I've had two friends from high school that are also INTPs join the Navy and prosper as officers. Now I may seem like a green hippie iconoclast, but in many ways I'm moderate, and it's only the internet that transforms me into something radical. I revel in my contradictions, and one of them is that I absolutely love games of all sorts, from board games to video games to card games to sports. Anything with rules, where people can compete, and where resources must be positioned for maximum effectiveness intrigues me.
Where this skill is useful is in any arena where I need to strategize about what the best possible course of action is to win any sort of engagement, be it science, war, business, or anywhere where it is necessary to not look at individual encounters, but the bigger picture. I tend to look in the long run at situations, theorize many different solutions, then plan accordingly.
I tend to spend my free time playing games where I can use this skill, like in games such as World of Warcraft (until recently), or Team Fortress 2 (where I can play whatever my team needs to win.)
What this means is that I could have flourished in the military. I can see that. I'm not going to use this space to disapprove of those that did. I'm not anti-military, any more than I'm anti-American. I love this country, and I respect the fact that someone else is putting their butt on the line every day for my benefit. I have the right to question where and when and how the military is being used, but it would be foolhardy of me to suggest that this country or any country does away with their armed forces entirely.
I think the one reason why I didn't enlist was the same reason why I didn't stay a Chemistry major when I first failed out of college: I just didn't like who I was surrounded by whenever I entered a math or science class. The lab professor for one particular class was a stodgy old guy who would stare, scrutinizing every time I wasn't absolutely perfect with a beaker and a Bunsen burner. I felt like every student in every class was a robot, and I was absolutely bored out of my wits.
The break came when I started taking radio classes, then creative writing, then art. That was it for me. Cute girls plus no right answer plus randomness appreciated? Sign me up for that!
I went back to community college, did theatre and a little photography and television and choir (which is where I met my wife). Did random jobs like pizza delivery driver and video game testing, I measured drainage ditches in Carmel by the Sea, and at some point my wife made me go back to school and eventually get my Creative Arts degree. I now do random art and take care of two kids.
Sometimes I wonder what my life would have been like had I zigged instead of zagged. Maybe in a parallel universe there is another me on a submarine, wondering what it would have been like had he taken those art classes.