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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all,

Yeah, yeah, an ENTJ posting in your thread.

I have a (very serious) girlfriend who is your type, and she's been rather upset lately about job choices. She's just out of high school (so no CAREER suggestions involving college degrees) and she's currently canvassing (and she won't admit how hard it is for her). I've tried to give her all the advice I could, but when push comes to shove, she and I are extremely difficult people. I thrive upon competition, while she hides from it. I get in trouble at work for yelling at the customers, while she doesn't assert herself enough. It's hard sometimes to meet in the middle.

I was wondering if any of you INFPs had suggestions for her.

Yuugi
 

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I wish I did.. but I don't. It took me forever to decide what I was gonna do with my life. My senior year of high school I was going to be a pediatrician, an OBGYN, a pediatric nurse, an interior designer, an artist, a chef, and an actress. Yeah I was seriously going to go to college for one of those things. A month before I graduated I decided to become a school teacher because I love kids and when I have kids of my own one day I will be able to work while they are in school and always be home with them when they are out of school. So I guess it just depends what she values most in life, be that family, career, or kids. Being an INFP (For me at least) it is very hard to make decisions. It takes me almost an hour to pick out what I'm going to eat at a restaurant and a good 20 minutes to pick out an ice cream flavor at an ice cream shop, so making a big life decision like this is even more difficult and time consuming. Honestly if my parents weren't making me go to college I would not be going. I have little to no interest in a career. I want to get married and have lots of children and to be a glorious house wife (but I've never even had a boyfriend so my plan is not coming along like I though it would be).
 

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Well, she could do like I do and work in a library. She could be a book manager, so she wouldn't have to deal with the public too much. If she sets her mind on university, though, she could become what I aspire to be: an archivist working for an old documents' archive.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I showed her the posts and I think she's going to look into the libraries...she IS an avid reader, after all. Any other ideas in case this doesn't work out?
 

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Book stores, libraries, small locally owned businesses, thrift shops, movie theatres, tanning salons, or small coffe shops. All of these allow one on one intimacy, seclusion for recharging, and they can also be a lot of fun. Good luck to both you and her.
 

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it's tough.. The infp is said to be most likely to have a small income...Also, they are more likely to choose passions and careers that they think they can make a difference in over stability and income.

Thus, the infp searches for "that perfect career". It seems impossible, when you can't even tell what the life of ____ is like until you're living it :/

perusing most infp info sites will steer one towards jobs such that involve writing, acting, music, teaching, art, counseling/therapy etc., but I'm guessing you are she has been exposed to these recommendations.

The only advice I can muster since I'm figuring the same thing out for myself is to for a minute let go of any idealizations towards a specific job. Try as best you can to understand the life of various careers that pique your interest and simply ask if you will be happy in that position. And to do this, again, you have to briefly drop any idealizations. I wanted to be a teacher because I had the ideal vision of making a difference in that position and regaining my confidence speaking in front of people, but in all honesty I would have been immensely depressed in that position. I'd be happier and have more to offer the world in the field of writing. Once I knew I was interested in writing I had to narrow it down after considering things such as stability, income and how it fit me. So then I looked at ALL writing careers and considered these things. For instance, I have an insane ability to focus on one thing, and I also love to think in logical and technical terms. I also need stability, and as much as I have the desire to create stories and fiction, having an income dependent on that would cripple me. So perhaps technical writing would be a good for me. This career would also allow me to hone my writing skills for when I want to write creatively.

I hope she is not stressing. I am still figuring things out at 21- Heck, my therapist this morning, even though he is in the perfect career for him, still feels a sense that he doesn't know where he's going in life. But he is happy, and as long as she keeps moving forward and growing as a person, trying new things, it'll work out for her.

Oh, and good luck on your relationship too :) You seem to really care.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
She just quit her canvassing job and I'm proud of her for standing up for herself. She's DEFINITELY a gifted writer, but she's more of a poet. I'm not sure how you incorporate that in a job...
 

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She might like working in a flower shop, maybe Hallmark, and there are those personalized gift shops in the mall. That might give her the oppurtunity to be creative, and help people show their emotions to loved ones. Perhaps one of her customers might enjoy using one of her own poems.
 

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Being an INFP I find it difficult dealing with customers working on a bar in late evenings in the summer. I am also a night porter and lock up an old manor house which gives me lots of time to myself and plus I have private access to the library! :D You can't beat being a student and going for something you really love though.
 

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She's an INFP. In all likelihood she'll be living off others for the rest of her life.

Sure, she may have a few projects, hobbies or whatever, but no INFP I've ever known has a full-on career that brings in money. Probably hard for you to relate to since you're an ENTJ who always likes something to do or think about, but that's how they are. Nothing ever seems to be a worthy enough cause for them. Every option you list for them they'll go "ehhhh" and then never do anything. And they won't accept advice or be told what to do.

Just give her all the money she needs for food and a house and her hobbies and you're gold.
 

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She just quit her canvassing job and I'm proud of her for standing up for herself. She's DEFINITELY a gifted writer, but she's more of a poet. I'm not sure how you incorporate that in a job...
Something I'd be wary of is even trying to fully incorporate it into a job. An art form and hobby can suffer in quality and cause sadness, disappointment and frustration if you attempt to make it a job; of course, that's very variable by person. Say, if you were a photographer in your spare time, you could go into teaching it and love it. On the other hand, you could hate having to try to be creative to some sort of structure and schedule - it's by no means surely a good idea to make a hobby into a job.. At this stage it's quite a grandiose concept anyway since we're not thinking of anything like a career.

That said, I think the generic librarian/small novelty/coffee shop idea which has been repeated so far is a good one. The atmosphere is something I expect she'll be sensitive to and generally places like that seem to feel the most accommodating which will allow her to feel comfortable. At this point, that's pretty much all that matters.
One thing I've heard plenty of INFPs swear against is going into retail - I can imagine getting worn out very quickly in a large retail job. Smaller speciality shops or coffee shops (and so on) aren't so bad.
 

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Just a note on libraries - loving to read books and such does not mean working in a library is great for that person. Despite what people who don't use libraries like to think, libraries still get very busy and are heavily used. Especially during the summer and if you are working the circulation desk it can be very overwhelming (lots of people, lots of noise, being pulled in 50 different directions by people all wanting something).

Don't get me wrong, it can be a nice place to work and you do meet some nice people (and some nice books), I'm just saying that if someone is sensitive to that kinds of stuff (*raises hand*), it can be a bit much. If you work the desk. There was a position at the libraries I used to work at (that I wish I could do for a living) which was called a Library Page. Basically it was their job to shelve all the returned materials and other odd jobs. It was a quieter, more relaxed job than working the desk as a Clerk ever was.
 

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Book stores, libraries, small locally owned businesses, thrift shops, movie theatres, tanning salons, or small coffe shops. All of these allow one on one intimacy, seclusion for recharging, and they can also be a lot of fun. Good luck to both you and her.
I can second the small locally owned businesses! Most big retailers are looking for extroverts who can sell themselves (and ice to eskimos, as the saying goes). If you live in an area where competition is stiff I can just about guarantee that your girlfriend will not even get an invitation for an interview. Small businesses, on the other hand, have more a personal stake in who's representing their business, because they'll either be the ones working beside you or they'll be essentially leaving you in charge for a certain amount of time. So they'll be after someone who's honest, with a good work ethic and a pleasant manner. I've worked for bosses who have thought I wasn't bubbly enough, but I've also worked for bosses who thought I was pretty awesome because I treated the customers with respect, actually made an effort with product knowledge, and didn't help myself to money from the till. ;)

I started off as someone who was too scared to even approach customers or process payments on card (unfamiliar technology, HALP!) but found that customer service really helped me come out of my shell. In fact my social anxiety is like ten times worse whenever I'm unemployed, so working is an important part of my mental health. I still detest working for huge corporate chains because I feel disrespected as a worker and the whole thing just stinks of greed and hypocrisy. And you can find similar attitudes in smaller businesses so it's not all black and white. But if you can find a small business that has its priorities in order, they are really nice to work for, especially if there's a slower-than-usual customer flow. Plenty of time to daydream and read and clean things.

I'd advise against incorporating her love of poetry into a career. Best way to make herself hate it, in my opinion. But there's no reason why she can't look for something with a creative aspect - my favourite job so far was working for an optometrist, because it was a combination of healthcare and playing stylist that actually took a lot of technical knowledge as well as a sense of what looks good. Bookshops were okay too, I enjoyed organising the books and reading the backs of all the new ones to get an idea of what they were about, but it can be a bit routine at times too.
 

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Being unsure of what career path to take is a job in itself for INFPs lol... she's young too. I remember how hard it was picking my major when I was that age (and for the six years after that) She probably feels pressured to pick "the right one" but she needs to understand (and maybe someone needs to tell her) that the only way to find the right career/job is by trying a lot of different ones and going through a lot of wrong ones first. I think a lot of INFPs fall into just doing nothing and waiting for the right job to come to them, especially if the idea of jobs that require a lot of extroverting kind of terrifies them lol.

What I've realized is that a lot of my job satisfaction has more to do with the job environment and the people I work with than it does the job itself. The majors I've always loved have been Writing, Sociology, psychology etc... and the subjects I avoid in school are public speaking and math.

As far as practical reality and actual jobs, I've worked with young children, done editing, photography etc and that's been okay

I also worked in a restaraunt as a hostess, in a gift shop, and as a waitress and I was miserable at all of those because they all required constant extroverting and math.
 

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I'm 57 and still trying to figure it out. But I've had a lot of great experiences along the way. :crazy:

I actually like dealing with customers as long as it doesn't get too crazy and busy. I'm unemployed now but my most recent job was in retail, helping people learn to do something I love. It lasted two years but I did burn out and had a series of disputes with my boss, the owner of the small mountaineering shop, regarding how we care for our customers. Once we decided mutually that it would be best if I didn't work there anymore, he wanted to be my best friend.

I think the most important thing for INFPs is having a suitable environment. It doesn't matter to me so much what I do as how the environment works for me. And naturally, it's not easy to know that in advance. But it does give one a lot of great questions to ask in the interviewing process. And the more questions you ask, the better you get at identifying if something is the right fit. As well, an employer who is worthy of your efforts will appreciate the candor you show in that exchange of information. Anyone who doesn't like the way you interview them (because an interview should be a two way street) is not worthy of your efforts so it's best to know that as early as possible and gracefully back out so you can spend time looking for something better.

At this point I have no idea how many jobs I have had. Some, when I was young, didn't last very long at all. TGI Fridays was about 3 days if I remember, and no, I don't want to talk about my "flair". But as I developed goals that required me to have steady income, I was able to commit for years to jobs that I used to get me to where I wanted to be. I turned down a lot of opportunities along the way because they just didn't feel right. And that needs to be ok.

The thing I did longest was Instructional Design, which can be very creative at times and requires excellent writing skills. You can't always be creative because budgets don't usually allow it. But I know lots of INFPs in that field and we seem to be able to thrive in it, for a while, at least.

What works for me is feeling that I am helping someone in some way. And being appreciated for my contribution. I want to work in a place where everybody is treated with respect. I want to work in a role where I can see some tangible results of my efforts. I don't want to do work that is completely mindless. But I also don't want to take on too much responsibility. At this point, I've had at least four different career paths and a lot more jobs that were just necessary to pay the bills. I don't expect that pattern to change considering my age. I just feel it's not a bad thing to travel a crooked path because I was never going to be able to do one thing my whole life. I suspect this is how a lot of other INFPs feel as well.

Best of luck to your partner. I would ask her to take the long view but to make compromises as needed for the short term. Unless she is lucky enough to find that one thing she can commit to for a lifetime, it just seems realistic to me to do what we can for as long as we can and make changes when we must.
 

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She's an INFP. In all likelihood she'll be living off others for the rest of her life.

Sure, she may have a few projects, hobbies or whatever, but no INFP I've ever known has a full-on career that brings in money.
Well, now you know one. Pleased to make your acquaintance. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm on my way to the bank ;)
 

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You tell him! Christ.

I do wanna thank everyone for their input so far.
Ha! Well, there is a bit of truth to it. We generally detest the bureaucracy that is required for what society deems as a successful career. I do find myself silently lamenting the demands of a well-paying job, but I try to focus on the fact that it gives me the freedom to do what I want on my off time, which is why I've lasted in my field going on ten years now. I get frustrated with the time commitment, but I have to remember that the grass is always greener and another lifestyle a would only come with stresses and frustrations of its own. So soldier on I must!
 
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