Dark Side: Protocol, Shmotocol

Monday, November 30, 2015 3 Comments A+ a-

Hello from the cold and rainy Midwest! Being Monday (along with said cold and rainy weather), my Cafe coffee pot has been working overtime today. I had a hard time waking up. I've had an even harder time staying awake. Rainy Days and Mondays might have gotten The Carpenters down, but they just make me want to crawl right back into bed and stay there.

So before my coffee cup gives out (and my head hits the keyboard), let me take a moment to congratulate Dusti K. and Dawn W. on winning the Cafe giveaway prize bundles! YAY!! E-mails have been sent, and I'm getting everything together to mail out soon. Thanks again to all of you for making the giveaway so much fun. I'll definitely be doing that again in the future. :)

In our last Dark Side post, we faced up to the fact that we often overlook the details/rules put into place by societies that thrive on them. In other words, we're Ni/Se people living in a largely Si/Te world. Conflicts are bound to arise when dreamy and idealistic rub up against functional protocol; the INFJ can easily end up feeling like a victim.

Elaine's next paragraph expands on this concept. It's a lengthy one, so I'm going to break it up a little to make it easier to analyze:

INFJs make conclusive decisions based on intuitive analysis (Ni) provided by current information absorbed in sensing the environment a la Se (and in particular, social-psychological information thanks to Fe). And while they may be adept at doing what’s “socially customary” thanks to Fe, they have a much harder time navigating when it comes to doing what is “bureaucratically customary.”

This goes along with last week's post. The INFJ's observational skills (Se) are based on the here-and-now, leaving us rather oblivious to (and resentful of) rules and regulations that other types have no problem observing and following.

As such, they have reduced patience for STJ types, often feeling that their Si/Te methods are more of an impediment to progress than an actual aid. They may rail against STJs as being short-sighted, arbitrary, bureaucratic, obsessed with useless facts and trivial details, overly-finicky about meaningless issues, and unable to see the big picture. The simple fact is INFJs cannot value Si/Te things as a good investment of their time and energy and they begrudge occasions where they’re forced to “waste time” following protocol.

Right. Show of hands, guys: how many INFJs out there have been monumentally frustrated by red tape procedures and nit-picky details that made it difficult to reach a big-picture goal?

Admit it. We've all been there. We're sitting at ABC and can see a clear path to XYZ, but there are so many hurdles in between that we either lose interest or give up entirely. Or...become a Sith Lord in order to destroy that annoying rule-based system and rebuild it into our own intuitive Empire.

This makes INFJs particularly inefficient and ill-suited for certain administrative work, particularly where following protocol is of utmost importance. Any INFJ expected to do this kind of work for an extended period of time is likely to become restless, agitated, and resentful. Unfortunately, folks expecting reliability and consistency from an INFJ worker will usually be woefully disappointed when they discover the INFJ cannot be trusted with “seemingly easy and straightforward tasks.” Employers may grow frustrated with an INFJ administrative assistant who sets up a document index a different way every time she does it.

I totally agree with this. INFJs are not only good at picking up patterns (and becoming bored with them), we don't have the same value for protocol that others do. It's not that we can't perform a "seemingly easy and straightforward task", because we can. But we must have an authentic, INFJ-worthy reason for doing so. It must provide or result in something meaningful, like an emotional connection or an intuitive resolution that makes the world a better place. And I'm not being trite...harmony, resolution, and world peace are our thing. That's where we want to put our efforts, and not in filling out forms or keeping track of minute details.

So, it's probably a good idea for the INFJ to shy away from workplaces that require following tedious protocol without valuable results (our kind of value, that is). These kinds of jobs will bring out our Dark Side, and nobody wants that.

What we're really good at is working humanitarian positions--like counseling, spiritual guidance, health care, education, the arts, and so on. The earlier we figure this out, the better chance we have of developing our inner Yoda and walking a higher path.

Protocol drives me a little crazy, guys. I can do it, but it's helpful if something worthwhile waits on the other side. How about you?

Image Credit: Monday Coffee, Show of Hands, INFJ Career Types


Write comments
January 23, 2016 at 8:58 PM delete

Found your site from the comment on your last site. As long as I know the rules, I can learn to operate within them. If there isn't something worthwhile waiting on the other side of whatever system I have to get through, then I won't even bother. Also, if appears as if it's a bridge too far, then I also will stop trying and focus my attention elsewhere.

BTW, love the Star Wars references. Still trying to bring out my inner Obi Wan...

January 24, 2016 at 7:53 AM delete

Glad to have you out here. I like your comments, especially the "bridge too far" reference. It makes me think of that scene with Indiana Jones, where his enemy comes at him Ninja-style, and with a huge sigh, Indie pulls out a gun and just shoots him. That's how I feel sometimes when I see a scramble of red tape heading my way. I'm like "Nope."

Have a good day, and may the force be with you. :)

September 23, 2017 at 6:03 PM delete

I found this because I was search for "INFJ assistant." I disagree with some points here. I work as an assistant at a large law firm. While some beauractic aspects of the work are frustrating, I think it suits me. There are routine tasks, but I need to prioritize on the fly depending on what's going on that day. Each client has different needs and information needs to be presented to them in tailored ways. Various attorneys work in different ways and have many competing demands on their time. My job is to make theirs easier and pick up when and where to push and when to give space. At a law firm dedicated to customer service, and wanting help each person I support, I think it is a good use of my skills at reading people.