If, for some god forsaken reason, you’ve chosen to make your career in an office; or, like me, you’re stuck in one for the foreseeable future, here are some tips on making the most of your sentence stay.
Be part of it
Don’t be a casual observer of the world revolving around you. Don’t spend all of your time analyzing an dissecting people. Take part! Do what’s asked of you and more. Step up exceed expectations.
The most important part of surviving the black-and-white carbon copy syndrome of working in an office is to make friends with a few people. Find people you can be yourself around and exchange survival techniques for your company.
Nothing relieves stress like taking a few minutes to act silly, tell a joke or make someone laugh. A good sense of humor is important in surviving being buried alive in an office
Kick a$$, take names
Just kill it, crush it and other tough-guy cliches. Wake up, get the cobwebs out of your head. Get some coffee and focus up for an all out battle to achieve awesome for the day.
Drink tons of water
It’s far too away to neglect your body when you’re busy kicking a$$ and taking names. I recommend getting a big reusable bottle and plopping it right in your desk. Make sure to finish one by lunch and another by the end of the day.
Go for walks
Getting away from your work and your desk for a bit is super important for your mental well being. Find someone who needs a break and go walk up some stairs or to get a coffee or tea.
Pay attention to how you feel when you put crap in your body. Then eat some clean food the next time. Totally different feeling. And it turns out, the crappy stuff only leaves you feeling lethargic and empty. Also, keep away from vending machines!
Have a hobby
This will quite possibly save your life. You’re an INFP with a lot of creativity. Channel that energy after work. Create something beautiful.
Dream big, execute flawlessly
Spend some of your INFP dream powers to envision your company as more efficient, profitable and lean. How would you achieve that? Come up with an idea and see if any of your superiors like it. Working on your own ideas at work is a freeing feeling!
Life is a balancing act and it’s easy to think sleep isn’t important. Spend a week getting 8-9 hours each night and see how different you feel.
Talk to your boss when you’re unsatisfied
If you’re not doing anything you like. See if there’s something else you can be doing. A lot of people are afraid they’ll get fired, but I’d rather be fired for trying to better my life and the company than for being too scared and miserable. Any good company/manager should understand that a happy employee is a productive employee.
Get a new job!
If it’s bad, look for something new. I routinely get a new job every 3 years or so. I don’t set a timer or anything; that’s just when I get bored.
Always work on an exit strategy
My goal in life is to run a business and quit my job. Without that dream, I will lose hope and fall into despair. So I’m constantly working on something outside of work that I think will push me toward that goal.
Find things you like to do and get more involved
If you hear about committees or groups within work, volunteer! Talk to your manager about getting on those committees. It’s a great feeling to be in the bowels of the company trying to fix things for everyone else.
Find allies with power
Again it comes down to befriending your boss and their boss. Show your worth to them. Help them whenever possible. Make it your mission to help them succeed and you too will succeed.
Learn the politics of when to speak up and when to shut up
Get massages regularly
Massages are something everyone needs more of. If you’ve never had a professional massage, go get one! They’re an important way to help you relax. If you have had one, schedule one now!
Be passionate about your company
I once bought stock in my company just so I would care more about their success and would resist slacking off at work. After all, my wasting of time was wasting company money and killing stock price.
Take time for yourself to have fun
Don’t be afraid to take days off to just chill, relax and get things done around the house.
Learn to laugh about the things that annoy you
There’s a great cartoon that we software developers love called Dilbert. The little guy boils down office culture in succinct and funny little comics.
A corporation is full of lessons on learning, especially about how to run – and not run – a business. You’re destined for greatness if you take these lessons to heart and use them to create your own brand of awesome in the future.
Take risks and break rules
Being comfortable is great. But it signals something is wrong. You’re not growing. Talk to your manager about getting more responsibility. Forget the social contract that we “won’t go over our boss’ head.” Just talk to your manager’s boss whenever possible. Try to understand where they’re coming from. This will open more opportunities for you.
Workout as much as possible
If you don’t exercise during the week, you should. Exercise helps burn away anxiety and helps you feel mentally and physically strong, so you feel like you can deal with any BS the workday throws your way.
Make friends with your manager
You can look at your manager as your enemy. Or you can get to know them on a personal level and try to understand what they’re trying to accomplish at work. You’ll unleash a ton of empathy and work will be more tolerable as you try to help them with their goals.
Take a lunch break
I know so many people who have stopped going to lunch and I have skipped it at many of my jobs. But I now have a friend who forces us to go to lunch. Turns out it’s a great way to recharge and relax mid-workday. I don’t feel nearly as anxious or drained at the end of the day.
I’m very interested in hearing what other people do to survive Corporate America.
Do you think I missed something? Let me know in the comments and I might include it in this post!
Since my wife is Chinese, I consider myself to be half Chinese. And if you’re like me and a lot of other INFPs, you’re already losing the fight on your 2014 New Year’s resolutions. But the good news is that today is the start of Chinese New Year! So why not renew some already weakened resolutions and use this opportunity to come up with some more easily accomplished resolutions.
I’ve compiled some Chinese-inspired resolutions to help you along:
Drink More Tea - By now we all know the health benefits of tea and particularly, green tea. Take this opportunity to integrate it into your daily routine so that you can cleanse your body.
Drink Hot Water - It was hard for me to get my head around this, but the Chinese (and many Asian cultures) believe that hot water can melt the junk out of your insides and cleanse you. After a while I was happy to have hot water. It’s calorie free and is nice when I just want a hot drink. Give up cold soft drinks and start drinking hot water instead!
Eat Fresh Fish – As an American, I feel we eat so little fish. But it’s so vital for heart health and cholesterol. And although I still don’t LOVE it, I am learning to appreciate it. You should too.
Eat Clean – Authentic Chinese is usually very simple. There are fewer ingredients so you know exactly what you’re eating. And when you eat that way long enough, you just feel better. Although he’s not Chinese, I like Tony Horton’s take on clean eating.
Be Generous - One of the cornerstones of Chinese culture is generosity. Give to others with no expectations of getting something back. And if you’re in San Francisco, we’ve started a site to help you donate your skills.
Take Time off of Work - You know what? I’m a workaholic. I barely take time off to recouperate. But as an INFP, I need to understand how essential it is to just stop for a bit. Random days off and vacations throughout the year are a great way to accomplish this. Plan something now!
Use Feng Shui to Redecorate a Room in Your House - I think that INFPs are a prime group of people to practice Feng Shui. As a sensitive individual, I’m sure you’ve walked into places that just feel nice; that have a good vibe to them. And I’m fairly certain that most of that feeling can be attributed to Feng Shui. The arrangement of the items in the room greatly influences the flow of energy throughout the space. Do some research and do some simple Feng Shui in a room to see how it changes the feel of the room. P.S. Sounds like a great job for INFPs!
Clean to Get Rid of Last Year’s Bad Luck - A big part of Chinese New Year is cleaning your house. The idea is to sweep away bad luck from the previous year and welcome in good luck this year.
Learn Tai Chi – Tai Chi is a beatiful form of Chinese Martial Arts that is all about energy flow and allowing your body to align to the energy of the universe. Sounds like another great job for INFPs!
Get Closer to Nature - I think all INFPs need to be closer to nature. Go walk in a park. Enjoy the beauty of nature around you.
Waste Less - Another hard concept for me to grasp was eating the ENTIRE animal. I was totally freaked out when my mother-in-law and wife were eating chicken’s feet and congealed pig’s blood. But when you look at it, that act is more “green” than any act of recycling I’ve ever seen in the U.S.
Get a Haircut - One common act is to get a haircut at the end of the year. Which means it’s too late for this year! Cutting anything during the New Year (which is just over two weeks long) is considered bad luck.
Spend Time with Family – The best part of Chinese New Year is taking time to relax and spend time with family. We go out and eat together and it’s nice to just take a small break to appreciate what we have.
I hope you can take something away from these ideas and please let me know if you have any others in the comments below!
I’m the CIO of a great non-profit called Generosity Street, that my friend in San Francisco put together. It’s based on the concept of a gift economy and allows people to volunteer their services and request help from others. The entire point is to do it for free. No expectation of rewards, payment or pay back of any sort. Just the feeling of doing something good for someone.
We originally tried to launch it across the U.S., since I’m in New York, but it was too hard keep multiple regions in focus. So it was scaled back to SF.
There are frequent events called Skill Shares, where a number of awesome presenters come and show you how to do things like yoga or crafts or whatever. There is also a raffle, a swap table and food. And the best part, it’s free!
The next Skill Share is coming up January 25 and I thought INFPs would be a great group to tell about it since we love helping people. It will be a great experience and a great way to meet like-minded people, as well as something that I think is essential for INFPs – focusing on your higher purpose. You can also reach out and volunteer to help with the event itself!
You can find it over on the left hand side of the site and I’ll post it at the bottom of this post.
I always think I have ADD because my mind goes everywhere. And now I sometimes think my son has it because he can’t focus, but he’s only THREE AND A HALF – so he probably doesn’t. But that makes me wonder how many times you’ve thought you had ADD or someone else thought you had it.
“The problem is how do infps adapt to the work environment when at times corporate culture seems the very antithesis of what infps are about? Do you just do it for your family? Do you have to see a way this helps you get where you really want further down the line? How do we use our natural strengths and talents to succeed in the workplace? How do you quickly recharge to be able to invest so much time and energy to pay your bills and have the energy to work in the areas that are really important to you?”
Let Crystal know you deal with working in the comment section below.
I am so excited to unveil our new INFP Art Gallery! We currently have art from Helen Marriott (an INFP Central contributor), Carmen Medlin and Moth Moss. Have a look at their works and leave comments to let them know how awesome they are!
And please, send in YOUR works so that you can be included too. I have thousands of visitors to this blog each month. That’s a lot of eyes on your artwork!
I hope 2014 brings you some serious happiness. Please do yourself a favor and set a goal. Whether it’s to figure out what you want your career to be, or that you simply need a change, set it now.
I personally resolve to re-commit to INFP Central in 2014. I want this blog to be the top resource for INFPs who are struggling with anything in life – from careers to relationships; and a place where they can keep coming back to and connecting with other INFPs.
I used to come home and cry after high school. I felt so completely alone. So empty. I had no friends, no girlfriend and I just wanted to be loved.
I recently got a message from a high school student named Isaiah who feels like he’s going through something similar. He’s from an abusive family who doesn’t support his love of acting and singing.
I beg that any of you who have advice to give please do so for his sake and for those who find this blog but don’t reach out. If we can’t help fellow INFPs then what’s the point of being an INFP in the first place?!
Hey. I have been suffering from extreme loneliness and feelings of separation. So I tried to find others like me. But I can’t seem to to it. As I read about an INFp it seems that I am a paragon of the concept. But no one around me does. People won’t talk to me and tend to scoff at my thoughts. I need advice. I want a girlfriend. I want a best friend. But these wants confuse people because I hate large groups of people. I need help. I don’t want to be alone anymore.
Here’s my reply:
The truth is that it’s hard for all INFPs. And all introverts in general. But probably moreso for us because we’re kind of “weird.” We have a dream world and we try to bring it into reality and it doesn’t sit well with others. Because in our minds there are no boundaries whereas reality is full of them.
What’s worse is that you and I are men! The majority of INFPs are women! Which is theoretically awesome if you were able to find one of them to fall in love with. But INFPs are a minority and it takes time to find people who understand you.
Try not to look too far into the future. We have a really cool ability to see things the way they should be and to project far into the future, but that can sometimes leave us feeling alienated. Bring it back to the here and now.
In general, I recommend praying. It helps you feel like you’re not alone. I completely understand your need to have someone in your life. We need other people! If not, solitary confinement wouldn’t be a punishment! Praying helps. Just close your eyes and say “god, please give me clarity. I don’t know what I’m doing with my life and I feel completely alone. Please show me what I should be doing and give me the strength to do it.” That’s pretty easy, right? Then throw in a “I’m so thankful for x, y and z.” Force yourself to find something good in your life.
I also recommend finding a higher purpose. Start simple. Volunteer your time at a food bank, animal shelter or something that interests you.
Try to find artists, musicians and the like. Not that it’s easy to just go out and meet people, but these are the people most likely to understand us in some form. If you’re not into art or music, try to get into one of them. Take a class. It’s a very good way of expressing those strange thoughts.
Lastly, learn to communicate with people – all of them. There are levels of comfort that most people achieve with time. I can’t walk up to a woman and tell her I love her. I have to try to tell her something interesting first. Something that isn’t bizarre. She has to be comfortable with me. She has to trust me. The strange things in my head tell her there may be something wrong with me and she can’t trust me. Not that you have to hold this stuff in forever. Just don’t let it out immediately. And try to use art to express it, rather than everyday communication. Believe me, I know this is a tall order. I still can’t figure out how to do all of this stuff. But I know where I need to be.
To recap, in order of priority:
1) pray, every day, no matter what, even if you’re an atheist
3) express yourself through art
4) everything else I’ve rambled on about
I hope this wasn’t too long but it’s usually hard for me to keep replying, so I wanted to give you everything at once (which can he overwhelming so I apologize).
Just don’t give up. Keep trying. Keep fighting. Keep looking.
Please leave a comment with your advice. Think I’m way off? Right on point? Let Isaiah know!
Are you a teen feeling the same way? Get in here and speak up! I worry about you kids!
I’d really like to host a virtual art exhibit for INFPs on this site but I need your art/music/whatever!
Consider this: this site gets anywhere between 2k and 5k visitors per month. That’s a lot of people viewing your art!
I’d also like to consider helping you sell your art in the future. Is that something any of you would be interested in? Let me know in the comments!
If you have something to submit, email me at info[AT]the domain you’re visiting(hint: it starts with INFP and ends with Central.com). Subject should be: “art exhibit submission”. Please include a short bio about yourself, how you want your name to be shown and feel free to include a link to your site.