Within each INFP is a bottomless lake of love and compassion. Exactly what the fuck is an employer supposed to do with that?

Myers-Briggs Personalities and Income

There are two valid forms of personality tests: Myers-Briggs and the Sorting Hat—BUT ONLY the Sorting Hat as defined by the collective wisdom of the broader Harry Potter fandom. J. K. Rowling’s Slytherinphobia is as well-documented as it is inexplicable. Pottermore cannot be trusted.

If you don’t know your Myers-Briggs personality, you can find it out pretty easily. The internet is clogged with free tests of varying length and quality. I like this one, personally. It’s thorough but nowhere near as long as others.

In general, Myers Briggs judges personalities in four metrics: introvert (I) vs extrovert (E), sensing (S) vs intuition (N), thinking (T) vs feeling (F), and judging (J) vs perceiving (P).

If you don’t want to take a quiz, you may be able to guess what you are. Introverts feel recharged when alone, and extroverts feel at-home among others. Sensors like to take people at their word, while intuits tend to look for meaning between the lines. Thinkers are rational and logical, while feelers are empathetic and expressive. Judgers (not to be confused with the judgmental) prefer plans and orderliness over the perceiver’s more casual, open-ended approach.

Your type, your income

Check out this infographic on Myers-Briggs types and household income. I find it fucking fascinating.
Personalities by income.
It makes a lot of sense that of all the possible combinations of personality traits, some people hit upon a combination that’s more in-demand by employers. Or at least more marketable.

It makes a lot of sense that of all the possible combinations of personality traits, some people hit upon a combination that’s more in-demand by employers. Or at least more marketable.

What makes an ENTJ a consistently high earner?

I can speak to this one, because I am an ENTJ! And ENTJs are very good at talking about themselves. #borderlineNPD

It’s a rare type—only about 2% of the population. Given that, it’s a personality that’s disproportionally represented among executives.

ENTJs are decisive, big-picture thinkers. They move toward goals with all the delicacy of an elephant. (“There’s a tree in the way.” “Never mind, it’s gone.”) Though relentless, they are not hyper-focused in the way that some types might be. Instead, like painters, they step back frequently to reassess, then move forward again to hone in on some deficient detail. Efficiency is their drug of choice. A mistake is perfectly acceptable, but a mistake repeated is the fourth Unforgivable Curse.

ENTJs move toward goals with all the delicacy of an elephant. (“There’s a tree in the way.” “Never mind, it’s gone.”)

Unlike many results-oriented types, ENTJs are also highly flexible, adaptable, and charismatic. It’s a package of traits that goes hand-in-hand with hostile takeovers. My whole personality is a hostile takeover.

In terms of money management, Myers-Briggs enthusiasts agree that ENTJs are peerless. Their ability to change plans quickly, adapt to new problems, see the big-picture and little-picture simultaneously, drive relentlessly toward a goal, and marshal an army of supporters are their key characteristics.

The world through ENTJ eyes.

Employing the ENTJ

All of these traits serve to make me a very attractive employee. I work fast. I’m self-motivated and self-managing. I understand my time as a strategic investment—where it pays to be a perfectionist, and where I can afford to be sloppy. If there’s a leadership void on a team, I fill it. I’m extroverted and gregarious enough to make friends around the office and inspire their loyalty. Intuition helps me suss out political drama and cut straight to the heart of problems.

I’m also not emotionally involved in my work whatsoever. I can be very “mercenary” about my own career. When it’s time to move on, I leave. I don’t make unnecessary sacrifices for my employer. At 5:01 p.m. every evening, they’re dead to me. This aloof aura of self-importance has actually gotten me more respect around the office.

Crucially, I have a keen idea of what I’m worth, and absolutely no compunctions about advocating for myself. I will be paid what I deserve, or you will admire my ass on its way out the door.

What makes the INFP a consistently low earner?

I can also answer this question with a high degree of authority, because my partner is an INFP.

The first time I saw the above infographic, I roared with laughter. Because it was absolutely, totally correct. I make $100K a year, and he makes $20K.

Why do INFPs earn so little? It’s an interesting question, because INFPs are not bad with money. There are some personality types on here that are impulsive and capricious with their money, but not the INFP. They’re actually super frugal. My husband is haunted by lunch guilt when he springs for a $2 hot dog between shifts.

INFPs are low earners because what makes them special is very difficult to monetize. Within each INFP is a bottomless lake of love and consideration. Exactly what the fuck is an employer supposed to do with that?

INFPs are low earners because what makes them special is very difficult to monetize.

Employing the INFP

There’s a “joke” that I’ve heard working many times in corporate ‘Murica: “How may of you in the room are in sales?” The idea is that everyone is supposed to put their hand up, because everyone, no matter their function, is in sales. All functions within a company—whether it’s HR or marketing or IT or building maintenance or janitorial—all drive toward enabling the company to sell whatever product or service they provide.

And INFPs make for terrible salespeople, especially if what they’re trying to sell is themselves.

Where ENTJs love conflict and can easily detach, INFPs hate conflict and can’t help attaching. They’re also slow-working perfectionists who easily wander off into the trees, missing the forest entirely.

INFPs undersell themselves to potential employers, negotiate less and accept less for their salaries, pour their hearts into their work, become fascinated and absorbed with its most minute details, and lay awake at night thinking of all the ways they could’ve done things better.

But all of these undesirable traits in an employee add up to a truly incredible human being. They’re humble, caring, thoughtful, deeply emotionally involved, and peerless at anticipating others’ needs. Companies and corporations have no use for those things and no idea how to monetize what makes an INFP special.

In contrast, a fellow human being knows exactly how to utilize an INFP. Cold-blooded ENTJ reptilian shapeshifter that I am, I bask in the warm, steady glow of his ardant dedication.

Why are you here?

While writing this, I asked my partner what he felt he was put on this earth to do. “To love,” he said, after quite a lot of thinking. “How about you?”

“To conquer,” I said, with no hesitation whatsoever. And we both smiled at each other with admiration. Our strengths and weaknesses compliment each other perfectly. And then we puked everywhere because love is fucking disgusting.

Personality typing is lighthearted fun, but I also think it leads you to the important question of “Why are you here?” Ask yourself now: what were you put on this earth to do? If that skill is easily monetized, you’re probably going to come to wealth a little more easily. If it isn’t, you might not. Conquering is what businesses do best. They conquer roadblocks, other companies, their own customers. Loving, by contrast, is the one thing no one will ever be able to put in a box and sell.

Ask yourself now: what were you put on this earth to do? If that skill is easily monetized, you’re probably going to come to wealth a little more easily.

I want to hear about your personalities now! Are you a big bar, or a little bar? Tell me what you are and how you think your personality influences your finances in the comments below!

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34 thoughts on “Myers-Briggs Personalities and Income

  1. I’m going to start us out by admitting that I am a proud (proud?) INTJ! Also known as the “Architect” in certain Myers-Briggs circles, INTJs also fall under the Rationalist category of reasonably high earners.

    As to why I’m here? I’ll admit, it didn’t take me long to think of an answer. What immediately popped into my head: “To make things better.” Which, as a professional editor and unprofessional den mother to the Island of Misfit Toys (aka my friends), feels quite fitting indeed.

    1. Also INTJ here! Looking forward to coming into that $70k bracket any moment now. Super interesting post, I never would have thought of the connection between personality type and earnings but it makes total sense now.

      1. Wut WUT?! I find that percentage deeply fascinating, especially since most of the bevy of INTJs who have commented here are financially savvy women.

  2. INTJ checking in. Make about $20k a year. I work third shift. It’s quiet. People, for the most part, leave me alone. Spend 75% of my shift writing and watching netflix or messing around on twitter.

    Really interesting post. I can see how INTJs have the potential to be high earners in certain fields. Put us in a small, distraction free room, isolated from the rest of the world, and there isn’t much we can’t do.

  3. ISFJ baby! I make more than my type in that chart but was definItely stuck in lower pay while I was in journalism. What’s stopping me from earning more? At this stage finding a job that doesn’t require too many trade offs for the $$$ (in terms of, I still want to love my work more than not, and not have too much stress as I don’t cope well with stress).

    Partner I believe would be ENTP – also a low earning type. As Penelope Trunk once wrote the problem with ENTPs is lack of follow through. Indeed lack of follow through and lack of direction. Is what keeps him where is currently. He’s of the type that has no Calling and so IMO why not do what makes you the most? We’ll see how the next couple years play out. (Bit more on that here http://nzmuse.com/2015/06/post-jobs-settling/)

  4. SO MANY INTJs!! ❤️
    So, I’m another INTJ. What am I here to do? “To make things better” definitely resonates. To offer perspectives that no one else is offering. To be curious; to question from the root, but then to do something about what I find. To investigate & then create.

    I’ve been a low earner my whole adult life because I had a surly inner disdain for the idea that I even really needed money when instead I could instead have freedom, time, and devote my time to creative work that was meaningful to me but not very financially remunerative.

    I don’t regret those choices. But I recently decided that I needed to change my game plan & earn at a higher rate (because it turned out that Society and Social Norms are *not* the only reason a person might want to have money; go figure), so I looked pretty strategically for the right kind of opening, found one, and am now on track to double my income this year.

    I see a thread here in which I decided what my priorities were, made a plan, and got what I wanted, all of which seems very INTJ of me 🙂

    1. “…it turned out that Society and Social Norms are *not* the only reason a person might want to have money…”

      YES. THIS. Choosing to make your goal “make more money than I need to survive” can make you feel hella shallow at first, but it all depends on what you’re going to do with that money. I wanted a high-earning job so I could afford to buy a house. Now that I have a house I can offer space to people and animals stuck in shitty situations. That makes my heart feel FULL AS FUCK. Double your income and I bet you’ll quadruple the resources you have to “make things better.” THANK YOU FOR READING!

      1. EXACTLY. I deeply relate to the classic INTJ inability to gaf about doing things because “that’s how it’s done”, “that’s what you’re supposed to care about,” etc. i.e. social norms, and honestly I had never been exposed to a framework for money that matched my values, so I aimed for doing shit that matters to me + earning enough $ to live frugally-but-comfortably, and decided anything beyond that wasn’t relevant to my interests.

        But like you, my heart feels FULL AS FUCK when I’m able to share resources, and a big part of my perspective shift has been realizing that more resources within my control = more resources I can deploy toward what matters to me.

        Also, I DON’T feel shallow, because why should we leave resource deployment solely in the hands of people who are “interested” in money, whose interests/values beyond that may frankly suck?

  5. I am sometimes an ENTJ…and sometimes two or three others! XD

    Each time I take it, I get a different result — even three times in the same week once. The “T” is very strong, but the others tend to be weak. And…just took it again and got ENFP, so go figure.

    1. This probably means you’re on the border of some of your traits. For example, my N/T/J are strong AF but I’m a weak E. I’ve taken the test five times, and gotten ENTJ four. I got INTJ once, and it was during a time where I was very frustrated with my roommates. It definitely colored my answers. (Also…some tests suck. Looking at you, 16 Personalities.)

  6. Great post, love the chart categorizing income by personality type. I’m an INTP and always wished I was more extroverted, but it’s comforting to see that it isn’t my introvertedness that is limiting my income, it’s my lack of organization Thanks for putting this together BGR!

  7. So I am a INFP (holler to your husband!) and I landed in a career trajectory that seems like it maximizes my INFP tendencies to SAVE THE WORLD, BUT QUIETLY, as well as being well paid. I am a psychiatric nurse in a part of the country that pays nurses well. I make about $95,000 so I’m an INFP outlier. However, had I not stumbled into nursing, I could be very easily working in a tiny non-profit or as an adjunct professor somewhere and being an underpaid idealist. I am lucky to have found a profession that pays me well, because as the article notes, there isn’t a ton of market demand for the easily distracted, abstract thinking nurturers out there 🙂

    1. Well first off, hello, I love your kind. I’m so happy you found something that fulfills your values AND pays you well!

      Mr. Kitty would not make a good healthcare provider because he’s not great at compartmentalization, BUT he’s making a career change to become a full-time software engineer and he’s really excited by the idea of working on healthcare/wellness apps.

  8. Another frickin’ unicorn here (INTJ female)! I make a pretty good living ($100k/yr) bossing nerds around. Like another commenter, I always wished I was more extroverted. But it’s simply not to be…

    First time seeing your blog (via the Rock Star Blogs list); but with this many Masterminds in your readership, I think I’m going to be a regular visitor. Oh – and the pupp-ay (kitt-ay etc.) love as well. I’m all down for that.

    1. Wooo! Welcome! Thank you for your sweet comments. And we’re trying to reach INTJ critical mass over here, so the more the merrier.

  9. I’m an INFP at last check (i’m borderline on a couple and too lazy to retake it just for the sake of a hello). I’ve kind of managed to make myself look good to potential employers just by emphasizing my caring empathetic side as ‘good at teamwork’ and minimizing my hyperfocusing by calling it ‘nitpicking’. I just got a job thanks to a number of guides all over the internet, but it’s low paying, so I get to start off slow on my get rich journey.
    I’d say my purpose is to experience, and to help others experience too.

  10. INFP here. So true, so true about what they . I allow the universe to dictate what I am worth based on love. *cough**cough*
    It took me til my mid 40s to finally stand up for myself in negotiating. But I also need to thank my friend who really made sure to help me get what I was worth through the years.

  11. Here’s an INFJ (according to most recent testing) who is here to “leave it better than they found it”. Very close to that ideal of making things better but just a bit too much emotional decision-making I guess which is probably the biggest thing holding me back financially. I know exactly how I could earn more, and prepared a syllabus for how
    to do so, but I just CAN’T because it feels YUCKY.

    1. What is it about the thought of earning more that makes you feel yucky? (Not that I’ve never felt this way. I used to not charge charitable non-profits…until I realized all I was doing was making it harder to feed myself.)

      1. I think it comes down to the prospect of selling; specifically convincing my clients to spend more. I have a very hard time telling other people what to do with their money and time. I can imagine “better” ways for them to spend it and most of my advice to clients centers around getting them to a place where they no longer require my services. Mary Poppins much? Would you call her an INFJ?

        1. Ooooo, I relate to this a lot. Personally, it helps to remind yourself that in selling, you are only suggesting. They still have the choice of whether or not to buy your services. So all you can do is show them the value you will add to their lives, and then step back and let them make the decision.

  12. Consistently test INFJ, but I borderline between S/N when I look at the explanations. Either way, veryyyyyy much little bar — not a surprise since my goal is to go into a nonprofit career! And to answer your other question, I believe I was put on this earth to help or to care for others, something I’m excited about but that I know will most likely not lead me to a six-figure salary at any point in the future.

    As a fellow personality-type enthusiast, I’d like to recommend to you the Enneagram types. They’re super fascinating, and take a different yet similar approach compared to MBTI. I definitely suggest you look into it for some fun!

  13. I decided to comment for the first time to say thay another INTJ lady is here. I am still a student, so we’ll have to see about that earning bracket, but as for what I’m here for: to be successful in whatever I decide to do!

  14. I SOMETIMES AM AN entj!!!! Other times I like to go around Downtown LA and pretend that I’m Amaatheus- Destroyer of worlds!!!! (We don’t know what Amaatheus’s MBTI is yet, but I do get a kick of ppl looking at me like I’m one of the crazies.) I can speak to this one on earning potential, as I moved out to LA to start my 1st successful conglomerate at the age of 26. This was a great challenge for me, as I deliberately picked industries I had never been in before to test this whole “ENTJs are natural entrepreneurs” thing. It actually worked, granted I have very solid business training, and am relentless to a fault when there is a goal that I can’t achieve. Now at 29 I am on the hunt to make $12M by this time next year. I had no idea that ENTJs were the best at money management, I would have assumed that we were among the top, but tied or second to another type. I can also speak to the whole need to concur. After LA I plan to go to NYC, then London, and hit every mega city till Tokyo, where I plan to have my Global HQ for my businesses. That won’t be for some time though.

  15. Another female INTJ here and I’d say I’m here to learn (I’m an academic). Which is why, I suspect we INTJs are not as high-earners as some of the others—too deeply invested in getting completely immersed in the one thing we’re into, rejecting authority (and thus bosses), and not concerned enough for making smiley-faces at our bosses and co-workers.

  16. I am an INFJ/P social worker, and my husband, an ISFJ, happily works in radio. We are the epitome of the lower earners on the graph, and it cracks me up. This is also funny to me when I think about how I’ve been actively dissuading myself from applying for positions where I could make more money because it would mean leaving the trenches of community-based work–where the “real need is.”

  17. ENTJ here and my spouse is an INFP! Such a perfect combination. We are both self-employed artists, and YES! He is always worried about money even though we have THREE homes in three different states! However, he makes good money now because I negotiate for him! (being self-employed helps of course) SUCH a great article. Healthy ENTJs are money-making machines. And i totally agree – I love and admire Jorge’s sensitivity and strong gentleness… and he admires my audacity and conquering drive!
    So glad I found your blog! I’m a fan!

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