Career

What to do When You are Miserable at Work as an INFJ

If I’m not at least slightly miserable, am I even working?

I’ve asked myself this question so many times. My parents used to tell me that you never like what you do for a living. You just work so that you can do what you like to do after work. I hate that mentality. I really do. I don’t want to spend my whole life being miserable in a job. I want to do something that’s exciting and rewarding. I want to change lives with my work. 

The problem is that I need money. And as much as changing lives is my dream and goal and plan, what happens if I can’t afford to pursue that full time right now? Or what if I don’t even know what it is that I want to do at all? I just know that I have to go to work because rent and car payments and credit cards. 

Do I just have to be miserable in a job that I HATE for the rest of my life? Is this IT?

The short answer is no. You don’t have to be miserable! There is SO MUCH you can do. So, let’s break it down a little bit. 

Why are you miserable? 

Let’s start with why you are miserable. Do you hate the work that you do or is it more the company or the people. Because changing jobs is a whole lot different than changing careers. 

Morals & values

I hate to admit that there have been a couple of companies that I have worked for that I don’t agree with their values as a company. It’s so hard for an INFJ to work in a place like that. When you know in your heart that what the company is doing is wrong, it almost makes you sick. At the end of the day, you have to chose between your morals and values and the job. 

Respect

Working with people who don’t respect you is another killer. I’ve worked with several bosses who have been intimidated by my thinking and planning abilities. What happens is they get intimidated and then start treating you poorly. They either don’t ask you for ideas, take responsibilities away from you or start gaslighting and belittling you, making you think you are wrong and that you don’t know what you are talking about. The best thing to do in that situation is to get away from them. You aren’t going to change them and there is nothing that you can do to prove your worth or intelligence to them. And you shouldn’t have to. Your work should be enough. So if it’s not, it’s time to move on. 

Are you using your skills? 

Being in a job where you can’t utilize your skills is also difficult. INFJs have a unique set of problem-solving skills, along with everything else that you are skilled at. We also have such passion for our work and such a deep desire to learn things that we are generally very knowledgeable about our work. When you can’t use that it wears on your worth as an employee, which in turn can wear on your worth as a person. It’s important that you are putting your skills and your mind to work and that you are using them in your position. 

It’s always the people

My dad used to tell me “it’s never the job. It’s always the people.” Boy is that true. I had a job where I loved the work and like 3 people, but the rest of the people made it hell. I had another job that the people made it impossible for me to even do my job with their ridiculous reasoning and their old fashioned business plan. 

You can’t change people. Let me say that again… YOU CAN’T CHANGE PEOPLE. Remember that. This applies to all the people in your life. But when it comes to the people you work with, unless you are the boss and can make people do things, you can’t change them. You are not going to be able to change the company culture or their belief systems. It’s an impossible task for one person. 

I’m scared

This job is terrible, but the last job was terrible too. What if it happens again? What if I get another horrible job that I can’t stand? I’ve been here before. The best thing that you can do is learn from your mistakes. Ask more questions upfront. Make sure that you are using job interviews to get insight into the company and the position as well. It’s as much for you as it is for them. Also, know that there are a lot of terrible jobs out there and you may have to weed through a few before you find one that is the right fit. 

What if it’s me?

As INFJs we have a tendency to blame ourselves when things go wrong. My friend told me something wonderful that I am going to share with you. When she starts to doubt herself or when someone says something negative about her she asks herself, “Is this my truth?” She takes a minute to analyze the comment or doubt and really say is that really me? Am I showing up on time? Am I doing my best work? Am I completing all of my tasks and giving my all? If you can answer yes then it’s not you. It’s not your truth so you don’t need to worry about that. 

Can you get out? 

YES! Let’s DO THIS!

If there is an opportunity for you to leave, DO IT! Don’t wait for the right time. Start putting yourself out there looking for a new position. There’s never going to be a right time. You are never going to be ready. You just have to do it. Make a strategic plan and go for it. Don’t waste your time being miserable.

No… I need the money

I get it. I have been there so many times. It’s so difficult to go to a job every single day that you hate. In this case, you need a plan. 

Make an escape plan

As much as you want to write your letter of resignation, there’s a reason that you can’t leave right this second. But there may not be a reason that you can’t leave next year or in 2 years. Whatever your situation, make a plan. It’s important to be strategic about your career moves. Your plan doesn’t have to be specific. It could be as simple as I need to stay here for a year for more experience or I need to finish my graduate degree before I start applying for the jobs that I want. Whatever your reason is, make sure that it’s a plan and not just an excuse. 

Find something to look forward to

I love to plan things in advance so I have something to look forward to. I planned a cruise for April in October so that I have 6 months to look forward to that vacation. I need something else to focus on at times when things are difficult at work and It really helps. Find something that you like to do or want to do and remind yourself that it’s coming when things are hard. It also gives you extra motivation to stay, knowing you have to pay for that too. 

Make some friends

I know, but just go with me here. Making friends is difficult, but, friends make a miserable work environment a little bit better. They may even be able to give you some insight into the company and some of the people you are struggling with. Misery loves company and miserable people have something to bond over. 

Start a side hustle

If you are miserable in your job because it’s not allowing you to be creative then find another outlet for that creativity. Starting a side hustle is always a good idea. You never know where it will lead. You can do a lot with a simple blog or a cookie making business. And when it’s your own business you can do whatever you want. 

Focus on something bigger

This one goes back to that plan that we spoke about. You have to know what you really want in life. That’s a difficult question to answer too. For most people, it’s a process and sometimes it requires the process of elimination. Sometimes you have to work a terrible job for a while to realize that you don’t want that. But that experience will help push you to what you are supposed to be doing. 

It’s important to have the big picture in mind when making these decisions though. Is it just about right now? Or is it more about next year or 5 years from now? What’s your plan look like and what can you do now to make it better? 

A lot of INFJs connect their career with their purpose. They are very closely aligned. Take this short quiz to find out which career is right for you!

Take the Quiz Now!

4 comments

  1. What if I know exactly what it is I want to be doing (I have a masters degree in it and everything), but nobody will hire me to do it, and I can’t afford a 40 hour a week unpaid internship in it? (And I’m miserable because I working in an open plan office and I hate it, and it makes it impossible for me to do my work)

    1. Hi there! I know exactly what you are talking about. I have been in that situation as well. There are a couple things that you can do. First of all, let’s get you out of that open office plan! Those are the WORST!!

      Are you currently looking for a new job? If so, keep looking! Sometimes it takes a while to find the right one. If you are not looking, think about why not and maybe reconsider.

      I would also suggest that you have someone take a look at your resume. It’s nice to have some outside eyes on it to see if you need any tweaks that could help.

      I also offer 1 on 1 coaching if you are interested. Good luck!!

    2. Omg. This is my exact situation. 😩I thought it was just me. It’s very hard to transition into my career. Part of it is the INFJ me, I know it. But part of it is lack of experience. But I cant force my self to want “mainstream“ jobs that I might have a shot at. I have a vision and I want see it through.

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