Discover Your Personality

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® and Careers for INFPs and ESTJs


In this issue we'll look at two personality types and specific jobs for both. The purpose here is not to list all the jobs that might be interesting. Instead, we're going to focus on what about the jobs appeals to each type. I picked opposite types to illustrate the differences and why one career could appeal to one type yet be a poor choice for another. Other combinations have been covered in past newsletter issues.

We'll start with INFPs. For this type I selected the career of psychologist. What is it about the career that makes it a good match for INFPs? Well, as in most good matches, the career makes use of INFPs' common characteristics such as good listening and communication skills, adaptability, flexibility, the focus on possibilities, and working in a way that supports human development. Many INFPs have well-developed writing and speaking skills, which are advantageous in this profession. For a lot of INFPs, a satisfying career has to give them room to grow and learn, as well as variety and intellectual stimulation. INFPs frequently have deep, strong feelings, and a great deal of personal warmth, although these qualities might not be visible at the first meeting with one. They rarely enjoy working in a bureaucracy or highly structured organization. Many INFPs find careers where they work and develop close relationships with other caring and creative people quite satisfying. Likewise, many INFPs feel best working in a job that has meaning and purpose and where they can help others. Increasing personal understanding and alleviating human suffering are two goals many find worth pursuing. Along with the above, many INFPs find that some amount of privacy and time to work alone are important. INFPs can be quite idealistic, open-minded, and tolerant, all qualities that are good to have in psychologist.

Let's contrast the above with a career suitable for an ESTJ: school principal. As with the other dominant extraverted thinking type (ENTJ), ESTJs show up in great numbers in managerial and administrative positions. Why is principal such a good match? Well, ESTJs tend to use tough-minded, fact-oriented, and goal-directed analysis to provide direction and leadership. Usually, they have no trouble applying their standards of what is fair, correct, efficient, and sensible to the situation at hand. Decision making seems to come naturally to many ESTJs, and they usually base their decisions on known facts rather than future possibilities or theory. ESTJs often like careers with tangible and practical results, where it's clear what's working and what isn't. If things are not working well, you can often count on them to make the needed changes. Many are excellent organizers who respect the rules and pay close attention to the details. For many ESTJs, working in an organization with a clear structure, standard procedures, stability, a lot of personal interaction, and hierarchy makes things easier. They like to use their skills to keep the system running smoothly. ESTJs tend to be hands-on types, who want to do something useful and achieve some measure of success. They are often quite conscientious and want to work in a job with clear, objective standards.

You might be one of these two types and never have considered either profession. That's perfectly okay. It's more important to see what makes these jobs attractive to these types. If you ask enough people, you're bound to find every type represented in every profession. For example, one study of psychologists showed about 18% were INFPs, while ESTJs made up about 4% of the group. Conversely, in a study of school principals, about 1% were INFPs and about 26% were ESTJs. Again, finding a career that matches your interests is more important than picking one from a list for your type.


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