The #1 Sign It's Time to Switch Careers, Based on Your Personality Type
March 10, 2021
You can do your entire job on autopilot. You’re consistently the smartest person in the room. Your work is interfering with your personal freedom. Your loyalty to your colleagues is starting to fade.
While it’s true that any Myers-Briggs personality type can thrive in any career, there are certain conditions that will naturally inspire (and drain) each of the sixteen types.
If you’ve been plugging along at the same profession for a while now, it may be time to stop and consider whether or not your work is still serving your best interests. Here’s how to know it's time to switch careers, for each of the 16 Myers-Briggs types.
ISFP: You no longer want to introduce yourself using your job title.
To you, a career is not just a job—it is a crucial component of your identity. You want to be able to stand behind the work that you do and feel passionate about the value you’re bringing to the table—a task you only know how to approach with 100% authenticity. You know it’s time to start weighing your options when you start feeling reluctant about tying your identity to what you do. After all, if you can’t stand confidently behind your own work, who’s going to?
If you can’t get out: Get creative.
If the conditions aren’t perfect for leaving, manage your desire for authenticity by pouring your personality into your work in smaller ways. Get creative about organizing your office space, contacting your clients or delivering personalized reports. You may not have full autonomy yet, but there are small ways you can keep yourself sane until a more fitting option becomes available.
ESFP: You’ve stopped wanting to talk about work off the clock.
For you, the line between work and play is thin—you want to enjoy waking up and heading to the office every morning. Your coworkers become more like family and your clients know that if anyone will go above and beyond for them, it’s you. You know it may be time to switch careers when your paycheck stops feeling like anything other than a means of making rent. You want to enjoy your life as it’s happening and if that’s not an option in the workplace, you’ll find another place where it is.
If you can’t get out: Get side hustling.
The conditions aren’t always perfect for jumping ship. Luckily, you enjoy having your hands in a lot of different pots, so stretch your creative muscles by building skills in other areas. You’ll be inspired by the change of pace and it likely won’t take you long to build up the capital you need to get out.
ISFJ: Cooperation has become inconsistent.
More than anything, you want to make a meaningful impact on others through your work. In a healthy and well-established team environment, you shine. But when conflict begins getting in the way of your ability to give back, it may be time to think about a shift in career. You know it’s time to pursue greener pastures when the environment that surrounds you has begun dragging you down with its frequent negativity. There are many opportunities elsewhere.
If you can’t get out: Get transferred.
You may not be prepared to walk away from your company altogether but switching into a different office environment can often work wonders to reduce conflict and stress. Request to try out another role before quitting out of stress or exhaustion.
ESFJ: Feedback has become vague and intermittent.
When you invest in a job or career path, you invest 100%—and the people around you take notice. Your hard-working attitude comes naturally, but you need to stay engaged and tapped into your environment in order to feel like you’re doing a good job and incorporating everyone’s needs. It may be time to think about switching career paths when you no longer have a solid gauge on how you’re doing. You work best when you are given frequent feedback and any workplace that fails to offer you the chance to grow and improve in your role is a workplace that’s unlikely to keep you for long.
If you can’t get out: Get assertive.
You hate to make anyone unhappy but it's time to assert your needs. Take it into your own hands to arrange consistent feedback loops in your workplace that encourage everyone to stay accountable and on track.
INTP: You’re no longer interested in experimentation.
You’re a master at following procedures (understanding them comes naturally, after all), but the lifelessness of going through the motions feels agonizing to your long-term intellect. You need to be challenged by new problems and granted the autonomy to experiment freely in the workplace. You know it’s time to seek out other options when the challenges that used to fascinate you now seem commonplace and dull—but there seem to be few new problems available for you to solve.
If you can’t get out: Get educating.
If you’ve reached the end of your own intellectual advancement in your workplace, take the time to educate others toward theirs. By arranging what you know in a meaningful way, you may find that you still have knowledge gaps to fill in. Those gaps may even keep you interested enough to stay inspired while you search for another professional path.
ENTP: You can do your entire job on autopilot.
For some, cruising through the workday is a dream come true. For you, it is a slow form of torture. You come to life when you are designing your own challenges and when the drawing board goes empty intellectually, it’s a clear sign that you may need to start thinking about a shift. You know it’s time to switch careers when you’re no longer voluntarily staying up until 3 am mapping out your next grand plan. A visionary without a vision is of very little help to anyone.
If you can’t get out: Get innovating.
You may not be ready to break out right away—and if that’s the case, consider how you might flex your creative muscles exactly where you are. Look for small opportunities to overhaul procedures or spearhead a side business that keeps your mind occupied. If you can find a way to keep yourself challenged, autopilot will not stay engaged for very long.
ENTJ: You’re consistently the smartest person in the room.
You live, sleep and breathe personal development—and your work is no exception to this rule. You make a point to surround yourself with highly motivated people who have skills that you want to take on. The higher you rise, the more difficult these people may be to find. You know it’s time to switch your career path when you’re constantly the teacher and never the student. Your passion for growth is your greatest asset‚and there’s no doubt you’ll find a way to exercise it forcefully elsewhere.
If you can’t get out: Get prioritizing.
If your work can’t be an outlet for personal development at the moment, consider where else you can get your fix. By reshuffling your priorities to ensure that growth is still at the forefront of your life, you’ll set yourself up for a future of continuously greater endeavors—both personally and professionally.
INTJ: The path to the end goal has grown narrow.
You work most efficiently when your goals are clearly defined but the means for achieving them are flexible. Nothing interests you more than expanding your knowledge and skillset in order to accomplish a goal in a creative new way. If the options for doing so become limited, so does your interest and investment in your work. You know it’s time to switch career paths when the process of getting to your goals becomes dull and procedure-driven rather than intuitive and interesting.
If you can’t get out: Get implementing.
You may not be physically or financially ready to leave the career you’re in just yet. If that’s the case, entertain your mind by analyzing how the procedures you’re following might be altered or improved upon. Chances are, your workplace will appreciate having a contingency plan or two in place, even if they can’t implement them right away.
ISTP: Your work is interfering with your personal freedom.
To you, work isn’t your life—it’s a critical component of what allows you to enjoy the lifestyle you love. As a flexible and analytical worker, you fit into many roles—you just can’t stand to be micromanaged or controlled when it comes to your life off the clock. The more you find your work encroaching upon your personal time with family, friends or yourself, the better an indication it is that you may need a change of pace.
If you can’t get out: Get negotiating.
If you’re being asked to work extra hours, change your schedule on the fly or comply with someone else’s demands, think about what you might be able to ask for in return. Figure out exactly what the extra work is worth, and charge for it. Your clients will start thinking more carefully before they ask you for ongoing favors.
ESTP: You’re constantly ousted from the driver’s seat.
It’s not that you can’t cooperate or follow strict orders—it’s just that doing so isn’t particularly exciting for you. The joy in your work comes from exploration and experimentation. If you find yourself following more than you’re leading (or at least doing your own thing) it may be a sign that it’s time to consider a different path. The energy you bring to any workplace is a valuable skill—one that deserves the opportunity to flourish.
If you can’t get out: Get enterprising.
If there’s anyone who can find a way to expand upon the work they’re doing and make it into something new, it’s you. Flex your creative muscles by proposing a new project to your manager or team – spearheaded by you, of course.
ISTJ: You feel the need to cut corners to hit targets.
If there’s anything you pride yourself on in the workplace, it’s quality and reliability. You hold yourself to high standards and aren’t interested in compromising your work ethic in order to hit targets or reach milestones. When you’re being made to cut corners in order to get a job completed, it’s a key sign that you may want to be investing your diligence elsewhere.
If you can’t get out: Get organized.
Lean into your organizational abilities to discern where you can cut down on time or outsource the details, without compromising the quality of your output. If switching careers isn’t an option, perhaps reprioritizing your energy is.
ESTJ: You don’t like where the leadership is headed.
You’re an incredibly loyal worker who doesn’t shy away from putting in as much work as it takes to hit a target. You just need to know that the person you’re taking orders from is competent and capable of leading the company in a meaningful direction. When you begin to get inklings that this may not be the case, it may be time to begin searching around for places where your strong work ethic will be put to better use. If there’s anything you don’t want, it’s to be onboard a sinking ship.
If you can’t get out: Get optimizing.
You may not be able to fix the direction of the organization overnight but you are certainly capable of making your corner run as efficiently and impressively as possible. You aren’t one to wait around to be told what to do, so take advantage of your natural assertiveness and implement as many small changes in the right direction as possible.
INFP: Your loyalty to your colleagues is starting to fade.
When you take on a job, you aren’t just investing in the company—you’re investing in each of the people you work with. Knowing that you have a team of passionate and purpose-driven individuals counting on you can get you through almost anything in the workplace. But when that loyalty starts to fade, so does your connection to what you are doing. Your heart needs to be invested or else your productivity is bound to suffer. And somewhere else in the world, your best work is direly needed.
If you can’t get out: Get outspoken.
You have a strong moral compass and the corruption or disharmony you’re perceiving is likely not lost on others. To keep your sanity, be clear about which parts of your work make you feel uneasy. You may be surprised at how far a small amount of meaningful feedback can go.
ENFP: When you can’t confidently stand behind the value of your field.
You live to inspire and excite people—whether you’re on the clock or off. Meaningful work is work that makes peoples’ lives better and if you perceive your field to be doing the opposite, it can be hard to grapple with the disparity. You may need to consider changing careers if and when you can no longer stand confidently behind the value of what you do.
If you can’t get out: Get honest.
Be the voice of reason in an unreasonable field. Expose the corruption where it exists so that others know exactly what they’re getting themselves into. It may get you into a little trouble along the way, but you’ve never been one to shy away from a little chaos if it’s for a good cause.
INFJ: When the challenge to improve yourself is gone.
You look at your career not only as a place to give back but as a place to grow and challenge yourself in new ways. Being pushed towards your potential is something you seek out in any professional endeavor and when the challenges begin to stagnate – or when the people around you are failing to support your growth – it’s a critical sign that it’s time for you to move on.
If you can’t get out: Get a mentor.
You do your best work when you’re holding yourself accountable to someone you respect. Find a professional mentor—in or outside of the workplace—to keep yourself on track when the challenges in your environment are less than inspiring.
ENFJ: You’ve lost your passion for making a difference.
You don’t work to live—you work to contribute. You have an impact you’re aching to make on the world and your profession tends to be a reflection of that, rather than the other way around. When you find yourself uninspired or indifferent in relation to the causes that once served as your driving force, it’s a major red flag that a professional shift may need to be on the horizon.
If you can’t get out: Get invested
Hold yourself accountable to making a small but meaningful change every day while you’re pursuing other options. Develop the skills it takes to make a small-scale change so that when (not if) the opportunity to make a larger difference comes along, you’ll already have the mechanics down.
Questions or feedback? Email email@example.com