The INTP — Introversion (I), Intuition (N), Thinking (T), Perception (P) Myers-Briggs personality type — is characterized by a passion for intellectual pursuits and a strong sense of creativity. Known as “The Logician,” this type is likely to easily notice patterns and spot lies without breaking a sweat. Famous INTPs include Albert Einstein, Bill Gates, Socrates, and Meryl Streep.
Understanding your personality type is helpful because once you discover it, you can focus your energy on following a career path that best allows you to be yourself and plays to your strengths instead of trying to fit into a mold that doesn’t suit you.
INTPs in the workplace
Starting a new job may be difficult for Logicians, as they can often be shy when first meeting new people, but once they become comfortable, they open up. INTPs thrive in environments where they know what they are doing well, so if a Logistician is working in a position in which they are familiar, they are more likely to exude confidence. Their appreciation for solo time makes them extremely likely to be self-employed.
Logicians prefer thoughts to be expressed clearly and succinctly, so attending meetings that are unorganized can frustrate them. Their deep appreciation for accurate information can lead them to correct others, which coworkers may find off-putting. They typically value their independence, so working on important projects on their own may be preferred to working with a large group. Though they may not feel a strong desire to lead, they often take charge when working on projects that involve multiple people to make sure that everything is done correctly and meets the highest standard possible.
A major positive that INTPs enjoy when serving as leaders is that their ability to run through scenarios quickly allows them to discover problems and come up with multiple solutions with greater ease than most.
As managers, they implement solutions quickly — ideally reducing the amount of damage the problem can cause. Being able to see multiple sides of an issue also means that if a specific employee has caused the problem, the Logician is able to see many sides of the situation and understand where they went wrong. A downside is that because their mind moves so quickly, when they explain a topic, it can be difficult for them to do so in a way that makes sense to most people, and a subordinate may need to ask them to explain their plans or expectations in simpler terms.
INTPs are often more comfortable letting others take charge and shine in the spotlight. If there’s one drawback to being an INTP, it’s that following a direction that they find uninteresting isn’t always easy for them to do. Managers should be able to encourage them in order to get the best work out of them. They value flexibility over rigid structure, so providing them with options to be alone can give them the boost they need to perform their best work.
Best INTP career choices
Careers that depend on high levels of intellect and don’t depend on regularly engaging with unfamiliar people are ideal for INTPs. Performing work that is mentally stimulating increases the likelihood of INTPs really engaging with the task and excelling. Careers that require specialized knowledge but also encourage creative thinking skills are ideal for INTPs.
While the superb attention to the detail hat INTPs possess could pose a problem while teaching young children, this trait makes them ideal candidates to teach advanced courses at universities.
INTPs’ love of intellectual pursuits and ability to analyze complex system makes examining languages in depth an ideal career path.
Architects rely on creativity as well as logic. This means that Logicians have both needs fulfilled when pursuing this career.
Writing allows INTPs to work from home and use their intellect. Understanding grammar rules allows them to fulfill their need to engage with systems of organization.
Because philosophy is a discipline that requires both strong abstract thinking, intellectual aptitude, and analyzation skills, a career in the philosophical field is an ideal fit for INTPs.
Logicians can spend hours studying in libraries alone, and this path allows them to indulge.
Analyzing and relying heavily on systems is a Logician’s dream come true! By being able to analyze problems and use specific systems to solve them, they have many needs met.
How to find the right career for your type’s strengths and weaknesses
Since INTPs can take a while to warm up to new people, networking and interviewing can be more of a challenge than for those with more extroverted personality types. But hope is not lost! When INTPs are in environments where they are able to express and engage with ideas that they’re passionate about, they are more likely to excel. Their fear of failure can become a hindrance to reaching their full potential, so overcoming this fear is vital if they want to succeed.
Because the interior life is so important to INTPs, attending readings by writers they are familiar with or other cultural events can be a great way for INTPs to engage with other people. When interviewing for opportunities, INTPs should remind themselves of their strengths and focus on working in fields wherein they can use their intellect and analyzation skills.
The worst careers for the INTP personality type
Because they can take things so seriously, Logicians experience the highest amount of career dissatisfaction. Jobs that depend on interacting with the public, lack intellectual engagement, or rely on high emotional intelligence can pose issues for INTPs.
Sales and Marketing
A key to being successful in sales is having the ability to easily put oneself out there...and this doesn’t always happen with INTPs. Being expected to communicate with strangers to convince them to purchase a product is not an ideal situation for INTPs.
Having to speak to large numbers of people both one-on-one and in audiences isn’t the best choice for those who recharge by being alone. Speaking about their personal lives and being in the limelight is not the high point for people who prefer to be behind the scenes.
Jobs that depend on having an outgoing personality aren’t always the best for people who are introverted and may be tempted to call people out for making mistakes. It can take INTPs a while to feel comfortable around new people, and earning a living by being exceptionally friendly to strangers is a challenging endeavor.
Because they so strongly value logic, INTPs can depend on rational explanations over the emotional. This can pose a problem if they are tasked with encountering people in emotionally vulnerable situations and reacting in a way that conveys empathy instead of analyzation.
Nurses provide patients with medical care, but they also often have to take the emotional state of patients into account while treating them. Additionally, having to interact with strangers frequently can cause unease for INTPs, and nurses must be comfortable with frequently having interactions with multiple people.
Kayla Heisler is an essayist and Pushcart Prize-nominated poet. She is a contributing writer for Color My Bubble. Her work appears in New York's Best Emerging Poets 2017 anthology.