In the office, it can feel like it’s an extrovert’s world and we’re all just living in it. From interviews to presentations, happy hours to team lunches, introverts of the office can be pushed way outside of their comfort zone from the hours of 9 to 5.
In other areas of the professional world, it can continue to seem like extroverts are given a leg up time and time again. From being able to bluntly ask for a promotion or spending one-on-one time with their manager, extroverts are known for being able to put themselves out there in all part-time and full-time professional aspects.
So how do introverts succeed at work and in their careers? Considering over 50% of the world’s workforce identifies as an introvert, this isn’t a one-off occurrence. Career success as an introvert might look a little different, but being able to showcase the unique areas of your introverted personality will give you a leg up, even over the extroverts of the office.
The four types of introverts
First, being able to identify what kind of introvert you are helps you understand your function at work, whether working remotely or in the office. Each of these has unique personalities and traits, and understanding the way you tic can help you leverage what makes you unique. Plus, each type of introvert has a career tip that can help their specific introverted personality—see what yours is!
1. The anxious introvert
Filling the role of the classic introvert, this personality gets anxious in large groups of people and needs time alone to recharge after being around others. They prefer being by themselves, as being around people can lead to anxiety and cause them to be drained.
Career tip: Read company reviews
As an anxious introvert, you’ll want to be sure you’re working in an environment that won’t cause undue anxiety and stress on top of your workload. When engaging in the job search, reading company reviews on sites like Glassdoor can help you understand what kind of environment a job will have. If it’s a heads-down, hard-working environment with little to no collaboration, then you’ll know that’s a space you’ll be able to focus on and get your job done well in.
2. The restrained introvert
Not quite an introvert but not quite an extrovert, these personalities are restrained and careful with what they say and do, earning them a quiet reputation. They spend time carefully analyzing their actions and words, evaluating other outcomes, so they are always sure they are doing or saying the best possible thing.
Career tip: Rehearse your input
Being quiet and analytical isn’t a bad thing—it shows you’re paying careful attention and ensuring you’re coming up with the best response. However, in team settings, being quiet can be off-putting or could give the impression you aren’t paying attention. To combat this and get out of your own head, try writing down some talking points ahead of time so you have something to say. If it’s a big presentation where your feedback is valued, even try rehearsing what you’ll say ahead of time—this way, you’ll always have something to say prepared.
3. The social introvert
One of the biggest misconceptions of introverts is that they don’t want to be around people ever—and that just simply isn’t the case, especially for social introverts. These personalities enjoy company but prefer smaller groups of close friends versus large get-togethers.
Career tip: Find a small group
Having friends in the workplace can be beneficial in more ways than one. Having a close friend to help you get through the day is important, as is having like-minded colleagues you can bounce ideas off of and brainstorm with. Seeking out a small group of coworkers you can eat lunch with, work with and motivate to do better can help the social introvert succeed in the office and in their career.
4. The thinking introvert
Similar in some ways to the restrained introvert, this personality type gets lost in their own thoughts many times throughout the day. Though they mainly gain a reputation for being standoffish and quiet, that isn’t their intention—they just prefer their own head to the outside world sometimes.
Career tip: Have a comfortable, quiet place to work
Taking mental vacations is good, and even necessary, for our mental health at work. However, if you find yourself as thinking introvert daydreaming your work hours away, bring yourself back down to reality by giving yourself a grounding place to do your job. Having a quiet area that’s comforting and homey can help you feel more relaxed and at ease, while also helping you focus. This could look like bringing some noise-canceling headphones, keeping the door to your office closed when you need to focus, and bringing some comforting desk accessories: photos of loved ones, fun stationary, desk plants, etc., to help you feel more at ease in your workspace.
Understanding how you function in your career and at work can make a big step in helping you work both smarter and harder.
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