I’ve been reading comments left by a group of fellow introverts in an on-line forum, and I’m feeling incensed by the treatment of introverts by some employers.
A couple of people even stated that they were “marked down” in appraisals, for not socialising enough with their team mates at lunchtime and for after-work drinks. I think that’s appalling!
I can remember, in one of my many jobs, my “grandfather” asked my line manager whether he thought I chatted too much at work. My manager told me about it – so I confronted my grandfather.
“If you have anything to ask about me, then I suggest you ask me,” I said.
“OK then – do YOU think you chat too much at work?” he asked.
“It’s called RELATIONSHIP BUILDING,” I explained.
“Couldn’t you do that during your lunch hour?” he countered.
“NO!” I exclaimed. “I don’t want to SOCIALISE with these people – I just want to have a good working relationship with them.”
I think he was quite taken aback!
But to me, it made perfect sense. It wasn’t that I didn’t like the people I worked with – in fact, many of my closest friends are former work colleagues – but I needed time to myself during the lunch hour, so that I could prepare myself for the afternoon ahead.
At the time, I didn’t realise that was due to me being an introvert. I just thought I was different from everyone else – an “outsider”. And I have to say that, unlike many people I’ve met since starting this Introverts In Business movement, I felt totally OK with that.
But the wonderful thing about working for yourself is that you don’t have to put up with that sort of nonsense! You can choose who you work with, and you can also choose HOW you work.
So if you want to take time out to re-charge your batteries in between client work, you can choose to do so. If you don’t want to spend your time networking face-to-face, you can choose to network on-line.
You might still encounter people who don’t understand you – who think you’re strange. But the wonderful thing is, those people can no longer decide how – or whether – your career will progress. You have total control.
What do you think? Do you feel pressured to socialise more than you would like, in order to further your career or business?
About the author Julia Barnickle is a film maker, photographer, artist and writer, and the founder of The Quiet Entrepreneur community for introverts in business. She offers visibility coaching to raise your online profile, and helps you create videos to promote and deliver your services.