As introverts, we tend to keep to ourselves in large group settings. We like to talk with people we feel comfortable with, but we don’t enjoy making small-talk with people we don’t know. We like to stay out of the limelight. We dislike confrontation intensely.
So what does this mean when we’re stuck in a job with a boss we don’t necessarily get along with? What about when we feel that we just can’t contribute as much or don’t have enough control over our environment because we don’t feel comfortable voicing our opinions?
If you feel like your work is unfulfilling or stagnant, here are three ways to better love what you do, even if your coworkers, job description, or level of required social interaction is less than desirable.
It’s not about “becoming more extroverted.” Being able to enjoy your work is about feeling comfortable in your own skin. If being quieter in public settings, keeping to yourself when you need to recharge, and sticking close to your few good friends instead of trying to make best friends with the entire office doesn’t affect how efficient or capable you are at your job, don’t try to change yourself.
Other people might get more joy from their work by being more extroverted, but if you don’t find that same joy, don’t try to be something you’re not. You have talents that others don’t, and you can contribute something unique to the company if you stop comparing yourself to all of the people who are more outspoken with their opinions.
Don’t get stuck in a rut. If you’re working for a company that installs electric generators in Abbotsford, don’t be afraid to be creative with your sales approach. The only people that come to such specific companies are the ones who actually need your product—so use your natural creativity and come up with new ways to interest people in what you have to offer.
Introverts are, after all, known for their tendencies to think creatively and take in a lot of information from what they observe around them. They are often thought “wiser than their years.” When you’re faced with the same-old routine every day, using that natural creativity (by coming up with new slogans, designs, approaches to sales, solutions to old problems, etc.) to bolster your love for your job is an extremely useful personality trait.
The only way to truly love a job is to become involved. It might be your first instinct to keep out of the limelight, but if you don’t invest yourself in your work environment you’ll get bored and/or dissatisfied quickly. To love your work, you need to be involved in its success beyond being a single cog in the great business wheel.
As an introvert, you’re naturally more likely to remain quiet than speak up when you have an opinion about something. Making a personal goal to be more outspoken is one way to be more involved with your work environment, but for true introverts, making such a lofty goal can be incredibly stressful. Fortunately, it’s not the only way.
Instead of resolving to talk more, find other ways to express your opinion to customers, clients, coworkers, and management. Introverts are usually better at expressing themselves through writing than spoken conversation, so write a memo or letter instead of trying to make a speech or spoken proposal. If you have close friends at work, express your ideas to them for validation, and then put together a team to create a proposal instead of trying to do it on your own. Approach a superior you feel more comfortable talking to and pitch your idea to them in private without the stress of talking directly to the upper management.
Whether you work from home or a high pressure company job, you will come across challenges that you’d rather not have to face. Extroverts might have the advantage in some difficult work situations, but you don’t have to hide behind the mask of being an introvert. Just find other ways to express your opinions and feelings. Understand that you have just as much to offer as your extroverted coworkers…you just need to offer it in a different way than they do. As soon as you realize your own value and become involved and emotionally invested in your work, you’ll be surprised at how much you come to love what you do.
How comfortable are you being either the extrovert or introvert that you are?
How have you learned to love what you do, as you are?
Melanie Hargrave loves to read, play sports, and learn about small businesses and how people can be more successful in their chosen line of work. She takes her inspiration from companies like Fraser Valley Equipment LTD, and loves to blog about what she learns.