3 Hacks for Surviving the World of Work as an Introvert
January 14, 2019
I’m an introvert (you could probably guess that, with a job like full-time writer). What does that mean, exactly?
It doesn’t mean I hate people or I don’t like having fun. It just means being social drains my energy; conversely, an extrovert will be fueled by it.
The reality is though work can feel like it favors extroverts – being social means more networking, more connections and more face time with the boss. Meanwhile, I spend a good portion of my time working alone, typing posts like the one you are reading now.
Here are few of my favorite ones she mentioned:
1. Prepare talking points to common questions.
Here’s something I do all the time. People ask me a predictable question like “What’s new?” or “What are you working on?”.
In response, I bomb the answer. Instead of saying something interesting, its usually something like “the usual” or “work” or something like that. It doesn’t do much to help my standing at work.
That’s because introverts like myself like to think through our answers. We tend to do poorly when answering off-the-cuff.
Well, Clark has a solution: prepare your answers for these questions ahead of time. If done well, it can really help your standing at work – and your career.
Imagine, your boss’s boss sees you in the break room and asks you what’s up. You either mumble something incoherent (aka my usual). Or, you have something planned, like, “I’m working on our new content marketing strategy for the IT audience, actually would be great to get your eyes on it.”
Pretty obvious which one will help you stand out more.
2. Be strategic with how you spend your energy by giving yourself permission not to be social.
Let’s say you are going to a conference for work with several colleagues. The night before the conference starts, your colleagues all want to go out and get dinner.
But you are hesitant. Yes, it sounds fun. But, you also know the conference itself will be draining – and hanging out with everyone beforehand will only drain you faster.
That’s okay. You don’t have to go. In fact, you are being smart by not going, and saving your energy for the conference itself.
In other words, give yourself permission not to be social all the time. If an Uber driver wants to talk, tell them you are researching a project (even if you are just listening to a podcast to recharge). It’s okay.
An extrovert doesn’t have to worry about this – talking with people gives them more energy. But, for introverts, it's the opposite. So, by being strategic with when you socialize, you can save it for when you need it most.
3. Maximize the time you spend in introvert-friendly environments.
One of the best ways to thive as an introvert is to take control of your environment.
Say you work in an open office. If you are doing independent work, perhaps there’s a quiet place in your building you can go to do it, as opposed to your desk. Otherwise, the social aspect of the open office and being around colleagues all day will likely drain you.
Additionally, when you meet with people, maybe a crowded coffee shop isn’t the best. Instead, suggest a conference room or someplace that lends itself to a more in-depth, serious conversation.
Sometimes you aren’t going to have a choice – using an example before, say you are going to a packed conference. In that situation, find time during the day to get away to a quiet place to recharge.
The point? A big part of thriving as an introvert is knowing yourself and your limitations. So, whenever possible, put yourself in environments that suit you best, so you thrive in each interaction.
Other topics covered in the course are:
- Networking as an introvert
- Getting noticed as an introvert
- Building rapport as an introvert
- How to best leverage extrovert allies