After I graduated from college I chose to pursue a career path based purely on idealism rather than paying attention to my actual skills and strengths. I worked with at-risk and adjudicated youth in a variety of settings such as wilderness therapy, boarding schools, the Department of Health and Human Services and so on.

As an ISFJ, this career path is a terrible choice for me because this line of work is all about confrontation, being in charge, and being in a frequent state of conflict.

Having read your articles and done a lot of self-reflection, I have realized that I am actually better suited for hands-on jobs–working on something rather than someone. Most of the ISFJ career recommendations are either human service related or involve basically sitting at a desk all day as a bookkeeper or administrative assistant.

I’m not sure what my next move should be, but I know from my past professional experience that working as a Caregiver/Teacher/Counselor or sitting at a desk all day is a terrible fit for me. Not to be ironic, but I still would like to do something that can be beneficial to people or the environment.

Can you think of good career fit for an ISFJ who enjoys doing hands-on type of work?

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1 reply
  1. Penelope Trunk
    Penelope Trunk says:

    Take a job that is right for your personality type — office manager, for example, is good for you. Helping people but not sitting at a desk all day.

    (For those who don’t know the ISFJ type, here a good link:

    For now, just forget about doing a job where you save the world. The first step in saving the world is to save yourself. And you can’t benefit anyone until you are in a job you are well suited for. First you take care of yourself and then you have the mental and emotional energy to take care of other people.

    Also, it’s myopic to think that jobs that are about pushing papers around cannot be meaningful. We have a huge ability to create meaning at work for our co-workers. Creating meaning comes from meaningful interactions with people, and you can do that every day with co-workers. This is true for everyone, but especially for an ISFJ who has a passion for nurturing other people.

    Here are posts for you to read about how I have been able to find meaningful work in jobs that are not intrinsically meaningful:


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