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Career Recommendations Based on Jung's Cognitive Functions

The MBTI system is supposed to be at its most useful when suggesting best fit careers for the types, and yet many of the career matches proposed for each type don't make any sense to me. Here is my attempt to fix it, based on Jung's cognitive functions (as he specifically described them and NOT how they are stereotypically perceived by the internet at large) and to a certain extent based on the research of Dario Nardi.

Please note that these descriptions are summaries of the cognitive functions as described by Jung, and I have been careful to keep them as accurate to his writings as possible. They are not intended to flatter anyone's ego. You may or may not display any of the more negative (or the more positive) aspects of a function depending on your own personal level of psychological health and development.

I'm sure you've seen the meme, "If you can't accept me at my worst you don't deserve me at my best" or some such nonsense. Well, when it comes to cognitive functions and personal development, if you can't accept yourself at your worst, you won't be able to achieve your best. So keep an open mind when considering your own strengths and weaknesses, and what you might need to improve upon. It will ultimately be better for your career fulfillment, better for your relationships, and better for your own happiness and development.

Introverted Sensing (Si)

Introverted Sensing imposes layers of subjective meanings and impressions on an image or object. Since it is highly personal and subjective, its presentation can differ wildly from person to person. Si users are not too much attached to objective reality which may cause them to react (or overreact) in inappropriate ways.

Jung specifically mentions that Si users can make excellent creative artists, and yet none of the lists I looked at recommended a single artistic career for ISFJs or ISTJs! Let's do something about that, shall we?

  • Visual Artist

  • Instrumentalist

  • Creative Writer

  • Physician/Nurse Practitioner

  • Actor

  • Sewing Pattern Designer

  • Playwright

  • Barista/Bartender

  • YouTuber

Introverted Intuition (Ni)

Introverted intuitives attempt to understand the unconscious in relation to universal processes or archetypes. Their tendencies can make them great artists, wise seers, or serious nut jobs. They may be content to merely proclaim their personal vision, with no attempt to rationalize or explain it. They may also have a tendency to get caught up in their own spiritual or moral quest.

Ideally, many of these suggestions should only be attempted by healthy Ni users....

  • Artist

  • Lecturer

  • Author

  • Religious Leader

  • Yoga/Meditation Instructor

  • Film maker

Introverted Thinking (Ti)

Ti users are highly contemplative and enjoy thinking for its own sake. They are more concerned with their objective ideas and personal convictions than with practical outcomes. They can be slow, complex, and overly scrupulous as they attempt to elaborate as fully as possible on all ramifications of an idea. Introverted thinkers can have a tendency to veer into the totally abstract, symbolic, or mystical. They are somewhat impractical, and at times may even be childishly naive. They have a tendency to see any criticism of their ideas as a personal attack.

  • Philosopher

  • Policy Research

  • Researcher

  • Historian

  • Author

  • Programmer/Engineer (for a company that aligns with their interests/pursuits)

  • Urban Planner

  • Mechanic/Assembly Technician

Introverted Feeling (Fi)

Introverted feeling is best characterized as an inner intensity that is rarely displayed openly—when it is, it generally comes across as negative or indifferent. Introverted feelers are often inconspicuous (by design), brooding, and inaccessible, and may come across as childish. They often fail to understand or respond to others' feelings. Though their inner feelings are deep, passionate, and intense, they usually appear neutral, cold, and dismissive. Dominant Fi users may harbor closely guarded religious or poetic tendencies.

  • Author/Poet

  • Singer/Songwriter

  • Research psychologist (not counselor)

  • Critic

  • Film/Play Director

Extroverted Sensing (Se)

Se users seek out intensity in the physical, concrete world. They are realists in search of sensations and experiences, preferably pleasurable ones. Extroverted sensors are sensual, highly aesthetic, and are attracted by physical characteristics. The experience is a goal unto itself. This function is not at all known for being reflective or introspective, and in fact it mistrusts information from inner psychological processes (e.g., "I'm not really sad, it's just the weather.").

  • Athlete

  • High-end Sales

  • Travel writer or photographer

  • Taxi driver/chauffeur

  • Sailor

  • Dancer

  • Boat Captain

  • EMT

Extroverted Intuition (Ne)

Extroverted intuitives want to see all the possibilities in a situation. Each new venture or new person is rife with latent and full of exciting possibilities. They are quickly bored by unchanging situations, and can easily waste their life and talents jumping from one activity to another while failing to bring any project to fruition. Ne users may have a tendency to show little regard for the needs, views, or convictions of others.

  • Seminar/workshop leader

  • Coach

  • House Flipper

  • Retail Store Owner

  • Product Demonstrator

  • Documentary Film Maker

  • Reporter

  • Detective/Investigator

Extroverted Thinking (Te)

Extroverted thinkers trust the objective evidence of their senses and the collective ideas from tradition or learning. They use their objective experience to link abstract ideas in a rational, logical way. Conclusions are directed outward towards a practical outcome or product. Te users live by a "universal" moral code based on abstract notions of truth and justice, and expect others to do the same. All of their actions are based on the analysis of objective data. They may repress sentimental attachments, friendships, or religious devotion, or may neglect personal interests such as their health or financial well-being.

  • Data Analyst

  • Professor or Instructor

  • Lawyer

  • Auditor/Inspector

  • Video editor

  • Police Officer

  • Proofreader or Technical Editor

  • Product Designer

Extroverted Feeling (Fe)

Fe users naturally adjust and conform to maintain harmonious relationships, and are most comfortable with accepted/traditional social rules or opinions. Because their feeling reactions are not based on true, internal feelings or sensitivity, they can seem cold, artificial, or put on. Extroverted feelers often follow fashion and trends and can be extravagant. Their momentary enthusiasms may change quickly.

  • Social Media Marketing

  • Copy Writer

  • Blogger/Influencer

  • Corporate Manager

  • Real Estate Appraiser

  • Wholesale/Retail Buyer

  • Fitness/Wellness Coordinator

Putting It All Together

Let's say you're pretty sure your top 2 functions are Ni and Fe (cause isn't everyone an INFJ?).

Ni career + Fe career + my unique interests + my unique skills = A pretty good fit

In this case, it's clear that working within advertising, PR, communications, or journalism would be a great fit for this individual, especially if they can creatively solve different types of problems. They could also run a yoga studio or alternative health center. I actually really like the idea of a real estate-related career for this person, especially with how crazy the market is right now, because you could help a lot of different people figure out how to make the home ownership dream a reality for them. The point is, look for the links and get creative. Your own unique interests and skills are of course a huge part of this equation.

No quiz or guru or random stranger on the internet is going to be able to tell you what to do with your life. But hopefully this provides some direction, and at the very least I think this is a much more accurate representation of best-fit careers for the functions than what we usually see on these types of lists. Enjoy!

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