Discover Your Personality

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® and Careers for INTJs and ESFPs


In this issue we'll look at two 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 is appealing to both types. 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 INTJs. For this type I selected the career of lawyer. What makes this career attractive for INTJs? Many NTs enjoy law because it can combine theoretical knowledge with arguing, which many enjoy as a hobby. Many who are not NTs might be surprised to learn that NTs frequently like to argue just for the sake of having a stimulating discussion. It's not a personal attack on another person. Other INTJs enjoy the adversarial nature and competition some fields of law can have. Another skill many INTJs enjoy using is synthesizing vast quantities of information into a useful framework for decision making, just the kind of thing lawyers need to be good at. Many are keen analysts with accurate insights, so they can quickly size up a problem and come up with a possible solution. Many also work well alone, are good at researching complex issues, and enjoy working autonomously and creatively, while using systematic thinking. Many INTJs highly value individual achievement, challenging work, and the feeling their work makes a difference. Conversely, many INTJs dislike work that is based primarily on social relationships, nurturing, or lots of hands-on work, such as nurse.

Let's contrast the above with a career suitable for an ESFP: lifeguard. I purposely picked a career that was not a normal office or corporate job. It's true that ESFPs show up in those careers as well. This time we're going to look outside the box that many people create for themselves when thinking about career possibilities.

Some key factors in satisfying work for many ESFPs are fun, action, and lots of people. Many enjoying working outdoors, or at least in a highly active environment. Few will enjoy working on a cube farm processing claims on a computer. Instead, many ESFPs like ongoing, practical contact with people, doing hands-on work, and where detailed, practical knowledge is required. They frequently enjoy work where they can be of service or help to others, or in some sort of guide role. They often enjoy jobs that have a lot of flexibility and spontaneity. Excitement is attractive to them as well as working in groups, particularly groups focused on having fun or being active. ESFPs tend to be good at managing conflict and remembering facts about the people they work with. Many value cooperation over competition and can be excellent trouble shooters because they frequently are quite pragmatic. They tend to be open-minded, tolerant, tactful, and sympathetic towards others. All these factors are an advantage for lifeguards. They have to pay attention to many details, work with all kinds of people, have practical skills, and be effective in crises. While there is routine in any job, lifeguards have the advantage of unexpected events. This can be very appealing to ESFPs. They never know what the day will bring and they like that.

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 on lawyers showed about 1.5% were ESFPs, while INTJs made up about 15% of the group. Conversely, in a study of lifeguards, and recreation and amusement attendants, around 8% were ESFPs and about 2% were INTJs. Again, finding a career that matches your interests is more important than picking one from a list for your type.


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