Monday, November 9, 2009

Being an Introvert Is Okay

I don't know if it's a chicken or egg thing, but I find the longer I work as a shut-in, the more introverted I become. It's not to say that if you met me you wouldn't find me to be a gregarious person -- I love to meet new people, I enjoy going out to parties and such, and I do well in meetings and in front of audiences. But I also crave time alone in my office to do sustained thinking, planning, working, writing. And I need downtime by myself (maybe a lot of it!) to recharge my brain and my ability to deal with people.

So I would characterize myself as a closet introvert.

Working at home is perfect: when I go on site, I'm all out. I meet all day, happy hours, dinners with colleagues, anything, all face to face. But other than that, I'm really mostly working quietly. So I read with interest this little piece from the New York Times. My favorite bit:

What does that look like on Monday morning? They prepare well for meetings and negotiations; they’ve done their reflective thinking in advance. They also schedule down time in order to recharge. And they seek out allies as trusted sounding boards and champions who can help spread the word about their quiet strengths.

This is good advice for the telecommuter, too. You are, by the nature of your working environment, an introvert, especially to your Real Office colleagues. So give yourself the illusion of extroversion.

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