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I am an INFP and I'm 37 years old. I am an audit manager. For the most part of my career in the corporate world, I have felt like a misfit who is faking it to making it. I have never enjoyed working in the corporate environment. I try to be ambitious but I last about three months when i see the emptyness of it all.

I have known for the last ten years I am totally not suited to audit. I hate details and audit and the whole ethos of corporate life. Being a manager and managing/counselling others got me through it. (though i hated my actual audit tasks) Now I am in a new role with no staff to manage and its killing me. I can spend the whole week at work and do nothing but pretend to look busy because I can't face my work. I find it totally useless (i.e., it doesn't help anyone). I am in a great company, with a great boss and great colleagues in a great location...all perfect on paper but I am dying inside!

I am so desperate to change field into something more fulfilling. (My dream is to be a seminary professor or career counselloror even preacher), but I was brought up to be 'responsible' and provide for my family. I am now trapped by all my trappings.

I have a big salary (around $150k) right now, a beautiful (mortgaged) house with a big garden my wife spends her time lovingly tending to and two kids in nice schools. I am terrible with saving money, so only have a paltry amount and can barely make ends meet now despite the salary. All my dream jobs pay one third of that.

My wife and children are my joy in life, so at least I have a spark of happiness every day when i go home!
I am at odds with providing materially for my family and having career fulfilment. I will always put my family first though, but it just getting harder and harder at work as a result and i spend extended periods being depressed about work.

People suggest doing part time seminary, but I love spending time with my kids too much to give time up with them to study in the evening. My wife suggested she go back to school to qualify as a teacher so she can work while I can study. But I did the maths and we just can't afford it. Selling the house wouldn't even help.... it would buy me one year max.

I feel like I am in some kind of midlife crisis and in a catch 22. In a job that is at odds with my personality but pays the bills.

Has anyone been through this? I am sure i am not the only INFP trapped...
 

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I am an INFP and I'm 37 years old. I am an audit manager. For the most part of my career in the corporate world, I have felt like a misfit who is faking it to making it. I have never enjoyed working in the corporate environment. I try to be ambitious but I last about three months when i see the emptyness of it all.

I have known for the last ten years I am totally not suited to audit. I hate details and audit and the whole ethos of corporate life. Being a manager and managing/counselling others got me through it. (though i hated my actual audit tasks) Now I am in a new role with no staff to manage and its killing me. I can spend the whole week at work and do nothing but pretend to look busy because I can't face my work. I find it totally useless (i.e., it doesn't help anyone). I am in a great company, with a great boss and great colleagues in a great location...all perfect on paper but I am dying inside!

I am so desperate to change field into something more fulfilling. (My dream is to be a seminary professor or career counselloror even preacher), but I was brought up to be 'responsible' and provide for my family. I am now trapped by all my trappings.

I have a big salary (around $150k) right now, a beautiful (mortgaged) house with a big garden my wife spends her time lovingly tending to and two kids in nice schools. I am terrible with saving money, so only have a paltry amount and can barely make ends meet now despite the salary. All my dream jobs pay one third of that.

My wife and children are my joy in life, so at least I have a spark of happiness every day when i go home!
I am at odds with providing materially for my family and having career fulfilment. I will always put my family first though, but it just getting harder and harder at work as a result and i spend extended periods being depressed about work.

People suggest doing part time seminary, but I love spending time with my kids too much to give time up with them to study in the evening. My wife suggested she go back to school to qualify as a teacher so she can work while I can study. But I did the maths and we just can't afford it. Selling the house wouldn't even help.... it would buy me one year max.

I feel like I am in some kind of midlife crisis and in a catch 22. In a job that is at odds with my personality but pays the bills.

Has anyone been through this? I am sure i am not the only INFP trapped...
Considering I am still in college and 21 years old, I haven't got this far in life to experience this dilemma. But I do have similar situations. I find myself entrapped in "dream relationships" that are perfect on the outside but inside I am dying and never know why. Why is it once our ideals seem to be met we are still not happy? This just proves to me that we can never reach what we think we truly want, we can't have it all.
 

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I know what you mean. Cliche though it is.. you are still very young.. though INFPs are a curious mix of wise beyond our years with child like wonder. In my past I would fall in love with love.. even being engaged once to another girl who was wrong for me.. she was perfectly pretty and submissive - my 'ideal'... luckily I called it off. I am now married very happily to someone very different but who is truly my soulmate.

With love... hold out for the person that is your best friend (i.e soul mate) and who you have a perfect cosy peace about rather than the melodrama of high romance and ideals.
 

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Wish there was a quick fix answer, but I still think your goals are viable.

Right now you need to basically audit yourself. Examine where you're hemorrhaging money and decide need vs want. Start to make little cutbacks in your finances and overtime your financial situation should give you a bit more leeway.

My main recommendations would encompass a complete life overhaul.
- Less meals out and more healthier eating at home. This should give you extra energy at work, save money, and focus on planning (ie: looking forward to X meal days). As simple as it sounds, sometimes that turkey dinner makes the week go by a little easier. Btw, you mentioned a garden? Hopefully you guys grow some of your own produce.
- Similar to what I mentioned earlier, create a budget and general allowance. Stick to it!
- 9 times out of 10 your cellphone bill is too high, look at alternative companies or budget ones.
- Garage sale? I wouldn't expect too much $$$ out of it, but It can be a fun activity with the family and gives you a sense of re-organizing your life. Something is happening!
- When you say "nice" schools for your children, does that mean private? I imagine that's a financial catastrophe, but I imagine this might be something you're set on.
- Possible volunteer work or online forum counselling (get a feel for it). You did mention you want plenty of time with the kids -- I imagine they're still young and growing up. That doesn't mean the end of the world, it may even be perfect. In their teens they'll generally be distant and off with their own peers. That should give you the time to pursue your educational needs for counselling.
- If the wifey is actually interested in teaching then it may be something she can pursue during the kids teen years.

There's a lot more, but generally you want to swap from "I wish" to "I'm going to achieve." If you hate your job then use that as inspiration to push yourself out of your rut. Overhaul virtually everything and if you're bored at work, focus on what else you need to take care of when you're back at home. Busy, but progressive. I'd say make a 5-10 year plan for the career swap. If you manage your finances appropriately and if you can maintain your passion for that long of a period of time, I truly think you can do it.

Sounds exciting just thinking about it :D.
 

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S type job for an N type. Not a good match.

I feel this way sometimes.

As a consultant, my tasks change day to day. I love the "business" side of things: strategy, vision, analysis, etc. And I hate the technical/detail oriented side: routine, data type jobs. For example, I once had to take a very large spreadsheet and copy and paste them line by line into an application. I sat in a lonely cubicle copying and pasting for days and days and days. If you know ENTJs at all, this is pretty much a task that puts me at suicide risk.

Anyways, my advice is to hang in there and live for your family and not yourself (someday in the near future you should be able to downsize - switch careers, move, etc) or look to change employers/careers (is there another field that can utilize your skills and still carry a 6 digit salary?). Consulting might be interesting. Like I said, you may do boring stuff, but your job changes gears, directions, and environments so fast, it makes it exciting.
 

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Or, find a way to keep your mind occupied at work. I occasionally have down time at work. During this time, to keep myself from clawing my eyes out, I've attempted to write a book, blog, program simple games, etc.
 

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thanks for the responses. When I do nothing at work its because I can't bring myself to do it (therefore procrastinate BIG TIME) rather than just downtime. Then I get into a mad panic because i have to do three days worth of work in a few hours, Amazingly I have always been able to pull it off.

Of course in all interviews I act like an ESTJ or ENTJ - so I look 'the part' and what they have hired is nothing like the image I portray and I do have moments of brilliance that seem to make up for all my laziness.

My colleague (who is ENTJ) is totally frustrated with me as she is super organised and totally ambitious. Our company has made us do our MBTI types. Now she knows I am an INFP, she keeps saying.. why are you here in audit, you are so creative and people oriented and you hate details and structure. I just responded 'look if teachers and counsellors got paid what I get paid, I would do it'. This job is just a necessary evil in an expensive world. In that moment I kind of felt like I have sold my soul!

I like the 5-10 year plan idea and cutting costs. We do that(cut costs) but it usually lasts only a month before some expense happens (usually birthdays/anniversaries) because we LOVE to travel and instead of presents we just want to go somewhere.

My wife (xSFP) is always supportive and says we can just sell the house (its far too big for our family anyway!) but that I have to have a clear plan before I do so.

Oh well... but thanks for the responses anyway...
 

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hey man I cant really say what you should do as i have only got my foot through the door in the corporate world, but i can definitely relate to your pain in the workplace. I have yet to develop an image for myself to fit in with my coworkers; im basically the office outcast, and on top of that, i hate how detail oriented and fast paced everything is. I also feel it is all pointless.

I'm not sure what you should do; you are in a tricky dilemma. I plan to take night classes at a counselling college; since going to class isn't an option for you since you have kids, maybe online courses would work for you.
 

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Sure I've been through that but I'm not trapped anymore :)

Here's what I did: I quit my job, sold my house, moved to the other side of the world. Wife and kids haven't follow me... not yet anyway.

Alexee - you're older than me. When are you going to live up to your dreams? I hope you don't end up feeling sorry that you didn't.

If you're worried about money: move to a cheaper location. Get a different job in a 3rd world country where your living costs are low... or do anything else that makes you happy.
 

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i got out of the rat race earlier than i anticipated, but it was worth it. for me, i had to find some meaning in it, although i didn't have kids like you do now. one of my co-workers actually told me before i left, "you know, the only reason i'm doing this is for my family."
 

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Sure I've been through that but I'm not trapped anymore :)

Here's what I did: I quit my job, sold my house, moved to the other side of the world. Wife and kids haven't follow me... not yet anyway. .
I hope you still have a marriage and that they will follow soon.

The funny thing is my wife is the one that says, "lets just sell everything and move to another country. As long as we have food on the table and clothes on our backs and faith in God we will be fine." She is ESFP.

I guess its guilt for not providing for them. My dad (he died years ago), was definitely an INFP (a failed poet, writer, journalist) and my mother always said 'don't be a loser like your dad, be responsible and provide a stable environment.' He tried to open a printing press business and went bankrupt big time. So I have this big need to provide a high stable income and be settled.I do want to lead by example for my kids. I want them to follow their passions but I need money for them to pursue whatever passion they have. Not sure if it is better for me to follow my passion so they can see me do it, or help them follow theirs.

The reason i never became a concert pianist (despite the opportunity of a well known teacher wanting to take me under his wing as a protoge) was because my family didn't have the money (actually they didn't want to spend the money they did have for it). I had to choose between studying finance at Uni or becoming a pianist. My mother said 'be responsible and don't follow crazy dreams of being a musician'. So since then I have drifted big time and became' 'successful' despite myself.

But I guess I need to be brave and take steps. I sometimes think, I can't afford to change career but I can't afford not to if it is going to make me crazy!
 

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thanks for the responses. When I do nothing at work its because I can't bring myself to do it (therefore procrastinate BIG TIME) rather than just downtime. Then I get into a mad panic because i have to do three days worth of work in a few hours, Amazingly I have always been able to pull it off.

Of course in all interviews I act like an ESTJ or ENTJ - so I look 'the part' and what they have hired is nothing like the image I portray and I do have moments of brilliance that seem to make up for all my laziness.

My colleague (who is ENTJ) is totally frustrated with me as she is super organised and totally ambitious. Our company has made us do our MBTI types. Now she knows I am an INFP, she keeps saying.. why are you here in audit, you are so creative and people oriented and you hate details and structure. I just responded 'look if teachers and counsellors got paid what I get paid, I would do it'. This job is just a necessary evil in an expensive world. In that moment I kind of felt like I have sold my soul!

I like the 5-10 year plan idea and cutting costs. We do that(cut costs) but it usually lasts only a month before some expense happens (usually birthdays/anniversaries) because we LOVE to travel and instead of presents we just want to go somewhere.

My wife (xSFP) is always supportive and says we can just sell the house (its far too big for our family anyway!) but that I have to have a clear plan before I do so.

Oh well... but thanks for the responses anyway...
Hahaha, I don't mean to laugh but you sound just like me when I was trapped in the corporate world. But the great thing for you is it sounds like you have a very supportive wife, and by how you describe them I'd have to imagine the kids probably love you too and similarly would care about your well being. You might see that as a drawback in a way because of the extra cost of having a family when you want to change your life around, but I think you have an advantage on most INFPs who come here who usually don't have such a great structure around them to support them. And you like to travel too, and maybe you aren't too rooted to where you live now, so moving might help you enable that lifestyle you seek.

There is no easy answer to this one. You have a few options. You can stick with your current lifestyle and hate over 1/3rd of your life. Remember that sleep is another 1/3rd, so it is more like half of your waking life. It might be a little less if you aren't stuck in 9-5 traffic, but you work a 9-5 job and have a family, so on that salary it sounds like you are in the suburbs somewhere and corporate offices are usually downtown. So the total time you are putting in is pretty much about half of your waking hours between getting ready, going to work, your lunch break might be with colleagues or at your work (or maybe you get to see your wife?), and then the drive home. Also, now you'll maybe get to be under scrutiny as people know you are an INFP and are pre-judging your ability to do your job because of it, which is kind of discrimination or could lead to such a lawsuit (not necessarily by you, but people do these things) so I'm seriously amazed that a company did an MBTI test.

Option 2 is sitting down and realistically figure out what it is you really want to do, ranging from where you want to live to your ideal job and so on. You are going to need to keep an open mind, since moving could be anywhere in the world and job could be goat herder (hopefully not, that is a much harder path and I have no idea what to tell you then). Figure out salary, and also if your wife will be working at all still (if she does at all? if not even better, she could maybe get an easy part time job with the kids at school too?) and all other things like that.

The beauty is, maybe you just need to move out of auditing and into advertising or HR? It doesn't have to be a major life change like goat herding, but you shouldn't hold back either. If you really want to go operate a vineyard somewhere and won't be happy unless that is what you are doing, then start figuring out financials.

You should keep in mind a few things. First of all, you are setting the example to your kids by what you are doing, both in regards to working a job you don't like and by sending them to a good school so that they can go to a good college to be just as miserable as you are when they exit out into the corporate world. If your children are not INFPs that might not necessarily be a bad thing though, I don't know, I'm just trying to be blunt (it's a Jersey thing? :p).

On the other hand if you downsize your spending and lead the life you want, you might be teaching your kids to enjoy their lives more even if they can't go to major colleges or are raised in such an environment as they are now. You can want the best for them, but it doesn't have to mean having the best education to make as much money as possible; there is a lot more to life which you seem to be aware of because you are already looking for a way out of your current predicament.

Second, you should consider the minimum requirements for the life you want for the rest of your family. I'm not suggesting you all go live in a hut somewhere, but maybe not being 5 minutes from McDonalds or Walmart isn't such a bad thing. Your wife is already on board with selling the house so it sounds like she is behind you cutting spending out, as you both seem to think it is too big for the family. Maybe everyone is accepting of cutting back even if you feel responsible to make them want for nothing? You should ask them and really listen to what they say; maybe it is just your preconceptions that you need to spend so much and they are OK with having less luxuries if it means you will be happy or they all get to go on an adventure with you. At the very least, maybe they all agree you could be doing much better things with your money than spend it on the house or going to Chili's?

Third, perhaps you guys like to travel so much because you all dislike where you are at? It sounds like you are a very minimalistic family already since you said you don't buy lots of stuff, so moving somewhere exotic to live sounds like it might be exciting to all of you if you can realistically have a plan once you are there. You said you needed a plan, so what are you waiting for? If you want to run a surf shop on a tropical island, figure out what they cost and how much they make a month. Maybe your kids have to do internet schooling instead of private schools and then get to go out and surf with you every afternoon if that is your thing. The beauty is that maybe if your shop is operating well and your wife helps oversee it, you can spend some extra time doing religion-related activities like teaching a class to get your fulfillment there too? You're an INFP so you shouldn't have a problem getting creative here if you sit back and let your mind wander for a bit.

You'll probably be able to provide a more than ample lifestyle for your family if you really think about it and consider all the different ways you can make money off whatever it is you want to do, or maybe your lifestyle simply won't require that much money when you see what everything costs per month.

I think overall you should ask your family to sit down and really think about what they would all love to do, give them some time to come up with answers, and then have a family meeting to see what everyone came up with. You might have a lot more support to go after your dreams than you think, and the financials may work even staying living where you are now. You will probably have to stick to cutting back your spending at least for some initial capita to do what you want, but with your salary you should have no problem pulling this off. See a personal money manager if you have to to get your spending under control that badly. Maybe you don't get to eat out as much or any of the other things on Lad's list. If the kids really are in a private school, maybe it is OK for them still be able to get into a major university even if it isn't Ivy League? You should be able to set aside at least a few thousand over a few months time.

As for yourself writing up what you'd love to do, you are probably going to need to cast aside all your preconceptions to do this and just think like an INFP rather than worry what the rest of society would do since we're like what, 2-4 out of every 100 people? So this means really accepting it and understanding that what the majority would do probably isn't what you should do. And chances are if you are doing what you love, you'll flourish at it too, so why else would God give us the ability to dream big if he meant us to instead do what we hate rather than go after it? That seems unnecessarily cruel for someone like God to me, who as I recall got out of his/her angry phase years ago after s/he sent Loki and Bartleby to Wisconsin (sorry, I couldn't resist a Dogma joke :tongue:)

Sorry, I tend to ramble a bit much, but I truly believe that every INFP should be going after what they love based on the joy of my own personal experience doing it. Life doesn't have to suck, and you put up with it for way way longer than I did!

Edit: Wow, go figure, during all my typing you post about your wife saying you should move half way around the world. If you believe in God why aren't you watching the signs?! You hate your job and people you love are telling you to get after what you really want. What more do you want, an angel to hand deliver you a commandment?
 

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I couldn't agree more with JerseyDevil (hockey fan?) You can change your life and make your dreams come true and that's not even the end of the dreams. You'll have more dreams later but sometimes you have to take it one dream at a time.

I made it pretty clear to people around me that I wanted to go so it wasn't a big surprise to anyone. I miss my family but I'll get to meet them in a couple of months.

Anyway, Alexee it's all about figuring out what you really want. You don't want to do something that you'll regret later. If you're not sure that you want to change your life, don't change your life. If you're not sure about how to do it, do it anyway and worry about it later. You can take it as an adventure. If you sell your house, you can afford it. Join the circus if you can't think of anything else.
 

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One thing I meant to mention was that you might be interested in reading "The Four Hour Workweek" by Timothy Ferriss. I think most INFPs would probably enjoy it since they'd say something like "Hey, this guy really gets it! Working 40 hours a week really is stupid and someone else agrees with me!!!"

The first 1/3rd of the book talks about he too was in corporate hell and he shows the ideas he used to figure out what he wanted from life and how he went about getting it. I think that part is most important since it shows a practical way of doing what I was talking about in regards to figuring out your dreams, getting them on paper, and then making a plan to realize them. This was the book that first inspired me to start dreaming big and figuring out how I was going to go about it.

He is a big fan of living around the world too and provides practical tips on how to go about that, so you may want to read it just for that.

The rest of the book is about setting up a passive business that requires little interaction on your part to make money (hence the title). This part really isn't too important for what I'm getting at though, so don't get too caught up on the title or worrying if this guy is selling snake oil. All that stuff may wind up helping you and I'd certainly recommend you read the whole book, but the rest is more of a bonus on top of the really valuable information at the beginning on how to start looking at the world in a different way.

I couldn't agree more with JerseyDevil (hockey fan?)
Fan would probably be an understatement. New Jersey Devils hockey is more of a lifestyle for me :)
 

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You've got some great advice.

I'm the same age as the OP but I don't have any kids. I roughly went through the same thing this year in order to go to art school.

Some things to look at:

Sell your house. We downsized to something really small but comfortable. With the money we make my wife can afford to pay the mortgage with her low-paying but stable job if she has to. Do you have any good public schools in the area or decent but cheaper neighborhoods that you could relocate too?

Are your cars paid off? We did this so that we could get rid of the monthly payments.

Ask your boss to go part-time. I asked to do this just to see if they would work something out with me. They didn't, but it didn't hurt to try. You could also see if they would allow for flextime so that you could take classes during the day if you need to. I did this for awhile.

Sure, you need an idea of what you want to do. However, I still didn't really have a clear concept when I quit my job. I knew that I wanted to go to art school. By taking classes and talking to others it has led to what I'm more passionate about. At the moment I'm leaning toward graphic design and photography.

I don't regret quitting my job. Working 8-5 is just such a waste of time and such a large chunk of your life. Especially in my case as a programmer, where you would be busy for about 10 hours per week and sit around the rest of the time waiting for something to break. I know I can always go back to programming if I need to. Sure, money is tight, but we are much happier! Spending time doing something that I love and I'm passionate about will lead to things working out.

We've also stopped eating out and got rid of the iphone. You can get prepaid minutes and save alot.

To me, a corporation basically feels like my parents. It takes care of you in the form of a paycheck and healthcare and makes you feel comfortable and safe. But really no job is safe and you never know when you might get laid off. Leaving the corporation felt like being 18 again and leaving home to go to college.


Oh, and one big thing and something that I still am going through.....
As Jersey Devil mentioned, you have to set aside any preconceptions you have from yourself and others. It's still hard for me to rationalize to others what I'm doing, but the more I get involved with my design and photography, the more I gain confidence in who I am. This is huge and helps you to become the person you really are.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Its good to hear people who have gone through it already and the advice is helpful.

Kids are in an expensive preschool but next year will be in a great public school, so thats one thing less.. though being enrolled in music, swimming, sports classes is expensive!

"you have to set aside any preconceptions you have from yourself and others."
That is great advice.

I have a great boss and I know if I asked to go part time she would be fine about it. Having a great boss now is probably the only thing keeping me going!! It may be more of a two-three year plan rather than an immediate sea change. When my wife is able to work is when I can cut down on my days at work.

Thanks
 

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Hi Alexee!

Hi Alexee,

I am an INFP too and working as Internal Audit Manager, reading your post felt like you have written about me, I feel the same way and am always exploring opportunities like teaching, healing etc etc but nothing materializes when it comes down to money. I infact left my job few years back and tried teaching but circumstances (or my will power) dint work in my favor so joined back the corporate (same company) in Internal Audit.

I have even taken services of a Life coach and lets see what she comes up with.

I feel exactly the same as you ( every bit of it), I have tries hundreds of self help books to cure procastinations, to like the job, to become more organized, to be able to concentrate on work but nothing helps, I am a very happy and content person but as soon as I reach office I feel like going out, doing something else.

I was confused whether theis personality type think has any weight and felt that its my inner waekness that I am not able to concentrate/ Like Audit work, after reading your post I am sure that its not my weakness but the job profile which doesnt match my job profile. I read a book on INFP and auditor was in the worst career category.

Would like to know how you shape up your life and all the best :)
 
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