As an introvert, you’re likely more reserved and quiet than your extraverted peers. You prefer hanging back and watching the action, assessing the situation before making your move – if you even decide to move at all. It takes both kinds of personalities to run the world. Imagine if everyone talked at once, there’d never be any work getting done. You are needed in the professional world in a wide range of positions and careers, from the top to the bottom, in most every organization.
It’s the reserved, quiet and creative professionals who often make the biggest impacts. Often, creative types who write, invent, draw and make music, do so most effectively in the quiet of their studios and in the solitude of their minds. Many great introverted innovators from Charles Darwin to Steve Wozniak of Apple fame preferred to work alone and allow their partners and publishers to do the public work. Dr. Seuss creator Theodor Geisel wrote his magnificent children’s series while working in a secluded bell tower in the back of his house. Consider becoming a graphic artist, writer, editor or potter. Careers that require deep thought often are the stepping off points for great works and deeds.
The stereotype of a leader is one of a loud, aggressive, domineering woman who doesn’t let anyone get in her way, is charismatic and able to motivate others and likes the limelight. Since society doesn’t always value the skills brought to the table by the introverts, too often they are overlooked for leadership roles. In fact, companies run best when the leadership is balanced between the loud and quiet, the talker and the listener, the doer and the thinker. Management career paths are highly competitive so, as an introvert, you’ll have to make an effort to be recognized while maintaining your integrity and your quiet demeanor.
It takes extraordinary attention to detail and a one-track mind to follow some of the financial statements that CPAs and financial wizards read and create. According to Florida Tech University, one-quarter of the population is considered introverted. Of the population considered “gifted,” however, introverts account for about 60 percent. Financial careers such as actuary, chief financial officer, controller and budget analyst require the ability to sit still and study the numbers. It’s then up to you to translate your findings to the public or to your company. Financial wizard Warren Buffet is a prime example of a natural introvert who has learned how to speak in public and display characteristics typically attributed to extroverts.
Many different professions require a solitary work environment and are well-suited to the introverted preferences. The work usually requires a hands-on approach that you can perform by yourself. Computer work at home, for example, is ideal if you don’t even want to leave the house to interact with others. Become a technical writer, computer programmer, desktop publisher or software designer in the comfort of your own house. Truck driving is another solitary career that works for many introverts who can keep their hands on the wheels and their eyes on the road. Work with your hands as a mechanic or woodworker -- tools don’t talk back.
- Chicago Tribune: Jobs for Introvert and Extrovert Personalities
- The Ladders: Can Introverts Get Ahead in the Workplace?
- CNN: Introverts Run the World: Quietly
- Forbes: The Secret Power of Introverts
- Florida Tech University: Eight Career Paths for Introverts
- Washington Post: A Lot of Ways to Win Your Game of Solitaire
Linda Ray is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years reporting experience. She's covered business for newspapers and magazines, including the "Greenville News," "Success Magazine" and "American City Business Journals." Ray holds a journalism degree and teaches writing, career development and an FDIC course called "Money Smart."