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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Typically INTJ's aren't seen as suitable to any profession where we're supposed to help other humans: we're too "robotic" or "logical" to deal with people's vulnerabilities in a sensitive and charitable way. But I'm wondering whether that's actually true.

Can anyone speak on this from personal experience? Has anyone here ever taken a serious crack at nursing (or other medical care work), counseling, social work, special education, nannying, etc.; in other words, any job where the point was not, "Solve this problem," but, "Help with person?"

Positive experiences? Negative ones? Is this an area where an INTJ's skills can be put to good use?
 

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Yes to all those questions. I've worked as a pet sitter, and my current job is a people role. Yes INTJs can do it, yes they can be good at it. But no to the usual method of being a hopeless introvert lacking in people skills and sitting in a cubicle all day. If you want it, then you'll have to develop your Fi. The other thing to realise is that any of these jobs are just going to be more stressful for you, than for others. You'll be required to use lesser functions more often and even bury a lot of Te in order to get along with others. That's going to be high energy load on you. If you want it enough you will succeed, but it will be a harder slog for you than someone for whom those functions are dominant.
 

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Being an E2 would certainly help.
 

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Yes, I am a para for a down syndrome girl at an elementary school. Best experience I have had in the work place with the child. Biggest idiots I have ever worked with in the public school system. I have also worked in a womans day spa. I really did not like pampering the already pampered women. The women that came in with problems that needed addressed and I thought I did help was a wonderful experience. Dealing with animals and care taking for them is the only other thing I can throw out on this topic. Love that and cannot live without that in my life.
I am 5w6 sx variant and Fi is functioning well.
 

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I'm a high school teacher, so respectively yes because what I do is help children succeed. Ultimately, I want my class to do well and thus work very long hours after school constructing the most creative lesson plans to get that to happen-- I do want to climb the latter and become an AP, at some point. I do want to finish my administration degree, and get a hold of a principal job eventually too. But as I am progressing myself, I am not a blank slate towards my students. For written work, I have a policy that students can hand in repeated 'redos' until the end of the marking period to give them a chance to progress using my feedback. Not all of them have that ability, but I find it to be a fair system for students to succeed. Of course, I have failures in my classrooms but typically it is because they don't turn in any of their assignments and thus there's nothing I can do about it.

Saying that, I admit I show no Fe-related characteristics. I had to be filmed for an observation once, and had thought the Fi projection would look very Fe when watching it for myself. Let's just say, a student gave me a pretty funny answer to a response question, and when I thought I laughed hard, I barely smirked. It is simply not in my capabilities to be extremely warm, but my students are aware that I am kind to them. After all, I'm no master at emoting but I try hard to provide my classrooms the tools to do well. If my students who are trying fall flat on their face and if my entire class does then that's a poor reflection on myself, after all.

Also, it is notable to say I have to network with coworkers who play a role in observing my classrooms etc. And I do go out of my way for some of them as well.
 

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Special Ed

I worked in special ed for 5 years and got excellent performance management comments (it was part ESL and part special ed, though, so not all of the kids I worked with had special needs).

I was known as someone who could identify a child's individual needs and be relied on as a trouble shooter to try out new models. E.g. I was the first one to try out being attached to a particular department rather than following one child round all day. I was the first to work with 6th formers with special needs.

I was also seen as somebody who has the patience of an angel, takes matters in hand, feels responsible for their kids, and most of all gives the kids confidence.

At first I couldn't deal with the kids' emotional needs at all, because they had such babyish problems, but I got better at it until my line manager said that I strike the perfect balance between academic and emotional needs. It's not that difficult to learn, you can observe what your colleagues say and copy them.

Also, I think that lack of Fe is actually one of my strength when dealing with special needs kids. Many of the Fe-dom teachers expect e.g. autistic children to be 'normal' and throw a fit when they are 'rude'. On the whole, those teachers are OK, but they always end up throwing a fit.
I don't even expect those kids to be 'normal' because I know they've got a diagnosis and I don't feel offended when they accidentally say something rude that they probably didn't even mean.

Another factor is that I sort of "adopt" the kids. I don't fuss them to death or necessarily develop a close bond, but I see them as my responsibility and give 100%.

If you were looking for more INTJ typical traits: Ni-Te is ideal for planning lessons, anticipating the kids' difficulties and switching from baby level to advanced within seconds. Ni also allows me to follow their thought process and find out where they've gone wrong and misunderstood something, rather than telling them off for it or repeating the same explanation.


Other INTJs I know:
- I had an INTJ colleague who worked in special ed as well and he was known as one of the best TAs at the school.
- An INTJ friend of mine is a counselor and spiritual teacher.


edit to add: I'm Enneagram 6.
 

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Typically INTJ's aren't seen as suitable to any profession where we're supposed to help other humans: we're too "robotic" or "logical" to deal with people's vulnerabilities in a sensitive and charitable way. But I'm wondering whether that's actually true.
nah, it's not true and i'd be kind of surprised if you seriously thought that it was. i'm not a professional helper but there's a lot of personality and people in the work that i do, and apparently i'm pretty good at it. i tend to become the go-to a lot of the time.

- logic doesn't get in the way of handling vulnerability if you take the vulnerability seriously in the first place. when you do, it's just as much of a 'problem' that should be dealt with.

- i'm actually better at that kind of thing than a lot of people because i tend to see the entire psychological system involved, and i tend to address the issue at the level that gets at the root. some of the more social and reactive people i've worked with just deal with it as it presents on the surface, but i tend to pick up the subtle factors and respond to the spirit of it, not just the letter.

- i don't actually want entanglement with most of the people i deal with, which helps to maintain boundaries. always a good thing when you're 'helping' people. whereas a lot of the professional helpers i've come across actually get something out of that kind of thing and they sometimes allow their involvement to blur lines that shouldn't be blurred imo.

downsides are exhaustion, introvert's facetime-poisoning, and a tendency to lose my shit if overload does come along. plus, i actually found that being the person that everyone liked or brought their stuff to was profoundly lonely.
 

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I teach a homeschool group on the side, and I'm an adult leader for the Boy Scouts. Both positions require a lot of empathy and personal connection, and both are among the most rewarding things I've ever done. I really enjoy working with older kids who are making the transition into adulthood. But it is definitely emotionally draining because I have to put so much of myself into it. I don't know if I'd enjoy it if I had to do it full time. I'd probably be exhausted.
 

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- logic doesn't get in the way of handling vulnerability if you take the vulnerability seriously in the first place. when you do, it's just as much of a 'problem' that should be dealt with.

- i'm actually better at that kind of thing than a lot of people because i tend to see the entire psychological system involved, and i tend to address the issue at the level that gets at the root. some of the more social and reactive people i've worked with just deal with it as it presents on the surface, but i tend to pick up the subtle factors and respond to the spirit of it, not just the letter.
I agree with these points. The problems in these helping professions, like problems in any other profession, are rooted in systems (albeit more within individuals and their personal dealings rather than institutional ones) which can be analyzed and tackled systematically. Right up Ni-Te's alley. When one develops their Fi further, they may find more personal meaning in this kind of work. This combination of intellectual and personal significance makes a career more sustainable.

I originally signed up for medical school because of the intellectual challenge, but I found that guiding a patient in exploring their medical history and encouraging them during their exams does help in achieving better results for both of us. You'd have to put yourself in their shoes and picture a treatment process that addresses their needs, and some of these things are commonsensical and intuitive, rather than stuff formally outlined in protocols; I found this part more challenging and fun than having to memorize whole books for exams and rounds.

(In my case, I'm aware that the problem-solving part still overshadows pure empathy and concern for the client. That's just how I roll, I think. I'm not sure if this is the case for others.)

I would have not minded it if only I didn't get so drained from the nature of the work. And it didn't help that the hospital was overloaded and understaffed, and that the system in the hospital was so inefficient you'd think the administration isn't interested in discharging well patients. (On this note, I think institutional reform is another aspect INTJs would be good at; it's practically helping people in a much larger scale and a much longer period of time. I regret that I couldn't survive that environment long enough to reach a position where I can help there.)
 

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There are plenty of INTJ doctors and nurses. Of course we can do it, we're adaptable human beings. It's a myth that INTJs wouldn't have emotions or empathy, we just don't show it as often as other types.
 

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I could help someone whom I cared about.

And be good at it.


I find that I'm actually very, very good at pretending to care. Which is almost as good (maybe even better) than actually caring.
 
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There are plenty of INTJ doctors and nurses. Of course we can do it, we're adaptable human beings. It's a myth that INTJs wouldn't have emotions or empathy, we just don't show it as often as other types.
It's also not always helpful for a doctor to show empathy unless they are planning on following it up with treatment. Whenever I go do the GPs here, the nice female ones are all like "Oh dear! Oh no!" but they don't do anything. The only doctor who actually examines people, diagnoses something and gives them a prescription is an trolly ENTP.
 

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I'm in healthcare, and during school, a few preceptors complained that I "seemed distant" and wasn't ~warm~ enough. Often the very same day a patient or two had hugged me and tearfully thank me for all my help. So clearly I'm doing something right.

I find that a lot of people in "helping professions" overvalue superficial displays of caring, and even making a big deal out of how much they "care" and what good people they are. Often these are the same people who will ignore patients, slack on their jobs, treat patients as though they're interchangeable rather than respect their individuality, override patient's desires (one preceptor would repeatedly ask a patient if they want a blanket, and even if they keep saying no and are obviously not cold, she would get one and cover them up anyway), break their word (a doctor told a patient during a procedure if it was too much, just tell him--when she did, he was very gruff and just kept going, and afterwards the patient expressed her upset to me), and are accepting of only a narrow range of personalities. But if you don't spend the next half hour going, "oh, it's so sad!" after a kid with seizures comes in, then you're an uncaring asshole.

Also, I found I was good with psych patients. For some reason, a lot of people were freaked out by even rather mild mental illness, but it never bothered me. Even the less rational patients aren't hard to deal with, as long as you remember that their thought process is still logical--you just have to figure out what that logic is.
 

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I've gone from being a management consultant in a global firm, to moving in-house to build and launch the graduate development program for junior consultants. Strictly speaking I'm in talent development, but it's a mixture of talent development and running a multi-country, multi-timezone, crèche.

Most of my role is still about strategic visioning for the program, and negotiating with the business to see how best we can utilise them. That said, I enjoy connecting with them and helping them to bond as cohorts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I find that I'm actually very, very good at pretending to care. Which is almost as good (maybe even better) than actually caring.
Now, that's an interesting idea, especially when you tie it together with what @lilysocks said about avoiding entanglements and respecting boundaries. I think the basic importance of human relationships is not exaggerated by most people; the error they tend to make is mistaking (or not respecting) certain kinds of relationships for others.

I was student body president at my old college, a role that, for many of the people I worked with, placed on me the expectation of placing their feelings above those of others. I'm not proud of this, but my council ended up blocking the creation of a club because of the personal politics of some very vocal council members. At the core of it I think most of the problems we faced were from selfishness and immaturity -- people used "community" language (which often just means vulgar groupthink) to defend their more personal interests.

But more particularly they wanted me to cross what I saw as a real boundary: between my personal relationships to the community of students and my presidential duties to them. What I can see now is that the people getting offended and trying to influence the council weren't genuine, equitable representatives -- they were lobbyists, representatives of faction. Their work was actually counter-community.

This is a leadership example, but I think it speaks to the same thing we've have been discussing: serving others doesn't mean getting embroiled in their personal baggage or becoming enslaved by their insecure whims. It means treating them like they're valuable (which they are) and working to ensure their wellbeing.
 

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Not really related to this thread, but this whole T-types can't be helpful because they are all cold, unfeeling assholes is such nonsense.
E.g. my ISTP dad is a mechanical engineer and head of department. Yes, he is an ass-hat and pretty much fits the stereotype of the macho, sarky, know-it-all ISTP.
But this one time a female colleague came to ask his advice. Her husband had cheated on her with another woman and was treating her terribly. The house they lived in was hers and he lived there for free. She was totally distraught and didn't know what to do because she somehow thought it was her fault. My dad told her that she deserves better and there is no reason she should put up with the guy. He said she should kick the useless guy out of the house and get a divorce. She did it and her life improved dramatically and she came back to my dad to say how grateful she is and that it was the best decision in her life. So yeah... my dad didn't go "Oh dear, I feel so sorry, this must be so terrible.". His advice was pretty harsh, but it was what was needed and helped her in a practical way.

He also makes sure that the people in his department don't get screwed over by the boss's cronies and favourites and uses his ISTP bad-ass skills to defend the rights of his team. He's actually very popular with his people because they know that he will fight for their rights.

LOL, I don't know how I managed to derail from INTJs and helping to ISTP leadership, but never mind.
 

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I have worked as a tutor and teacher across a large span of ages and am very good at it *winces at the arrogance, but dammit I am*. I am also the go to person for advice among my friends and have been told by many people over my life (including professionals) that I would excel in a therapeutic counseling position. And I do find it rewarding to help people.

At the same time, however, I can find it very taxing and am hesitant to actually make any kind of career in these areas.

Conversely, I have a poor relationship with my parents and would likely be a horrible caretaker to them in their old age. The thought of being in that position frankly terrifies me.
 

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I've coached high school basketball, been a tutor, worked at the Boys and Girls Club - those are all gekp related things. I spent most of my time in college thinking that I would be a teacher.

INTJs can certainly be involved and find helping others fulfilling.
 
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