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Working as an Introvert: Social Success in the First 90 Days

As an introvert, have you ever started a new job and loved it, only to question a couple of weeks in if this was the job for you due to the social climate around the office?  I’ve been there too -- before I started working remotely full-time, I landed an admin...
Womanly hands with square cut engagement ring on left hand typing on a computer that says Begin Within on the screen with logo above. The computer is sitting on a wooden table and a resume is to the left while a book entitled, Find a Federal Job, is to the right.

As an introvert, have you ever started a new job and loved it, only to question a couple of weeks in if this was the job for you due to the social climate around the office? 

I’ve been there too — before I started working remotely full-time, I landed an admin position with what I thought would be a really awesome place to work. Long story short, it was an awesome place to work, until one of the other women I worked with got promoted, began micro-managing and practically watched me with a magnifying glass. She was always lurking to keep tabs on how many times I used the restroom (and for how long each time, gross!) and highlighting each and every mistake I made… literally, while I was trying to learn my new job. As an introvert, I quickly became overwhelmed by her behavior, and my job performance suffered greatly.

Needless to say, I wasn’t there long.

Even if something similar hasn’t happened to you, we can all agree on one thing: The 90-day probationary period is the hardest, especially for introverts like myself.
What I didn’t realize when I took the position was that even though the gig seemed great, I was unprepared to work in that type of setting — people were constantly asking me questions (and most of them I didn’t know the answers to), my coworkers were extroverts, and the last time I had been micromanaged was nearly a decade ago while in the military. In the paralegal position, I held prior to this one, I had my own office and my office-mate was also an introvert, so we were both highly productive in our roles. 

So how does an introvert survive when so much is at stake socially?

Make sure you’re the right fit.

There’s a difference between working outside your comfort zone and not being the right fit for the role entirely. If you hate talking on the phone, accepting a position at a call center is not a great idea. However, if you hate talking on the phone but take a role where you must only answer the phone and assist the occasional client, it would be more ideal for you while working outside of your comfort zone.

Take breaks during the workday to recharge.

At some companies, you may have to advocate for yourself by reviewing the state law on how many breaks you should receive during your workday, but taking the time during your workday to recharge away from people is vital for an introvert. Introverts need time to recharge, as the consequence of overextending your social prowess is colleagues thinking you’re antisocial or that you dislike them.

Realize that listening can actually be a strength.

We introverts catch a lot of slack for appearing to be shy or antisocial, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. We are fantastic listeners and can often read (and sometimes overthink) a situation as it’s unfolding because we’re also listening to what people don’t say. We might be quiet, but we’re also taking the time to read body language and the vibes our coworkers are putting out. 

Take an interest in your coworkers.

When you’re an introvert, you just want to come to work and do your thing so you can pack it up at the end of the day and go home and chill in your pajamas while you watch Netflix and recompose yourself at the end of the day. Unfortunately, modern offices don’t work that way. We’re expected not only to make deadlines, but we’re also expected to contribute socially with the shared goal of keeping the morale high around the office. Make sure to greet your coworkers, ask them how they’re doing each day and actually take an interest in their answers. 

Make a brag sheet.

The most important thing that I learned in the military is to always have a brag sheet about myself ready to go. You never know when you’ll find yourself in a meeting needing a shortlist of your accomplishments. Additionally, I also use the brag sheet for keeping myself motivated at work and it comes in handy when I decide to dust off the resume to apply for new positions elsewhere.

If you’re an introvert currently working in a role that you hate and you know it is not the role for you, we can help.
Schedule your complimentary consultation for resume services today.

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