Thank you for your suggestions about getting a job where I live in Eugene and taking a personality test.

I receive an INFP or INFJ. Both of which I agree with. I actually started my current job not too long ago. It’s exactly what you said would be a good fit for me. It’s a pink collar job in an office environment (attorney’s office) where they encourage growth within the company to go on to become paralegals, legal assistance and so on. My boss (and hiring manager) was pleased to hear I wasn’t bothered by social stigmas being a male in this position. It almost caught her off guard I think.

I’m grateful for the opportunity with my job but I have a fire in me to do more. I think about it every day, every hour on the hour. Trying to figure out ways to progress towards that. When I’m focused working on a project (literary arts or a music piece I’ve made) I miss meals. I get immersed in it and create. But rather than work really hard and beat my head against the wall on the next project, I decided to work smart and put my efforts towards mapping out a path towards the end game. I began reading a lot. Learning as much as I could from people that have made it to where I want to go.

When you say you get a lot of requests to be your intern, I can’t help but wonder what they are looking for. I wasn’t really seeking the normal career advice. Not because that information isn’t valuable but because I want to get where you are and you did not follow normal career advice. Is some secret passed down from an ancient tribe of monks you must never unveil as to how exactly you got where you are?

In all seriousness, I understand why you think I need to be an intern in person and not from across the country. I understand no two paths are the same. I also understand that your accomplishments did not happen over night. But Quistic is already teaching people how to build a career through technology, so I didn’t think my request for you to show me how to be like you was so outlandish.

Ultimately what I seek is how to do what you are doing. How to get to where you are and do some of the things you have done. Does that make sense?

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21 replies
  1. Penelope Trunk
    Penelope Trunk says:

    When you are looking for someone to model your career after, you can’t just look at where they are, you have to look at how they got there.

    Here’s a blog post I wrote on that topic. It’s an important part of steering your life:

    http://blog.penelopetrunk.com/2013/05/09/before-you-aim-for-someones-job-look-at-the-price-they-paid-to-get-there/

    And be careful, because most people don’t tell you the real story of how they got where they are:

    http://blog.penelopetrunk.com/2016/10/31/feminism-fails-because-women-are-so-full-of-shit-oh-and-go-cubs/

    I relocated 15 times for my career. You can’t do what I’ve done by staying in Eugene. Most of those times I relocated with no bank account and no job and about $100 in my pocket. I have led a very very high-risk career.

    Most people who have huge success have also taken risks that most people wouldn’t take. Most people who are very successful disregard common concerns like feeling comfortable, having friends and having enough money.

    I can tell from your emails that you are not going to want to do the things it takes to have a career like mine. You don’t want to move from Eugene for an internship.

    But it’s okay because pretty much no one would want to do what I’ve done to get where I am. I have had my electricity turned off with kids in the house. My first marriage fell apart because my Ex couldn’t deal with the tumult that comes with entrepreneurship.

    I’ve worked 80 hour weeks for most of my adult life. Very few people would pick the life that leads to where I am now. And most people would say it’s not even healthy to live like that.

    So instead of thinking about where you want to end up – or as who you want to end up – think about how you want to live. Where you want to have a home? How much daily instability can you stomach? How many hours do you want to work each week? And then look for someone who is mid-career who lived the life you want to live to get to your own mid-career point. Does that make sense?

    In the meantime, we do not choose what gifts we are born with. Your gifts are that you are good with people – you care about them and see them. So go to an office in Eugene and start learning about those strengths.

    Penelope

  2. Cáit
    Cáit says:

    If you’re an INFJ I think the fire in you will push you into lots of diverse, secret?, compartmentalised projects. You’ll want to know people in lots of different ways..INFJ isn’t good at being Penelope– one single cohesive seamless identity. Don’t look for the one thing because you’re afraid to be your own mosaic self. Lots of small things is more INFJ than being CEO. It’s like tapas.

  3. jessica
    jessica says:

    Being an entrepreneur is such a fad right now. The truth is it is fucking hard. I can’t recall a post by P where she says ‘oh wow this year was incredibly easy and non problematic.’
    Having success is really hard and takes a lot of work and focus and self determination. A lot of it involves a level of isolation so if you make the choice to pursue starting a biz, know you are giving up, at the least, social time in return. Knowing what you’re giving up to get what you want is incredibly important.

  4. Wendy
    Wendy says:

    Isn’t he really saying he wants an audience with a blog and a consulting business. Doesn’t every INFJ want that? :P

    But as Penelope is saying, no INFJ would want to live the life Penelope has led in order to have the reach she does. And I think we’re really bad at taking high financial risks. To us it just looks nuts. We aren’t ENTJs. Who aren’t crushed by failure and rejection like INFJs are.

    Maybe as a starting point, the guy should start a blog on a focused topic and then just be consistent about updating it often. One INFJ I know of makes money off her blog via relationship advice. Another INFJ blogger makes his living off MBTI and astrology consultations (which he built up clientele for via running an astrology and MBTI blog for about 7 years).

    The nice thing about blogs is you can run them while holding down your day job so you can eat and pay rent.

    • Cáit
      Cáit says:

      I know exactly which blog you’re taking about (-:
      I’m an INFJ and I used to host a blog and have a republished column, but never made a cent, that never occurred to me. It was a very, very INFJ topic. I’ve been thinking about getting back into ift, but starting fresh. Money is the furthest thing from my mind. I like the challenge of starting again with a new name and waiting to be found..

      • Wendy
        Wendy says:

        I think to monetize anything, you do have to make it a goal. Which, like you said, tends to be furthest from an INFJ’s mind for their creative pursuits (like writing and art). Except in times of desperation.

        I think the best an INFJ can hope for is a job they don’t hate that pays them a living wage, while also having some side activity/hobby that’s meaningful to them if their job doesn’t provide that. And then if we’re really, really consistent AND fortunate, that side hobby might eventually grow into a sustainable income. Consistency is the hard part, though. :P

        • Cáit
          Cáit says:

          This time I plan to blog as *me*– a scary new idea. I’m not sure how I’m going to do it. I still need a bit of separation between me and my writing.
          Wendy I love ‘meeting’ other INFJs. There is often so much mutual understanding with female INFJs.

          • Wendy
            Wendy says:

            I know exactly how you feel! I have so many blogs dedicated to different aspects of my life. I feel this compulsive need to keep them all separate. None of them have my real name attached to them. I would say just use a pen name, and never post a photo of yourself. That’s worked well for me. The pen name feels weird at first, but it grows on you.

            I would love to see your blog if you ever get around to making it!

            I think INFJs often get along as friends because usually they’ll both understand the Extraverted Feeling give-and-take of relationships, rather than just constantly taking from another person’s emotional energy.

          • Cáit
            Cáit says:

            Hi Wendy,
            Been there done that with the pen name. I used to host a blog in a niche topic and be reprinted on a bigger site…under my alias. But I am thinking about using my real name in my next venture. Just to get out of my comfort zone. I blogged nothing about moms, kids, education though.
            I think it’s good relationship advice that I got once for INFJs to not expect your spouse to fulfill the part of you interested in literature and art. Blog if you have to connect with others.

        • J.E.
          J.E. says:

          I’m an INFJ and career-wise what’s hardest for me is that the jobs that fit best and that I have an aptitude for tend to pay poorly. I like my current job but the compensation is such that if I were single I don’t think I’d be able to support myself. I’d like to make more money just in case something happened to my husband’s job. He was laid off earlier this year but luckily found something else quickly. There’s no way we could survive on just my income as it is now. I’m not asking for millions, but I’d like to at least bring home $35 after taxes some day!

          • Cáit
            Cáit says:

            Hello, JE, here’s my own experience, for what it’s worth;
            I’ve lived on every income with my husband and two bouts of funemploymemt. High incomes, low incomes.,I’ve always just left earning the money up to him. One advantage of being an INFJ is you can use your imagination to increase the relative value of your income. When we earned low, I told myself we were rich by medieval standards because we could eat as much butter as we wanted. Your just a rich medieval
            Lady with internet access.

          • jessica
            jessica says:

            My mother is an INFJ, started an executive assistant type career freelance on elance. It took her about a year and a half to build up reviews and clientele. She works from home for wealthy people and businesses in NYC. She is in the Midwest. They hire her because (their number 1 reason) due to COL it she is cheaper than their local options. They fly her out frequently to in person assist (if she wants). She makes a lot more than that. Just FYI. She needs a lot of alone time and it works well for her.

  5. Anoel
    Anoel says:

    You sound like an INFP to me and being one myself, I know all about the dangers (and attraction) of wanting to be like an ENTJ like Penelope. But look at the things that make you happy and not just what looks great to you in your head. Pursue those things that get you immersed and cause you to skip meals but look for innovative ways to get paid for them even if it may take a couple years. If you want to be great at what you do, you need to have a certain amount of obsession with it so follow those things you can’t stop learning about AND doing and make them jappen.

    • Cáit
      Cáit says:

      To me the weirdest part is that he doesn’t want to leave Oregon…ewe…I think New York has more to offer men who will do pink collar jobs.

  6. J.E.
    J.E. says:

    Cait, I would just leave the earning up to my husband, but he had a stroke last year. Luckily he had no major impairments, but in the back of mind I think what if he another stroke or another ailment and he couldn’t work anymore. I worried when he was laid off that with his age finding another tech job might be hard. I feel we’ve been very lucky as things could be a lot different. If he’d had to go on disability, payments would only be so much and adding him to my insurance would knock my take home pay down to what amounts to a part time salary. I’d like to contribute more of a cushion, but I’m not suited to high stress corporate environments and I’ve never held any upper level positions. I’m more content to be a worker bee rather than moving into the boss position, but worker bees don’t make boss pay. Looking into something like the virtual assistant jobs to supplement income is an idea. I have bachelor’s degree, but I also think I need to get some additional training and beef up my skill set.

    • jessica
      jessica says:

      Ok,

      My mother’s main tasks and skills for this are proofreading and reviewing contracts and documents, updating diaries with the clients’ new social contacts they make around the city, assisting on set, scoping and booking hotels for event space and or rooms, administrative tasks, basic document skills. She has set ‘on hours’ with her clients so they know they have her time free and clear in blocks during the week/ or days.

      A number of potential clients will clash depending on personality styles, and or expectations so it takes some time to get a balance. She prefers it over going to an office. A few clients are wealthy women who are trying to start side businesses from their husbands using their husbands’ banking money and want a status assistant, a few lawyers, a production company etc. You can get clients all over the US, but NY seems to have the people willing to pay a large hourly rate or retainer. I imagine P has a couple of these types of freelancers in her diary.

      • Wendy
        Wendy says:

        Jessica, I’m in a similar situation to J.E. and I just wanted to say that your advice is very helpful. Thanks for taking the time to write it.

        I’m assistant to an ENFJ and I’m actually terrible at it. I even wrote to Penelope asking what she thought, and her response was pretty much, ‘You look incompetent to your boss because you can’t do anything she can’t do herself, and you also lack her charisma. She doesn’t care about the stuff you’re good at so she doesn’t notice it. An ENTJ boss would be a better fit for you.’ She was completely right, although I hadn’t realized the ENTJ part. Like…man, typing is huge, especially in assistant-boss pair-ups. Melissa was onto something when she started her business.

        The thing with being an assistant is that someone always needs one, and you can often make at least a living wage. So, probably a good fit for INFJs as long as you can find someone with the right personality matchup.

        • Cáit
          Cáit says:

          Wendy and JE, I know it’s probably annoying to have a person you don’t know throw a pie in the sky career idea at you, but once I read about the perfect INFJ career…charge $200 per hour. Jury consultant. You look at someone for 5 seconds and decide which way they’ll vote. Any INFJ could do this. I fantasized about this career a bit.

          • Cáit
            Cáit says:

            After I typed this, I started thinking which way commenters here would vote in civil and criminal trials. I have so many thoughts already.,(-;

    • Cáit
      Cáit says:

      I’m so sorry.
      Jessica can give you more advice on clerical work.
      For me my back up plan has evolved into “could I do some sort of from the home counseling?” As an INFJ you might enjoy listening to people, nurturing them through relationship problems etc.

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