I am an INTJ and was recently laid off after working 7 years in an industry into which I fell. I have no interest in pursuing a traditional career in the corporate world again unless I am running my own business; the only reason I lasted so long at that company was because the CEO was extremely supportive of my alternate lifestyle and I treated it like a job as opposed to a career while I pursued my real passion: teaching yoga.

Between severance, unemployment, and significant savings, I have about a year before I really have to worry about making money. I am focusing my energy on teaching part time and traveling to various yoga teacher trainings to improve my skillset.

It’s been 2 months since I was laid off, and I want to spend this time figuring out a way to make teaching yoga a sustainable career for myself and others. How do you think this time will be best spent? Building an online coaching presence? Finding local clients? Or should I let this continue to be a side hustle and finagle together some other way to make a living?

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21 replies
  1. Penelope Trunk
    Penelope Trunk says:

    First of all, you’re not an INTJ. This is key information for you because knowing your true type will help you see what you should be doing next.

    You are an INFJ. The reason I can tell is that you feel out-of-step with the corporate world, but INTJs are born to be in the corporate world. Also, INFJs generally feel out of step with everything, because INFJs can see so much more about the world than other types can.

    The blind spot INFJs have is themselves.

    So I am going to be the one to tell you that.

    1. Yoga is not a job. Especially not for you. Most yoga teachers make no money. The one’s that make enough money to support themselves are great at marketing themselves. That is not something you’re great at. So being a yoga teacher is not a good job for you. Here’s a blog post I wrote about being a yoga teacher:

    Secrets of successful yoga studios, and tactics to examine ideas that suck

    2. You are not going to like any job because you don’t want to have to compromise your values in order to do a job. That’s a huge difference between and INFJ and INTJ — INFJs have strong values and INTJs don’t care about values (another reason I could tell from your email that you are not an INTJ.) People get paid to put the organization’s values ahead of their own.

    If you want to do work that totally aligns with your own values then you have to work for yourself. But you will probably not like working for yourself because not only don’t you have an idea, but also you would not like all the repetitive details and endless stupidity that people have to deal with when it’s their own company.

    3. You really need to understand your personality type. In your mind, F’s are probably people who are very emotional. But in fact, F’s can also be people who have strong values. You probably think everyone has strong values, but actually NTs don’t care at all about values, so you are an F because you have strong values. And INFJs are very different than INTJs even though there’s only one letter off. Once you understand who you are, and what drives you, you’ll have a much more clear sense of what you should do next in your life.

    Here’s a link to the course I created for INFJs. I think you should sign up because so much of the course is about what makes the INFJ especially valuable precisely because they are not T’s. You’ll love the course. Really.

    Be your real INFJ self without feeling frustrated

    • YesMyKidsAreSocialized
      YesMyKidsAreSocialized says:

      INTJ here and this is great advice! No, we do not give a crap about workplace values. That sounds totally dumb to me.

      But I know it’s extremely important to F’s. I think INFJ is the wrong personality type to “hustle” any kind of business. I have a friend who put thousands of dollars into training, she is the best yoga instructor I have ever known!! And she JUST broke even after more than a year from when she completed her training. And she has to hustle a LOT…but she can do it because it’s her personality type and she was a lawyer before and can sell anything. So now she is finally cash flow positive, but she has to drive all over the place for different classes at different studios and market herself by inviting people for free. And what she makes isn’t enough to live on. She lives off her husbands salary.

      P, I’m ready for another personality course with you! How to be an INTJ and get back into a career :)

      • jessica
        jessica says:

        The yoga trend is insane to me. Just do it at home. :)

        I think the draw is the marketing of the training courses, they are offered at almost every studio, they are another source of income for the studios and they aren’t too expensive for even a low salaried worker to take so it adds up to a lot of people becoming certified instructors. The only way I’d get into that field is to do geriatric yoga and take insurance payments so I have regular clients. It’s sort of like being a nail tech versus owning several nail salons. Nail salon owners generally don’t have beauty certifications, they just operate the biz. People shouldn’t go into a service profession without understanding the fundamentals of what kind of value they are loooking at.

        • YesMyKidsAreSocialized
          YesMyKidsAreSocialized says:

          My kids do yoga at home. They love the Cosmic Yoga channel. I’m not really into yoga at all. It’s all jazzercise to me… I like the eat less move more type stuff personally. My friend, the yogi, was a gymnast before so she can easily do all those crazy pozes.

  2. Mary
    Mary says:

    Penelope, I haven’t taken your INFJ class because of the title…I’m not frustrated about being myself as an INFJ, I’m frustrated about figuring out how to balance being who I want/doing what with the reality of needing to make money. Is that something you cover in your class?

    The fact that INFJ’s aren’t made to hustle makes a huge amount of sense to me, and yet here I’ve been so frustrated with myself for not being successful at it. I thought that trying to start my own freelancing business would make me happy, because I hate being stuck in the corporate, high-conflict, high-stress world. But I just hate it.

    • jessica
      jessica says:

      Hi Mary,

      What’s going on with the freelance gig? How long have you been at it and what does it entail? Do you also work corporate still?

      It can take a while to get things running. If it’s early just keep pushing through the grind so you make it out the other end. If you’ve been going for a while, maybe we can offer advice based on what’s happening within the biz.

      • Mary
        Mary says:

        Hi Jessica, yes I still work a high-stress, long-hours corporate job. Between that and my family with small children and sick family members needing care I haven’t had as much time lately to devote to freelancing.

        I was making a real go of it for a while (about a year) but I got discouraged when I had a couple big projects where I didn’t get paid because people’s small companies went under. Also, I disliked the amount of effort that went into chasing work vs. actually doing work. Maybe once home settles down I’ll try again. Sounds like the INFJ course might help.

    • Wendy
      Wendy says:

      Hi Mary,

      I actually just took the course, and yes, it covers this. In fact, what you bring up is a huge focus of the course.

      I think you should take it. I signed up with some skepticism, and I ended up learning a lot of unpleasant but vital truths about myself.

  3. LisaP
    LisaP says:

    “You probably think everyone has strong values, but actually NTs don’t care at all about values”

    True. As an NT, I’m not even sure what values are. It’s not morality because it can involve animals and inanimate objects (like the environment). The best I can figure is that it’s unspoken rules that only feelers know about.

    • Mary
      Mary says:

      LisaP, that’s so interesting; I didn’t realize that some people felt that way. My first reaction to your comment was, wow, that would be like living without one of your five senses.

    • Samantha
      Samantha says:

      I think NTs have values: they value ambition, self-advancement, excellence, learning, growth, etc. Values aren’t just the more F-type concepts of compassion, tolerance, inclusivity etc. It depends on whether you think a value has to be morally-charged (e.g. tolerance) vs. thinking of it as concept/motivator that is important to the individual (e.g. excellence).

  4. Kristi
    Kristi says:

    I disagree that NTs don’t care about values. If we define values as emotions that guide decision making, I disagree that people who test as NTs don’t feel or care about those emotions. I think it’s more that we either use those emotions as a data point to help determine what will be right for us, or we don’t know what the hell to do with those emotions so we do something inept. That’s different than not having or caring about values.

    • Kristi
      Kristi says:

      * as in, one data point among many, rather than the end-all, be-all way to decide what’s right.

  5. J.E.
    J.E. says:

    As an INFJ I wish I could find a job that I’m good at and enjoy that also pays well. It seems that all the jobs I have an aptitude for and enjoy pay peanuts and barely support me, let alone another person. I’d like to be able to contribute more to my family financially. I have a husband who makes a decent salary, but as I’ve said in another comment, he had a stroke. Luckily he didn’t suffer major impairments and can still work. He was also laid off at the beginning of the year and luckily again, found another well paying job quickly. I just worry about the what ifs. What if he had suffered major impairments and couldn’t work? What if he has another stroke? So much of what I read about INFJs doesn’t feel encouraging to me. It seems like we’ll never like most jobs and always feel out of step with everything. That’s a lot to bear. I’m also not a kid person so having kids and being a stay at home parent isn’t going to happen. Besides, it may not be possible with some of my spouse’s health issues. I guess I’m basically asking what happens if you did the INFJ thing and married someone who brings in the bulk of the income but then something happens to that person and you can’t rely on them to be able to do that anymore? Just suck it up and take a job you hate? There has to be another way. Besides, I know that if I don’t like the job I won’t be an asset to the company.

    • jessica
      jessica says:

      If you need cash now, yes take a job any job and wait to see how his health improves.

      If it’s not immediate cash problem, start up a freelance gig in a subject that interests you. Maybe take Ps course as a lot of INfJs on here recommend it.

    • May
      May says:

      Look into disability insurance? If your husband makes a good income and he is the main breadwinner, he probably should have some disability insurance so the both of you can have peace of mind. Thinking of it though, it may be late since he already suffered a stroke and has pre-existing conditions. I think in that case, focus on saving up so you can have a passive income via interest/dividends or even rental income.

      You can think of your role as adding supplementary income (perhaps while working toward good causes you believe in) and also supporting him so he can do his best in the corporate/working world to support you back in your values-centred career. You don’t have to marry your esteem and safety to your personal income level. There is more to life and your worth than money. INFJ in general are very resourceful, so even if something did happen, I think you’d find a way.

  6. Anna
    Anna says:

    This *so much* makes me wonder if my husband is an INFJ. I always thought he is an INTJ. Going to look further into this!

    • Anna
      Anna says:

      This is nuts! And makes so much sense. Reading INFJ descriptions and they are quite fitting for my husband.

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