When I started brainstorming this blog post – the list of mistakes came pretty quickly to me.
Because I’ve been guilty of ALL of them.
So go check them out! I’d love you to avoid as many of them as possible.
Also – download the accompanying worksheet which will help you identify your ideal introvert-friendly career.
Download The Introvert’s Dream Career Worksheet!
#1. NOT REALISING YOU ARE ACTUALLY AN INTROVERT
Although being an introvert has gained a lot of attention over the last decade, that doesn’t mean everybody knows about it.
Being an introvert or extrovert can be determined by understanding how you recharge your energy. Introverts recharge their energy by being alone. Extroverts recharge by being around other people. If you are a strong introvert you probably immediately identified yourself as an introvert when you read that description.
It is also important to note that introversion and extroversion lie on a scale.
We all fit somewhere on the scale but if you sit more to one side you are considered to have that preference.
TIP: If you are not sure whether you are introvert or not, take my favourite test on the subject: https://introvertdear.com/introvert-extrovert-test-quiz/
So why does knowing you are an introvert matter when choosing a career?
When you don’t realise you are an introvert, you can feel like the odd one out or weird. That then leads you to try and be the opposite of your true nature. That then leads you towards careers that you think would make you ‘successful’ or are deemed more acceptable. That is not a recipe for career happiness.
#2. IGNORING YOUR INTROVERT NATURE WHEN CHOOSING A CAREER
Remember that you spend about 40 hours (or more) per week at ‘work’. If you are a strong introvert and spend 40 hours per week having to be extroverted – then you are not going to last long! You will be exhausted constantly. Being an introvert needs to be considered as ONE part of how you choose a career. It is super important. Spending many hours a week in a job that doesn’t allow you to thrive will be torture. You will be exhausted, unhappy and head down a very unscenic path.
TIP: Brainstorm what your ideal work environment would include. What does it look like? What is going on around you?
#3. TRYING TO FORCE YOURSELF TO BE MORE EXTROVERTED
In a world where introversion isn’t necessarily appreciated, we can often make the mistake that in order to be successful we need to be or act extroverted. Successful extroverts are often more visible so they are much easier to spot. That leads us to assume that is what defines success.
Lets zone in on some successful introverts to inspire you to embrace your introversion:
TIP: Make a list of your own of introverts you admire. Dive a little deeper and explore why you admire them.
Download The Introvert’s Dream Career Worksheet!
#4. SEARCHING THROUGH INTROVERT CAREER LISTS FOR YOUR DREAM CAREER
Hey, I’ve spent hours reading through dozens of ‘Best Careers for Introverts’ Lists. Did it get me anywhere? Not really? Why?
Because these types of lists are very generalised.
Being an introvert does not mean you are only suited for certain roles. There might be certain types of careers that are more suited to introverts but there are no hard and fast rules here.
These types of lists should only be used as prompts for further exploration.
TIP: When looking through these types of career lists, ask your self WHY three times.
If a career as a veterinary nurse appeals to you ask yourself WHY 3 times (or more)
Why does being a veterinary nurse appeal to me?
Because I love being around animals
Why do I love being around animals?
Because they make me feel happy
Why do they make me feel happy?
Because I want to feel loved and needed.
Why do I want to feel loved and needed?
Because that means my life has meaning
That train of questioning can then lead the person to explore ‘meaningful’ careers – with or without animals.
By using the WHY x 3 technique you can often find the underlying reason for an area of interest. This can help you focus on the career theme or thread rather than just a ‘job title’.
#5. THINKING YOU HATE PEOPLE
If you follow introvert-themed social media, you are likely to have seen memes that talk about how introverts hate people. While introverts generally prefer to have more alone time, that doesn’t always mean they hate people. If we decide or think we hate people then that can have a big impact when choosing a career.
Here’s my personal story of why I thought I hated people. Before I made the switch to my dream career as a Career Coach, I was very unhappy (understatement!!!). My job/career made me miserable for many reasons. I was in the wrong career, the wrong industry and working with the wrong kind of people. Because I cared about different things to my colleagues, I started thinking I hated people. I was also severely depressed so I retreated into my house and bed where people wouldn’t and couldn’t annoy me as much. I became more introverted. I sat in my car during my lunch break because I didn’t want to talk about the things my colleagues did. So this made me think that I hated people. It wasn’t until I started working with other career coaches and meeting them at events that I realised I could spend hours with these people. As I started to see clients who were stuck and scared about their careers, I also saw how much I loved working with them. Oh wow! I don’t hate people after all. I found the kinds of people I love connecting with and with whom I got to have ‘meaningful conversations’ with. Completely different to my old career.
TIP: Explore any ideas you have around hating people. You just might not be hanging around the right people. But hey, it’s also ok if you aren’t a big people person. If that’s you, ask yourself the following questions:
Would you like to work with…
#6. STAYING IN YOUR HEAD
Introverts have a tendency to stay in their heads. We love to think and think and think. So sometimes we have to push ourselves to have conversations and talk to others. Remember that we only know what we know. Nobody knows everything. Talking to others about their careers can be extremely useful. Informational interviews are a great way to find out more about a career. It is very easy to make assumptions about what a career involves so talking to somebody who actually does it is extremely beneficial.
TIP: Use LinkedIn to reach out to somebody working in a field that interests you.