Career Advice for Introverts

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Earlier this week, I came across this infographic on DesignTAXI.

As a pretty strong introvert (who happens to think a lot about introversion), I was immediately intrigued. When I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life, I definitely googled “best jobs for introverts” more than once, hoping to gain some insight. I would have been thrilled to find an infographic like this one. It’s so organized! So optimistic! So encouraging!

Indeed, when I first discovered this, I was pretty excited. Especially when I saw what jobs were listed under the “Where They Can Flourish” section:

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“All right!” I thought to myself, mentally fist-pumping. “Choosing to become a designer was definitely the right decision. Check out that salary and job growth! I love this infographic!”

After my gushing subsided a bit, however, I realized that I love this infographic mostly because I’ve already decided what career to pursue. I’ve made my choice, so of course I will like anything that rationalizes or otherwise supports it.

Because here’s the truth: before I decided to become a designer, I don’t think I would have found this infographic useful at all. I can only speak for myself, of course, but none of the other jobs listed there sounds particularly exciting. But even from a practical standpoint, the only one that I could have pursued without further education (since my Bachelor’s degree was in history and literature) is technical writer.

I also think there’s a tendency, when dispensing career advice to introverts, to assume that they don’t want traditional success. I mean, there’s nothing wrong with being a technical writer–certainly not. But if you look at the section of “insanely successful introverts,” how many technical writers do you see?

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It kind of seems that if you want to be successful by society’s standards, sometimes you’re still going to have to act like an extrovert (unless you’re Albert Einstein or J.K. Rowling). In fact, while some jobs probably are better for introverts than others, I almost want to say that choosing a career just because it’s supposedly good for introverts–if that’s the primary reason you’re choosing it–might actually be limiting.

At the end of the day, I think that trying to find answers to life’s major questions in an infographic is about as satisfying as trying to find them in a google search. You hope you’re going to become enlightened in new and unexpected ways…but then you’re not. Which isn’t to say this is necessarily a bad infographic, of course. I guess there are just some things you have figure out on your own. Which perhaps I should have known all along.

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3 comments

  1. This is a really good infographic. I recently learned about introversion/ extroversion in my Career development class and I am definitely an introvert! I often try to come up with my own business ideas or pursue artistic endeavors as my own way of working alone but I’m OPEN to working with others. That being said, I do agree that choosing a job on the basis of whether your an introvert/extrovert can be limiting…it’s a consideration but not the deciding factor.

    1. I’m always glad to discover another introvert! And I agree with your comment about being open to working with others. Contrary to popular belief, being an introvert doesn’t mean being anti-social!

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