The INFJ / quarter life crisis COMBO

topic posted Wed, April 8, 2009 - 11:04 PM by  Matthew
So here I am..having turned 25 last month, having spent the last 4 months dealing with a severe panic disorder that was "turned on" after I was poisoned by a metal known as Gadolinium during a routine "CT abdomen" scan gone wrong. They put the wrong dye in me and I was also allergic..long story.

I am returning to myself slowly and falling back into who I was prior to being sick. Unfortunately, that person is a confused, don't know what to do with my life, feel like the best times are behind me and all that's left is putting my soul into the workforce for the next 30-40 years and then dying. I hold a bachelors degree in Digital Media but realized too late that the particular degree didn't do much for me and so after receiving it I took a year off last year to "find myself" and what that did was give me 24/7 time to analyze every aspect of my life and every possible career (as us INFJ's do) which has ultimately made me even more stressed out about life!

I feel as if I've failed already and that at 25 I should be in a respected job/career by now moving up the ladder in some fashion..instead I'm still hiding away in college working on a second bachelors (which should have been my first) in Psychology. Psychology really interests me but the idea of being a counselor has already burnt me out just thinking about having to deal with so many other people's emotions that I will become overwhelmed and fall further into my head.

Since last year i've tried learning to day trade (didnt work out well) , and I daily analyze myself in and out of professions while reading every book there is on career/personality development. Since last year i've been gung ho on getting an MBA, then it was back to Video Game Production (as a producer), then it was back to management in some form still requiring an MBA, then I finally decided to pursue my interest in psychology and be a counselor but analyzed myself back out of it. I decided despite my shyness I really want to try acting but I've yet to "act" on it (no pun).... and now i'm learning about Human Resources Management and that seems interesting until I started reading about people in the profession tonight and now i'm analzying myself out of that. Do any other of you INFJs in my age bracket go through this or am I crazy? I think my natural anxiety issues make things worse because in my head if i don't pick the one right, true thing for me before I go through with it, I feel i'm doomed for a life of unhappiness. Logically, i know that's not true and careers can be changed, but emotionally that's how I feel. I know on my personality test I pretty much maxed out my "F" so Feeling is my highest level aspect , followed by intuitive, introvert, and then lowest on the judging.

I really want to make good money, but at the same time I want to enjoy what i'm doing and have it not feel like i'm slaving away at work 60+ hours a week. I still want a life to enjoy as well. I play piano , love music, and love being with my friends. I love video games and have grown up with them so they will probably always be a main hobby in my life.

I really don't know what i'm asking, perhaps i'm just somewhat venting about what i'm feeling inside right now. I feel like I really need to get a move on because i'm running out of the best years of my life. I need a salary and to start preparing to have the things I want/need in my life. I need to choose a Master's program of some kind, go with it, and enjoy it. I worry so much about everything!

Are there any older INFJs out there that have some reassurance or similar stories/experiences that I could relate to or some good old fashioned advice? Every other INFJ seems to be in counseling but I just don't know if i have the emotional fortitude to not let others problems affect me too much. I've read that our personality type tends to struggle with career decisions throughout life because we always want to make sure that what we're doing is exactly what we need as an individual for internal happiness.

thanks for listening to my stream of consciousness/rant. This is basically what's running through my mind every day for over a year now.

posted by:
  • Re: The INFJ / quarter life crisis COMBO

    Fri, April 10, 2009 - 12:59 PM
    I can relate. I had no idea what I really wanted to do, so I got a degree in Civil Engineering since I was good at match and science and liked solving problems.

    Then I started my construction management job and went through phases where I didn't like it and was afraid I had made a mistake and chosen a career that was going to make me miserable and I would deeply regret wasting my life when I turn 60.

    Now I'm 31, and while I still don't know for sure where I want to end up at I'm happier with my job. Rather than trying to find the perfect INFJ job I'm now focused on trying to find ways to carve an INFJ niche into my current one. I moved over to supervising people (surveyors and cartographers) and found that I liked that better than fighting with contractors all the time. I've found that my INFJ empathy and personal skills give me a huge edge over most other engineers in the human relations area, so I'm trying to figure out how to exploit my natural talents in unconventional fields.

    Which means that my subordinates keep dropping by my office wanting to talk about their personal problems and I've become the onofficial office guidance counselor, but they seem to greatly enjoy working for me compared to most of their former supervisors.

    Of course, I still worry about making the wrong career choices, but I figure where I am now is pretty decent. If I never move up the ladder another rung I'll be going okay. That takes some of the stress out of it.

    My advice would be to just pick a direction and go with it. As INFJ's, we're capable of excelling at just about any job, so choose something that isn't mind-numbingly boring (although job security in a long term slow economy is something worth thinking about in this day and age) and pays enough for you to live a lifestyle you'd be satisfied with, jump in and go for it. Once you're in there you can start working on finding ways to apply your natural gifts and shaping the job to be more "you". I also make it a point to *not* define who I am through my job. My job is what I do; it's not necessarily who I am.

    And if nothing else, you and I can sit together on a park bench in 30 years and commiserate about how we squandered our lives in unsatisfying careers ;)
    • Re: The INFJ / quarter life crisis COMBO

      Fri, April 10, 2009 - 8:23 PM
      Thanks for your reply Waylon. Its nice to hear from someone in a non-conventional INFJ makes me feel less screwed taking the less traveled path if I so choose to walk down it. I enjoy that the people you manage come to you for counseling..that's something that's always happened to me naturally. I kind of like the idea for my "job" to not be counseling but I like helping and offering counsel to those who come seeking it unofficially if that makes sense. it makes me feel needed/appreciated by my peers and even more so by subordinates. and Waylon, if I live another 30 years without dying from the stress I cause myself i'll take you up on that park bench offer :P

      I feel an MBA provides a lot of security since you can use it in most industries since you come out with an understanding of all the different aspects of business. There is a program near me that lets you specialize in 2 areas while you're getting your MBA and I think I would choose Management and marketing. At least I know INFJ's tend to need to lead and manage others and most of my personality books say marketing is one of the areas (beside human resources) of business that does come naturally. I'm down to these paths now:

      1. stay in my 2nd bachelors in psychology and/or drop that and pursue a master in counseling of some sort

      2. get a master's in human resources specifically and try to fight my way into that field.

      3. go to one of the best video game schools (which happens to be downtown from where I live in Orlando, FL) and learn production management ..but then for the most part i'm committed to the interactive entertainment industry which is games.. and playing them is much different than making them.

      4. Go for the MBA, specialize in one or two things and climb the normal ladder and hopefully make good money as some form of management or Marketing Manager (Also, i'm terrified of the GMAT exam as i'm terrible at standardized tests and the data sufficiency questions on the GMAT in particular are very difficult for me).

      5.Run off to LA and pursue acting and never have stability or security financially unless i'm very lucky and talented. (i think at some point i'd like to pursue acting...and music ..regardless of my job).

      6. Teach something? Psychology perhaps? not at college level though as I don't want to be a researcher professor fighting for tenure.

      and that's it.. I haven't thought of anything else that I should do to find happiness..I do know this.. I want money.. lots of money. The reason I want lots of money is so I can reach financial freedom asap so I can spend my life mastering hobbies, playing piano , acting , gardening, learning etc. rather than working to live month to month and pay the bills. that to me is , rather unpleasant.

      So, what option would YOU choose? and why?
      • Re: The INFJ / quarter life crisis COMBO

        Fri, April 10, 2009 - 9:17 PM
        BTW great advice Waylon! I'm 39 and still looking for the "perfect" job, lol. I like your idea about carving an INFJ niche into your present job - that's just clever! I think another interesting way, I've seen friends do, is find all the things they are good at and create their own business doing different things. Also, a lot of healers and artist up in my neck of the woods have a second more left brain job that helps them balance and utilize their different gifts.

        Matthew, that's wonderful that you have so many good choices! It looks like you are leaning in the working with people field plus also some techy stuff. Have you ever thought of Information Design as direction? I've been a counselor my whole life (official and unofficial at every job I've ever worked) and have worked to mediate human challenges etc. I was always so unbalanced so finally after my 38th B'day I started a process of career counseling with a Life Coach who is also an INFJ. After tons of homework, self reflection etc. we found my problem. I came out pretty even across all fields. I was strong in art and communication which we figured but my highest marks were in Detecting (left brain). We were both shocked. She looked up my numbers and found that they listed only one thing for this strange left/right brain combo and that was Art Appraiser, lol.

        So, I set out on an online search to find what would challenge both of those sides. What I found was that the new tech writing careers are now morphing into Informational Design. Where once they had a tech writer and a graphic artists they now need people who can do both. It is hard to find them. I signed up and started some online courses in XML, tech writing and brushed up on graphic arts. I actually love the XML, go figure! I didn't even know what HTML was! With graphic art knowledge and techy knowledge you can go into the world of single source publishing (seems to be the wave of the future for corporations). Taking a few online courses might help you figure a direction you do or do not want to go in, without a big outlay of money.

        Moral of the story - you might want to get a bit more professional career counseling to narrow the field down into what would challenge (and ulitimately fulfill) your strongest gifts. As to earning lots of money...go for it. I like to live simply and not work myself to the ground. My husband needs more money 'cause he likes to spend and he wants lots of flexibility so he became a Physical Therapy Assistant. Now we travel the country (traveling therapy) and he gets to buy what he wants and have lots of time to play and I get to live simply:). You can have it all but my thought is that you need to get clearer on your direction and maybe more nurtured and grounded before you take your next step.

        Be soft with yourself, you've just come through a huge life altering experience...and in my opinion those usually come about when our inner voice is trying to get us to go a different direction then the path we were on. When you get back to your center things will just seem to pop up and draw your attention - notice those things and write them down. See if there is a pattern to what you are subconsciously being drawn to. It might be that there are certain things in each of those jobs that you love but need a job that mixes those things together and the coaching, online classes and tuning into your "hits" will guide you to this end.
        • Re: The INFJ / quarter life crisis COMBO

          Fri, April 10, 2009 - 9:38 PM
          all great advice Michelle, thank you.

          Unfortunately, "tech" things involving coding like website design, graphic arts etc. I am well aware that they are some of my strongest weaknesses. lol. That avenue I got to explore getting my first degree in Digital Media. I like the creative aspect of graphic arts but drawing I have absolutely 0 zero talent for. My handwriting is even terrible. I can't draw stick figures well. I figured rather than being given that gift of drawing/the art side I was given the gift of music. I play piano, love to sing as well and have a natural ear for hearing/differing music though I probably wouldn't make a career out of it.

          I'm with a counselor currently who is also INFJ and we're exploring the options together. He thinks HR or clinical psych. for me but I haven't brought up the MBA possibility with him yet. I think I feel like I really like the idea of the MBA as far as how generally accepted it is around the world, it carries prestige and financial benefits. The way I analyzed myself out of it last year was that I scared myself out of taking the GMAT and I fear that the course content for business will be too hard for me.

          I like the idea of becoming the type of manager that people like to be with and respect at the same time. Someone who is personally involved with his employees, and directly involved with the delegating rather than never leaving the office because the subordinates take care of dealing with "the people" at the company.

          Michelle, can you recommend any particular professional career counseling people/companies I could go to? so far, everything i've done has been personally through books and free online tests and such. Is there something that's actually worth spending money on around that really pin points you?
          • Re: The INFJ / quarter life crisis COMBO

            Fri, April 10, 2009 - 10:52 PM
            Matthew here is the site for the career coach I worked with (believe she does over the phone and on the computer also.) The most helpful thing was all the homework she gave me. I was more serious then some of her other clients and I did all the work and asked for more but it really help focus me. She reads over it all then prompts you to get clearer and discusses then gives you more homework, lol. Until together you whittle it all down to a fine point.

            The training I did was from (more focused and you can take classes with an instructor or without) and just taking some classes as leisure from Now I'm trying to zero in on a online/in person tech school that feels right and/or go for a BA.

            I enjoy art but wouldn't do it for a living again, except maybe writing. My husband plays 5 instruments and thought for 15 years he needed to do a job that allowed him to play but has since changed that idea. He finally has come to terms with the fact that he really doesn't want to earn a living with his music he just wants to play and have fun expressing himself at home or with friends.

            You said you were thinking about creating video games isn't that vector based graphics? Lots of coding? Don't really know how the vector graphics work as I'm still green to the whole IT field but getting more aware every day.
            • Re: The INFJ / quarter life crisis COMBO

              Sat, April 11, 2009 - 1:48 AM
              The video game industry is the pinnacle of all the elements involved in movie-making, music, and even theater really. Programmers code the worlds in which we gamers now play in, artists and 3d artists toil away creating the aesthetics and tone of a game, game and level designers create the rules and make a huge thing called a design document outlining every detail to what ultimately is a multi-million dollar project. Writers write the epic story lines and screenplays that engage the player, Game Producers (the position i'm interested in) manage the leads of all the different departments, schedule milestones and liason between the publishers and the development studio to ensure a game is ultimately delivered on time and on budget. They also hire talent (like composers, orchestras, singers, voice actors etc. ) as needed for a particular title and work with the marketing department. Then you've got the QA department which spends hundreds of hours testing a game for bugs and malfunctions in coding so that programmers can debug and constantly fix things until a polished product is churned out.

              The video game industry now surpasses Hollywood in total revenue per year. the Industry is still in its infancy (about 25 years old) and has lots of maturing to do but its one of the few industries considered near "recession-proof" right now as people continue to purchase games and spend more time at home rather than spending money on a movie ticket for less hours of all this sounds great. The downside to the game industry is the EXTREME competition from lots of very talented artists, professionals etc. and also the industry's work ethic to financial pay off factor. "crunch time" every year often involves employees spending 24/7 at work , 80+ hour work week , and no over time. Programmers especially are known to bring sleeping bags and sleep under the desks :( that is NOT something I ever want to endure.

              anyway, that's my small explanation of the video game industry. still one of my options. lol.
              • Re: The INFJ / quarter life crisis COMBO

                Sat, April 11, 2009 - 8:51 AM
                Sounds like it would be a great job if it were ones passion (seems to include so many different creative, supportive and mental aspects ). If so it wouldn't feel so much like work. If it wasn't ones passion it seems that it might crimp a person free time activities/music. Wouldn't you need to learn all aspects of the field before working in it?
                • Re: The INFJ / quarter life crisis COMBO

                  Sat, April 11, 2009 - 11:59 AM
                  A producer isn't an entry level job (usually). You have to get yourself in the door to the industry through one of the main veins an artist, a programmer , or climb the ladder through the QA department by being noticed by someone important. Its all tricky and there's a luck factor involved..I hate luck. I need consistent, certain results. The best producers know a little about everything, they're like the jack of all trades, but don't necessarily have to know how to program, know how to draw etc. The more they know about how each area functions though the easier it is to speak the language of the different types of people occupying all the other roles. You'd find it interesting to see how different programmers personalities are from someone in the art department, or how EVERY one on the development side (creative) feels about the publishing side (business). The producer protects the money from the development team, and the development team from the money while being able to understand all the people involved so work can be assigned that is appropriate in a given time frame.

                  to answer your question though, yeah I'd probably need to learn aspects about each part of the field..through experience over time to get put on as an associate producer for example. Graduate schools such as the one near me are all about creating that industry environment while you're in the program, so that when you graduate you're already very used to working on teams and know about the different roles that others are doing.

                  Here's another downside though.. job security. If a game tanks and thus isn't a AAA title (the elite AAA generally means multi million dollar budget from a well known company) then the producer often takes the heat and jobs are lost. and you're back to looking for work again. Most games are not financial successes. So it can be very frustrating and unrewarding if you're not just passionate about creating something that may be in the bargain bin a year later for $10.
                  • This is the maximum depth. Additional responses will not be threaded.

                    Re: The INFJ / quarter life crisis COMBO

                    Sat, April 11, 2009 - 5:32 PM
                    Sounds like you're talking yourself out of this one ;)? There is nothing completely secure of course but some jobs are a little more mutual-fund-ish. Sounds like you want some intrigue but with out being so risky. Guess the bomb squad job is a no then, lol. Seems like in this job you would need to be quite drawn to one of the entry level job aspects in order to give you the impetus to keep going.

                    Ok, say you had only two years to live but would need to earn a steady income (not a lot and wouldn't need to save or think about the future) what feels good to do? Take the pressure of the future off of your brain for a bit and see what comes up (ya, talking to myself too here, lol). Remember like Waylon said he was able to adjust his job to meet his needs so open to anything no matter how far out and strange. You might like to go to the government sites that show lists of job types and take the free career tests again from that perspective. Be relaxed with it and see if you can then let the part of your system that knows whats best, creep forward.

                    Now brainstorm that for a few days (think I'll do it too) without any "ya, but" or "if only" or "I should." Write it all down and listen but in a relaxed manner (have fun - give your brain two days off). See what you are most drawn to (emotionally, physically and mentally) in different places (people chatting over coffee, the zipping motorcycles, the birds chirping etc.) write it all down - everything. Then on the third day sit with your lists and write down what it was about those things that appealed to you. Oh, also while you are doing this hide away your job possibility list. Later you can pull it out and see how things match up. Best to do the root work now rather then after being 10yrs into a job you don't enjoy.
                    • Unsu...

                      Re: The INFJ / quarter life crisis COMBO

                      Fri, May 8, 2009 - 4:55 PM
                      HMmmmm, I can relate to the perfectionism and also having too many interests & goals. Astrology helped a great deal and am finally becoming a minister. What I have found is that every job I have had, including a stint of homelessness has prepared me perfectly for this job. My MFA was in performance and I'm very glad all of my experience prepared me to reach out to the hearts and minds of the congregation last week. Very fulfilling day. Just keep moving forward and following your heart and allow your destiny to unfold. If you do look into astrology by far the most important aspect is your north node, both the sign and house placement.
                  • This is the maximum depth. Additional responses will not be threaded.

                    Re: The INFJ / quarter life crisis COMBO

                    Thu, June 25, 2009 - 1:57 PM
                    I get an eerie feeling reading your messages, as if they were written by a near-future me. I’m actually studying game development (Bachelor’s of IT in Game Dev, going into final year) and have always wanted to be a producer (creative director isn’t a bad choice either). Unfortunately both these come with a lot of experience.

                    Again, eerily, I’ve had my eye set on producing music for video games. Although you’re a little less than 4 years older than me, I too am plagued with the same questions about how I’ll survive in the next few years.

                    From your posts I gather that you aren’t a producer but would like to be one, and I’m not sure if you’ve had industry experience (if you’re wondering, I haven’t). I think a big problem is that we believe a little too much of what we hear about the industry. Granted, things were bad at one point in time at least (think 2004 when EA was sued by its employees for mistreatment) however I’ve heard that things have gotten significantly better. Just because the industry is tough doesn’t mean you can’t fight for a better job at a better development or production studio either.

                    It’s a common problem in the trying-to-break-in group of people (like people in my program). A lot of us just rehash what we’ve been told, that it’s cutthroat, that we won’t make it unless we’re the best, and that our portfolio needs to be airtight. All of these I’m sure have some truth to them (especially the portfolio bit), but I think we’re being overly paranoid about the truth of the situation. Sure, you need to be talented, but how many people do you know that are skilled in C++ and Maya or 3ds Max? Not many. I’ve worked in IT during co-op terms and I can honestly say that good talent is far rarer than you think.

                    If I were in your situation (and I essentially am), I’d suspend judgement on what’s been said about the industry. A conscious effort seems to exist on transforming industry jobs into liveable ones, if they aren’t already. Better to at least try and know firsthand – a lot of the time sensationalist opinions can be overdramatic. As you’re young you can afford to slip up, some day you’ll have a family / mortgage / whatever to look after.

                    If you’re aiming for the MBA then I’d definitely agree with your choice in marketing. Accounting and financing (I’ve had a number of courses in both) are utterly dreary, and I wouldn’t recommend it to an INFJ type, even if it means outstanding job security.

                    As far as other things go, you may want to look into video work (writing / editing specifically). I’ve had a ton of fun editing video for game demos and small films.

                    In any case, good luck – maybe we’ll cross paths some day.
  • Re: The INFJ / quarter life crisis COMBO

    Wed, May 13, 2009 - 6:27 PM
    I know how you feel as I'm trying to figure out what to do with my life too. I could write a page on my own struggles on this, but I don't want to add to your problems, lol. Hope everything works out for you.
  • Bob
    offline 0

    Re: The INFJ / quarter life crisis COMBO

    Tue, June 23, 2009 - 3:32 PM
    Hi Matthew,
    I am 52 and still don't know what to do when I grow up! It took me 3 years in college to pick a major. I took a career test and the counselors said I should be in Finance, so I went into accounting. It was not a great fit for me in retrospect, but at the time it was what I could get a job in and I was fairly good at it. I wanted to get into teaching, writing or something different, but by that time my wife has severe MS and it was too risky to start over. Ten years ago (at the same company) I moved from Finance into operations as the Master Planner (I work in a high tech mfg company.) It is not perfect, but I feel that I am making more of a difference. Neither of these jobs is an INFJ job, but it all seemed to work out. I did teach government at the community college for several years at night, and loved that much more than my day job. Too bad the pay sucked. I find fulfillment in singing at church and in the Symphony Chorus, running, teaching Sunday school. I like having my hand in a lot of things - some pay, some don't.
    My advice is not to box yourself in a corner as far as your career goes. No career choice will be "perfect" - there are pitfalls and joys in every choice. You have experience in the video game industry and like video games, so you might list what you liked and what you didn't about that experience. That is a growing industry, so there might be a place for you there besides as a Producer. People nowadays change jobs/careers several times, so you are not locked in to anything. I had the same anxiety as you did about not having a job at 23-24 years old, and getting a steady job and some experience under my belt helped me a lot. The farther you go, the less degrees and technical skills matter, and the more that experience, management skills become important. Those things are transferable to a large degree.

    I wish you well!