Guest Post by Clara Masters
Being an introvert has its challenges, and there are fewer bigger hurdles than the workplace. If you happen to be an introvert working in a busy office, you may feel constantly overwhelmed.
Don’t despair! With a bit of preparation, you can handle anything the workplace throws at you and find a career you love. Here are a few tips:
1. Before you accept a job, look at the work environment.
Even if your job is otherwise great, the wrong work environment can soon drag you down. As an introvert, open-plan offices are probably your idea of hell. Always ask the interviewer to show you around the building.
2. Accept that you aren’t going to change.
The most important step towards leading a happy life as an introvert is to accept your nature. You might be able to fake extraversion from time to time, but you will always feel more energized from spending time alone. Resist the urge to compare yourself to your more outgoing co-workers.
3. Make a couple of close friends.
As an introvert, it’s unrealistic to expect that you’ll make friends with everyone at work. A much smarter strategy is to focus on just a couple of people who seem to be on your wavelength.
Keep your interactions low-key; smile as you pass by on your way to the break room, or ask them how their important project is going. It might take a few weeks to build a strong rapport, but your efforts will pay off.
By the way, don’t assume that you can’t make friends with extroverts. Opposites can attract. As long as they accept your introverted ways, an extrovert can actually make a great ally. For a start, they can shield you from louder, nosier folk!
4. Schedule some alone time.
Few of us have complete control over how we spend our time at work. However, you can buy yourself some time to recharge throughout the day by scheduling five or ten minutes to be alone. For instance, when booking appointments allow a clear window between every meeting.
5. Experiment with white noise.
If your workplace allows it, stick on some headphones and listen to some background noise that cancels out office chatter. For example, listening to recordings of natural sounds can help you relax. Wearing earphones also discourages others from trying to interrupt you.
6. Ask your boss whether you could work from home.
Most introverts love the idea of working from home. It may not be practical for you to telecommute all the time, but a couple of days might be possible. Alternatively, ask whether it would be possible to work in a quiet side room a couple of hours per day.
Finally, don’t be afraid to be open about your introversion.
Your co-workers have probably noticed that you aren’t fond of small talk, and that you like working alone. Own it! Give yourself lots of praise for making it through the tough days. Don’t forget to unwind after work by enjoying one of your favorite solo activities.
About the Author: Clara Masters is an entrepreneur and content marketer. In a former life, as a corporate business executive, she relied on yoga, reflexology and alternative practices to fight stress, anxiety and find balance. At Massageaholic.com she’s on a mission to bring massage therapy closer to those who want to live a balanced, healthy life, connecting body, mind and spirit. You can follow her on Facebook and Pinterest.
Photo credit: CreateHer Stock