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Hamilcar

INTJs In the Military

60 posts in this topic

I was wondering if any other INTJs are in military service. I am interested in your experiances and how you percieve the military and how soldiers percieve you. Do INTJs belong in the military or do our ideal jobs lie in things like the universitys and the like?

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There are several of us who are/were in the military. Granted the military is not for everybody but there are certain jobs which are a good match for INTJ (data analyst, system design, etc).

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I'm currently a little past my first year in the USAF. Any personal problems I've had so far have had more to do with the people I work with rather than anything inherent in the military itself. To put it simply, there seems to be a disproportionately high number of strongly extroverted people compared to the general civilian population...I don't think I need to go into depth about how that might cause some friction with me ;)

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I've always thought about it, but never went through with it.

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I recommend only INTJ's that are aware of their personality join any service. Granted there are more INTJ types in the AF. GEISE has a point, extroverts are the majority in the military because they want to prove something, where as an INTJ like myself, I wasn’t really sure where I wanted to be or what I wanted to do so I joined and then eventually got out.

Yeah attention to detail is certainly not my forte and people in the military recognized that very quickly. Even today I had to learn on how to focus on details and not rely on my instincts to see just the whole picture.

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I've been in the AF for nearly a year. My job is kind of technical and scientifically oriented, so that part of it has been relatively easy to deal with. One issue as an INTJ that I've noticed is that I'm not always the first to volunteer for things. Not because I don't care about them, but because I'm not always angling for the leadership roles, however good I may be at them when I get them.

To address your last question, I'm undecided if this is where I "belong", for a variety of reasons not necessarily related to my personality. The military can be a lot of different things depending on what type of job you have within it and what types of people you work with. I know of at least two other INTJs that I work very closely with. It's interesting how we kind of stick together.

Personally, the opportunity to travel and study is very appealing. Also, the ability to keep your mouth shut comes in handy, surely you can imagine why.

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I was wondering if any other INTJs are in military service. I am interested in your experiances and how you percieve the military and how soldiers percieve you. Do INTJs belong in the military or do our ideal jobs lie in things like the universitys and the like?

I did 6 years in the U.S. Navy. I signed up as a Sonar Tech, then went into Naval Nuclear Propulsion (Electronics Tech). More than half way through NNPS, we all decided that I didn't belong where I was - I felt that there wasn't enough freedom in problem solving and they thought my grades sucked.

Moved on to being a Navy Corpsman - ER. Was great at that. Went off to become a Corpsman for an infantry unit - organized medical records, etc. Didn't like the boring stuff. Was good at improvising in the field, etc. Command didn't know exactly what to do with me; I was planning to stay in longer but it was the Clinton era - when my father had an emergency quad bypass, I asked for a humanitarian transfer and the downsizing Clinton admin gave a hardship discharge through my detailer.

Obla di. Obla da.

Overall, I didn't fit in well with the units for a variety of reasons - some my fault (I was younger and unstable) and some because of my personality.

---------- Post added 10-18-2010 at 01:46 PM ----------

I forgot to add that my highest accomplishment in my eyes wasn't doing one of the first medical databases in the Navy - it was commandeering the Colonel's Humvee to get a Marine who wasn't breathing to the BAS. I got away with it. Almost got commended for it, but the Colonel had to walk to the BAS so...

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i really can't stand being told what to do. i would say i was gay or schizophrenic or something to get out of it.

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Prior Air Force. Did not feel it was a good fit. Too much uniformity and conformity. Too much reliance on appearance (let's make it look pretty) as opposed to functionality (is there a more efficient way?). Too much politicking within the ranks. I still managed to excel in certain areas - it wasn't all bad. The orderliness was nice. The strict adherence to step-by-step checklists not so much. I enjoyed the experience, I'm proud to have served my country, but making it a career was not really a viable option for me.

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I'm an INFP. Did 17 years in the Navy (8.5 on active duty, 8.5 in reserves). Served first as Radioman (radio/telecommunications), next as a Yeoman (yeah, like the ones in the original Star Trek only I worked at the Pentagon for one of the Assistant Secretaries of Defense), then finally as an Air Traffic Controller (yep, talking to planes, er, pilots actually).

Fit well in the Yeoman rating, not a good fit in the other two ratings (a rating is a job or career field). Ended up doing lots of collateral duty (working for a command other than the one you were originally assigned to) assignments for my last command because, even though I graduated first in my class in air traffic control school, I wasn't good at actually being an air traffic controller (probably because I'm ADD). So when other commands needed extra help, I volunteered. I worked in Human Resources, teaching TQM, conflict resolution, team building, etc (including adminstering the MBTI) and then later did collateral duty at the Family Services Center as a family therapist (I was working on my Master's degree in Social Work at the local state university on my off time). So I had a VERY unusual career.

The most common personality type in the military was/is the ESTJ. Which is, you may notice, the exact opposite of the INFP. So I was as poor a fit as it's possible to be, personality type-wise to the majority of people in the service. I struggled to adapt to the military, but I wouldn't trade the experience for anything. I traveled places I never would have been able to go, learned to handle myself in all kinds of situations, got all my higher education paid for by the military, etc. I would not be the person I am today without my military background.

The most common type in the military is, as I mentioned earlier, the ESTJ. Next is the ISTJ. So STJ is definitely the dominant type. But, the military needs ALL personality types, even the flaky INFPs like me. We all have something valuable to contribute to the military soup. The military, because it is so dominated by the STJs needs its intuitives. So, if you are thinking of joining, I would encourage it. The lack of a "J" (I'm a flaming P, way out on the end of the scale, like 89% or so) was the hardest part for me, when it came to serving in the military. Getting up early, and always having to be on time, organized, etc, were the really, really hard parts. You've got the T and the J...so you are a much closer fit than I ever was.

Plus, the military can use all the smart, competent, clear thinking people they can get.

Edited by dmark5659

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Former US Marine. I found a niche at my unit and got promoted quick from E-2 to E-5 in 3 years. Got out at the end of the 4 year contract to go to college. It was hard going as many people misunderstood me and I didn't know about being an INTJ. The people that mattered liked my work so I did well. It could easily have gone the other way for me. Knowing you are an INTJ and how other people tend to see us can help you deal with it. Being around lots of people in boot camp was annoying to no end. Getting told what to do by morons wasn't fun either. I did learn attention to detail and got motivated to do well in college so it was worth it. I also have some interesting stories.

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INTJs usually disregard hierarchy. That is a dangerous thing in military especially if you are a front line soldier.

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I spent 5 years in the navy as a data systems technician and I can say I loved the job but hated the life style.

My chain of command on the ship did well for me but my supervisors liked my work but I would argue with them constantly and found my self with lots of extra duties because I would open my big mouth.

The Khaki's would give me an easy time getting leave or liberty, My watch bill coordinators would give me easy watches. I only had one that was a real prick to me and would give me mid-watch constantly and change the watch bill at 8pm to give me a mid-watch if I had not had one already.

I loved trouble shooting computers and peripherals and combat systems. The stack of schematics was at least 18 feet tall.

My peers were ehh ok I got along with them most of the time.

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i really can't stand being told what to do. i would say i was gay or schizophrenic or something to get out of it.

Saying your gay wont get you kicked out anymore thanks to Lady googoo. :)

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I have 3 years in so far as an enlisted infantry soldier, in the Army Reserve. Being a low ranking enlisted soldier in the infantry is probably one of the least mentally stressful jobs in the military - I love it. Many of the soldiers in my unit stress over the smallest things, but I enjoy the lack of responsibility, as well as the physical challenge. There are however, many things about the life of an enlisted infanteer that I do not enjoy. I find myself unable to respect leaders who have proven themselves incompetent, and my personality does not fit with your typical "grunt".

When I joined, I scored perfect on the PT test, as well as 98th percentile on the aptitude test. They told me I could have any job in the military, and when I told them I wanted to go enlisted infantry, all I got was :O

In my platoon of ~35 soldiers, there are a few other introverts. They are normally alienated and it is obvious that they don't fit in. I manage to mask my introversion by forcing myself to get involved in many of the group discussions that happen amongst the troops, as well as proving myself the best at whatever we tend to be doing at any given moment. This could be shooting the tightest grouping on a range, scoring the highest on a pt test, or assembling a machine gun the quickest. I work relentlessly to ensure that I am the best at what we do.

Once I finish my degree, I'll be commissioning infantry officer, and going that route as a career. I feel that will be a much more natural position for me, and I will be much more effective at it.

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I am crippled by the constant attention to aesthetic detail the army requires. you will probably find the idea of having a performance review spend as much time delving into that one time you missed a spot while shaving as it does your competence level as maddening as I do. I will say that at certain levels within the military, big boy rules start to take over, and jobs in these areas are unregulated, undefined and give you a free hand to complete the mission. For me these were the most rewarding moments in my life. I'd skip the hassle and try for a federal agent position if I could do it all again.

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I recommend only INTJ's that are aware of their personality join any service. Granted there are more INTJ types in the AF. GEISE has a point, extroverts are the majority in the military because they want to prove something, where as an INTJ like myself, I wasn’t really sure where I wanted to be or what I wanted to do so I joined and then eventually got out.

Yeah attention to detail is certainly not my forte and people in the military recognized that very quickly. Even today I had to learn on how to focus on details and not rely on my instincts to see just the whole picture.

This is what I was looking for. I was wondering if any other INTJs have that lack of 'attention to detail' that the army is always looking for. In order to counter act that I have to create habits in what I do and over analyze things. What I wonder is why are we like that?

I also recently discovered that I am an INTJ and this has created a lot of new revelations into my knowledge of myself. Fortunately I am in ROTC right now so I will make the jump from lower enlisted to officer soon. Funny thing, my ROTC instructor thinks I am too 'introverted' to be an officer by the way. Also I am shooting for MI. Seems like a good fit for me and other INTJs.

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Also I am shooting for MI. Seems like a good fit for me and other INTJs.

It can be, just depends on where you are doing the job. I know a few 14N (Air Force code for Intel Officers) that are doing jobs that I (as a INTJ) would not consider appropriate for a INTJ, but it's all about making it work for you. So you will just have to see what the job requirements are for where you get stationed and turn them as close as possible to make the job an INTJ job.

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Military Police - The investigations aspect of it I enjoy, and if it wasn't for that I'd leave. I have no time for drunk knob heads.

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Intel isn't necessarily a good fit, IMHO. My observation is those guys are more restricted by pointless rules and regulations than anybody else.

14 years in the Army, all on the officer side. 10 years as an infantryman, the rest in operations research. Most of my staff time was either as a company XO or in plans and ops, where you're responsible for dozens of different projects at any given time and have to juggle them all.

I loved the infantry, for a multitude of reasons, although it has more than its share of rank-makes-right idiots. Greatest appeal was the challenge of the tactical problem: done right, synchronizing the actions of 40 or 130 guys on a battlefield with artillery, air support, and whatever else you can get your hands on is a thing of beauty.

I've also worked on the civilian side as an adult. Plenty of self-serving assholes in the corporate world, too. And the idea that any job will protect you from "following orders" is absurd. The military at least has the courtesy to tell you that's what you're doing.

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Acyckowski is right.

Plenty of self-serving assholes in the corporate world, too. And the idea that any job will protect you from "following orders" is absurd. The military at least has the courtesy to tell you that's what you're doing.

The military might not be the greatest fit for any IN types, considering it's dominated by ES types. But then, isn't the entire world dominated by ES types? Especially the corporate world, if I remember correctly from my work with MBTI and team building. The key to succeeding anywhere is finding the niche where you can be comfortable and productive. Believe me, if I, as a female INFP, could manage a career in the military service, then anyone else with the proper desire, intelligence and motivation could too.

True, the military was not my favorite career. I have since found work I enjoy more. But the things I learned from my military service were invaluable in helping me succeed elsewhere in life.

If, as an INTJ, following rules and SOPs (standard operating procedures) is abhorrent, then work (inside the sanctioned framework) to get them changed whenever you can. A certain amount of BS is inherent in the military. All that attention to shoes being shined, creases being perfect, etc., can be infuriating. After all, how important can it be to maintaining world peace to have your uniform perfectly pressed? But it teaches discipline, and attend to detail...which are things INFPs sorely lack and often need to succeed anywhere in the real world.

A big difference between the military and the corporate world is that in the military, things are more 'cut and dried.' The rules are out there for everyone to see. The penalties for infractions are spelled out. The requirements for promotion and for succeeding on the job are clearly defined and everyone is made aware of them. And theoretically, everyone within the same job field and ranking has an equal chance for promotion. It's a more black and white world...and a more egalitarian one too, in some ways. Yes, the military is very hierarchical between the ranks. But within each rank, treatment is more equal than in the corporate world. No such thing as getting promoted because you married the Colonel's daughter, for example. You make rank by competing with your peers on a level playing field...no favors because of who you know or whose butt you kissed or who your father is.

My father-in-law retired from the Air Force as a full bird Colonel (yes, I married the Colonel's son...but I didn't even meet him until I was out of the service). ;) My father-in-law was in military intelligence. In fact, he was part of the OSS (which will tell you a little about when he served, perhaps). He was an INFJ. Different from an INTJ, yes. But plenty of similarity too. Obviously, he did well in military intelligence or he would not have made Colonel.

But military intelligence has no doubt changed a great deal since WWII and the 1950s. Whether or not the changes have made it less of a good fit with the IN types, I couldn't tell you. Personally, I think all of the 16 MBTI types could have a successful career in the military, provided they go into it with the correct motivation and mindset.

Best of luck to you!

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Wanted to do it as a kid (of course). Started thinking about it seriously at 16... then went another path.

Three years ago I really started thinking about it again--in the last year I've pretty much decided it's where I'm going.

I'm ramping up for BUD/S, which is what I want to do (no, I don't have a contract yet).

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I served from 1996-2000 as an enlisted intel analyst with the Army, and I did fine.

INTJs don't actually have a problem being told what to do. We have a problem being told what to do by unproven morons, which is the exact situation you often find yourself facing in the civilian world. At least in the military the chain of command normally isn't full of incompetent people. You might find yourself working for an E-5 who isn't that bright, but normally everyone above that level has some justification for attaining the rank they hold. As another poster already pointed out, there is very little uncertainty when it comes to promotions in the military. It's more of a meritocracy than anything you will come close to finding in the civilian world.

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My dad, an INTJ, has served 15+ and is still active duty in the Army. I don't know the specifics but he is a JAG officer. Right now he's teaching law to MP's. He seems to enjoy his work.

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I quit the Academy. I was the number one in my class, but I realized i could not fix the navy until I become an Admiral, which I wouldn't because of my lack of political skills. Even if I still believed that I could help fix it, I'd had to sacrifice my life, and I don't think I'd do it.

I love the University.

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