ENFPs want to find a career they are passionate about. Settling for a mediocre career choice seems unacceptable to this personality type. As for INFP career-seekers, money is rarely a strong motivator for ENFPs, who generally care little about material comforts or possessions. They’d rather be doing what they love and living in a shack than get rich performing unsatisfying work.
ENFP college students may struggle to identify a college major that can satisfy their broad-ranging interests and abilities. Like ENTP career-seekers, the broad and expansive nature of ENFPs’ interests stems from their dominant function, Extraverted Intuition (Ne). While Introverted Intuition (Ni) can be associated with a desire to go ever deeper into a given subject, Ne tends to be more expansive and dilettantish. Like other NP types, ENFPs feel compelled to explore all their options before making any permanent decisions. They need to experiment and experience life in order to “find themselves.” Hence, it can be unrealistic for ENFPs to expect any single college major to satisfy all their interests and curiosities.
Despite the challenge of funneling their wide interests into a specific career, job, or college major, ENFPs can excel and find satisfaction in a broad-range of careers. ENFPs are generally intelligent, creative, good with people, and can have a knack for entrepreneurship. Those who develop their tertiary function, Extraverted Thinking (Te), can also make excellent leaders.
ENFP Holland Career/Code Interests
To orient our discussion of ENFP career interests, we will now draw on six interest themes described by John Holland and the Strong Interest Inventory. The Holland career interest themes include the Realistic (R), Investigative (I), Artistic (A), Social (S), Enterprising (E), and Conventional (C) domains, commonly known as “RIASEC.” After identifying one’s preferred interest domains, these letters can be combined in a way similar to the personality types to form a multi-letter “Holland Code” (e.g., IAS, RAI). This can help individuals identify their best career choice.
Individuals with Realistic interests enjoy physical, hands-on work, often involving machines. They may take up careers such as computer science, engineering, architecture, and construction. Realistics tend to enjoy working with “things” more than people. It is therefore unsurprising that this interest domain is correlated with a preference for Thinking over Feeling. Research suggests that S, T, and P types are somewhat more drawn to Realistic work than are N, F, and J types.
As Perceivers, ENFPs are somewhat more inclined toward Realistic work than ENFJ career-seekers are. Many ENFPs love being outdoors and immersing themselves in nature. While Realistic interests are rarely foremost for ENFPs, they may opt to take up Artistic or Investigative work with a Realistic element. They may, for instance, pursue careers in forestry, environmental science, or landscape architecture. Various types of art, such as the technical side of music, might also entail a Realistic component that ENFPs find interesting, allowing them to marry their NF with their Te tertiary. This was embodied in the life and work of Steve Jobs, who was compelled to marry his interests in art and technology.
(This Personality Junkie post is continued on the next page.)