Can Introverts Really Thrive in “Extraverted” Careers?17 February 2023 / By Cianna Garrison Clinically Reviewed by Steven Melendy, PsyD. on January 05, 2023
You get your energy by recuperating at home and thrive on plenty of alone time. You like socializing in small groups, not huge gatherings. Team-oriented offices make you feel drained.
What are you? An Introvert.
Most Introverts prefer a career that allows them to have autonomy and space from others, and that can make “extraverted” careers more challenging for them. But what exactly is an “extraverted” career? And is it ever possible for Introverts to succeed in one? Let's take a look.
What are “extraverted” careers?
An extraverted career is a career that promotes and supports extraversion. In other words, it’s a job that extraverted personality types tend to enjoy because it plays to their strengths. Typically, these jobs:
- Have a team atmosphere and group work
- Emphasize socialization through networking, meetings, parties or business dealings
- Require that employees maintain strong client relationships and connect with clients beyond a brief chat
- Normalize public speaking and speeches at meetings and company events
- Celebrate with big work parties and outings
- Are built around constant action and multitasking
- Have an atmosphere of ‘busyness’
- Have a constant influx of people and conversation with little chance for reflection and downtime
It seems as though society built the working world with Extraverts in mind because extraverted careers sometimes get the most attention. Examples of extraverted careers include Sales or Account Managers, restaurant or retail managers, public relations representatives, real estate agents and brokers, motivational speakers, career coaches, lawyers and tour guides.
Why are extraverted careers challenging for Introverts?
Extraverted careers have several factors in common that Introverts will struggle to embrace. If you’re an Introvert, here are the career problems that will be hard for you to adapt to:
- Moments of solitude are few and far between
- There’s immense pressure to be “a part” of the team when you just want to work alone
- Too many events, too many meetings, too many co-workers
- Your boss may not recognize the needs of Introverts because they are used to Extraverted types
- You may feel alone — you’re an Introvert amongst a sea of Extraverted coworkers who don’t understand how you function
- It’s hard to accept the facade others put on at work when you’re all about being authentic
- The workstyle leaves you vulnerable to overstimulation and burnout
What can Introverts do to make their careers work better for them, even if it’s an extraverted career?
It’s hard to find the perfect career whether you’re an Introvert or an Extravert. But the good news is, there are actions you can take to make your work life more bearable.
If you’re an Introvert who needs your “extraverted” job to work better for you, here are some steps you can take to feel more at home in your workplace.
Talk to your boss about changing the typical meeting format.
It isn’t easy to approach your boss, but sometimes clear communication makes work better for everyone. Ask your boss if they’d consider trying a different meeting format. Is there a way to make meetings more inclusive to Introverts? Throw out your ideas and discuss why you’d feel more comfortable at meetings if your team implemented specific changes. If you need help with business communication in general, check out Truity’s Introvert Guide to Business Communication.
Take regular breaks.
Do you ignore your 10-minute breaks and work through them? Maybe it’s time to stop. A 10-minute siesta away from the hustle and bustle of the workplace might help you boost your energy as an Introvert. Go outside for a walk or head to a quiet space where you can do something relaxing for a few minutes. You may feel surprised at how much this boosts your productivity in the long run.
Speak to your co-workers about your work preferences.
Just like approaching your boss, it might feel uncomfortable talking to your co-workers, but you may not have your boundaries respected if you don't. Speak to the Extraverts in your workplace who regularly interrupt you or break your flow. Set personal limits and explain why you’d work better if they respected them.
Drown out external stimuli.
If you work in an office with your own space, keep a pair of earbuds with you. It’s hard for Introverts who are overstimulated to get much work done, so when your co-workers are chatty or rowdy, you find yourself getting anxious. But you don’t have to be a part of it. Instead, respectfully tell them they’re being too loud for you to concentrate. If that doesn’t work, make sure it’s okay with your boss for you to listen to calming music or put earplugs in on noisy days.
Find ways to connect with your co-workers.
Yes, you’d rather work in an environment without much group work, but you can make it more bearable if you get to know your co-workers better. They may feel the same way. If you feel uncomfortable with the people you work with, try to connect with them in a small, manageable group or go for a coffee one-on-one. You might connect with your co-workers more than you thought possible, which could ease your workplace discomfort. Additionally, if your co-workers understand your workplace needs, they’ll likely respect them.
Give your boss feedback on company operations.
Some employers ask employees to communicate their needs and how to better the workplace. If you have a boss open to feedback, communicate with them. If you have something that’s been bugging you for some time, don’t let it fall by the wayside. Discuss the problem with them. If your boss isn’t supportive, then you know where you stand. If the situation becomes toxic or your boss is a toxic personality, you may consider looking for another job altogether.
How personality testing can help you thrive in your career
You may already have settled into a career, or you may be looking for your forever job. Either way, you can benefit from personality testing to become a better worker and communicator. If you understand your personal needs and how to communicate them, you’ll endure fewer misunderstandings in the workplace. You may also find it easier to find little job hacks — like wearing earbuds or asking your boss if you can work some days at home — to maintain a healthier relationship with your job.
You also may find your career doesn’t mesh with your personality type. Perhaps this job has been the source of constant stress for years, and you want to make healthy changes. Knowing your personality type can help you determine your best path to personal growth — whether that means finding your dream career or learning how to make the one you have a better fit.
If you don’t know your 16-type personality yet, you can take Truity’s test for free.
Introverts can find a way to thrive in extraverted careers, but no one said it was easy. If you’re already working in an extraverted career and want to improve your experience, try implementing the tips above to make your job work for you. If you’re looking for a perfect job match and haven’t found it yet, check out these jobs for Introverts.
Brewsterblock (not verified) says...
Very interesting piece. I am an introverted introvert now retired but felt most of those emotions. Indeed I kept working when others were at coffee trading "secrets". I was also tested as an analytic analytic. Like you I now enjoy writing or anything using the creative side of my brain. Can do it for hours at a session.
Cianna Garrison says...
Thanks for reading. I'm happy to hear you identified with this piece. I hope you are having fun with and finding fulfillment in your creative hobbies :)