Introverts have many valuable skills to offer in an extroverted workplace, like their ability to focus and absorb information.
Introverts, don’t be ashamed of your “innerward” nature. There are plenty of jobs out there that can be done alone, and even more that require focus and concentration. In fact, some introverts might even find themselves better-suited for extrovert-oriented careers.
So how does an introvert survive in an extroverted job? Here are some tips from my own experience.
6 Ways Introverts Can Survive an Extroverted Job
1. Work from home whenever possible.
This is the No. 1 piece of advice for introverts working in extroverted workplaces. It’s also a great way to recharge and avoid distractions, even if you have to make up for an hour or so of lost time at some point after lunch (if you need a nap, for instance).
When you work from home, you avoid the office environment, office politics, and office gossip. With so many employers allowing employees to work from home full- or part-time now, it might be a dream come true for you as an introvert.
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2. Find small ways to interact with your coworkers.
If you are an introvert, it’s likely that you prefer to spend your time alone or with a few close friends. However, when we work in teams and groups, we need to be able to collaborate and communicate well with others. Although making friends at work is not always easy for an introvert (I mean, small talk?!), there are some things you can do that will help make it easier.
Be friendly and helpful toward those around you. Offer to help when someone has a problem that you can solve. This doesn’t mean that every single person needs to enjoy working with you. But being friendly helps motivate them toward working with you more effectively, as well as making them more receptive toward any ideas or suggestions you give them. Otherwise, unfortunately, they may mistake your quietness for rudeness. Here are some more tips for introverts to make friends with their coworkers.
3. Find ways to recharge your batteries (i.e., take as many breaks as possible).
You can’t expect to be fully energized for a long day of work if you don’t get enough sleep and take care of yourself. So make sure to take breaks during the day.
Introverts often turn to meditation or prayer as a way to recharge their batteries. Listening to music can also help bring back some balance in an otherwise busy day. Or try doing something enjoyable with just one other person, such as going out for coffee or a walk, working out at the gym together, or watching a movie at home after work.
4. When you need to speak up, plan what you want to say before you say it.
Introverts are often misunderstood for being shy, but that’s not always the case. Rather, we just tend to be introspective and thoughtful in our speech and actions, which is why it’s easy for us to get lost in thought before speaking.
We prefer to think about what we’re going to say before saying it. So when talking with an extrovert, we may feel like we’re waiting forever to get our two cents in! This can be frustrating for extroverts who have the opposite personality trait — they are more spontaneous and impulsive with their words than introverts.
However, these differences shouldn’t deter you from speaking up at work; you just need some practice. You can write down what you’re going to say and then rehearse it. That way, by the time you speak up, it will come more easily than if you’d spoken off-the-cuff.
Do you ever struggle to know what to say?
As an introvert, you actually have the ability to be an amazing conversationalist — even if you’re quiet and hate small talk. To learn how, we recommend this online course from our partner Michaela Chung. Click here to check out the Introvert Conversation Genius course.
5. Allow yourself time to think over new ideas.
Introverts need time to think, and so do extroverts. But if you’re an introvert working with a lot of extroverts, it’s not likely that they’ll wait for you to think before they act. They will be coming at you with all their ideas, and the longer it takes for them to get your attention, the more irritated they’ll become. (I say this from experience!)
Be prepared for this situation by having a system in place that allows you to process information without feeling pressured — and then share or implement your ideas when the time is right. One way to do this is by writing down requests on paper (or on your computer) as soon as possible after receiving them. Then you can create space for your thoughts to develop quietly before sharing them with others later on in the day/week/month.
6. Create introversion in the midst of extroverted tasks.
The most important thing you can do is to make sure you are planning time to recharge your energy. This could be something as simple as taking a walk outside or going outside in the middle of the day, even if it’s just to get some fresh air.
For me, I typically budget timed breaks into my busy schedule to keep myself accountable. The last thing you want is to hope and pray for time without setting those boundaries. That will only lead to disappointment when it doesn’t happen (as well as feeling more drained than ever).
Introverts, how do you survive in an extroverted job? Let me know in the comments below.
You might like:
- What I’ve Learned as an Introvert Working in Extroverted Jobs
- Your Office Introvert May Appear ‘Rude,’ but Is Really Not
- 10 Tips to Survive Working With the Public When You’re an Introvert
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