The Introvert at Work

Talk about things related to careers or working.
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The Introvert at Work

Postby LilTampa » Mon May 02, 2016 7:40 pm

I posted yesterday the following in the general forum about my work.

"I am a process flow business consultant so I have been able to do some work but I've had to turn down a few contracts and I haven't been able to make as much progress as I would like on other contracts. Not really a huge deal as far as money goes but my work represents the majority of social interaction I have. I'm able to put on the mask of a professional and interact with folks as an intelligent, confidant, creative and strong person. A huge part of my work is observing how businesses operate and conducting interviews with employees. Then I make procedural suggestions or write new process flow or manuals or whatever the business needs to increase productivity and reduce waste. I know work isn't really socializing but it provides a form of socialization where I can hide my insecurities and fears behind my professional mask, partly because I am always a visitor and observer and I am in control of the situation. Like any mentor, professor or teacher, I am treated and approached with respect. I'm viewed as an "expert" so I encounter very little conflict and because my role with the business is temporary most of the people I meet take me at face value and consider me something of an outsider. Being respected and treated as an expert is absolutely fantastic for my ego. Although I have to interact with a ton of people, my work actually gives me energy and a sense of value."

I know how very spoiled I am as far as work goes. But this did get me thinking about how introverts (like me) approach their jobs/careers/whatever.

I can't have a"job". A job is something you go to for 8 hours a day to get a paycheck. There's very little emotional or intellectual stimulation in a "job". Even the word sits heavy in my mouth. Blech! It's totally acceptable to get a job to make ends meet or if they have fantastic insurance or my favorite, TUITION REIMBURSEMENT!!! That's a word that zings in my mouth. I digress. For most of us having a job is mandatory. However, I think we can benefit from changing our perspective. The overall goal of course is to do work that is important, satisfying and pays well. This is WORK. Just the idea of committing to "work" instead of a "job" makes an enormous difference in our confidence, emotional stability and overall happiness. Even if your current job is not what you love, find things about it that you value or that make you feel important.

I worked in retention for a credit card company for awhile. There is no job on earth more despicable than asking people not only to keep their credit cards open (with 18%+ APR) but to reinvest themselves in using them and racking up more debt. It's particularly heartbreaking when you can see how much outstanding debt they have with just one company and knowing that that is probably just the tip of the iceberg. Dang, ranting again. As sinister as this job was I excelled at it. I mean really excelled at it. I was retaining over 50% of my calls after only about 6 weeks. The average for our center was 32%. I hated this JOB. The reason I was so successful was that I really looked at all aspects of the job duties to find value in it. I really had to dig deep and meditate on it. I decided that while my "job" was retention, my "work" was providing opportunities and information to clients that could improve their credit situation in an honest and genuine way. My priorities were my values, my clients, the needs of the company. Maintaining my values and integrity is always number one for me, period. This particular job really pushed this for me. My clients came second. Notice that I said "my" clients. Because I owned them I was able to connect to them personally and let them know that I was offering advice and options that I felt were truly in their best interests. Due to the nature of any job, the purpose of the business has to be tossed in there but if you've got the first two the needs of the company are going take care of themselves.

If I were to offer anyone advice on how to be happy at work I would tell them this. Find an aspect of your job and make it your work. Every job fulfills a need. Regardless of how small the need is, it is important. Figure out who benefits from your work and treat them as your client. Take ownership of your work and your clients. Continue to grow your knowledge and look for opportunities to improve yourself and the business. (As introverts, we tend to step back a little at work which gives us an unique perspective and the ability to see the cracks and holes in the processes) Make suggestions or implement small changes that allow you to infuse your work with more of your values. Constantly asses your work and how it makes you feel. Don't be afraid to walk away. The idea of working for one company doing one job for 20 or more years is not the standard today. Employers expect to see movement. Most people will stay at a job for 2-5 years. When you are interviewing and they ask you "why did you leave" the best answer you can give is that it wasn't a good fit for you and you are seeking a position that makes better use of your skill set/experience/abilities.

I would also recommend contract or temp work to any introvert. It's a fantastic way to avoid falling into a rut and can be a great way to increase your confidence. The best part of any new job is the honeymoon phase. No one knows you well enough to make judgments and you are able to present the best version of yourself. The folks you are working with or for tend to not probe too deep in the first few months of a new job. Somewhere around six months is when I start to feel the pressure. If you read about my work at the beginning of this post you'll see that most of my work is always in the honeymoon phase. It's all full of excitement, love and hope. As I said before, I find it stimulating. It makes my days go by quicker, keeps my synapses firing and lets me keep a comfortable social buffer between me and coworkers and management and clients and the guy who fills the vending machine. I get to build these tiny little relationships where I am in primary control. It takes me a super looooooooooooong time to establish a friendship with someone new and I don't like to bring my work into my social situations, so (as shallow as it may seem) all these little relationships are superficial. I find that most relationships at work are relatively superficial anyway.

That's just my two cents, for anyone that's listening.

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Re: The Introvert at Work

Postby Orientalist » Tue May 03, 2016 3:47 am

I've had a number of jobs that turned into satisfying work once I found an aspect of the job I enjoyed. But I've also had work that ultimately turned into a job.
If the truth hurts, you ain't livin' right.

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Re: The Introvert at Work

Postby Engage » Tue May 31, 2016 2:38 pm

My job is perfect for introverts. Work at a computer thinking up ways to be creative. Not much interaction with people. Most of the talking is done via email (with clients, or even with my superiors).

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