem is that the outcome of this enterprise depends a lot on my mood, and that is pretty unstable.
#4. Permaculture Farming. My true wish is to have a self-sustainable farm in the middle of nowhere and be able to grow my own food. And maybe, one day, be able to teach it to others. It has all the features I have mentioned above, but doesn’t make much money. And you need money to start a farm, so the snake bites its tail…
#5. Working on a farm in the 1st world. I have been also thinking about organizing my life in a way that I can earn enough money in summer so I can live off my savings for the rest of the year, doing what I enjoy most. There are jobs you don’t need to be qualified to do, like fruit-picking or attending farm animals. The biggest downfall is that they’re generally boring and repetitive, but don’t demand much attention either. And if they’re seasonal and well-paid, why not?
So, I’m not really sure which way I should go. All the above seem appealing, but have their downfalls, too. Maybe I should do all at once, and decide later. I somehow find it difficult to commit to just one thing for the next 30 years of my life.
How about you? If you didn’t need to care about your income, what would you be doing?
Also, if you’ve already found your way to make a living without having to compromise your values, your ideal INFP career – don’t hesitate to share it. We’re dying to know.
Wish you all the best,
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