In this episode, I talk about introverts in the workplace. Because we live in a world where extrovert traits are typically favored, we as introverts sometimes face some difficulties in the workplace. However, there are some major positives of having an introvert colleague and they are definitely worth acknowledging. I linked the articles I referenced below. If you like what you hear, please consider following me on social media and leaving me a comment. I’d love to hear from you!
Some parts of the transcript may be edited for better readability, but the content remains the same. Mostly removed duplicate words, vocal filler words, and added/removed some words for clarification. Added text are in fuchsia.
Hey everyone! This is Meliza, and I'm the Talkative Introvert.
In today's episode, we're gonna talk about introverts in the workplace. But before I get to that, you guys know, I love to do my little podcast journey segment. So, if you are just tuning in, and haven't listened to my previous episodes, I am really new to podcasting. I've never done it before. It's completely new and I'm still learning the ropes. So, I've really enjoyed just this little segment just kind of updating my podcast journey. So as of today, only Episode Four is out. So, I have been recording these episodes pretty far ahead of time, just because I don't know how much time I have, like how much free time I have to do these episodes. So, I'm kind of stacking them all up just in case I run out of time. At least I have enough episodes to finish up the season.
Anyways, so my download counts are going up, even though I only have four episodes out. I mean, it's not a lot, a lot, but it's definitely more than I thought I would get. Just because like, I'm not really promoting this, and I'm not paying for like any ad space. It's just, you know, word of mouth, just sharing people, following people on Instagram, on Facebook and stuff like that. And so, I wasn't expecting a whole lot of traffic going through my podcast, but that's awesome. Like, I at first, it was definitely just people that I know, because the stats are that are provided to you, you can see like the location and the city that they are downloading your podcasts. And it's definitely people that I know, like specific cities. But now it's like growing like I have listeners in Georgia, and Connecticut, North Carolina, even someone in Germany and India. So, thanks so much for listening. And like I am surprised that you guys think this is interesting, to be honest. But it's been pretty good. Like I feel pretty good about this. And it's been really fun like doing this. I mean, I bought a mic. So, I clearly love doing this. Since I'm spending money on it. Anyways. Oh, like I forgot to mention. One week, my download counts doubled in less than a week. And that just really shocked me. I was like, Wow, really, people. People are actually downloading this and like listening. And that's, that's really surprising to me, because I didn't know people actually wanted to listen to my podcasts. So again, thanks.
Oh, and did you guys notice? I have an intro song. Oh, well, I mean, I had an intro on my last one. But this one is a little different. Because the last one, to be honest, I listened to the last one. And it's, it's too long. I don't even... whatever, it's fine. But um, so this one I hope is better. And then my brother actually sent me some samples. And so, I'm gonna check those out today and see if I like them. And then yeah, maybe it'll be in the next episode. Who knows? But I was pretty excited because I really wanted an intro song from someone that I knew. And I know my brother really likes doing that stuff. So yeah, so I'm excited to actually have an intro on that's made by someone I know personally, like that's pretty awesome. I'm glad he did it. Anyways, so that's just a little bit of my podcast journey. I'm definitely learning and getting better at this. I'm understanding the software a lot better. I'm getting more listeners, more downloads. My mic obviously is way better. Oh my god, you guys. I listened to my earlier episodes. And I'm so sorry that you guys sat through that if you did, it sounds terrible compared to this episode and the last episode. It sounds like so much better. I'm glad I bought a mic because like just comparing the two the first few are slightly unbearable, but I didn't want to rerecord them either, because I still liked the content. And I was hoping that you guys would like it too. So, I kept it anyways. So, I will... Going forward. Obviously, I will be using this mic and it'll sound better. And I'm glad that you guys sat through those. So, thanks for listening. And I'm sorry, sorry, you had to listen to that. But, man, this mic is so much better. I didn't realize, like it's not even that expensive of a mic either. I forgot how much I paid for it. But it's not like $100 or anything like that. I think it was like 50 bucks or yeah.
Anyways, so getting into today's episode, I wanted to talk about introverts in the workplace. And before I get into like the main parts of the episode, I think I kind of need to explain my current job because I will be referencing it a lot. And it's a, it's your typical office job. And these articles really speak to mostly office related jobs. So just a little background of what I do currently. So, when I graduated college or not, when I graduated, actually, the summer before I graduated college, I left my job at Chipotle to pursue an internship with an IT company, an IT consulting company. So, if you don't know anything about IT consulting, it's all project based. If you don't know what that means, basically, large IT companies have to go and bid for these projects. And these projects are all you know, IT related.
So, for example, say DMV wants to update their software. Well, that's considered a project. And so large IT companies such as like Xerox, IBM, HP, DXC, what have you, we'll all go and bid for that project. And then I'm only one or you know, a couple, depending on the contract will win that contract. And so that's your project. And projects can last from - depending on like, the complexity - can last from like, a few months, to a few years. And so, in IT consulting, you may be on their project for like, one year, but and then move on to the next project and be there for like 10 years. So, it's really, it varies. And so, I'm just bringing this up, just because I'll probably refer to projects. But really, it's just the one company that I was with. Regardless, it's your stereotypical office job, and my work currently, so I left that company, and I went over to the client side. So, like how I was saying these IT companies go, and they bid for these projects. So, the project that they're bidding for, they're trying to win over the client, right? So, the big IBM, Xerox, Conduent, whatever those major, IT companies, those are the vendors, and then the company or the organization that requires the IT services are the clients. And so when I started in the IT industry, I started off on the vendor side - it's also known as the private side - and now I've actually switched over and now I am on the client side, meaning the before, I was the one producing the product, the deliverable, if you will, and providing it to the client for their approval. But now I'm on the other side. Now I'm the client reviewing the product and providing my approval. But still, it's all the same. It's all office work. It's all in the IT industry. And so that's just... Sorry, ended up being a longer explanation. But basically, it's office work, right? So, I am in meetings, and I sit in front of a computer all day in my cubicle. Well, now I'm at home. So, because of the whole pandemic thing. But yeah, office work.
And so, getting into the main part of the episode, I do reference these two articles that I read. I read through a few but I really like these two ones from Introvert Dear. If you haven't heard of that, Introvert Dear also has a website and they actually even have a podcast that's really good. Hopefully, I didn't lose you guys to them, but it's good content and I really enjoy what they post in their blogs and what they talk about in their podcasts. And the other article that I will reference is from Forbes. So, I will link those in the description if you want to read more about it. So yeah, alright, let's get into it. So, as I mentioned earlier, today's episode is going to be about introverts in the workplace. As I mentioned in previous episodes, we live in a very extroverted world, where extrovert characteristics are usually favored over introvert characteristics. And that can be really difficult for an introvert in the workplace. So I'm going to talk about why that is, what are the type of difficulties that we face in the workplace, but also explain how advantageous it could be to hire introverts, and that introvert traits can be highly desirable in the workplace. And so yeah, alright, let's get into it.
Difficulties: The Open Concept Office
So, one of the biggest difficulties that I've noticed that is happening and becoming ever more popular is this whole idea of the open concept office. So if you don't know what I'm talking about, have you ever watched a movie or a show where the setting is like in a Google or like Facebook headquarters, you know that Silicon Valley, millennial type environment? Well, did you ever notice that there's no walls, no cubicles, everything's open, you can see everyone, like, even the managers have an all glass office? So, like, they can see everyone, and everyone can see them. Basically, you can't escape the eyes of your peers. So that is an open concept office. So, no one has their own cubicle, or their own little space, or anything like that. It's just all open, you can see all your colleagues and everyone's in a shared space. That's becoming really popular. So, I was at a project, I was assigned to a project temporarily, where they were embracing this open concept. And it basically was just this long table. And everyone sat on this long table, and you're just separated by partitions. And so, you only had like this really small space. And you don't even have a filing cabinet or any like storage space. It's just a long table, and your chair, your monitor, and your computer. And that's it. You don't have anything else, all your belongings, they had like a locker room where you can go and lock up like your purse or your backpack or whatever. And then you're just in this open space with everybody. I was actually very fortunate enough to only be there, like really short term. And my other projects were located in older buildings. So, I actually did have my own cubicle. And before this pandemic, I did have my own cubicle. And so, I only got to experience that for a very, very short time, which I'm so thankful for.
Anyways, so this open concept office is getting super popular, because it's supposed to promote better collaboration, better communication, better productivity, and it saves money, and it's more cost effective. So, you're probably wondering, so what's the problem? Well, like I've said in previous episodes I'll mention it again, introverts need social recharging, right? So too much communication, too much stimulation, too much socializing can be very exhausting, and very draining. And in order for an introvert to thrive in their workspace, they need to be able to like retract from the group and be in their own little bubble for a while so they can organize their thoughts and just have alone time to recharge, so that they can get back, so that they can prepare for the next collaboration session. Having an open concept office, it's just constant socializing, even though you may not be talking to your colleagues the whole time, you know, people are talking to each other. You can't really have your own space, your own little bubble, and then people can freely interrupt you at any time at any moment. I mean, you kind of can with a cubicle as well. But it's definitely not as easy as if it was just an open concept office.
Difficulties: Excessive Amount of Collaboration
Then that leads to this excessive amount of collaboration. So yes, collaboration is positive, it's good. Sometimes we need it to get a job done. Sometimes we need to get more input on a certain issue and get multiple perspectives so that we can resolve this issue. It's definitely important in a client vendor relationship, that way we are on the same page of what kind of product we want to produce. So, I do understand the collaboration is very important in that aspect. However, excessive amounts of collaboration can be detrimental to an introvert and their work. Introverts need to be able to go back to their space so that they can collect their thoughts, they can reorganize, they can recharge from their social exhaustion, and they need time alone to better analyze the situation. That way they can be better prepared to share with the rest of the group.
As an analyst myself, I do very analytical work. And that's hard to do if there's too many collaborations going on. I do a lot better if I can collect the information from that collaboration session or from a meeting and bring it back to my desk and really analyze it, organize my thoughts and get it together, so I can really create a really quality product that I can then share with a bigger group. And so, if we're constantly collaborating, constantly talking, and constantly meeting with our teams and with other counterparts, it's hard to get that alone time. So, I could do like true analysis of the situation. And honestly, I've actually benefited much better in a smaller group. So, I used to do auditing. And as an auditor, one of your responsibilities is to interview the clients so that you get a better understanding of what the specific team you're auditing, like, what are they doing well? What are they not doing well? What should we look out for when we audit? And so, I made the mistake of interviewing the entire group of clients. And I realized that it's actually more productive and much better when you interview them on a much smaller scale. Sometimes one on one is better, because in a large group, people's voices get lost, people talk over each other, we go on different tangents. But when you do a one on one or a smaller group, you know, everybody's voice can be heard, and it's much more productive, you get much more meaningful notes that way. And so, I'm not even talking about introverts versus extroverts. But really just having that smaller group ends up being more beneficial at the end.
Difficulties: Expectation to be Social at Work
So, on top of the open concept office, and these excessive amounts of collaboration, we also have to deal with (Link walks into the room.) Can you hear my dog pitter pattering? Okay, sorry, it's really cute, though. Not gonna lie. Anyways, what was I talking about? Oh, yeah. Okay. So, on top of, you know, collaboration, open concept, blah, blah, blah, there's also this expectation to be social and to sometimes get personal with your colleagues. And this can be both good and bad. You know, the good thing about it is you get to build a relationship with your coworkers, you know, you have to spend 40 plus hours with these people, every day, not every day, every week. And so, it's nice to build a relationship with them, you know, take little breaks, here and there from work and catch up with people. And, honestly, I've been able to meet some amazing people at work, some people who turn from colleagues to really good friends, and some people who I still keep in touch with, even though I no longer work at my previous company. And so, it has been really good socializing. And I do love, like, we used to have a lot of potlucks. And we have, we had a lot of holiday events. And I actually helped out with a lot of that stuff. So, I do like it. And there's a lot of good in being social and interacting with your colleagues on a more personal level. However, for an introvert, that can also be very exhausting.
So not only are we expected to be collaborating with our colleagues, which is another, it's, even though you're not talking about personal things, that's still you know, contributes to your social exhaustion. So, on top of that, we also are constantly talking to our colleagues, and it can be really exhausting. And there are days where I literally would be just so tired from all the meetings and all the collaboration sessions that sometimes I wish that I can have, like these breaks. And honestly, this quarantine, I know that COVID-19 is not ideal. We don't want a virus. But this quarantine situation has been really great. Like my productivity level has gone way up. I am not as socially exhausted as I used to be. Like I used to get just tired, because we used to have so many meetings. I mean, we still have so many meetings, but at the end of the meeting, like I just hang up my phone, and that's it, then I could just, you know, I'm just at home by myself. And I could just go straight to doing what I need to do for work so I can get it done. Actually, this whole quarantine, like that's kind of how I found out that there's actually a lot of introverts at my work. Because we do keep in touch. We have team meetings, sometimes we have to call each other and we'll just, you know, chitchat a little bit and just ask like how we're doing and like how's quarantine going? And a lot of people actually love it. They love working from home. There's this quiz (It's really a survey. LOL!) that our organization sent out because we don't do teleworking permanently before. We were 100% in the office, we only worked from home if we absolutely needed to work from home. And so, they sent out this quiz for all the employees and they're asking, like, how do you like teleworking? How do you feel about teleworking? becoming a more permanent thing, you know, even beyond the pandemic, and it was almost unanimous.
You guys, like people love it. People love to work from home, they talked about how productivity is way higher. They talked about how they're not interrupted as often by colleagues, you know, stopping by their cubicles to chit chat. And they're able to get more work done and work and get work done faster. And so, it's crazy. And then I've talked to some colleagues here, like, Yeah, I don't miss going to the office at all, like, I hope we can do this forever. And I was like, Oh, okay. So, I'm not alone in that aspect. But yeah, okay. But does kind of make me wonder, though, like, because people are always chatting it up at work, like at the break room and all that. And so, it makes me wonder, like, do people do that out of obligation? Like, do people just do it because they're expected to? Is there an expectation to be social and have small talk around the water cooler, you know, water cooler talk. So, it's interesting to get that input from everyone. Like, it's interesting how this whole quarantine thing is happening. And there's a very, very small percentage of people who want to go back to work 100%, like, very small, like a tiny sliver on the pie chart. So that's crazy.
Difficulties: Introverts are Always Being Judged
All right. So next difficulty in the workplace for an introvert is the fact that we are judged. So that's normal, right? introverts get judged all the time. I talk about that in my pet peeve episode and the misconceptions episode. You know, people think we're quiet. And we're kind of weird because we like to eat lunch alone. And we're anti-social because we decline invitations to social gatherings. Like, colleagues of mine used to go out to happy hour a lot. And I don't think I even I mean, I think I went to a couple of them. To be honest, but I left early, so I didn't stay the whole time. I said no, a lot to be honest. Because not gonna lie. Like I see these people all the time I see them, probably more than I see my own husband. So why would I want to go out happy hour? I mean, there are a few of them were like, yeah, totally, I would want to go to happy hour with them. It's just like a very, very small amount of people.
Anyways, sorry, back to the point. So, we are being constantly judged because of that. Like, for example, I don't always invite people to lunch. And when I do, I have to be like, very careful to avoid a large lunch outing. Because when you ask someone to lunch, someone might hear you and then they'll ask to go, and then the person next to you will hear you and they're like, Oh, I want to go too and that ends up being this large group. And really, you just wanted to have lunch with that one person. But surprisingly, there are definitely more introverts in the workplace than you probably realized. I think people kind of pretend to not be an introvert because like I said, extrovert traits are definitely more favorable. And so that's why people probably don't realize how many introverts there actually are in the workplace.
I've actually been a lead and I've been a manager. And honestly, I love introverts. Well, I mean, I obviously love introverts because I'm an introvert, but I do love introverts as employees, like they have really great traits. And I think people kind of overlook those traits, because instead, they kind of think introverts are just weird and anti-social, and blah, blah, blah. But I did receive a pretty big compliment from a manager once. And she once described me as small, but mighty. And she said that because I'm not like super outlandish. And as she put it, I don't have a "look at me look at me" personality. And because of that, because of like me, being an introvert, I do actually produce great work. And I don't involve myself in office politics and drama, like I have good relationships with everyone. And I always get my work done. And I don't get involved in all those like petty little office conflicts. And so, I got like, pretty big recognition because I did leave that project and she gave me like this huge kudos and it was, like I wasn't expecting at all.
Honestly, I'll probably always remember that and that kind of leads to my next segment: what makes introverts a great worker. And I personally can really speak to this, as is, as I've said before, I have had a manager role, and I have been a lead. And I've been involved in a lot of interviews, and have hired, I've definitely hired a lot of good people who ended up doing really well in their job. I have had to fire two people once. And that was pretty difficult. But of all the people I've ever hired, like, only two of them got fired. So yeah, I can really speak to this one. Because there are specific traits that I do look for when I do interviews, and honestly, I actually just did some interviews just recently, a couple weeks ago. And as I was reading this article, it definitely had some key characteristics that I was looking for when I was doing the interviews. And I thought this is really great. Like a really great article for people for introverts to read. And to know that they do have desirable traits. Okay, so what makes introverts great workers?
Advantages: Introverts are Great Observers
One, we are great observers. Because we do tend to be more quiet, it allows us to be more observant of the room and of the situation. And we may notice things that other people would miss, you know, we could see details that can be completely missed. So, introverts tend to be very detail oriented, which is, like really important actually, to put on your resume. Like I'm always looking for people who are detail oriented. So that's like a really great trait. Like, if you're an introvert, and you're quiet, and you tend to observe the room and observe things. And you've noticed that you've observed things other people don't notice, you know, that may see detail oriented. And that's like a great thing to add as a skill in your resume.
Advantages: Introverts Don't Need Constant External Reinforcement
And then next, we don't need constant external reinforcement. So, this one is actually really surprising to me, because I didn't realize that was an introvert thing. So, my boss, she is pretty new to her role. She got promoted not too long before I got hired. And one of the questions she asked the team was, as your manager, what would you like me to do to recognize your good work? Like, she really wanted us to feel like we're being recognized and appreciated for the hard work that we do. Some team members responded with giving us a kudos at the all staff. And some people were like, put us on blast, you know, like, do an email out to everyone giving us kudos. And I don't know, it was just like putting us kind of center of attention. And honestly, when I answered the question, because we were given like these questions separately, and so we answered them separately, and then we met as a group. And literally, my answer was, I don't really need the recognition. To be honest, the fact that you're not firing me is recognition enough. And if you really have to, I'm totally good with just a post it note that said, Good job. So, I didn't really care for like the whole recognition thing. Like, I don't care about getting kudos or anything like that, because I don't really like being center of attention anyways. So this kind of just puts you right in the center, like, honestly, just a pat on the back, or just a good job, like I don't have to, it doesn't have to be like to everyone, like everyone doesn't need to know that I'm doing a good job, or anything like that. Just give me a good review on my annual assessment, and then we're good to go. Like, I think that's important to note that introverts don't need the constant attention. They don't need the constant praise to produce good quality work.
Advantages: Introverts are Self-Starters
Okay, so next one, we are self-starters, this one was so important when I did the interviews, because that's definitely one of the characteristics that I was looking for a self-starter. And so, the position that we were hiring for, it's above - what's it called - entry level. So, the expectation is that you don't need to be handheld, you don't need to be like, constantly managed or anything like that, because it is a higher up position. And so, this one was like really big on my list. And introverts tend to be self-starters. You know, and this is a great one to put on your resume if this does resonate with you, because introverts don't really need like constant attention, like I said earlier, and so they tend to not need a lot of supervision. They can typically, you know, take a project, and then run with it and then do their analysis and all that. And so, that's a really great, you know, introvert characteristic. And definitely If that's you, you're a self-starter. Definitely put that on your resume like that's such a good characteristic to have.
Advantages: Introverts are More Likely to Take Calculated Risks
Next one, we are more likely to take calculated risk. And so, what that means is that introverts tend to gather the facts and process them first before taking the plunge. So that we don't typically go all in without knowing all the variables. And that's really important because seeing that there's an issue that's going to result in a major financial loss for the company, we can't have someone taking these major risks without really weighing out the options first, and making sure that they are making the best choice for that situation. And an introvert will typically not make a risk unless it's a calculated risk, unless there are facts, and they are processed and they know all the variables, and they're able to give you the best solution possible. And that's like a huge, huge characteristic that is very important in the workplace, especially if you're dealing with like high-profile issues and risks.
Advantages: Introverts Don't Require Approval from Others, but are Open to Their Opinions
Okay, this is the last one on my list. We don't require approval from others, but we will seek out their opinions. And so, when I was reading the article, this really means we're not easily swayed by other people's opinions. And that is because introverts tend to be very analytical, and very observant, and they are able to form their own opinions based on the facts given to them, and the ability to process them. But that doesn't mean that introverts won't seek input from others, because of course, you know, that's the importance of collaboration, as we mentioned earlier, but because introverts are typically very observant and analytical, they don't usually need to rely on others to form their opinions. Which is a really great treat, because then you end up being the subject matter expert, you know, like you, you end up being the person that people can go to and rely on for your opinion, and you're the person that they can go to, for input on how to solve certain situations, which is an awesome trait. You know, that's, that's being a great team member. And that's something that's a really great characteristic that you can put on your resume and that you can talk to during your interviews.
So, in conclusion, I hope this episode was very informative for both an employer and for the employee. You know, hopefully employers will understand introverts a little better, understand why they are the way they are and understand like how certain aspects of the office or of the workplace can be a little difficult for the average introvert. But then to also recognize the introverts are great colleagues are great workers, and definitely have amazing desirable traits that any employer would be lucky to have as part of their team and part of their department. There are a lot of great things about being an introvert and having an introvert in the workplace. And no, we're not super vocal people may not be super outgoing, but as my manager put it, we can be small but mighty.
Alright, guys, I hope you liked that episode. If you did like it, please like, follow subscribe, whatever you need to do to stay informed of new episodes. I am on Spotify, I am on Apple, Google, even YouTube. Though my YouTube channel is like, dead. I probably got like only a couple of views. I'm still on there if you don't want to use any of the other platforms. I have Facebook, Instagram, I also included my Gmail account. So, if you guys want to send me an email, send me a comment. what have you, I would love to hear from you guys. I would love to hear from introverts. What is your struggle in the workplace and like employers, you know, what do you love about introverts? And what do you love about your introvert employees and what characteristics are you looking for? Let me know what you thought about this episode. And I would love to hear from you guys. Thanks so much for listening and I will talk to you guys in the next episode.