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INTP jobs?
April 21, 2011 7:13 AM   Subscribe

INTP-friendly companies in Philadelphia, New York, Chicago, or Madison? (à la Myers-Briggs)

I took a real Myers-Briggs test, and I am an INTP. I've never looked into the Myers-Briggs stuff because I thought it was bullshit. But the INTP description fits me precisely, terrifyingly well. So now I'm wondering--I hate working, but maybe I've worked in the wrong places.

Are you an INTP? (We're only 1-5% of the population.)

Is your experience at work somewhere between tolerable and awesome? Which company specifically do you work at in the above cities, and what do you do? (You can MeFi Mail me, of course.)

(If you're a job-loving INTP elsewhere, by all means let me know. Those are just cities that I know and like near family and friends.)

I have a reluctant, disenfranchised math, engineering, and software background, with a dash of neuroscience and biology. I've had a few years experience both in industry and academia. When I was in college, I taught all sorts of random stuff, hundreds of hours worth, to kids during the summers. I got mostly positive reviews from the kids and it was pretty fulfilling. I'm running a couple successful meetup groups right now, which are filled with diverse, challenging, crazy people, and I love it.

To paraphrase INTPs at work: novelty, analysis, creativity, process, complexity, unconventional solutions, calculated risk, independence, alone time, personal standards, flexible and unstructured environment, interaction with a small group of extremely competent individuals, personal growth and exposure to new people and ideas, developing ideas and plans and delegating implementation and follow-through to efficient people. Some famous supposed INTPs: Einstein, Darwin, Lincoln. (I know, I know. Be nice.)

*I'm plugging away at some entrepreneurial ideas, but I suspect the right career would be better for me than the entrepreneurial journey, in terms of cash flow, risk, free time, and freedom.
posted by zeek321 to Work & Money (15 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
(I am ABD in a PhD program. We hates it. There's no way I could get tenure with my current level of motivation. I already have an MS.)
posted by zeek321 at 7:19 AM on April 21, 2011

You like teaching. Be a teacher. With a PhD, you could teach at the high school or college level.
posted by demiurge at 7:22 AM on April 21, 2011

I'm an ENTJ, (close enough - sometimes when I take the test I'll be an INTJ - but always a J. Respect the J)

I cannot work under any boss because we have creative differences (generally I can invent a better mousetrap and that pisses bosses off). Recently I started teaching as an adjunct professor at the local college here. That has been fun and I've enjoyed it.

I love the Myers Briggs but I've often found myself pigeonholing myself (and others) sometimes. So don't let it completely dictate you.

if you can take a (somewhat temporary) job you like and focus on your entrepreneurial goal - you might find yourself in a happier place.
posted by Hands of Manos at 7:26 AM on April 21, 2011

Find a startup or other small company to work for? I work at a small (14 full-time people, I think) software company in Madison, and the size of the company means that I get a lot of flexibility and autonomy in deciding what I want to do.
posted by Vibrissa at 7:32 AM on April 21, 2011

The kind of thinking you're engaging in is a trap. INTPs can be happy in many, many fields, and many different companies. Myers-Briggs is sort of Voodoo and pseudo-sciencey. You can use it as a guide, or another input in solving the whole career puzzle, but treating it as the key criterion in your career search is a big mistake.

Based on the criteria you listed, you would be happy in many different technical fields, including computer software or hardware, many different fields of engineering, architecture. . I also know many, many people who identify as 'INTP' but who make their living in fields like sales, marketing, and event planning, and most of them are relatively happy and effective.There are literally thousands of companies in the three cities you listed where you can be happy. Don't let your type limit your options.
posted by sid at 7:38 AM on April 21, 2011 [6 favorites]

INTP here. While I totally agree that there's a lot of voodoo involved in this sort of thing (and I'm a perma-ABD in a field that uses this sort of thing a lot), Myers-Briggs felt uncannily accurate to me.

Sid has it right when he says that any "type" can be happy doing anything. That said, I love what I do for a living and feel that project management is a perfect fit for my personality.

YM-of course-MV.
posted by bluejayway at 7:47 AM on April 21, 2011

I agree with Vibrissa and Sid's answers.

1. I previously worked in large companies (5,000+) and now work in a much smaller one (100 or so). My current employer is great. Everyone is at least competent at what they do, unlike my previous experience, where incompetence, laziness, or otherwise a-hole behaviour would go unnoticed.

My employer is a software company that rewards and encourages innovation (for real! not just lip service like my previous jobs). If I have a good idea, I am encouraged to pursue it. For the past year I've worked on a project that never would have even gotten past the proposal stage in other places that I've known.

2. Even though MBTI can be a useful tool, don't let it limit or dictate your life choices. It's not so much that 'INTPs would be happiest in job x or company y'. (I mean, I took the 'real' test and scored 100% on the I, so--sales? teaching? Noooooo, not for me. But yes for other INTPs.)

There are many factors that can attribute to an environment where you'd thrive. If you look at what you wrote in your post about INTPs at work, do those seem like they're specific to just some industries, job types, employers?
posted by methroach at 7:59 AM on April 21, 2011

Myers Briggs is not who you are, it's who you default to being. I'm an INTP and have had a successful career in both technical and managerial roles. You can do anything you choose to (and you will _have_ to do things that aren't on the INTP preferred work list at _any_ job), you just want to find something that allows you to enjoy most of what you're doing.

In my case, that means finding opportunities where I can work on difficult, thorny problems.
posted by bfranklin at 8:02 AM on April 21, 2011

We're only 1-5% of the population.

And I wager 50% of MetaFilter.

I'm an INtp. I work at a small web/software startup and I love it.
posted by zsazsa at 8:04 AM on April 21, 2011 [5 favorites]

I’m an INTP/J. Your “paraphrase” is phenomenal. I like MBTI because it does fit me so well, and therefore helps me feel okay with who I am and what I want without feeling like some entitled arrogant misanthrope.

My understanding of your question is that you aren’t so much looking for A position in B field, but rather specific companies whose cultures allow this personality type to flourish, instead of absolutely STIFLING and/or actively discouraging it. Unfortunately I haven’t found any such places. But I’ll have my eye on this thread.

In general though, I look for companies and managers who are results-oriented instead of job-duties-oriented. Interviewers who ask what types of things I’ve done and am interested in, as opposed to going down a checklist of skills requirements; can I as a whole person help their company versus do I have the requisite pegs to fit into their holes regardless of whatever else I can or want to do.

But I pretty much have always assumed that I’d get most of my life’s kicks outside of work, as the other INTPs and Js that I know do.
posted by thebazilist at 8:14 AM on April 21, 2011

I'm an INTP as well. I think you should be looking for INTP friendly jobs, not companies. Also, how you interact with your manager is going to be much more important than the company as a whole (although it's true that office culture does have some effect on this).

I read once on an INTP synopsis that we enjoy planning more than doing. This is COMPLETELY true for me. Currently, I'm a SAS programmer, but the only aspect of my job that interests me is the planning portion. I'm also big into troubleshooting. There are definitely things out there for you if you're anything like this. I've been in IT/IS so long that I only have suggestions in those areas: project management, data architecture, systems engineering, and probably most any analyst job.
posted by smalls at 8:39 AM on April 21, 2011

I dumped a consulting career a decade ago in favor of coaching kids. It helped that I had a good grounding in, and am somewhat a student of, the sport. A little teaching, in a performance environment. A little teamwork, but master of your domain. A little art, with a lot of science. Lots and lots of planning and training. Unlike a 14 year old hockey player (who might have 10-15x more pratice time than game time) my 14 year old swimmers enjoy 300-400: practice:performance ratio.

it works for me
posted by mce at 8:46 AM on April 21, 2011

If I read you right, you love running groups "filled with diverse, challenging, crazy people". That doesn't sound very introverted to me.

In fact what I'm hearing about your being a reluctant math, engineering etc guy and ABD PhD and hating it doesn't sound very much like INTP either.

It may be that what's going on here is that there is a mismatch between your image of the kind of guy you are and who you actually are.

Anyway, FWIW, I've found science based companies (not "technology" aka computing ones, but natural or life sciences based) are good places for the kind of person you've defined as INTP. Pretty much by definition you are working with smart people developing new approaches to something or other, and pretty much by definition they understand the needs of the kinds of people that do that.
posted by philipy at 9:23 AM on April 21, 2011

I am Unix/Linux system administration in academia, New York area. I like being a sysadmin, the combination of new projects and fixing problems works to keep me interested.
posted by fings at 2:12 PM on April 21, 2011

Solutions for Progress in Philly...a company that makes software that low-income people can use to figure out benefits they are eligible for. Lots of art in the building, friendly, somewhat casual atmosphere, and understanding management. I don't work there but I have visited and as an INFP (so somewhat similar) I really liked the environs.
posted by bearette at 8:13 PM on April 21, 2011

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