Introverts have known for a while that it can be hard to get ahead in the job market. When schools, the job market itself, and workplace environments all lean towards the extroverted way of doing things, it can be hard to make these institutions work for introverts.
In school, we’re forced into painful group projects, which inexplicably make up a huge portion of our grades. Job interviews often pit introverts against large rooms filled with strangers, all of whom expect you to make small talk with them. Perhaps worst of all, businesses are utilizing open offices more and more, expecting employees to recharge and perform well in close company with each other — while introverts need the exact opposite.
In a business world where things are typically rough for us, here are seven careers that play to the quiet strengths of introverts:
1. Relationship Counselor
This may sound unintuitive at first, but, in fact, introverts make great relationship counselors. When extroverts encounter relationship trouble in the lives of others, they feel compelled to solve it by getting involved, or to fight it with boots on the ground, so to speak. Introverts, on the other hand, are often able to detach themselves from relationship problems and evaluate them impersonally.
Relationship counselors’ salaries aren’t going to hit six figures anytime soon, but it’s a job that allows introverts to manage interactions with others in small doses and controlled environments. I would say that this is a benefit that can’t be measured in dollars.
Architects are another group of people who have to combine their artistic and analytical minds. As architects, introverts are great at understanding the needs of others and constructing private spaces. Our ability to work in our minds is also incredibly useful, as we can plan out entire buildings from a comfy desk. Do your drafting in a nice quiet room for the perfect workplace experience. If you’re still not convinced, keep in mind that architects are some of the highest-valued STEM majors out there.
3. Web Developer
This one might be a bit of a stereotype, but it’s common for a reason. Web developers are famous for their introversion, burying themselves in hours of programming, and using their precise, analytical minds to comb out bugs and streamline their code. Web developers get to build sites that can be used by millions while only ever interacting with a handful of people. In fact, I’d say that no other career lets you work on your own time, except for . . .
4. Freelance Writer
I have to toot my own horn here. Freelance writing is tough and can sometimes require hours and hours of meticulous research, but no other job gives you the same level of personal freedom. As a writer, you can set your own hours, work from wherever you want, and mainly limit your interactions to emails with editors who have the same focus you do. I’m not going to lie; when you start out, the pay may not be as great as you want, but if you’re driven enough, you can do just as well as any office worker without all the hassle of an actual office.
5. Work for Fish and Game
Just in general, try to work outdoors. For me, as an introvert, some of the most peaceful moments in my life are when I’m out hiking or just enjoying nature. It’s a great way to be alone and experience incredible beauty at the same time. There are tons of jobs with state Fish and Game departments that will see you outside, doing things like monitoring wildlife, repairing trails, or even searching for lost hikers. Salaries can range all over the place depending on your location, education, and level of experience. If you’re still in school, something like an ecology or geology degree can be a great gateway to a nature job.
Introverts love to devote themselves to highly creative projects with incredible focus, so why not make that your job? Like writers, artists of all flavors can usually work on their own time and in the quiet of their own studio. Becoming a full-time artist is an immensely difficult undertaking. It requires endless practice to improve your craft and a lot of sacrifices. The best way to learn how to become an artist is to hear it from someone who has been there. This is a tough career to make it in, but if you can, the rewards for introverts are enormous.
Being a paralegal isn’t usually the first thing that comes to mind when you’re asked to think about fun jobs, but there are aspects of the work that are perfectly suited to introverts. While an attorney may enjoy trying to connect with the jury in a courtroom, introverts prefer to look purely at the facts. Paralegals spend much of their time examining the legal intricacies of a case and doing highly focused research. Plus, paralegal jobs are often very steady, lasting through recessions, meaning you can minimize the amount of time you spend in awkward job interviews.
Finding a job that fits the needs of introverts can be tough. Lots of companies will expect employees to be as outgoing and sociable as possible, but introverts function better in more controlled, calm environments. If you’ve been wondering about your future, these are some great career paths to get you started.
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