August 16, 2011

Personality Clash: Finding the perfect fit

About a week ago, a friend of mine shared this post she had found on the Top Ten Myths About Introverts. For those of you who don't know, introverts are those who typically keep to themselves and don't often openly express their thoughts and feelings to others. As someone who considers herself to be an introvert (a point I'm sure those who know me would not argue against), I was thrilled to see someone so accurately describe the truth behind these common misconceptions about my personality type.

Great. So how exactly is this relevant to being a rockstar intern? I have two reasons for making this my topic of discussion today. 1) If you work with introverts, the alternative perspective provided by the Top Ten Myths could help you to better understand them and therefore avoid passing a negative judgement that might not even be true! If you think someone is aloof and rude, you may behave differently towards them. They're likely pick up on your dislike of them and respond in kind and then everyone will feel uncomfortable for really no reason at all. 2) More importantly, if you also classify yourself as an introvert, then this post is especially for you. Read on!

I'm sad to say, fellow introverts, that our internal nature is a bit of a disadvantage in the working world. Between interviews, networking, and interfacing with clients, it's an extrovert's world and we just have to make the best of it! When I was seeking my first internship position, I very disheartened when my first few tries were met with rejection. To make matters worse, another member of my class had gotten offers from every position he had applied to. He was the type of person that no one in my class wanted to work with because we had all done that once and quickly realized that he talked a good game but did poor quality work. So if lazy, smooth-talkers were given first pick at the jobs, what's a quiet, dedicated worker to do? Well, I kept trying. The next interview I went into, I felt much more at ease, my answers seemed to come smoothly, and I felt really great about it afterwards. The problem was that the other positions really just weren't a good fit for me, and had I been offered those internships, I probably would not have been as happy with them. So if you have an impressive resume but you keep getting stuck at the interview process, it's ok! It's just not the right position yet so just keep chugging and an even better opportunity is sure to come along.

Now, I'm not going to lie, I'm still learning how to play this game that extroverts naturally so good at. I've attended networking events and felt a bit like a fish out of water. It's just not my scene. But it's necessary. Sigh. So sometimes you just have to fake it. Play to your strengths whenever possible. I know I'm much better at one-on-one conversations and that I tend to get lost in a group so I try to strike up conversations with people who are standing alone. I also try to smile as much as possible. Smiling helps me to come across as being friendlier (Whenever I get lost inside my thoughts, I've been told that I look sad or even bored! Not good!). It's also been scientifically proven that the very act of smiling can make you feel more cheerful and put yourself at ease. :)

That's all for now, but I promise to share more tips as I stumble across them. No worries, fellow introverts, you're not alone! The void from our speech is filled with our thoughts and there are plenty of areas where we shine in the workplace!

Here are some other great articles I've found on the subject:
Introverts: 6 Ways to Find Your Niche in the Office
Why Introverts Make the Best Leaders

Katie Hazard | Digital Artist, User Experience Designer | @katie_hazard
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