“Quiet” desk jobs may seem perfect for introverts, but it turns out there are many other introvert-friendly jobs out there, too.
If someone tells you to describe your perfect job — that’s catered to introverts — I’m willing to bet that it would be something secluded, quiet, and relatively low-energy. (Maybe with an office that has a locking door so you can block out people as needed, too!) Or in a library, a place where being quiet is The Rule. (Hey, introverts love libraries for a reason.) And I would agree with you about all of these being as close to heaven on this earthly plane as we can get.
But I have to wonder if we introverts are selling ourselves a little short. While the typical introvert-friendly jobs are chosen for our own comfort, and that’s perfectly okay, I have learned over the years that an introvert’s abilities can be used in unexpected ways. We all know that any introvert can thrive typing away on a computer while wearing noise-canceling headphones, or in pretty much any studious or research-based job that requires minimal human interaction. But did you know that introverts have a special edge when it comes to people-focused careers?
While most people think of people and introverts as being like oil and water, there are several instances where that is not the case at all. If you’re an introvert looking for a change of careers, here are a few to consider that you may not have thought of.
5 ‘Extroverted’ Jobs That Are Perfect for (Some) Introverts
When I say the word “salesman,” you probably have an image of an oily-haired, fast-talking man in a three-peice suit who pushes you to spend way more than you can afford just so he can take home a nice commission check. While there are unfortunately unscrupulous salespeople out there, this is a stereotype that really needs to die. The heart of sales is really just about finding people exactly what they need and making it a win-win situation for everyone involved.
So, what makes an introvert cut out for this career? Well, any good salesperson will tell you that sales is less about products and more about people. You have to be able to understand what people need, even if they don’t come right out and say it (and most of the time, they don’t).
And because we introverts are so attuned to other people and their emotions, this is an area where we excel. Additionally, we are good listeners, so while another salesperson might be droning on and on about whatever product they’re trying to sell, we know how to keep quiet and let the customer do the talking. Then, once we understand them on a deeper level, we can direct them to exactly what they need.
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2. Customer service
Okay, if you’ve ever worked in customer service, you know that you have to deal with a lot of irritated, angry, or downright rude people. That is one hundred percent Not Fun for introverts. And if you’re a highly sensitive introvert on top of it? It’s a complete nightmare. So why in the world would I recommend such a hellish career?
Well, do you want to know something interesting I noticed during my years of customer service work? Most people get upset because they don’t feel seen or heard. Even if a manager agrees to fix whatever problem they have, they still leave annoyed because they know — on some level — that the manager doesn’t really care about them and is just trying to shut them up or get them out of the way.
But we introverts have powers of empathy and understanding at our disposal. We know how frustrating it is to have to come back to get something fixed when you’re already busy. Or how annoying it is to have to ask for the same thing more than once when you’re stressed out enough as it is.
And you know the really interesting part? Whenever I spoke to upset people with empathy and understanding, most of the time, they calmed down almost immediately. When you have a way of saying, I understand how you feel, and I really do care, that’s all most people truly want. And when I was able to put someone at ease and help them leave calmer and more relaxed than when they came in, it honestly made up for the people who weren’t as nice.
3. Public speaking
I’ll be honest with you: I hate public speaking (as most introverts do). Being the center of attention is hell on earth for me, and I’m not convinced that the whole “imagine your audience naked” thing ever worked for anyone.
That said, though, I had a very interesting experience once in a high school psychology class. Each of us was assigned a social issue that we had to present an argument for in front of the class. Also, once we all did so, the class was to vote on who gave the best argument.
To say I was terrified would be an understatement. But, about halfway through my speech, something shifted in me. I started to feel strongly about the issue I had been assigned, and I really wanted people to see things my way. My fear subsided and gave way to passion. Once it was over, my teacher praised me, and I was voted as the winner. (I know!)
Now, you won’t find me rushing off to climb on any stages and start speaking any time soon. I still hate it. But, on that day, I discovered something inside of myself that I didn’t know was there. And maybe you can, too. Also, did you know that some of the greatest speakers in history — such as Theodore Roosevelt, Jill Biden, and even Oprah — are introverts? So you’re in good company.
There are parts of being a lawyer that seem pretty appetizing to introverts, like locking yourself in your office to pour over research and paperwork. And, much like public speaking, there is the other side of it — such as presenting evidence and arguing in a crowded courtroom — that seems daunting.
But one of the beautiful things about being a lawyer is the time that you get to spend actually crafting your argument and preparing what you’re going to say. As introverts, we love planning ahead and carefully choosing our words. And, as a lawyer, crafting the perfect game plan is the recipe for success.
After all, you cannot stumble into a courtroom with no prep work and expect to have any success. With this career, you will still have to overcome the hurdle of speaking in front of a crowd (and potentially while in a heated argument). But the payoff is worth it, and you will be able to use your gift for planning and strategy to your advantage.
Do you ever struggle to know what to say?
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5. Manual labor
To finish this off, I figured I would add in one career that is a little less people-focused. When we think of these types of careers, the first thing that comes to mind is usually sitting in front of a computer. And that’s great! But don’t discount the value — or the benefits — of good old hard work.
We are living in a time now where manual laborers are needed like never before. Because technology has overtaken the world, there are things that are getting left behind. And because a computer cannot install wiring or weld a piece of metal into something usable (yet!), companies are constantly in need of more warm bodies to fill these positions.
While I haven’t gotten to explore it yet, I have always been attracted to manual labor jobs because physical activity helps to calm my overthinking mind and my nerves. When I’m sitting still for too long, my mind races and spirals into thinking way too much, and I often end up with an anxiety attack. But if I am able to work off my excess energy and power with jogging or dancing, then my mind is able to relax, too. If you are like me in this regard, and you enjoy working with your hands, then a career in manual labor might be for you.
Introverts, Don’t Short-Change Yourselves — It Gives Society Permission to Do the Same
As introverts, we love our comfort zones, and that is completely okay — we have to take care of our own well-being. I just want to encourage you to think beyond what you believe you are capable of doing, because when we short-change ourselves, it gives society permission to do the same. Introverts, what can they do besides sit at a desk? Well, as it turns out, a lot.
What jobs or careers would you add to the list? I’d love to hear in the comments below!
You might like:
- What I’ve Learned as an Introvert Working in Extroverted Jobs
- I Finally Found the Right Career When I Embraced My Introversion
- These Are the Ideal Careers for Each Introverted Myers-Briggs Type
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