Introverts work extrovert jobs and slay it. Don’t be deceived.
Growing up, I wanted to become certain things at different times. These things I’d wanted to be even when I didn’t know that I am introverted. If I remember correctly, the first thing I wanted to be was a pastor, this dream died when I was about 6 or 7. Then I wanted to be a teacher. You can’t have half the great teachers I had and not grow loving to be one of such teachers. But you know in Nigeria, teachers’ pay is in heaven. I’d rather be paid on earth biko. I wanted to be a journalist, then a psychologist and then a lawyer. In the end, I studied mass communication at the university. And after university, I worked in telesales for one year, did my NYSC teaching Literature in English and right now working in customer service.
Looking through the list, I can say that almost every career, I’d fancied are what would be described as extrovert jobs. Anyone who reads blogs that are focused on introverts related topics must have read blogs suggesting jobs for introverts or suggesting jobs introverts should avoid. Each time I read these suggestions and considering my job choices; I feel like one who is not introverted enough as I have never ever gunned for any of these jobs ideal for introverts. I’m not sure I’d even take any of those jobs if they come on gold platters.
Granted, like almost every introvert, plenty of conversations wear me out. But I always find myself leaning towards jobs that involve plenty of talks and working with people. On some days, I’m excited by how much problems I have helped customers solve that the stress of dealing with many people doesn’t seem to matter. Other days, I’m so stressed out from the plenty of talks that I suddenly begin to wish everyone would go dumb and not be able to speak until I will them. On days like these, I just want serenity, and an opportunity to have a moment to recoup.
I recently mentioned my job to two introverts I roll with and you can’t believe their reactions. The facial expression gave them away, even when they were each trying to have it in check. Then one blurted, “How do you cope”. That was when it came to me that being an introvert in an extroverted job could be a lot challenging than I’d like to accept. Best believe I spent the whole day wondering how I cope. I arrived at the tips below.
Understand Your Strength as an Introvert
First, you got hired because you are qualified for the job. Don’t allow yourself to think otherwise. Or feel out of place, because everyone is outgoing and you are not. At any point you begin to focus on what makes these extroverts great for the job, think about what makes you great for the job too. For perspective, we can start from the fact that introverts are known to be passionate. You can’t put in some passion at your job and not excel. While the extroverts make small talks, you do the job. Introverts are often thoughtful and analytical. Won’t you like to be the fella who talks less, but always comes up with the best ideas? I can go on and on.
Focus on the Function
One can hardly love every part of one’s job. I hate customers who talk too much, the type that will keep whining about their complaints. Please don’t tell my Boss I said customers are whining. LOL. I hate those ones who seem to pile up complaints, you solve one and there comes the second, then the third and more complaints. I hate that I can’t just decide which customer I’d like to talk to or possibly give the annoying ones a piece of my mind. But it’s part of my job description. I see them as requirements that must be accomplished as part of my job. That makes it easier for me.
Create a Safe Space
Introverts always need space. Sometimes space is hard to create; especially in a workspace. You have to find a way. You can decide to get to work earlier than every other person. I do this. I come as early as possible, take some moments out and be all by myself or with just a few colleagues. Before I sit for work, I head to the bathroom. I need this moment, not just to pee, but to take deep breathes and ready myself for my customers. The work of a customer service representative doesn’t allow for much break time and ours are always monitored by our supervisor. No room for taking extra breaks. I don’t play with my own break and I don’t work within the break time too. I always claim that I take breaks to stretch my leg. Truth is, the break is to allow me get a breather. Working under pressure doesn’t mean dying for my firm.
Roll with Your Colleagues
You read right, roll with your colleagues. But in the measure that won’t weigh you down. You don’t necessarily need to be friends with them, but be friendly with them. I know you don’t like small talks, but say “the hello” and “the how are you” once you arrive work. Say a thing or two when you can during conversations or meetings. Colleagues pick up arms against you if you don’t do any of these. You are nicknamed a snub and being the office snub is something you shouldn’t aim for. You can be an introvert and yet friendly with people.
By all means, always recoup before you get to work the next day. At this point, you should know how best to relax after a long day of work. I take a hot cup of tea when I can. Sometimes, I check up on friends. Other times, I read a bit, listen to music or watch a movie. Sometimes, a good sleep does it. Yoga and meditation are other options. Figure what helps you get back your mojo and make it a part of your daily routine. You will make a mess at work otherwise.
Trust me, working an extroverted job isn’t as hard as it seems. I know badass salespersons who are introverts. Don’t let the fact that you are an introvert stop you from reaching your goals or pursuing those dreams. Those job lists shouldn’t define your life, make your own rules and live.
If you’re an introvert doing an extroverted job, please share some tips.
Photo Credit: Mindler