INTJ Personality Type
Welcome fellow INTJ! The INTJ personality type is one of the rarest -- only about 3 percent of people are INTJs. Being an INTJ means that we are
Being an (I)ntrovert means that we focus our attention inward. Being alone is important for us; it energizes us. Being with lots of other people can be fun for a little while, but we can find it tiring and we wouldn’t want to do it every night of the week. Introverts are not necessarily shy, but we are just not as naturally at ease with people as (E)xtroverts.
Because we’re i(N)tuitive, we tend to look at the big picture instead of (S)ensing the details of a situation. Intuitives like to make plans, we like to think of the future, and we enjoy theories. Being intuitive does not mean that we’re pie-in-the-sky dreamers. But it does mean that we prefer thinking about the idea of something, rather than the details that make it up.
(T)hinking refers to how we make decisions. Do you make pro-con lists? Do you research thoroughly before a big purchase? Thinkers like to have the facts, whereas (F)eelers go with their gut. Thinkers are not heartless or without compassion, but they feel more comfortable making decisions from their head rather than their heart.
(J)udging does not mean that we are judgmental! It means that we value structure. We prefer routines, whereas (P)erceivers crave openness and spontaneity. We’re the perennial organizers. Of course, judgers can be flexible if we need to be, but we’d prefer it if things happened as planned.
INTJs are Knowledge Seekers
Sometimes referred to as “scientists” or “masterminds,” INTJs value intelligence and problem-solving. We tend to think in theories and systems, because we like to understand the world around us. Dealing with day-to-day details becomes boring quickly.
INTJs are very independent. We like engaging in a good argument, especially when the other person can express their opinions intelligently. Other people are sometimes threatened by our opinions, and we can come off as critical or condescending. INTJs are frequently high achievers. We thrive in environments where we are intellectually challenged and our work is fairly evaluated. The flip side is that we often stress ourselves out over meeting the impossibly high standards we’ve set for ourselves. We’re often perfectionists, and this can create a lot of stress and feelings of self-doubt.
Breaking through an INTJ’s shell can often seem difficult for other people, so close friendships and relationships can be a challenge. INTJ females, in particular, can be very intimidating to the opposite sex because we place such a high value on intelligence and independence.
INTJs can be incredibly valuable workers, in the right environment. We prefer to work independently on projects that we can choose or help design. Working with intelligent and competent people is an absolute must. INTJs like to work on things like strategic planning because it allows us to think broadly about a problem or a goal. INTJs really don’t like to get bogged down with details and we don’t like jobs that involve lots of daily repetitive tasks. We crave new ways to keep growing and learning.
In the wrong environment, INTJs can become quickly disgruntled. Working without clear goals or targets, for example, can be tough for an INTJ. Remember, we like structure. Also, few INTJs can tolerate working for someone who they don’t respect or who is less intelligent than them. Most of the time, a less intelligent boss will feel threatened by an INTJ anyway, so that relationship probably won’t last. Fairness is another biggie. If a boss plays favorites or doesn’t acknowledge our achievements, INTJs can quickly lose all drive to work hard.
There are a few jobs and industries that are clear fits for INTJs: anything with “planner” or “analyst” in the title (e.g. financial planner, event planner, systems analyst) and a lot of jobs in higher education (e.g. university teacher, curriculum designer). Mostly though, it’s about working in the right environment with the right people.
One job that doesn’t show up very often among recommendations for INTJs is entrepreneur. INTJs have a lot of the right traits for entrepreneurship: independence, organization, structure. Plus, we like to do our own thing and we tend to think that we can do many things better than others anyway. However, being self-employed can be difficult for INTJs. We’re not naturally outgoing, so self-promotion and marketing don’t come easily. We’re great at making plans, but not so great at executing those plans. (Those are details and details are boring!) We’re perfectionists, and perfectionists tend to be procrastinators. Plus, self-employment is risky and we’re not usually in the habit of taking leaps of faith.
If you desperately want to be an INTJ entrepreneur, you’ll probably have to take a slightly different approach. One way is to take a partner, preferably someone who’s (E)xtroverted and (P)erceiving. That way, you’ll be happy thinking and making all the plans, while your partner will be happy doing and talking up your new venture. Another option is to ease into self-employment slowly, utilizing the contacts and skills you already have. This could be a gradual transition from full-time employment toward self-employed freelancing or consulting. Or it could be growing a hobby into a business in your spare time.
If you’re interested in learning more about careers for INTJ’s, check out the book Do What You Are: Discover the Perfect Career for You Through the Secrets of Personality Type. It’s the first personality typing book I ever picked up, and it still rings really true for me. Another good book is What Type Am I? The Myers-Brigg Type Indication Made Easy. It doesn’t go into a lot of depth on each type, but it’s a good overview of all the types so you can start typing your family, friends, and co-workers and figure out how to work better together. For a truly thorough look at personality types, check out the recommendations below.