Can Introverts survive in the corporate workplace?

Introvert v extrovert is a very wide spectrum and most of the time, you aren’t one or the other. For me, certain situations bring out an extroverted side in me and vice versa.

To help figure out what you are, thing about the thing that gives you the most energy—or even how you think your close family and friends would describe you.

16 personalities says that as an introvert:

  • you’re more reserved
  • you enjoy alone time
  • you avoid being the centre of attention
  • you don’t engage as much in conversation in favour of observing and understanding what everyone else has to say. i.e. not speaking for the sake of speaking

So let’s talk about whether you can flourish in a typical corporate environment.

Watch this video instead!

Focus on your strengths

Now I’m definitely of the opinion that you shouldn’t only be in an industry or role solely because you’re an introvert, e.g. “tax or accounting is perfect for introverts as you just sit at the computer all day”.

What I’ve highlighted before is that you don’t have to have strong personality traits in order to ‘do well’ at the Big 4.

You just need to know what you’re good at, and find the situations where you can show off those strengths.

What I’ve learned working for such a big company is that you become known for what you’re good at, and making yourself known for things can get you opportunities that you don’t necessarily see coming.

To be honest, even if you’re not good at much, the more you put yourself in a situation where you have to learn the better you’ll get.

Your net-worth is equal to your network

The more you work at these firms you more you’ll realise that networking is actually key to your whole career.

When I used think of networking, I instantly thought of weird event rooms with no music and minimal chatter, and the kind of atmosphere where if you entered the room everyone would turn around to look at you.

After a few years of being at the Big 4, I’ve realised that networking is literally what you make of it. You don’t have to love being social and attending every event that your workplace or industry puts on. It’s more important to know  which ones are important to show face at. As well as knowing how to geniunely build a relationship with someone.

That’s literally it. Get to know people for who they are, ask genuine questions and throw small talk in the bin. Not in our baskets people!

Knowing your weaknesses is a sign of strength

I wrote this out because it sounded a little cool, but I actually think you don’t have any weaknesses at all. The capitalist system we work in makes you think they’re weaknesses.

As introverts, we’re not naturally assertive, confident, or willing to put ourselves in the spotlight. We feel like we need a lot of preparation for situations like that.

Just because something doesn’t naturally come to us – doesn’t mean we can’t practice at it and blow people away!

So work on building awareness of what you avoid and what you like doing, and build a baseline level of skill for it. Personally, this has meant:

  • I’m really good at reading people – honing in on this means I can read the room very well in certain situations. If you were leading a call for example, this would mean you’d do well in shaping it and controlling the flow of conversation
  • I love organising and focussing on details – this means I can always contribute to projects and have a sound role in terms of planning and getting the details right
  • I tend to focus  on the other person, or ‘deflecting’ the conversation. I’m uncomfortable with 1 on 1s (with people I don’t know) so I always just focus on getting to know the other person for who they are instead of making meaningless small talk, (which I think is a waste of time). Asking questions and listening makes such a difference and leaves such a good impression behind. A good conversation has so much value. Now I don’t avoid 1 to 1s, or conversations with people I don’t know. I just get up and do it (even if my whole day will revolve around not wanting to do it and thinking of every excuse under the sun to back out… 😵‍💫)

I hope you could relate to this article and took away some tips and confidence in yourself because that’s all we need—for someone else to say that they’re in the same boat as you. So hi! I’m in the same boat as you—we’re good at our jobs and about to get better with the use of some of the tips in this article.

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