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Hi everyone,

I've been thinking about how to make a living in a way that is ethical and aligns with the greater callings and love I have. I do plenty of things that provide this fulfillment that are volunteer-based. I volunteer with a few organizations, both nonprofit and grassroots/DIY. I try to act in a way that's generous and community-minded in my own personal life, in my interactions with friends and neighbors. I make a lot of personal artwork that I hope is therapeutic to others, and I even sometimes volunteer doing some landscaping and cleanup for nature preserves. But of course, none of these things pay the bills.

The work that pays the most is usually to me, the most useless or inane stuff. I'm a digital artist and the freelance gigs that pay the most are just corporate file-juggling type stuff. I'm glad to have something that keeps me going, and I've been more open lately to compartmentalizing my life into making money sometimes doing what's actually important other times.

I think about, if it was more readily possible, what I would love to devote my life's work to- these things are art, education, nature conservation, and community work. And I can think of many jobs that would fit well- teacher, art therapist, park ranger or educator, counselor, etc. But a lot of these professions have few jobs and/or little funding. Most of them depend on federal funding primarily because they're not jobs that really aim to make a profit. In the most basic sense of the word, they are service, or public service.

I think there's a lot of shame that gets impressed on those of us who feel called towards professions that are not monetarily valued in our society. But in that statement, I realized that it's actually very simple. My values don't align with the values of (and forgive me for being "political") a capitalist country with weak public services and programs. There's nothing to be ashamed of in simply holding different values. But it is sometimes a tough pill to swallow. Sure, we can adopt the "hustler" attitude and try to be very creative and hard working to eke out a meaningful living for ourselves. I know it's possible. But it's hard to acknowledge that basic conflict between where the money flows and where I'd like to spend my time and energy as a productive and talented human being.

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So, has this bothered you much? Does this analysis resonate with you, or do you have a different view?
I know INFJs are usually said to be seeking deeper meaning. (If I had a religious faith, I would have become clergy long ago to be honest.)

How have you directed your life based on these forces? What concessions or compromises or workarounds have you made? Or maybe you've found a way of life that is both meaningful and supports your life? I'm curious to hear others' philosophies and stories.
 

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INTJ 5w4 (Sp/Sx) 594
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A capitalist structure is primarily motivated by individual choice.
You have the choice to discard monetary wealth in the search of personal fufillment. If people are going to shame you for that, ignore them.
Just know that life may be a little more difficult for you, as "going against the grain" often is.

I'm sure there is a way where you can make enough money to support your lifestyle, but by doing what you love.
If not, then maybe you have to take that initiative, and create that enviornment yourself.
 

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A good, meaningful, insightful and a thought provoking discussion especially for an INFJ.

Well, to begin with I want to applaud you for the reason that you chose values over money, and I concur with you over the fact Values precedes Money any day.

So, has this bothered you much? Does this analysis resonate with you, or do you have a different view?

Yes, this has bothered me enough, but not anymore. Yes this analysis resonates with me, but I follow a different approach.

The trade-off between Money and deeply held Values is often a difficult choice to make, as you often need to make a lot of compromises/sacrifices. The values cannot pay the bills as you rightly said, but your values can give you fulfillment, happiness, conviction, courage, resilience and hope. As an INFJ, we are free to choose our careers, but a service-oriented careers gives us empowerment and satisfaction, we feel overwhelmed when we can bring about a change or transformation in the society. I am sure there are a lot of careers which can be exciting and meaningful to an INFJ - my most preferred choices would be Teacher, Counselor, Therapist, Psychologist. When you think your career cannot help you with the bills, you can look for alternative sources of income(if you feel its required), or maybe even do some part-time jobs.

For an INFJ, the first preference is never the money, as we feel it is our duty to serve selflessly.

How have you directed your life based on these forces? What concessions or compromises or workarounds have you made?

Love what you do or Do what you Love.

Even though there is a subtle difference between the former and the latter, life becomes simpler and easier if we can follow either. I choose to love what I do, now this may not be a rewarding career(in terms of money), but it's nevertheless satisfactory and fulfilling. My heart tells me to pursue this career(Service), as this can make others feel better, and hence I follow Heart, sometimes my mind intervenes and says no this cannot fetch you enough money to live a grand lifestyle or sometimes even pay the bills, I thereby limit my expectations for a lavish lifestyle and prefer to live a simple life to manage my expenses accordingly. Where there is a will, there is always a way.

Sometimes I feel I have to remind my mind that it is not the Money which makes me feel happy.
 

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I’m 55. I had a corporate career until 40, and started an automotive service company which I sold at 52 and have effectively retired.

I’m INFJ and a caring empathetic individual, but I’m not selfless. I married after college, bought a house and had two kids. My oldest had cerebral palsy and required significant care and attention. I guess I tried to be practical. I tried to find opportunity, learn and develop my personal capital. I’m a daydreaming introvert, so I had some challenges, but I was able to chart a path that worked for me. Did I love cars? No. I wanted a business that people needed. It’s great if you can “follow your passion” and make a living. A lot of people go bankrupt trying however. Hell, I would’ve worked in the rock n roll business if I had my choice 😀.

I’m just proposing an alternative here. There is a ton of opportunity in this world, especially in the good ol’ USA (Yay capitalism!!!). Don’t feel like you’re not being a good INFJ if you pursue financial success. You may find that changing the world for your loved ones, employees, and some local charities is worth doing work that may not be your first choice.

Good luck, and remember that optimism is rewarded.
 
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