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- 01 Sep 2017

The best careers for introverts

I recently read Susan Cain's newly released book Quiet Power - The Secret Strengths of Introverts (a guide for kids and teens), and, as well as it being an excellent book (see more below) it got me thinking about the best careers for introverts...

But first, a bit about Susan and her new book:

Susan is a Princeton and Harvard Law graduate; founder of the Quiet Revolution website; and author of Quiet, a book about the power of introverts that spent more than four years on the New York Times Bestsellers list. In Quiet Power Susan has collaborated with Gregory Mone and Erica Moroz to apply her highly researched understanding of introverts to a 'kids and teens' audience. Along with the extensive research conducted for Quiet, Susan has drawn on numerous interviews and case studies with young people. In a world where being outgoing and talkative often seems to be highly valued, Susan's book is a great counter-balance as she highlights the significant strengths and benefits of being an introvert. She includes lots of great examples for quiet teens who are struggling, and tips and techniques to help them thrive.

Susan consistently makes the point that introverts while quiet and reserved by nature can flex when needed, to be more outgoing and put themselves forward. She sees this as something that introverts can work on and be very successful at if they put appropriate support techniques in place. That said she also acknowledges that this can be an exhausting process for them.

Personality Theory

Essentially, from a personality theory perspective the extroversion dimension runs from introverted at one end to extraverted at the other and many personality theories talk about this dimension in terms of where a person gets their energy from (i.e. an extravert typically finds social gatherings and time with other people energising, while an introvert finds quiet time for contemplation rejuvenating and energising).

While I agree that regardless of personality type (introvert versus extravert) individuals can flex to meet the demands of a multitude of challenges (e.g. public speaking or performing), especially if they have natural talent and passion for the task, I do think there is considerable merit in assessing personality fit when considering career paths. Flexing constantly can be exhausting, so while an introvert may be perfectly capable of performing in a role that requires an outgoing persona and constant people contact, it is likely they will be happier longer term in a role that requires less talking and provides some time working alone.

This is summed up nicely on the Quiet Revolution website..."introversion and extroversion lie at the heart of human nature. One scientist refers to them as “the north and south of temperament.” When you make life choices that are congruent with your temperament—and allow others to do the same—you unleash vast stores of energy.

Conversely, when you spend too much time battling your own nature, the opposite happens: you deplete yourself."

Sourced from http://www.quietrev.com/ (16/5/16).

Career ideas for introverts

While by no means exhaustive, below is a list of jobs that I would typically expect to provide a reasonable amount of autonomy and independence:

  • Archivist
  • Astronomer
  • Biochemist
  • Biologist
  • Biophysicist
  • Computer Programmer
  • Court Reporter
  • Economist
  • Electrician
  • Engineer
  • Film / Video Editor
  • Financial Analyst
  • Geoscientist
  • Graphic Designer
  • Lawyer
  • Pilot
  • Private Chef
  • Social Media Manager
  • Statistician