I have a job at a law firm that I got after years of forced learning (going to law school was definitely a mistake). Although I get along with my boss, trying to “fit in” takes all of my energy and motivation for life, maybe because I’m an INFJ, or because being a lawyer sucks, or both.

I’m really fed up with trying’ to be somebody I’m not. All I really want to do is 1) find a mate 2) have children 3) make some art.

Should I find another job that doesn’t suck so much of my energy so I can focus on those goals, or should I just reframe the whole thing? In the latter case, how ?

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13 replies
  1. Penelope Trunk
    Penelope Trunk says:

    You should focus on getting married. If you had a good job it would not make the fact that you are not married any better. But if you had a good marriage it would make going to work feel like it had larger context and that would give meaning to your job, which is probably what you want.

    That said, you’re an INFJ and no job is going to feel meaningful enough for you — except the types of jobs that are so infused with meaning that people don’t really get paid for them, like saving communities or curing cancer or parenting.

    An INFJ’s relationship to work is complicated because INFJs are as capable as INTJs but not as heartless, so INFJs can’t stand doing the work that INTJs get paid a lot of money for.

    INFJs are such incredibly great parents and partners because you can see what everyone needs before they even see it. So getting married and having children seems like a fine goal.

    It’s a lot of work to find a spouse. It takes as much focus and determination as it does to get a job, so you can only do one. Keep your current job so you don’t suck up your energy job hunting and adjusting to something new. Put your energy toward getting married.

    And, you will really like the course I have for INFJs. The course deals with all the issues we are talking about here:

    http://www.quistic.com/seminar/be-your-real-infj-self-without-feeling-frustrated

    Penelope

  2. Julie
    Julie says:

    This is what i would call ‘instant reframing’!!!

    Thanks for the advice and for acknowleding that dating is indeed hard work!

    • E
      E says:

      I have a good INFJ friend who is maybe in the same-ish situation. She is 35 and wants a family more than anything in the world but instead she keeps focusing on “fixing” her job instead of going on dates. I try and gently coach her on prioritizing her dream of a family instead of worrying about her job, but she will not date more than one person at once, doesn’t do any meet-up type events, and refuses to use online dating anymore. (So, in the 3 years I’ve known her, no boyfriends and 5 or 6 dates total.) She thinks it should be easy and the “right one” should happen effortlessly. I try and tell her that dating is very hard and time-consuming.

      She is super smart and driven in all other areas, but she thinks the same principles she used to achieve success everywhere else in her life cannot possibly apply to starting a family.

      I just wanted to echo P’s advice that dating and finding a mate is hard and, like, at LEAST 20 hours of work each week.

      (Also sometimes I figure she doesn’t believe me because I am an ENFP and I made dating look so effortless that when I tell her there is so much work involved in a good relationship, she doesn’t believe me. But for me, all the work I put into dating was fun and energizing and I didn’t really think of it as work.)

      • Julie
        Julie says:

        Thanks for the comment E!

        20 hours a week this is really helpful. It helps put things in perspective a lot!

        But i think dating can be really fun…with practice if we are not a natural !

        • E
          E says:

          Yes, totally!! And it will be fun, especially when you know & find the type of person you wanna be with!

          Also I totally made that number up but it feels right, like job hunting – even just landing & managing one interview or one date a week can be so mentally time-consuming and exhausting! (Then of course all the follow-up mental energy, worrying – will he call me, am I going to get a second interview, etc.)

  3. Joyce
    Joyce says:

    Hi! I wrote a similar email to Penelope, except that I am INFP and just like to read. Here’s what she told me: “I don’t think you need confidence to do extraverted activities. You are an introvert. It’s fine to just be you. It sounds like you’d be happy with a family and you stay home and get your reading and thinking time done when no one is around. “

  4. Penelope Trunk
    Penelope Trunk says:

    It’s good to know I’m consistent. I wish the world were more generous with celebrating peoples’ desires to just be themselves.

    Penelope

    • Melissa
      Melissa says:

      That’s a beautiful way to put it! Of course that’s what all your career advice has been about, I just never saw it that way. Seems like a good thing to throw into your mission statement.

  5. Tina
    Tina says:

    Penelope,

    I appreciate that you acknowledged that INFJs are just as competent as INTJs. As an INFJ who knows that I am extremely competent, it is so hard to live in a world where my values and the values of everyone else are so different.

    I know you talk about how you don’t want to work with INFJs, which is fine, but just the acknowledgement that we are competent makes me feel better.

  6. Cáit
    Cáit says:

    Hi,
    I hope so much for the best for you! I’m a fellow infj and I encourage you so much in pursuit of marriage. Motherhood and homeschooling are where I really found my calling.
    I advisd you at your age to be open to marrying anyone honest honourable and willing. Don’t be too picky. Life is too short. It’s the love that you have to give that matters.

    • Tina
      Tina says:

      Cait,

      While I agree that having kids is extremely meaningful and my life would feel incomplete without my kids, but it is not necessarily everyone’s “calling.” I homeschool my kids, but I also have a job and I know that if I didn’t have my job I would go crazy. And the kids are only little for a short period and then you have to have your own life too.

      What is clear to me about the original letter writer is that something needs to change for her. She should still pursue marriage and kids, but there are jobs where she could be more satisfied.

      I am also an INFJ and I think the original letter writer should consider that kids and family life is a wonderful goal (and are the most important and meaningful part of life!), but work can be fulfilling in its own way and an important component of one’s overall life. It doesn’t have to be one or the other.

  7. ruo
    ruo says:

    Try this:
    1) find a job that’s less time consuming, piggy-back off your law degree is the easiest. less rewrites on your resume.
    2) start making art because it gives you the feels.
    3) start dating & get kids. Do 2) before 3) is because it’s very hard to attract someone when you feel so miserable. it is not fair to ask your significant other to solve your personal problems. and when something like art gives you that edge in life, you get to see more clearly what kind of partner will fit into your flow. sync up maximization synergy.

  8. Moms on the Sidelines
    Moms on the Sidelines says:

    If you have loans to pay off, my guess is money matters right now.

    As an INFJ, it took me a long time to find fulfillment in my work. I eventually found it in middle management. I loved helping members of my teams grow while impacting the bottom line to please my NTJ management team. I found it very rewarding and lucrative.

    I made the mistake of then moving into senior management, because it’s hard to refuse the opportunity to grow in your career. The further away I got from those doing the work, the less fulfilling it became.

    Good luck.

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