3 Painfully Disappointing Career Choices For ENFPs
“When you’re looking at a job and your enjoyment or success in it, there’s more to it than just the category or the title.”
In this post I’m going to talk about three careers ENFPs often get excited about, often invest years and tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars into education to pursue and then ultimately end up being pretty disappointed.
This is based on my own experience as a coach and ENFP consultant working with hundreds of ENFPs now around the world and what I’ve heard from you guys about disappointments and the difference between the perception of what our career could be like and the actual reality.
So before I jump into these three careers, one thing I do need to say is that when you’re looking at a job and your enjoyment or success in it, there’s more to it than just the category or the title.
For example, in law, you could be the lawyer fighting the big fight against the evil company, and you’re working with a small team of people, you really love fighting for justice.
Or you could be at the lowest rung of the ladder in a corporate law firm, where you’re essentially a glorified secretary, you’re a lawyer in both cases, but your day to day experience is pretty much 100% different.
So that’s something to keep in mind with all of these examples – finding the right fit and the right company to work for, or maybe starting your own company can be a solution to work in the field you’re really interested in, but perhaps generally does not align with your personality.
ENFP Bad Career Choice #1: Architecture
I have talked to more than a few ENFPs who’d become architects.
They were so excited about design, about doing things differently, about changing buildings and just creating things.
And then they got into an actual job as an architect, and they were like: “Oh, wow, this is really boring. There’s a lot of admin work, I spend way too much of my time dealing with permits and this sort of stuff, rather than actually the designing.”
The sad thing about this is – I’m guessing, I’ve never been to architecture school – but I’m guessing in architecture school, you focus a lot on designing things, you’re in charge of your whole project.
So you make things and you have a lot more creativity and output which as an ENFP is probably awesome.
And then you get into a job.
If you’re in a larger architecture firm, which everyone thinks that’s what they want, you end up at the bottom of the ladder, doing permits and doing paperwork.
It’s really not nearly as enjoyable as you think it will be.
One sidenote here: There is a very famous Danish architect that I’m almost positive is ENFP after watching a documentary about him.
I’ll include that information about him here and maybe that is someone you can model.
If you are an ENFP and you still want to go into architecture, you can model what he’s done in his career as perhaps a blueprint for a really successful, highly creative architecture career.
ENFP Bad Career Choice #2: Digital Marketing
Number two is digital marketing.
I have talked with ENFPs who get really excited about digital marketing.
They’re like: “I love technology. I love marketing, or I think I love marketing, I don’t really know what it is, they say, but that sounds really exciting, right?”
They might move to San Francisco and get a great job at a progressive firm as a digital marketer.
And then they realize that, basically, that means looking at spreadsheets of Facebook ads and SEO optimization all day – and it’s like the worst possible ENFP job.
This can happen in a lot of marketing and advertising jobs where the part of those jobs us ENFPs are really good at would be the creative part, maybe copywriting coming up with the sales copy, coming up with the concept, being really creative, maybe even understanding our audience and market research a little bit.
The reality is with digital marketing, it’s no longer a Mad Men world, where you’re sitting in a boardroom getting really creative and coming up with the best local ad pitch.
There are still some jobs like that but most digital marketing is a lot more like spreadsheets, tracking, tweaking, these sorts of things, which, if you asked me, are not very exciting, not something I’m very interested in.
Now add to that that in many cases, if you’re working for a digital marketing agency, you don’t really get to control what kind of clients you work with.
So maybe they’re big clients that are fine, but they’re boring. Like it’s a car company, you’re not really excited about selling their cars or helping them promote or maybe you end up having to help market a company that you’re not really morally aligned with.
And that’s even probably worse, so another potential downside to a generic digital marketing career.
Now whether or not learning digital marketing skills is valuable is a whole another question.
As an entrepreneur myself and as someone who encourages people to become entrepreneurs, in many cases, learning some digital marketing skills to apply to your own business, in your own style and with your own freedom could be really valuable.
But as a career for any ENFP probably not the best fit in 90% of cases.
ENFP Bad Career Choice #3: Public School Teacher
The third one is being a high school teacher or perhaps I can say just being a teacher in public school.
In general, a lot of ENFPs love helping people.
We love teaching.
The thought of being a teacher.
That I could impact a life.
That I could make a difference.
That’s exciting. I would love to do that.
The reality is: Year one is really fun.
Year two still fun. You’re meeting new students, you’re creating the curriculum, you’re getting to understand these children, you’re getting to change lives.
Years three, four or five from what I’ve been told from teachers – the bureaucracy adds up, the frustration adds up.
You have been in a system that’s so confining and having to teach the same lesson over and over again and having to be really strict on what you can teach in many school systems.
This is the kind of stuff you have to teach.
This is how you have to teach it.
On the surface being a teacher is something ENFPs are amazing at.
We’re great teachers. We’re great storytellers. We’re great at mentoring and developing other people.
Well, actually, being a teacher within the school system in many countries ends up being really frustrating and limiting and quite disappointing for ENFPs.
Finding The Right Work Environment as an ENFP
Now, before you make any drastic decisions about changing your direction, I want you to think about what I said at the beginning of this post – not all work environments are the same.
There are environments where an ENFP could thrive as an architect.
Where they could be an awesome digital marketer and have a great time and be very creative doing it.
And I’m sure there are many teaching positions ENFPs are excellent at but you’ve got to put in the time to find the right work environment.
What I would suggest doing is finding someone who is really happy and successful in the career you want to do and learning from them or at least buy them a dinner and find out about what they did differently, what route they took and any advice they’d have to find somewhat similar environment for yourself where you’re going to be a lot happier.
If you know someone involved in any of these 3 careers, or perhaps you yourself have a hands-on experience in them, share that in the comments below and let me know if you agree/disagree with me on this one.
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