I’m an INTP.  I’ve been a stay-at-home dad for the last seven years focused on our three boys. The older two were diagnosed with Asperger’s two years ago, so my hands have been full. I was hoping to get your advice on a new direction I was thinking for my career.

I’ve been in discussion with a the founder of a tutoring and college prep company. They did a great job with our oldest son. They work on the social emotional aspects of learning in addition to the technical/academic processes, and have separate programs to work on things processing speed & short-term memory and college testing & applications. So, they focus on serving both ends of the bell-curve.

The company is  moving from start-up stage to national expansion via franchising. I’m considering buying the franchising rights for our area. It would fill a need for our kids, and be a good way to generate a good income stream once we have several learning centers up and running.

Since you understand what it’s like to parent kids on the Autistic Spectrum and you know what INTP’s are like, is this a crazy thing for me to do?

I did take the course you have for INTPs and it was very helpful. I realize this is the kind of small, all-consuming project that you said INTP’s should avoid. However franchises are know for providing a lot of opportunities for thinking outside the box.

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4 replies
  1. Penelope Trunk
    Penelope Trunk says:

    Asperger’s is genetic, so it’s very likely you have it if your two sons do. Also, few INTP fathers would be stay-at-home dads, because it’s not a good match for personality strengths. So there would be some extenuating circumstance that would make a couple decide that a male INTP should be home with kids. I’m taking this extenuating circumstance as another indicator that you are on the Spectrum.

    For someone with Aspergers, running that business will be very difficult because it requires social skills (sales) and executive function (operations).

    I do wonder how you’ll run a business that takes place largely after school and will require that you be on-site at least at the beginning. You are the primary caretaker of three kids. That would be outrageously difficult even if the kids were not special needs. When you add the special needs it’s just insane. Maybe you were thinking your partner would run the franchise? Because that’s all that makes sense to me, but it’s very hard to make a profit at the beginning so your family would have to live on very little and you don’t strike me as a family at a stage of life that enables scaling back income to almost nothing for a bit.

    Some alternatives: there are franchises that are more about details than sales and operations. For example, an ice cream store is more about doing the same thing repeatedly with largely disinterested customers. Whereas the tutoring, especially for special needs kids, is about dealing with customers (parents) who are emotional and anxious and need tons of hand-holding and reassurance.

    Another way to think about choosing a
    Franchise: there are franchises like auto mechanic shops that do most of their business while kids are in school so they are more accommodating of a parenting schedule.

    My point here is to think about what would be energizing for you to do while you have a break from kids (certainly not something that’s difficult for your particular personality type). And also think about if the family needs money more than all the other things you could be accomplishing while you’re not dealing with the kids. (Doctor’s appts, food shopping, research, managing a weekly schedule, planning birthdays, connecting with coaches and teachers, all the things that make parenting three kids a more-than full-time job.

    Even if you don’t have Asperger’s (highly unlikely but I’m trying to learn to be a more flexible person) an INTP functions very much like someone who does have Aspergers; both INTPs and someone with Aspergers have below-average executive function, a need to talk about their ideas, a low ability to stay focused on one thing, and an inadequate understanding of what makes their social skills so bad. An average INTP would not have these traits in as extreme a way as someone who has Aspergers, but the advice I’m giving applies to an INTP with or without Aspergers.

    Penelope

    that right? I

    If I am off-base on the aspergers part let me know an I’ll send a different answer.

  2. jessica
    jessica says:

    My brother is an INTP, and there is no chance in hell I could see him running an alternative afterschool help center for kids. I can’t even see him being a stay at home dad (no family yet). His hobbies include teaching himself new programming languages, and talking about huge ideas like solving quantum physics problems. His threshold for tutoring others is quite low and because he is so smart (aren’t you all?) he gets frustrated by minutia or having to explain things. I imagine this job would be full of explaining and empathizing with clients.

    Maybe this INTP feels like it’s an academic way to connect with his kids outside of household monotony?
    Out on a limb here, but I don’t blame this person for trying to find a productive, high level distraction from stay at home parenting that is worth his INTP level of effort. I’m just wondering if a kid focused job outside of kid-all-day parenting suits the need he has.

  3. Alli P
    Alli P says:

    it’s hard being the stay at home parent for many reasons but one of them is you literally forget what you’re good at (unless it’s playdoh and listing off snack options). he is thinking too specifically about the one thing he’s quantifyably succeeded at in his recent experience—as we all do. i applied for a job today after doing the sahm thing for 4 years and i could not remember what marketable skills i had. the cover letter probably sounded like i was excited to have a play date because THATS THE ALL CONSUMING ROLE i’m playing right now. you’ve said it so many times and it’s never been more clear to me, so from the trenches i say “don’t forget what you’ve actually enjoyed even if it’s from a long time ago!”

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