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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Dear fellow INFPs,

first of all, a warm hello. My name is Jan, and I am 38 years young. I have come across the MBTI system already a while ago during a conflict management training. Which I took voluntarily, btw. :) I have dived back into it recently, for reasons stated below, and got an even deeper insight.

Shamelessly :) , my first post is a question for a hint or advice.

I have been the Manager for Development and Operations for a certain global player's product for the last 4 years. This is a very diverse job, which is good, but it also brings a lot of stress and pressure with it. Plus, my manager is an ESTJ, at least from my guess, which does not harmonize very well.
Four weeks ago I suddenly noticed severe symptoms of the Burn-Out syndrome, e. g. not being able to concentrate on anything, feelings of emptyness and senselessness, depressions, etc. The doctors sent me to sick leave two times for altogether 3.5 weeks. The depressive feelings got better, but the feeling of pointlessness and senselessness is still there.

My manager now asks me to let him definitively know whether I will keep working for him, or whether I want to look for a different job. This was the time to get back to a deeper dive into MBTI, and also the decision for a new job has already nearly been fixed. But which one?

Now, if I am reading career options for an INFP, there are jobs like artist, musician, psychologist, etc. This is totally true, since I have a passion for photography, I play the Guitar (again), and I am very interested in psychology. However, I am not 16 or 20 any more, nor am I at the starting point of my career -- I am in the middle of my life now.

So my question is, how would you proceed in a situation like that? Dumping my current career and starting a career as psychologist sounds OK for me from the "job makes me happy" point of view, but not from the "I also need some money" perspective. Have you ever come across such a situation yourself?

Thank you very much,

1,850 Posts
If you are not interested in re training at this time, maybe you could take the skills you have as a manager and go work for a company or organization that sells a product or service that you really believe in? Take for example a carpenter. She could be working for a large corporation that builds houses where all of the upper middle class or higher classes will live. Maybe this isn't giving her job any meaning for her. So she could choose to try build houses for an organization that builds homes for people who can't afford homes. Or maybe work over seas helping to build schools or hospitals in third world or war torn countries. Granted she may not make as much money working for these type of organizations, but they may give her a lot more job satisfaction or give meaning or purpose to her life, which may be what she is looking for. We need money to live, but we don't need huge amounts to be happy.
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Hi, I am also in a similar position to yourself too. I am 35. I just got out of IT, and got shellshocked from growing company, various demands, revolving organisational chart... and yes, I was tested indirectly, which peeved me off a lot. However, I do and will admit that I do have more self growing to do. I just did not like the hostile approach that my company went about to get me tested. Obviously, I did not know what was going on and I reacted with my emotions. Anyway, let us not dig up old history. Again, this is my second US company, and I find the approach soo... sneaky. Anyway... I'm not going to dwell on that as they are not worth it.

So, to summarise, I would say that you are in a unique situation because you are a "harmoniser", so there are skills which can be useful in an operations, managerial position. You just need to find a method which works well with you.

I would ask yourself, can you be a fully grown INFP who can have a stricter willpower to tap into his own abilities? I would forget the stereotypes of what is on the mbti.

If the job was okay, good pay and if I feel I can contribute to something, and I believed in it, then I think I would give it another try again if I was in your situation. With working in such conditions, you do have to be thick skinned. Ignore comments. Or pretend you did not hear or listened to redundant comments. Let the snidey comments go... Ask yourself if you have another job lined up that you like more, and if not, then why not be direct, and ask your manager for a trial first? If not, then you yourself will find an exit route. Cos at least you give yourself a good chance to really work the way that you want to ? I mean, if you let the feeling of being sacked sinked in. Then, you do not have any fear any more. Cos it either can happen, or you will make it happen. So what? Cos your skills can be used elsewhere in another different kind of context.

You mentioned a few areas of concerns.
- ESTJ boss
- Conflicts between managements or individuals

I recommend these actions:
- MEET the people who you work with, and let them meet you. This will allow them to associate you with your Fi. Knowing them, and seeing them as humans, will actually motivate you a lot more to want to do things for them and on their behalves. This was one of the best strategy my manager did for me. He sent me over to meet my customers. We get to know each other and we know our respective roles. This clears out any ambiguities. Allow strict responsibility to be formed.

- Draw organisational chart. Map each stakeholder, and person to a MBTI profile. Guess them all. Stick this on your cubicle or your mirror at home! See it every day. This will allow you to understand what is going on, and who will be conflicted and why etc. you will be able to use your learned mbti to deal with these individuals in each meeting, and communicate in a more objective manner, if need me. Say thank you for any appreciation, and actual work done. Be positive when you know a mark has been hit, and is on target. Also, BE aware that you do not step over to someone else's position, cos that will annoy them. However, if individuals are quite open and honest, and you guys have started to communicate very well, THEN obviously continue the same style. Else, remind yourself to not overstep the responsibility at all.

- Write down a list of responsibility to your Role. Understand the area of work, and what is under your control. Be strict with this and never absorb extra work from others. Just politely say no... Or refocus them on your list of objectives. Then they will back off.

- Process Flow Map - write down a list of process flow which you are responsible for, and who you need to work for how and why. Allows you to re-enforce your focus on your own responsibility too, and it scopes the objectives even if you have to make a consideration. Anything outside of this, or it changes, then ask your boss for clarification of the boundary lines once again.

- ESTJ manager - Report to him once a while on your progress. Use a project management methodology. Draw big picture of your goals as a Dev & Ops Mgr. Then map out all the list of TO DOs. Once a while, show this in your one to one meetings with your ESTJ to update him where you are at etc, and this will focus him and reassure him of your capabilities too. If will satisfy his S, cos he wants to see you DO. (He is a micro-manager.) Also his T is satisfied too. Cos you thought about the logic of it. Write down the process flow too, and allow the to do list to see in relation to the business process flow to see where things are at. What issues you are resolving and where it has happened etc.

- "Let me get back to you on this". - Infamous line used by many managers as a get out clause on everything, and to stop people in their tracks... Buy yourself some introspective time to analyse a project, or your opinion, and to check whether you do want to support such ideas or not etc. Re-quantify it against your own responsibility list, and remits every once a while. It is okay to walk away and think than to act in haste...

- Support ! - Find them ! Figure out which individuals on your team are also Ns. Cos you mentioned that you are a "Development and Operations" person. Which means that someone need to focus on the direction of the product development. Also try and implement in your business process, a kind of feedback to check whether you guys should indeed pull the plug or not. Or put projects on hold.

- Business Process - If you do not have one of these in place now, implement one! Streamline it. Train all personnels on this. Cos if everybody is not aware of when to start working on something and when to stop. Then this will be an issue. Sometimes you may pull the plug on a project cos it costs too much, but if nobody follows the same method, then how can you calculate properly? The feasibilities, and the ROI, and investments invested at that moment in time?

Basically, do not let your Fi get hold of you and be defensive. Or act defensively. Do not let others take control of you. Belittle you. Do not react. Always give a prompt response.
"Let me get back to you. I like to think on this."
"I am uncertain of this. I cannot make a decision right now. Let me get back to you."

Your strengths.
I - You are not aggressive. Potential to harmonise, motivate, and give praise ! Do not stop giving praise when you are genuinely surprised.
N - Later thinker. Troubleshooter. You can potentially use your P side to cross reference and narrow down a potential issue or area of issue asap.
P - You will see so many ideas on this one. This is why you are hired. Not many people can get into R&D....

As you are a service orientated and people individual, you should indeed meet your operations and development team. Definitely meet them, get a good understanding about what you guys are making, and seeing the future potential in the products. I think this may excite you... That is all the advice I can give. I also wished I was given this advice as well when I was all over the place... :p lol.

607 Posts
I'm in the same boat!! :) Better late than never, eh? I've been working up the courage to take action for a couple of years, and I've finally taken the plunge. The first thing is priorities. It's hard to leave behind a good job, with everyone thinking you're nuts, but this is your life and you only live once. Many of us can live on a lot less, at least for a while. Once I became comfortable with that thought, it opened up a whole new set of opportunities.

Some possible alternatives to going back to school FT (ie. being able to pay the bills):
- Get a job in a field that interests you, in some capacity.
- Volunteer (on the side) either in the field that interests you, a related field, or to learn skills that would be applicable to a new field.
- Find a mentor to find out what's really needed for your field of interest, or if you can be involved in some capacity that doesn't require schooling.
- Become a popularizer or generalist - if you're super interested in a field and can understand the technical aspects, maybe you can write about it in some capacity to help the layman understand it, or get a job involved on the periphery, etc.
- Take some night classes or join some meetup groups with similar interests and see where it leads. You never know who you'll meet.
- You can't be creative about the future when you feel pointless/hopeless. Get a new job in ANY new field that sounds interesting to change things up and get a fresh perspective. Get a job that sounds FUN, just for the interim. There are always options and things you've never considered.

Trust yourself to know what the right path is when you find it, or at least the first step on the right path.

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