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A Career Tale of Two Types: ESTJ and INFP


Here are two interesting examples of people who have been able to find jobs that match their types and their interests. Let's start with our ESTJ, whom we'll call Jane.

Jane always liked science, starting in junior high school. In college, she majored in biology. Upon graduation, she was accepted into a Ph.D. program in molecular biology at a well-known university. Things seemed to be going her way. She'd always wanted to be the first in her family to be a doctor.

Grad school turned out to be a far greater challenge than Jane imagined. While her faculty advisor and she frequently seemed to be at odds, her determination to finish her degree led her to press on in her research. Jane reported being annoyed at the lack of structure in scientific research, the lack of clear deadlines, and the apparent drifting about she sensed in her department. Jane reported disliking coming into the lab every day and not knowing what she was going to do.

After eight frustrating years, Jane gave up. She never finished her Ph.D. She received a Master's degree for her years of toil. She was disillusioned with academia and scientific research.

However, this story has a happy end. Jane eventually wound up as Quality Assurance Manager for a firm that produces bovine vaccines. Jane's problem was not her interest in science, but in how she went about it.

You may know that many ESTJs enjoy being managers. They frequently enjoy the structure of large organizations, adapt to rules, and like routine. Jane was able to get all those things in her job, and stay involved in science. In her position, Jane has to follow strict rules and procedures to test vaccines for purity. Without that testing, the product cannot be shipped. Jane is able to organize a group of people in a planned, structured system to test vaccines according to a production schedule. She's good at her job and enjoys it. It was not an easy path, nor was it a straight line.

Our second career tale concerns Maria, an INFP. INFPs can have a hard time finding work that satisfies them. Like Jane, Maria needed a number of years to find a job that she enjoys and pays her a living wage.

In high school and college, Maria had two main interests: dance and mathematics. Sounds like an unusual combination, but not surprising at all. Maria also had a great interest in art. She received a bachelor's degree in math with honors.

After college, Maria decided to move to California to pursue dance full-time. While she loved dance, injuries eventually forced her to quit. She tried art for a bit, but found the money insufficient to support her. That's when she decided to try math again.

Maria wanted to go back to graduate school for math, but found out she needed some computer classes before she could do so. While taking computer classes, she discovered she enjoyed computer work. She found it hard to believe people could get paid to "play" with computers. The movie "Tron" was an eye-opener because it combined computer graphics with human actors. This seemed to be a great combination of dance, art, and mathematics.

Maria eventually worked on a Master's in computer science, with an emphasis in computer graphics. She never completed her degree, yet found work in IT. At first she was heavily involved in graphics work. She liked the problem solving and creative aspect of the work. However, the fast pace and constant deadlines, combined with so many hours in front of a computer, made her change careers. Maria eventually moved into training, still in the IT arena. She enjoyed the people part of the job, helping them develop and better use the tools they need for their jobs.

Maria still enjoys training and has stayed in the field for several years now. She currently works as the training manager for a design firm.


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