Since we live in a world where our work lives make up the vast majority of our real lives, you better hope you find a job you like. It's a daunting task, but part of the battle is getting real with your social needs and finding a career that fits them. An introvert typically won't feel as excited and fulfilled by the same jobs as an extrovert would, and understanding yourself and your needs could save you years of misery.
But what does an introvert need? According to Leigh Steere, cofounder of Managing People Better, an introvert needs a work environment or schedule that gives them time to "go internal."
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"The time and space to think and process is vital to an introvert's well-being and optimal work output," Steere says. "Quiet offices or conference rooms with doors that close are a better option for giving introverts the time and space to think."
It's that space to "reach inside" without interruptions that's key, Steere says. Working on the fly isn't ideal for them, and they'll do their best work if they have a few hours or days to chew on the information or ask first.
With that in mind, Steere says introverts can really make any job work, provided their managers recognize and adapt to their needs. But that doesn't mean introverts aren't predisposed toward certain careers.
Melanie Ross Mills, PhD, is a temperament therapist and relationship expert, and she says she often sees introverts feeling uncomfortable and dissatisfied in the jobs because they're the wrong fit for their social energy. Here are the 7 career paths she suggests for them instead:
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- Service jobs: Humanitarian efforts, nonprofits, mission work, military, local government, or animal care
- Detail-oriented jobs: Librarian, mechanics, engineer, craftsperson, accounting, museums, court reporter, landscaper, or bookkeeper
- Jobs where they're the overseer: Administrator, supervisor, manager, teacher, or foreman
- Creative jobs: Arts, music, photography, painting, catering, or cooking
- Teaching jobs: Teacher, professor, counselor
- Jobs in tech: Social media development, graphic designer, web content or writing, copy editing, or computer programming
- Self-employed: Working from home or freelancing
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