8 Things INFPs Need on the Job to Be Happy

an INFP personality is happy at her job

INFP is a Myer-Briggs personality type that stands for Introversion, Intuition, Feeling, and Perception, and people of this type are known to daydream and feel deeply, as well as be caring, compassionate, and very idealistic. Unfortunately, these traits can make it extra challenging to find the right career; just look at any MBTI internet forum, and you’ll find it peppered with posts from INFPs seeking career advice. INFPs are unique people, so it makes sense that we are looking for a unique job.

So, without further ado, here are eight things INFPs need on the job to be happy. These points aren’t exclusive to the INFP personality type, but they are common to INFPs. If you’re an INFP, I hope this post helps you get closer to finding the right career.

(What’s your personality type? We recommend this free personality assessment.)

What INFPs Need on the Job to Be Happy

1. The opportunity to use our intuition

INFPs approach the world through Extroverted Intuition (Ne), our second cognitive function. Whether it’s figuring out what someone is feeling or how best to take the character in our novel from A to B, INFPs are highly intuitive people — and we need opportunities on the job to use our Ne if we’re going to be happy. We deduce things through “lightbulb” moments, when an idea suddenly and intuitively dawns on us, and we follow that idea wherever it leads, oftentimes to wonderful and lush places. Some jobs that require intuition include being a writer and a psychologist, careers that tend to be high on the list for INFPs.

2. New and interesting challenges

Let it be understood in no uncertain terms that INFPs get bored easily — and by easily, I mean really easily. Routine, practical tasks drain our happiness, make us tired and depressed, and sooner or later, we are liable to quit. That’s why, say, working in business administration probably isn’t the best career choice for an INFP, because it involves lots of detailed, routine tasks, ranging from faxing and filing documents to data entry. That type of job might better fit a “sensing” personality, such as the ISFJ or ISTJ.

We INFPs, on the other hand, thrive on variety, on newness and freshness, on things that amuse and delight us. Jobs like creative director or marketing assistant — where you get to wear many different “hats” to complete tasks — would better suit us.


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3. Creativity

INFPs are creative people — that’s a fact. We love mixing ideas, emotions, and experiences together in a potent brew of creativity and imagination. Often, people are surprised by how creative we can be (considering, as introverts, we keep most of our best ideas to ourselves). It’s that blazing moment of inspiration, that high level of originality, that earns us admiration from others — and yeah, our creativity is the trait we’re most proud of! Thankfully, there are numerous creative occupations out there, such as graphic designer, artist, actor, author, blogger, or book reviewer.

4. Meaning and purpose

This has to be thrown in here, even though it’s obvious and well-known among INFPs, but it has to be said because it’s very important. INFPs have a strong need for meaning in their lives, and they can’t work for a company that doesn’t provide actual value to human beings — or worse, one that actively tramples on people, animals, the environment, or anything else we INFPs hold dear. We need to feel like we’re helping people in some way, even if we’re not actually working in a typical caring profession, like teacher, nurse, or counselor. A musician, for instance, creates melodies that bring joy to people’s lives, and an INFP working as a human resources specialist helps employees of various personalities, talents, and abilities reach their full potential. Our jobs have to be meaningful and aligned with our values, period.

5. Some introvert alone time

There are very few jobs that don’t require any interaction with other people. Almost every job on this planet requires socializing in some form or another, whether it be schmoozing clients, attending meetings, taking phone calls, or helping customers. Nevertheless, for an INFP to be happy at work, we do need some introvert alone time. For instance, in advertising, while there might be meetings to attend, there will be other times when you get to be alone writing copy. Jobs that require you to be “on” and social all the time, such as a receptionist or a salesperson, would hardly be ideal for INFPs. Despite our reputation for being “extroverted” introverts, we need plenty of alone time to recharge after socializing, and at the end of the day, we need to respect ourselves in that regard.

6. Coworkers we feel comfortable around

It’s very important for INFPs that we like the people we work with and feel comfortable around them. Although it’s not necessarily a deal-breaker (you can’t help it if you have bad coworkers), it makes life much more pleasant for INFPs when we feel comfortable around the people we work with. Emotional and perceptive, we are extremely sensitive to toxicity and negativity, and brash and aggressive personalities have a definite negative impact on our work. During the interview, it’s a good idea to try to get a sense of the personalities you’ll be working with — and if the company culture is a good fit for you as an INFP.

7. Solving problems in a unique way

Similar to the point about creativity, INFPs love to find novel solutions to large-scale problems, so a career that allows us to do this is definitely something we’re looking for. There’s something incredibly enjoyable about being given a problem and then asked to solve it — in a creative way, of course. Being intuitives, we see the big picture and notice patterns that others might miss, and our Ne helps us see multiple perspectives on any given issue. In marketing, for example, we might need to come up with a new angle to sell a product, and INFPs would love to do just that.

8. Imagination and playfulness

Optimistic and imaginative, INFPs are childlike and playful at heart, and we enjoy work that reflects this aspect of ourselves. We adore exploring different ideas and brainstorming, we like being creative and coming up with fresh perspectives, and we enjoy using our brain power to solve problems. Writers, for instance, have fun creating entire worlds and characters’ personalities. Yes, it is still work, but it’s also a fun and playful business. It can also be playful for, say, an interpreter to translate a conversation into another language, as it draws on their intelligence and dexterity with language, or for a legal mediator to come up with a unique solution that satisfies everyone involved.

Of course, as much as we would like to, it can be difficult to find the right career — one that fulfills all the requirements I listed in this article. At the end of the day, you know which of these things are most important, and which things you’re willing to be more flexible about.

One thing that can help you build the career you want — and stick to it — is to determine what your values are. Here is a resource that can help you do just that. You may also want to check out this blog post here, which is a list of INFP career ideas and salary information. Finally, look up “A Day In My Life” YouTube videos, which showcase what it’s like to do a particular job for a day — here’s one about what it’s like being a marketing director — then consider shadowing someone in real life whose career you are interested in pursuing.

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Written By

Annie Gao is a librarian student by day and a writer by night, writing young adult and children’s fantasy novels. She is fond of cats, books, and strangely enough, insects. She blogs at www.dreamerrambling.wordpress.com, where she writes about her everyday life and what it’s like being an INFP.