Career Confused

I have always been confused when it came to choosing a career or my future ambition. The word “Career” seems so big to me and I view it as an important life long decision.

I know a lot about my personality type INFP and have learnt a lot about myself over the years but I still cannot decide what to do.

I’m in college now and I finally decided to double major in Psychology and Economics. I chose these because they are my interests and also because I heard that they are flexible majors in that there are many options and opportunities for jobs within these two majors. That is why I feel a little less anxious now.

However, I still do not have any specific career in mind. It is of utmost importance to decide what I want to to do because every internship, experience, activity I undertake should match my future career.

I truly want to be happy and fulfilled in whatever career I choose. PLEASE HELP ME WITH YOUR ADVICE!


Comments for Career Confused

Relax and enjoy the ride!

by: Cherry Douglas 

Reading your question, the main thing I want to say is to give you permission NOT to know what you want to do!

Making career choice a burden

In many different ways you seem to be burdening yourself with this career choice issue as major life changing decision – ‘I view it as an important, life-long decision’, ‘It is of utmost importance that I decide…’, ‘every activity I undertake should match my future career’. By talking to yourself in this way it is no wonder that you are feeling weighed down and frozen into indecision! Where do these ‘rules’ about your career come from? Are they yours or someone else’s? How else could you define the word career so it feels less burdensome?

Yes, in the past the typical career was chosen at 16, 18 or 21 and you then dutifully worked your way up the ladder till you retired at 65 or so with a gold watch.

The old rules no longer apply

This just does not apply any more – and in fact this model of a career has always been a bad fit for some and if they have had the courage, they have carved out a very different trajectory through their working lives, one that did not fit the traditional pattern, and they have been happier for being true to themselves rather than to some external one size should fit all model.

But the world of work is much more fluid now; change happens at a pace we have not experienced in the past and workers need to be ready to adapt as they go along. It is highly unlikely that young people starting on their careers now will pursue the same thing for the whole of their working lives.

Go with your personality preferences

And with iNtuition and Perceiving in your MBTI type, you are likely to be much happier with a career that is relatively unstructured, allows you room to try new things and not be pinned down. You may well have several careers before you retire and that’s fine!

So yes, you need to start somewhere and if you know yourself well, you will be able to see which options would be a good place to start. But please do not think of this choice as ‘a life-long decision’. You will grow and change over the years and what is a good fit for you now may not work for you at 30 or 40. See yourself as embarking on a journey of exploration where you will regularly stop and take stock of where you are, and at these points you may choose to go off in a totally new direction. How much more fun will that be that tying yourself down to one thing for ever?!

And don’t forget, work is allowed to be fun!

I suggest you change your mantra to ‘I want to be fulfilled and happy in all the different careers I pursue throughout my life’ and then just think about the first steps on the journey. Knowing it does not have to be forever will make it a lot easier to get started.

INFP careers

by: Anonymous 

As an INFP, I related to the problem addressed, and have only just worked out for myself at age 51 that my “career” is a series of stages, each teaching me something new before I move on. I think part of the problem comes from our perfectionism – wanting to get things “just right” rather than allowing ourselves to experiment.

Still uneasy


Hi Cherry!
I am the college student that posted this question about a year ago!!!!

Thank you for your advice and you are right that I viewed it as this all important life decision. I put the word career on a pedestal.

I have since then changed my perspective, however I am still feeling uneasy at not being able to figure out what I love. It is really frustrating because I just feel so scattered without any direction.

You are right when you say to treat it as a series of experiments. However I think my situation is a little different because I am an international student studying in the U.S. I will be graduating next year and it is really hard to get a work visa to stay here in the states. Therefore, in my situation it is even harder since I don’t even know what I would like to do.

I’m really worried. I know that everyone I speak to says to not worry and that you have to get experience in a variety of things to know what works for you. But I do not have that luxury at the moment. And I think for some of us, it is in our personality to be more sure of ourselves and life direction when we have discovered certain things.



Try following your skills and abilities

by: Cherry 


Good to hear from you again and glad that my comments have helped you to change perspective on your career a little.

I understand that your situation as an international student adds another layer of complexity to the issue. What does this actually mean for you? Do you have to find an employer in the US who will take you on as an intern or employee in a professional ‘career’ role for your visa to be extended?

If your top priority is to stay in the US, then you could for now take a different line on career choice by asking yourself ‘what are the jobs I am capable of doing and would find reasonably enjoyable?’ Any employer will want someone who is competent and who will make a positive contribution to their organisation. Take a look at your skills and use these as a guide.

We are all capable of doing many different jobs perfectly satisfactorily (many people do this for their whole working lives) and as people have obviously said to you, why not just get started with something that will allow you to show yourself as capable, committed and easy to get on with?

You say ‘I think for some of us, it is in our personality to be more sure of ourselves and life direction when we have discovered certain things.’ So what do you need to discover about yourself to feel more sure? And how will you discover it? Whatever it is, perhaps the way to find out is by trying something rather than thinking and analysing and expecting the perfect solution to pop up! It is a bit like wondering what the view from the top of the mountain is like while standing at the bottom. The only way to find out is to start putting one foot in front of the other! Once you start moving, you can adjust your route in the light of experience.

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Amy Thomas

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