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Deep and Effective Career-launching Secrets for the INTJ

Friday May 17, 2019

So you are looking for the BEST job or career. And you’re stuck. Maybe you feel frustrated in your current work.

AND your personality type is INTJ.

Well, fancypants, :-) here are some relevant tips that I have developed through my career coaching practice.

Get it Out There. Web Surfing Won’t Be Enough.

Write about it, talk about it. Schedule in some accountability with someone else. This is what my clients are doing: When our appointments come around, they are reminded to stay on target and are encouraged to talk about any problems they’re encountering.

Putting the question out there and finding a way to verbally express the problem, or doing so in writing, is part of what Carl Jung considered extraversion, and all introverts need some of it.

When things get really introverted, and you realize you are just floating around in the sea of inner perceptions that is so comfortable to the INTJ, you may need to remind yourself to keep talking to people, to keep asking questions. To find that way to continue pushing outward, relieving that inward-facing pressure.

If this is all just floating around in your head, you may be over-protecting yourself from the outside world, and this is really risky. In doing this you might find that you create a separate reality in which any number of wisely anticipated, yet overblown problems make you feel stuck or frustrated.

Don’t Gaslight Yourself about “THE ONE” Anything

INTJs are typically constantly changing in big ways and will continue to change. In that light I hope it makes sense that one of the biggest issues I see in INTJ career searches is that INTJs want to find “the one job”. Then they’ll be happy.

Maybe it’s a cliche that happiness comes from within, but it always turns out to be worth emphasizing. In truth we are super deep AND super-broad-minded individuals. We must give service to both of those areas of strength or we will start to feel lost and lose momentum.

The chances of one single job—a combination of tasks, roles, other very specific people and their team/personal/management psychologies—being “the one” for us in this satisfactory ego-projection sense (I mean that in a positive way) is pretty low.

Even INTJs who are very highly gifted and career-minded tend to jump around a lot. I remember meeting a 70-year-old, independently wealthy INTJ who had just retired as a dermatologist and prior to that realtor, and was leaving town to try his hand at the next career. He was serving that broad-minded ego drive, not the other way around. And that’s OK.

Along similar lines, here’s an example of what an accomplished INTJ’s Wikipedia page might look like.

Serious Question: Do I want to be a dentist? An author? A social critic? A historian?

Serious Answer: Porque no los all of them?

If you can be comfortable with the question of “what are the ONES for me,” that will probably set you up for a more comfortable, unique, and energizing career experience.

Build a Batcave ASAP

One of the most satisfactory career transition tools for the INTJ is the personal hobby, or the set of personal interests. From “just playing around” to “industry recognition” over the course of even a few years is a thing that can reasonably happen to an INTJ.

For this reason, I really encourage INTJs to develop a super-secret Batcave where they can track and develop a broad range of interests. I encourage you to at least make a folder on your computer called “Batcave” where you keep a list of your interests and log your progress in them, save important links, develop your own learning methods, etc.

I am personally getting close to 500 text files worth of this kind of material. The selection grows by the day, and I can’t imagine many practices that have made me happier than this. That’s my Batcave. Make one of your own. I guarantee you that it will be a valuable career & personal growth tool.

Recognize the Value of an Open Mind

Never, ever shoot down a potential interest unless you’ve tried it a few times. The INTJ’s dominant function, Ni (introverted intuition), is way too hesitant and even grumpy about new stuff to trust with potentially promising new interests.

As introverts, Jung proposed that we are going to get kind of de-energized and push back on suggestions that others give to us, so I’d just be aware of that as you search and don’t let your intuition shoot anything down too fast.

Your Batcave also needs to have a “prospective” function, where you can pick up and analyze new things. To use another metaphor, this is like opening the air vents in your car to circulate new air. Pick up new things you don’t know about. Be aware of that introverted tendency to grump out. Do research, learn, and have fun. This will add new interest and energy to your life and career.

Use some Objective Outside Tools

There are some great helper technologies out there like the free O*NET Interest Profiler and other for-pay tools. I also offer an online career interests profiling instrument to my clients. I encourage you to find and take at least 3-4 of these tests, and write down what you learned about yourself afterward.

Remain Open to Change-in-place

Consider the question: What would I change about my current role, and can I change it in place?

Changing a job in place, i.e. not having to leave your job to get a new job, is also an extremely valuable skill. It involves pushing back and sometimes pushing back hard at that, but once you can do that, you can do almost anything you want with your career.

A key component here is to start out by developing an objective measure of your employer’s sense of your worth. You might be surprised to find out that they want you around way more than you think they do. Once you have that objective measure you can start to play your job & career more like a video game. This is healthy for INTJs because it’s more logical and thinker-like; we are super attuned to those “what do people think of me” fears at times.

List and Take Stock of Your Skills

You have probably acquired a huge stack of skills and experiences so far. In that way, you are kind of like a character in a role-playing game.

Those skills will all give you bonuses during your random-chance career search experiences. When you “roll the dice,” metaphorically speaking, a skill might automatically allow you to add +1 or +2 points to the result.

Skills mentioned when they are relevant can mean the difference between a rejected phone call and an invite to interview. Try to keep a running list of your skills and past experiences. Then apply them or bring them up as early as you can.

Moving Into a New Career Is Hard

“Hey, I’ll just get a job in new-to-me area X” is often much more difficult than people credit. It will usually require some very special INTJ tools to do that, like analytical networking and measurement-based career field penetration.

It’s typically easier and more likely for an INTJ to “find themself” in a new position that’s kind of random, for this reason. But I’d encourage you to be open to both approaches. If a random new position works—it works! And you can bring your Batcave habit with you to any job.

Summary

I share these tips and many hundreds more with my coaching clients, as I help them build a better idea of who they are, their personal values, and their psychological strengths. In my experience, the sooner you apply this knowledge, the faster you’ll find traction in your career.

Whatever you do, don’t put it off. If you’re surfing around the web for tips, now is the time to put something on the calendar—anything—and otherwise begin to develop a new and concrete set of career (and life) tools.

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