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Thread: INFP careers

  1. #1
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    Default INFP careers

    I know there is a stereotype about INFPs and writing, and it's true I love to write - my major is even English lit - but what are more practical types of jobs that INFPs are good at? Sure it would be great to be a novelist, but what other realistic strengths do INFPs have in the job world?

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    /X\(:: :: )/X\ BlueSprout's Avatar
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    Yeah. I've wondered about that too. Sometimes the list of careers INFPs are supposed to have a natural aptitude for can seem a little limiting if you want to eat; writing, music, art, ministry, etc. (though they are not *necessarily* impractical). These are some things that I thought - you may have already considered them, though:

    I've read that psychology/psychiatry/counseling/social work/physical therapy are good bets and could be very practical choices. Also, I see teachers, editors, journalists, translators and professors (humanities).

    I guess if you like seeing meanings/analyzing characters and exploring human nature, you might use those intuitive and analytic abilities and desire to connect with humanity to help people in counseling, psych, etc.

    If you really just love lit, you could always teach it at the secondary or post-secondary levels. Teaching is practical and though it's not always true that "Those who can't do teach".... well, you get the idea. Plus, you get to read a lot, share your enthusiasm and pet ideas with a captive audience. You could even teach English abroad!

    Also, if you become a prof (or get a higher level degree before becoming a teacher) you can write *about* novels instead of writing novels if it floats your boat. (I read recently in a Newsweek or Time (can't recall) that post sec educators will be in high demand.) You could get a Masters and PhD and just immerse yourself in lit temporarily (before resigning to teach snot-nosed 10th graders ) or permanently.

    Alternatively, if you want a quieter job around books, I've seen librarian as a career choice for INFPs.

    Of course, there are 'practical' ways to write (though they might not be your cuppa tea). Editors, journalists, columnists, etc. are good options if they otherwise suit your temperament and skills. You could be a book reviewer, too, I suppose. However, I'm not sure given the economic situation if trying to work for print newspapers is a safe bet. Honestly, I don't know much about this area, but you could always research it.

    Or, you know, anything you can do competently is possible, INFP or not. You can always be a literature enthusiast without it being part of your career. People say to follow your heart, but sometimes it's good to be level-headed about it, which it sounds like you are.

    These are just my two cents. Have you talked to a career counselor or academic adviser? They should be available to you and might be able to help you narrow your options or chart your course. It might be good to just take your time, do some research and lay out your options.

    Good luck!

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    Thank you. I've thought about counseling, social work, and teaching. I know that journalism would not do for me because it would be too social and high stress. I feel like there's something so risky and unethical about a lot of journalism. I might get my Masters, but I don't know that I could write a dissertation. I think I'm much better at fiction and creative writing. I mean, I'm good at analysis for my classes - I usually make A's - but I know that academic writing has much, much stricter standards and I'd probably be pulling my hair out trying to write a 1,000 page book on Interwar Literature.

    I know that lit can always be my hobby, it's just that I really, really don't want to work with the public anymore. I hate having to work customer service jobs, even part-time. It's SO against my temperament.

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    An INFP (or any NF) can excel at anything that they have a passion for, any random passion really. My chemistry teacher for example is INFJ.

    I plan to be a counselor or at least just major in psychology, but I could definitely be a scientist as well.
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    Yeah I know journalism isn't for everyone and I couldn't stand it either. Wish I could help you with the creative writing, but I just don't know much about it.

    I don't know any better, so take this with a grain of salt; it seems to me a lot of people are nervous about writing a dissertation, but it's a long process and you won't be alone during it. Your grades should be an indicator that you are where you need to be for the time being. Other future dissertation writers are graded on the same scale and those grades factor into whether or not a Masters program, etc. accepts them and you - they don't consider the As you get arbitrary to your future success. Also, good academic writers, I'm guessing, are not born. Personally, I find that the more I write, the better I am at it: it might just take practice.

    Plus, I thought that most dissertations were 100-200 pages in length? That's a lot, but maybe it's manageable?

    I'm sorry you've had such crummy experiences with jobs so far, but remember you won't be doing it forever.

    Also:

    An INFP (or any NF) can excel at anything that they have a passion for, any random passion really. My chemistry teacher for example is INFJ.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jane View Post
    Yeah. I've wondered about that too. Sometimes the list of careers INFPs are supposed to have a natural aptitude for can seem a little limiting if you want to eat; writing, music, art, ministry, etc. (though they are not *necessarily* impractical). These are some things that I thought - you may have already considered them, though:

    I've read that psychology/psychiatry/counseling/social work/physical therapy are good bets and could be very practical choices. Also, I see teachers, editors, journalists, translators and professors (humanities).

    I guess if you like seeing meanings/analyzing characters and exploring human nature, you might use those intuitive and analytic abilities and desire to connect with humanity to help people in counseling, psych, etc.

    If you really just love lit, you could always teach it at the secondary or post-secondary levels. Teaching is practical and though it's not always true that "Those who can't do teach".... well, you get the idea. Plus, you get to read a lot, share your enthusiasm and pet ideas with a captive audience. You could even teach English abroad!

    Also, if you become a prof (or get a higher level degree before becoming a teacher) you can write *about* novels instead of writing novels if it floats your boat. (I read recently in a Newsweek or Time (can't recall) that post sec educators will be in high demand.) You could get a Masters and PhD and just immerse yourself in lit temporarily (before resigning to teach snot-nosed 10th graders ) or permanently.

    Alternatively, if you want a quieter job around books, I've seen librarian as a career choice for INFPs.

    Of course, there are 'practical' ways to write (though they might not be your cuppa tea). Editors, journalists, columnists, etc. are good options if they otherwise suit your temperament and skills. You could be a book reviewer, too, I suppose. However, I'm not sure given the economic situation if trying to work for print newspapers is a safe bet. Honestly, I don't know much about this area, but you could always research it.

    Or, you know, anything you can do competently is possible, INFP or not. You can always be a literature enthusiast without it being part of your career. People say to follow your heart, but sometimes it's good to be level-headed about it, which it sounds like you are.

    These are just my two cents. Have you talked to a career counselor or academic adviser? They should be available to you and might be able to help you narrow your options or chart your course. It might be good to just take your time, do some research and lay out your options.

    Good luck!
    Yeah this is a pretty good list of recommendations. And its not as hard as you think to get into the writing scene. There are often jobs floating about for screenplay/novel submission readers, gammar and spell-checkers etc which gives you a chance to enjoy reading for job and can lead to other jobs in writing. Try getting involved in writing voluntarily for your University magazine/newspaper, other community papers or some online sites - there is often space for creative writing of some sort in these that doesn't involve putting yourself out there too much. See if you like it enough to pursue it.

    And marmalade.sunrise, you do realise 'practical' and 'INFP' are rarely seen in the same sentence

    In my impracticality I'm hoping to get into the film and television industry as an editor. I guess its one of the less glamourous jobs of the industry so I hope to get away with it more easily.

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    I've considered counseling and social work, but I think I am too concerned/emotionally involved with the welfare of people, and would have a hard time leaving my work at the office. For now I'm sticking to English Lit and planning to get as much schooling as I can in order to teach at the college level eventually.

    I really do think it's true that you can do anything you want to do, if you feel passionately enough about it. I always try to consider what I feel passionate about, and could LOVE to do every day, and try to move in that direction.

    Oh, and I bet you could write a dissertation. If you really want to do it, make your mind up to do it well, and seek out help along the way whenever you need it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jane View Post
    Plus, I thought that most dissertations were 100-200 pages in length? That's a lot, but maybe it's manageable?
    Try 400-600 for PhD in the humanities. At least that's what my adviser tells me I have to do in a few years. I guess the idea is that you want to have something that can ideally translate to book format. Tenure track basically requires that you publish a book (or equivalent in articles), and I'm informed that most folks use their six-year period before the tenure decision to revise and rework their dissertation project into something sale-able to publishers. And usually only 100-200 pages of a 500 page dissertation end up being publish-worthy, so a 100-200 page dissertation is not nearly long enough. Of course, I think things are a little more lenient if you really don't want to get tenure track at an R1, and would rather focus on teaching at smaller liberal arts colleges. Depends on your career goals, I guess.

    Edit: Crap, I forgot this was the NF only section. I seem to have abused my mod privileges. I will delete this if anyone else thinks I should, but otherwise I'm leaving it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Orangey View Post
    Try 400-600 for PhD in the humanities. At least that's what my adviser tells me I have to do in a few years. I guess the idea is that you want to have something that can ideally translate to book format. Tenure track basically requires that you publish a book (or equivalent in articles), and I'm informed that most folks use their six-year period before the tenure decision to revise and rework their dissertation project into something sale-able to publishers. And usually only 100-200 pages of a 500 page dissertation end up being publish-worthy, so a 100-200 page dissertation is not nearly long enough. Of course, I think things are a little more lenient if you really don't want to get tenure track at an R1, and would rather focus on teaching at smaller liberal arts colleges. Depends on your career goals, I guess.

    Edit: Crap, I forgot this was the NF only section. I seem to have abused my mod privileges. I will delete this if anyone else thinks I should, but otherwise I'm leaving it.
    Sorry. :redface: (God I wish the embarrassed face looked more embarrassed)

    I had heard that from a couple of humanities students (one said 150, the other a little over 200). But, you know, I don't go to Stanford or anything and I'm not sure what they planned on doing with their degrees. I did check on Google Books to see if what they said seemed reasonable and found: Writing the Winning Thesis (125-225) and Writing the Doctoral Dissertation (225), though the former said it varied and that the social sciences dissertations tended to be some of the longer ones.

    Sorry again. I know it seems like I pulled it out of my ass (I really just didn't look into it enough), and I should have known better than to post anything, since I wouldn't be in a position to know. I don't know why it wouldn't have occurred to me about tenure and book publication. Sometimes I just don't think I guess. :rolleyes2:

  10. #10
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    No, no, you're not wrong! Some departments, depending on the field, require shorter or longer dissertations. I know that some people who study mathematics, for instance, get away with 80-90 page dissertations. And I know that some English majors write 900 page dissertations. It really varies. I was just providing the reasons my department (who are preoccupied with keeping student placement levels good) gave for a longer dissertation. Many humanities departments only require 200-300 page dissertations.

    But it still stands that if you're looking to work it into a book, then you're looking at a longer dissertation.
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