The positive qualities of introverts get underestimated and totally neglected way too often in our society today. This is particularly true about the workplace. It seems that extroverts are the ones who enjoy the most opportunities for career growth thanks to their social skills.
However, the truth is that introverts, too, have a lot to contribute despite the fact that they rarely take the initiative or seek to be in the spotlight.
Let’s discuss a few things the quiet ones struggle with the most in the workplace:
1. Office meetings and presentations
Numerous meetings and presentations that are a part of most office jobs are a living nightmare for an introvert. Not only do they take up your time and distract you from the actual work, but you are also supposed to speak in front of others, which is certainly not this personality’s cup of tea.
While you might be quite competent and skillful in your job, giving a presentation or speech is a whole different story. Having everyone’s attention can be too overwhelming for an introvert, and they often end up feeling anxious and uneasy.
As a result, they struggle to put their thoughts into words and sound less convincing and competent than they are.
Another aspect of an office job quiet people struggle with is teamwork. Most of the time, it is practically unavoidable and you have no choice but cooperate with others in a group project or work-related activity.
The problem is that introverts work more efficiently by themselves. Regardless of all the benefits of teamwork and brainstorming that are valid for most people, this personality type finds such activities more distracting than productive.
Another issue here is that all the credit usually goes to the outgoing personalities in the group because they know how to ‘sell themselves’.
3. Being constantly surrounded by other people
It’s not just working with other people that can be a source of mental exhaustion for an introvert – being around others all day long is already draining enough.
This personality type desperately needs alone time in order to maintain their inner wellbeing and emotional balance.
When a quiet person is surrounded by their co-workers all the time, they find it difficult to put their thoughts in order, keep their mind clear and stay focused and productive.
4. Office parties & small talk
And of course, if you are an introvert, one of the hardest things to deal with in the workplace is the informal communication with your co-workers and the necessity to participate in office events.
While most people don’t experience any difficulties with having small talk or maintaining a friendly relationship with their co-workers, things like this can be a real struggle for an introvert.
Why? Is it because the quiet ones don’t like people or have no interest in getting to know them better?
No, this is just a prevalent stereotype. In reality, introverts just don’t like forced interactions and meaningless conversations.
When they know that they don’t particularly ‘vibe’ with someone, they won’t approach them with friendly chitchat just because they work in the same office.
But in general, the quiet ones do love to get to know other people and communicate with them when they get the chance to discuss meaningful things.
In my book, The Power of Misfits: How to Find Your Place in a World You Don’t Fit In, I analyze the reasons why so many introverts struggle to connect with those around them and reach career success. I also offer a number of strategies to help them cope with these issues.
The truth is that even though our society is tailored for extroverts, a quiet person can still be happy and successful in their own way.