I’m often asked “what is the best job for an introvert?” To answer that, let’s begin with what is NOT the best job for an introvert:
Wanted: Outgoing multitasker with superior communication skills, a team attitude and a love for working with people. The ideal candidate will have at least 5 years experience working in a fast-paced customer service environment. Leadership skills are a plus, but not required. Entry level wages.
If you’ve ever searched for work for any length of time, the above job description probably sounds familiar. You looked for jobs that called for introverted singletaskers who love working alone, but there weren’t any.
Unless you work in a technical or artistic field, introvert friendly jobs are hard to find. Even jobs that are typically seen as introverted, such as IT jobs, often hire and evaluate employees with the extrovert ideal in mind.
One of the saddest aspects of living in an extrovert obsessed society is that the world misses out on all the gifts introverts have to offer.
The best job for an introvert is one that draws upon the below innie strengths.
After years of exalting multitasking as the ultimate form of productivity, researchers are now finding that single-tasking introverts had it right all along.
A Stanford Study found that people who are media multitaskers do not pay attention, control their memory or switch from one job to another as well as those who complete one task at a time.
In other words, multasking decreases productivity. An introvert’s focused approach is better for the brain and the bottom line.
In a world of constant chaos and interruption, an introvert’s desire to work in solitude is a great asset. For a while, “groupthink” and “synergy” were the productivity catch phrases of the day. Companies took the idea of team work to a sickening level by making employees brainstorm and develop ideas together.
For introverts who work far better alone, this meant creative suicide. It turns out, there is real merit to our lone approach to problem solving and innovation. Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak explains:
“I don’t believe anything really revolutionary has ever been invented by committee… I’m going to give you some advice that might be hard to take. That advice is: Work alone… Not on a committee. Not on a team.”
One of the other advantages of working in solitude is that it gives us greater access to our intuition. Once written off as a fluffy, and insignificant attribute, intuition is now gaining the credit it deserves. This Steve Jobs quote offers words to live by for the intuitive introvert:
“Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”
A Quick List Of The Best Jobs For Introverts
- Animal care attendant
- Software developer/programmer
- Online entrepreneur
- Lab technician
- Tradesman, such as a carpenter, or plumber
- Ferry boat operator
- Intuitive healer
The Worst Jobs For Introverts
Considering that all introverts are unique as snowflakes, there will always be those of us who excel at seemingly extroverted jobs. That said, the jobs that most introverts would find challenging include:
- Customer service agent
- Tour guide
- In-person sales representative
- Public relations officer
- Dental hygienist
- Human resources specialist
- Event planner
What about teaching?
I often hear from introverts who want to know if teaching is a good job for an introvert. First of all, it’s important to recognize that there are different kinds of teachers. There are elementary school, high school and college teachers. Not only that.
There are also educators in nearly every field. Coaches, trainers, mentors, and writers all teach people in their own way. Spending five hours a day in front of a classroom is too draining for some introverts. But spending an hour or two a week training people in person or online can be just right.
This is what I’ve found for myself. I absolutely love teaching introverts through my webinar classes, and video courses. This year, I also been mentored an elite group of INFJs who helped me to build a free private INFJ forum.
The key to choosing the best job for an introvert
It’s crucial for introverts to consider our unique energy needs when choosing a job. We must keep in mind that working in extroverted work environments will deplete us. Sometimes it is worth it. Sometimes not.
Dr. Arnie Kozak, author of The Awakened Introvert, explains:
“If you have sought work that helps people even as it puts you in extroverted roles, such as health care professional, educator, or actor, you have a greater challenge. If you work in a role that is unrelentingly extroverted with no time for recovery, you will be at a great disadvantage.”
The good news is that there are ways that we can cope with extroverted work environments. The key is to take deliberate action to restore ourselves.
“If you work in a space without privacy, quiet, or time for introspection, then you will have to deliberately counteract the adverse effects of this environment,” says Kozak.
Should I just fake it till I make it?
Introverts who involuntarily end up in extroverted jobs, often feel the need to ‘fake it till they make it.’
This was the case for Phillip Richard, creator of WorkingQuietly.com, who became so frustrated with his extrovert-centric work environment that he decided to quit his cushy IT job and start his own business.
Phillip admits that he often felt pressure to conform to the extrovert ideal at work. Despite his discomfort, the term “fake it till you make it” became his reluctant mantra. He explains:
“At the start of my career in software, I grappled with these expectations on a daily basis, always assuming that I had to be the most boisterous, confident looking person in the room to be a respected member of my team.
Underneath that thin smiling veneer of a confident-looking employee, however, was a real person asking himself what it would really feel like to have this confidence that he was pretending to own in spades.”
Of course, introverts don’t have to fake confidence. Anyone can build confidence with the right tools. Feeling like we need to “fake” anything to succeed is the real problem.
I help introverts develop authentic confidence from the inside out. If you want to feel genuinely confident in any situation, I have gifts for you. Signup to my mailing list and receive a step-by-step roadmap for developing confidence and charisma in your own introverted way. You’ll also get my 50-page ebook on making meaningful connections, even if you’re quiet, and shy.
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Over to you
What do you feel is the best job for an introvert?
Have you experienced the pressure to be extroverted at work?
I’ll give a +1 for lab technician! I worked in a lab last summer where I got to sit people down in a room and talk to them for 40-45 minutes while I stuck electrodes on them and hooked them up to a bunch of other physiology-measuring devices.
Fortunately each session took quite long and we only had to run 2 participants a day–the rest was setting up, cleaning up, and working with data. It was a great way to practice conversation and getting to know new people, as well as understanding how to get someone to feel more at ease in an uncomfortable situation.
And since the conversation-heavy bits were limited to 2-3 hours per 8-hour workday, I wasn’t exhausted by the time I got home. In fact, I found I really appreciated the balance between working alone and with others that was inherent in the position.
Finding the right job can be challenging as an introvert since so many job descriptions can be misleading. On the application, they might list 8 different things you’ll have to do, all of which will be quite vague. And then in reality most of your day is made up of just 2 or 3 of those things. If they end up being more extrovert-friendly tasks, you’d be well within your right to feel that you’ve been bait-and-switched.
My personal recommendation is that once you find an environment you enjoy, or a few people you like being around (and who aren’t talking all the dang time), focus on gradually molding your job to focus more on the tasks that put you into the state of “calm competence” rather than accepting responsibilities that require you to be “on” all day long. That’s really worked for me in the past. 🙂
Great recommendations, Charlene! Thanks for sharing. 🙂
Hello Michaela.I just want to make a small comment on the musician’s profession that you put on the list for introvert suited jobs. Although many musicians are introverts, I would not say that it is a profession suited for an introvert person. Music as a hobby can by a wonderful thing for an introvert who may enjoy the alone time practicing and being creative. However the professional field is a completely different story altogether.Working in a music class, or giving seminars in big groups of people, or having to constantly be socially engaged with fans, bar and club owners and socialize with other musicians in order to be included (and musicians do party loud and hard often), can be quite a challenge for an introvert. It can be done and very successfully at times but it is quite tiring. And while successful even, you may find yourself so socially overcharged that you can no longer enjoy the music. I speak from experience as I am an introvert and an actress and musician 😉
Thanks for sharing your insights on that, Alexandra! 🙂
Nice how Urban Planning isn’t in the worst jobs for introverts category as that is what I am pursuing my MA in currently hehe. I know for a fact i can never ever dare teach in a classroom with little kids or grade school as one voluntary experience taught me how draining, frustrating and stressful such is when dealing with a classroom of dysfunction, disrespect and worse parents or guardians that do not want to get involved.
Wondering which public health jobs are best for introverts?
Decion science, business psychology, entrepreneur, operation and supply chain management, information system management and information technology management
I have no idea which major in the list I wrote above is fit the INFJ. Or can you recommend any other business major/careers is good for INFJ personality?
Please give me some advice
Really usefull advices Michaela, I really liked the shortlists of best and worst professions for Introverts, found myself right away in the writer profession. 😉
I think the best jobs for an introvert is to be a writer, online entrepreneur or a forester. Writer and online entrepreneur for obvious reasons, those are my favourites. 🙂
I’ve added forester, simply because I think that in that way you can be connected with beautiful nature, feel it, and at the same time be alone with your thoughts, experience bonding with the nature itself, being surrounded by it. 🙂
I’ve experienced many times the pressure of being extroverted on work, especially when I was working in customer support centre in the past for a short period of time. It was awfull… I was constantly being drained, presurred, constantly being surrounded by 15 or more people, and at the same time calling them over the phone… Hell on earth for an introvert… But luckily, it didn’t last long. 🙂
All in all, great explanations Michaela, this article is really going to help me a lot. 🙂
Thanks for your input.
How do you personally feel of the broad field of Urban/City Planning for introverts?
I recently quit my admin job after 4 months. I thought i was going to be doing data entry without much interference or interaction with anyone else, then to my dismay, found I was working with a team of 4 very extroverted employment consultants, who adored doing EVERYTHING together. I also had to sit in on weekly team meetings and take minutes, which I hated. Once I got over the huge shock, i tried my hardest to fit in, i.e. acting like an extrovert, but it really took its toll. At the end of each day I was exhausted, i dreaded going to work most days, i was stressed to the max (and trying to look after my family!). The decision to quit was hugely stressful, but such a relief. I felt so guilty as i really liked these people , they were great fun, but I couldn’t work with them. The jobs i have enjoyed the most by far in the past were volunteer jobs where I taught seniors how to use computers (one on one) and taught Literacy skills to students (one on one).
Michaela (I love your name):
The trends that you speak of are on the mark. I’ve been learning that multi-tasking has turned out to not be all it’s cracked up to be, and I’m so relieved.
Another trend suited to extraverts, which I think has gone to an extreme that is damaging our culture (American and others) is venting. The idea: when one is frustrated, angry or **fill in the blank**, one should let it all out. A modification of this might be: say whatever is in your head because it’s the “real you.” I think that there are benefits to both, but it seems to largely be practiced without a disregard for boundaries. For ex, want to scream or play music loudly at 2 a.m.? Go right ahead! Tell your rudely awakened neighbors to “suck it up!” because you’re just letting off steam. Every. Single. Night.
Venting has often turned into ranting, and even aggressive driving (in my opinion). We need to dial it back a lot.
Michaela, I totally agree with this: “Work alone… Not on a committee. Not on a team.” (Steve Wozniak ). – As a freelancer I’m this “lucky duck” who is able to work alone for years. 🙂 Additional I’ve some sidejobs (for example: driver of a delivery van! 🙂 and also here: I can do these jobs alone! – I NEVER feel “lonesome” when I’m alone, but I can feel LONESOME at once, when I’m forced to join “teams” or other crowds. – I’m no “teamworker”. I can’t help it. – In case of need I rather would count coals all alone in a basement day by day, instead of working in a “team”. – On the other hand I could imagine to collaborate in a kind of “network” with other INTROVERTS! 🙂 – Matthias
Hello, this article has great information for me because I have been a teacher for 8 years so far and it hasn’t been very pleasant at all. I had to teach classes to groups of 45, 50 students in a classroom, and no matter if they are little children, youngsters or addults , it’s the same for me. I haven’t stayed for long in this jobs, just 2 or 3 months and I had to quit. I felt terrible because I thought I was lazy and people think that I don’t want to work but that is not true. I had a baby last year and I haven’t worked all this time, but that has given me time to think that I don’t want to work anymore in this environments. I am going to do a specialization on high distance education ( I don’t know if that’s the correct way to say it). But I have always wanted to be an artist, so I am going to learn manual art-work and practice music and painting because those are things I have always wanted to do but people always tell you that you have to produce and follow professions that leave you more money. I’m kind of a writer too, so I am just going to follow my intuition.
Hi Angela. Thanks for sharing your experience as an introverted teacher. I have hear from many introverted teachers who are similarly overwhelmed by their work environment. I’m glad to hear that you’ll be taking some time to reconnect with your intuition. 🙂
I was in an elementary classroom for years and did well with the children. Didn’t do well with the parents. I did well with some of the staff once I became comfortable with them.
I work in daycare now and continue to do well with the children. Parents who want to make small talk ( when I’m supposed to be supervising 10+ two year olds!) feel I’m not “exhuberant” enough. They complain to the boss about my personality. Fortunately, my employer knows my value and strengths where the children are concerned.
It is devastating when you are not valued based on something that is YOU.
Great list of jobs Michaela. Would just like to add my two cents on software programming as an introvert job. These days this is a very extroverted career path, I’ve met very few fellow introverts in the field. Its especially hellish when your are working under a very extroverted manager who sees working alone and submitting work at a slower pace as being lazy. Not saying I dislike working with extroverts,as I’ve had excellent extroverted colleagues who were very talented and not a-holes haha. Just wish the industry would be a bit introvert friendlier.
Thanks for sharing that Lu! Sad to hear that this innie job has been mired by the extrovert ideal.
My earlier career as a programmer was halted by a redundancy in 2002, by which time I’d had 7 years experience. Following said redundancy, new employers didn’t just want a “programmer” but an “analyst/programmer” to be more client facing, and any time I did see jobs as just a programmer I would get told I had too MUCH experience as they were “junior” roles. They do interview in ways to favour the confident, ambitious, extroverted person, often overlooking that they are more likely to leave jobs. Having Aspergers it hits particularly hard when constantly surrounded by “good/excellent/superior communication skills” in job descriptions as if implying that anyone with less than that is deemed an unemployable write-off.
I am a Nurse and I absolutely love my job; it is incredibly rewarding. But probably 90% of my co-workers are extremely extroverted which can lead to some very lonely and exhausting shifts. My 1 on 1 interactions with my patients are really what get me through the night. I would certainly caution my fellow Introverts considering a career in health care, especially in a role like nursing or practicing medicine for that fact alone. I spend many nights questioning my self-worth and career choice which is extremely unfortunate just because of that one aspect due to my interactions, or lack of =), with co-workers.
Great article, though!
I’m an introvert working as a Customer service advisor for an energy supplier, in an incoming calls centre. I was really worried about the job before I started, because as you say, on the surface it really doesn’t seem like something introverts would be suited to. However, because customers always call for a specific situation, there’s rarely if ever any small talk and always something to discuss. As well as that, although we’re not scripted, similar situations come up a lot which don’t require a lot of brain power to sort. What this means is that the job isn’t too draining. In fact, I would say that the main issue with the job is that because you’re spending so much time talking to customers on the phone, it’s difficult to build up any meaningful conversation with teammates sitting around you!
I work as a hospital chaplain and find it quite challenging as a very shy introvert. I often get feedback that I need to be more assertive, or that I need to engage with others more. A colleague recently made the astute observation that I am very shy and that this work is “out of my comfort zone.” After some reflection and some reading about introversion, it seems that living life is “out of my comfort zone” and I need to be aware of managing my energy. It is amazing how much of a difference rest can make, even just 5 minutes of mindfulness meditation in a secluded spot.
This meant a lot. You’re right.
Oh my! The excerpt about Phillip Richard really hit home with me. I work in programming, a perennial favorite of introverts. I can totally identify with his experiences in his IT office job. Our office went through what I like to all a “phase” where certain (obviously extroverted) managers decided that we needed to embrace pair programming and work in an open space without walls – not even the insubstantial cubicle wall. I’d have given good hard-earned money for one of those flimsy things tha that point in my life.
Let me say that my fellow programmers are some of the most interesting, intelligent people I’ve ever met. I really enjoyed having lunches with them and engaging in very interesting discussions. However, it was sheer torture to work in that absurd open room where you could literally hear everyone breath. According to my boss we were doing it that way because that’s how highly successful Google does it (I don’t even know if that’s true). Thank goodness we were bought out by another larger company with offices in other cities. They didn’t let any of us go, but decided that our small office just wasn’t cost efficient and sent us all home to work. A few left for more traditional office environs, but I feel most of us were happy to escape that horrid experiment. *shudders*
So now i get it! I’ve always considered teaching as a part-time job thing. I few years ago I took a job as a HS English teacher. It was a 5 hours-a-day schedule and it totally drained me! I quickly got bored about that job and barely completed the semester. Was offered a full-time position for the next year buy declined on it, I just knew I wouldn’t be able to handle it. Now I’ve working as a software developer for the past 2 1/2 years and I absolutely LOVE IT!
Next time I consider teaching it’s definitely going to be a 5-6 hours a WEEK thing and probably College-level education. Thanks for this article ^_^
Even though I’m an introvert, I love jobs where I can help people. I work as a math tutor all day and I (usually) love working with the kids.
That said, I have experienced the extrovert ideal at work. My supervisor seems to believe that extroversion is best, and wants my coworkers and I to be a team, and this has led to several frustrating moments for me.
Thanks for sharing your perspective on this, Eileen! 🙂
I enjoy signing to the Deaf and hard of hearing at my church. I also teach sign language at a community college and Zumba at a health club. Except for church, I always dread the first two hours before my classes start because I know that my students are looking for me to inspire them with new information (including new music and choreography), but after the first half hour, my introvertness (if that’s the correct word to use) wanes and I am excited about teaching and I could go on for hours. What does this mean for a true “Innie” like myself?
I’m enjoying your website very much Michaela. I’m an introvert working as a government policy advisor. I fell into it this by accident – had the brains, the creativity, but not the confidence with people. In this job you have to be able to persuade people, talk confidently and attend a lot of meetings with people you don’t know. At first I felt completely out of my depth with relating to people confidently. But over time, I found my own way of doing this. And I found that some other policy advisors are introverts as well. And I like this work. Amongst other things, it forces me to be more outgoing and at times I need that. I just found I need to absorb information, synthesis the information and stimulants, recharge and consolidate my thoughts. Over time, and with the help of managers who recognised my talents (talents introverts often have like listening, perceiving, thinking deeply, creating, and strong intuitive skills), and allowed me to do it my way. This work also requires a lot of time thinking by yourself – this is when I recharge. So I agree with your advice, but it is possible to find create your own niche in an extrovert environment.
Currently I’m a stay-at-home mom, which has worked well for me as an introvert. I seek out volunteer and social opportunities to express my extroverted side, and I like the fact that I have control over my schedule so that I can ensure I get my down time to recharge. Before I had kids I worked in several extroverted office environments. One job in particular I was forced to have an open door policy to my office. Needless to say I was miserable. I was young and when I was looking for jobs I really didn’t consider whether the environment would be a good fit for me. I know better now, and when I eventually do go back to work I’ll make sure it’s a good fit for my introverted self.
I’m a professional counselor and it’s a good fit for my deeply introverted self. Therapy is often one-on-one and by definition is meaningful and devoid of the superficial and small talk.
My introvert job: Transcribing digital audio files, basic accounting, and setting appointments, working in my home office. No one disturbs me. When I work without distractions, I am productive and get paid accordingly. I’ve been doing this for 30+ years and I love it!
My far-from-introvert hobby: Direct sales. I learned very quickly that simply thinking about ‘party sales’ stressed me out. So I focus on one-on-one. I’ll never make big money or win exotic trips (with people I don’t know and probably wouldn’t enjoy for a week of 24/7), but I’ll keep doing what I can so I can continue to have access to products I love.
Love the Steven Jobs quote!
Great article, really put somethings into perspective, as I am trying to find career yet at the age of 29. I have worked plenty of different jobs, my last was as a receptionist it was absolutely draining for me to be even doing that kind of work. And I have recently become interested in studying for Esthetics, and Hair Design, but I’ve started looking over for future references job descriptions and what not for when I was finished school. but every single one of them described everything I am not as an introverted and super quiet person. So I have been putting in a lot of thought about continuing with this schooling in hopes that I can open up my own place where it would be introverted friendly, I guess is what I am aiming for. I don’t know if it’s just me but I tend to have a lot of anxiety when it comes time for me to go for beauty appointments just because I know how these beauty experts are very outgoing and talkative woman. So far I have come up with “I respect your silence, if you respect mine” although I am great at communicating, I’ve always preferred silence and solitude, over anything else.
I am in the same exact position at 30 and looking into career change into anesthetic work. I read the job description and its the complete opposite of my natural reserved personality. I would love to also go into business for myself and if opening a salon is the future I would also have mantra ” I respect your silence, if you respect mine”.
ps. I get the same exact anxiety at Salons with over talkative beauticians. I had a great manicure once, but the women talked to me the entire time it made me uncomfortable and people tend to take quietness as being uninterested or rude. I haven’t gone back. I just want to be one with my thoughts! 🙂
As an introvert I too have faced extroverted environment in which I didn’t last. Since I was laid off from a teaching job and a Grants officer, I am now back to square one. I might take writing as a career but don’t know where and how to start as English is my second language. Also I was thinking of being an interpreter or a translator. Is this a better job for an introvert? I don’t think Editor is an introvert job because you have to deal with authors constantly.
Please help with my choices: writer, editor or an interpreter?
I’m an INFJ and work as a waitress. I’m lucky that it’s a lovely place to work but because of the nature of any customer service job like waiteressing, the bottom line is, it’s killing me. I’m a trained dancer, I’ll always be a dancer at heart. I’d love to be a dancer/choreographer full time, or an artist, or a therapist. Also wouldn’t say no to working with animals. I’m finding the lack of stability with my preferred job choices very difficult and limiting. I run and raise money for charity and fight for causes I believe in outside of work, but I’m desperate for my work to be something I love, rather than it be a hobbie and continue working in between, extroverted jobs. I know all of this very well but seeing it all written down is really helpful, thankyou!
I’ve been reading your blog for a while now and I love it. A job well done! I’m a university professor/researcher and I have to say that I love my job. An INFJ, I’m also a writer and love painting. University teaching keeps me constantly learning and that’s what I really love. When I’m teaching it’s like I’m acting/sharing my enthusiasm with students. I can get my students to think about complex issues and problems. It’s very satisfying.
Thanks for sharing your perspective as a teacher. 🙂
I just stumbled across your website and started reading the worst jobs for introverts; I must say, I had to laugh when I came across the HR Specialist position because as of yesterday, I gave my two weeks notice from that very job. At this point, I have no other job lined up but I couldnt take all the noise and extrovert people in my office who run around so crazily and make me a nervous wreck! I was only there 5 months and that was enough! It affected me physically and mentally and I cried and escaped through sleep. For now, I am just breezing leisurely through posted jobs but it wont be in the HR field, which I have been in for 16 years. I am busting out of that field and moving on! No more events, orientations, safety training and the list goes on and on. In my career of 40 years, this is the very first time I have left a job without having another one. I will be 56 in Dec and still not sure what I want to do when I grow up! Thanks for the great website!
Try reading ‘Designing your Life’ a how to book to find out what you want to do when you grow up…..for people ages 20 – 80.
You nailed it! I totally agree with your ‘spot on’ insight about us innies! You describe me perfectly in this particular blog! I’m feeling understood and represented by your writing. Keep it up! I’m an ISFJ, extreme to the introvert side.
God, this article speaks my life. Last week I’ve just submitted my resignation letter because the work environment and culture is too extroverted in a sense it’s taking away what I truly need. And my true self. I started working there since January and never had a day where I feel truly satisfied or happy. I delayed until last week where I broke down for the 2-3 time, and gave my letter – which I should’ve done few months ago. I got even more horrified and worried for myself when my manager asked me a favor to help out for 2 months instead of 1 month. I’m counting the days so bad until my freedom.
Thank you for this amazing article, I’m always wondering why I couldn’t really master the art of multi-tasking – okay maybe not master it, but be comfortable with it, I hope this makes sense. I’m never good at it.
Great article. I’m still in shock that you have included Intuitive Healer. 🙂 I have spent many years learning various Energy Healing modalities, and doing Intuitive Healing on friends. But I have only very recently realised, and decided, that I can do it for a living, and that it is what I really wish to do. It satisfies my need to help people, while mostly being either one on one, or even just me when I work with people distantly. It’s another sign from the universe that I am on the right track. Thank you Michaela. 🙂
Wow! Yes, take it is a sign from the universe. 😉 I’m definitely a believer in various energy healing modalities. xo
I can relate to your article. I didn’t know there were articles covering issues on introverts and extroverts until lately. All the years working (almost 21 years now), I realized I pushed myself/ one may call it force myself to join the extrovert world because the jobs are mostly/seem for extrovert world. I came from a sales team environment and it was really painful in all those years to meet people everyday to close deals where it was about entertaining, listening to them/negotiating and closing deals. The surprising thing about this is, I managed to always close the sales and am always the highest and at the end am rewarded eventually it took me holding positions in my department. Believe it or not, I was not excited about my achievements. I have been asking myself why am I not proud of what I achieved so far? I even confided with my close friend, and she simply puts it ‘no man is an island and somehow, everyone is connected for a reason to complete each others need and I am part of that circle.’ Her advise did not help. Since then, in 2010 I left my job, and have tried doing some online business which I am still struggling, not something that I really like, thought it might give me that peace of mind of doing a job that don’t need people around me. I am loss and am still loss what to do next. I don’t know whether I gave up, the only thing I know is sales, and there are no areas for a introvert like me to pursue in same industry and doing it myself. I tried the internet, but was scammed time and again. Still being optimistic and looking out desperately for new ideas. Still loss, hoping a new dawn to hit me.
Thanks Michaela for great article.
I am on the list The Worst Jobs For Introverts kind of: I’m a HR Director. however, I am so very lucky that I have a lot of time that I can just do as I need to keep from being drained. I socialize first thing in the morning with all the depts. ( I can find out who needs what and where things are going for the week) I am away from the main building so I don’t get swamped with too many people -just dropping in (like when I was in the main building. every day all day long) I have a great boss that GETS ME. I am able to focus and work alone and get sooooo much done. And when employees come to see me that get that one on one attention without interruption. I’m a HR Wonderwoman !
After reading this, I have a better understanding of why I’ve been feeling burnt out (for quite some time actually) in my job as a pediatric speech therapist. I’m even only part-time, but the fact that I’m an introvert who doesn’t multi-task well AND does not like making decisions (which I must do frequently, multiple times per session) seems to be interfering with my ability to love my work. I love being able to help people and the connections I form with families , but interestingly enough it’s harder for me to form connections with really introverted people, which then leads to self -doubt !
I’ve been struggling with this for my entire life. I’m an INTJ. Here are introvert jobs I enjoyed for multi-year stable work: TV camera operator (mainly for live sports), game graphics design (working for a 100-person company full of nerds), office furniture installer (uses mind and body), construction work. Although I haven’t had these jobs yet, I see jobs involving inspection, monitoring, surveying, assessing, as being very good introvert/focused situations. Examples of horrifying jobs I’ve had: graphics design for a sales dept at a gigantic communications company (I was situated amongst sales people), retail floor associate for a very large company (one of the worst jobs ever), retail organic grocery cashier/stockperson (it was a very feminine situation, masculinity “not allowed”). My recommendation, for long term, is make your own work situation happen by being extremely skilled in something or create a product/service of high value. Take things step by step and be come to terms with multiple years of struggle (in fact, try to enjoy it). I’ve been chiseling away at something, and now exciting things are starting to happen, people getting involved, seeing my vision and following my lead. I feel happy to be creating a master piece, and being able to have some control over my life.
I agree with this so much! I really struggled for a long time with finding the right job for me in this very extrovert oriented job market. I worked a data entry job for about 5 years, and while the work itself was absolutely tolerable (sit in a cubicle and type! No interaction with customers or other employees required) the work environment and corporate red tape was what killed me. Now this was just a product of my particular environment, not the work itself, but I’d add toyour list and say that the trend of the corporate world to focus on quantity over quality really did my head in. I wanted to do GOOD work, I wanted to fix problems. They wanted numbers and had a ridiculous amount of red tape designed to control every moment of my day. I would have happily met their quotas if they had just let me do it on my own time and in my own way.
Suffice it to say, I quit that job. I went back to a school and am now a licensed massage therapist, and I have never been happier. It’s the perfect balance of human interaction and controlled pace/environment. *I* get to control the energy in the room and my pace, and I get the gratification of making a difference in people’s lives. I’m doing good, not just doing work.
Some blatantly obvious missing introvert jobs are: engineer, scientist, and mathematician.
I work in the administrative dept. My boss many time complain that am slow, but am not. Am that person who detects error easily in documents, Traces documents that my colleagues cant find. Many times I think am in the wrong place. Please advice me
My current position promised me several things; a cubicle, research criminal history online, complete reports, and sometimes call courts. Within 3 months, I would move out of the “doing the research” role and create and run a Compliance/QA program on this same team (compliance is my specialty and where I came from). Perfect Job.
2 months into the job and our program was re-organized. We went to open office, long tables with 6 to a side, row after row. You and the people on either side of you (and the person behind you) stretch your arms out and can grab each other’s forearms. Spending 45 out of every 60 minutes on the phone with angry people explaining they fail because they are criminals. I still do the background checks. When it was time to create the compliance/QA program I was told “We need you where you are because you know everything”. Despite my telling them again and again that is why I was hired. to create and run that program. I ended up having to create the program and train someone else to run it.
This is killing me! Always having to be engaged; on the phone and on the floor with your co-workers. I’ve worked in this job for 2 years and got Mono…TWICE! (bet ya didn’t know that could happen) Then it’s home to cook and clean for a family who get angry when I tell them I need some time alone to recharge. They just follow me around pestering me to do this or tell me they can’t do it on their own.
I need help! I keep applying for jobs, for introverts, where I have skills (like compliance/QA) but the offers come in with wages well below where I need to be.
Somehow I’ve found my self not just a paediatric nurse but as an educator as well. All this despite being an introvert has meant years of agonizing over my confidence and shyness and wishing I could be more extroverted. Now I look at it and think had I realised my true nature and admitted what my skills really are would I have chosen this career? I love teaching and through exposure have found ways to deal with it and do get a lot of satisfaction from it. However recently a career change has played on my mind a lot. But what and how though?
I’m reading your articles for a long, I love your articles
This one’s also a great article
But there’s one thing I want to ask, I’m an INFJ
I just love to go out & travel, so I plan a lot but cause of many factors, most of them fail to execute
But I still plan for going out very often
It’s like if someone accidentally mentions some place, then my mind just goes in for the research for whole tour planning & it doesn’t stop until it finishes planning
But most of em didn’t execute as I mentioned earlier and I still do
What’s the issue here – that am I an introvert? INFJ?
I’m starting to think of myself not unable to plan well now
That it’s my issue that none of my plans get executed
Event planner is at the last of the list of the worse jobs for introvert
Though I’m not having any job but this is sort of
Michaela, I think you understand this well, what’s the issue here – is it really me ?
Thanks so much Michaela!! Love your guide. I have discovered that classroom teaching is not for me and thank God I did not pursue a Bachelor’s in Education and never will do a MA in it, but plan to possibly do a MA in Social Work or Urban Planning with leaning more towards Urban Planning. Having to pitch in with the classroom with kids when volunteers are not there can be extremely frustrating when it comes to children who will deliberately not follow instructions, act out and along with that having to attend to the various children’s questions at the same time(I am not a multitasker at all always thrive on single-tasking with best focus).
Below, are my big ?s below:
1. Do you feel there are any jobs in urban planning best suited to introverts who thrive in single-tasking yet still like dealing with people and want to make a good impact?
2. Besides teaching domestically as there is a hot area of Teaching English As A Second Language abroad, wonder what areas of TESL abroad do not involve classroom teaching?
3. With the talk of many jobs to be automated in future by robots and the safe jobs requiring human- interaction what do you advise for introverts?
From 2004 on I am a graphic/ automotive data editor. With the cube/office environment, I get my tasks done and a lot of the senior editors ask me to help getting certain manufacture data out for the New Years coming.
We have assignment of personal RCI’s (Retention Continuous Improvement) where individual editors come up with their own way of being efficient with organizing their work approach of getting started. One coworker now retired loved reading books. I would ask her what she was reading. One book called “Quiet” by Susan Cain was my discovery of being an introvert.
Before in the early 90’s I ran into some work that was open work floors and competitive for their product. The mentality was very moody, cranky, and exploding with tempers. The plant manager was high strung walk fast competitive personality. At the time I wasn’t aware of self understanding of being introverted. I assumed this was what one does for work. At one point I had an anxiety attack and couldn’t control it. The “plant manager” at the time noticed that I was upset. After words a ppfew weeks later I was let go. The excuse was “it was your health”.
Because lack of reading books on introversion and lack of understanding myself, I felt guilt and the question came of was it me who had the problem or the management that had it. It was a LONG road for me.
Now I know it was just a lack of understanding the employee, empathy, communication and relating to their feelings.
A lot of companies may not know or even care about the introvert/extrovert arrangement that make up society.
Job to job, years later finally found my work place that I love doing.
Thanks for reading.
I think one of the best jobs for introverts is writing. I’ve been blogging since 2008, and feel like I never want to work with people in a full-time capacity again. Unless I have my own office, and can work independently ?
The more I learn about introverted personality traits, the more I learn about myself.
Wonderful article !! most of introverts like us didn’t have the information on this topic and personally i also don’t know that these types of careers exist for us, thanks a lot for letting us know and guiding us.Keep up the good work.and i am sure i am going to bookmark this page.
I disagree about dental hygienist as a worst job for Introverts. I was a dental hygienist for 25 years. As an introvert it was a great job for me. I loved the one-on-one relationship with my patients.
Another bad job for introverts is a cook, more specifically a line cook at a restaurant. Talk about fast paced! It’s relentless! Long hours, lots and lots of noise, so many things getting thrown at you. It’s a nightmare for an introvert. Well at least it was for me(who knows, there might be some introverts that like it, but I don’t see how). I got another cooking job in the kitchen of an international and well known natural and gourmet grocery store chain and it was so much better. Especially when I had my own little cubby hole where I just prepped food. However, I transferred to another location that doesn’t have a back kitchen, and we are open to the store and have to deal with customers(constantly when you are trying to prep and cook food) and I’m not as happy. And this leads into another job that might not be so good for introverts; retail. My job is both!
I’ve been into natural perfumery for some time now, and as a perfumer is a solitary profession, I’d really love to pursue that instead.
Small talk in the workplace is the WORST. I am capable of greeting my colleagues and acknowledging their existence; however, at every place I have worked, it always seems to be a requirement to engage in random spurts of small talk throughout the day that have nothing to do with the work at hand. Really drains my energy!
I’m a nurse, and everything that says healthcare is a good calling for introverts has never worked in healthcare, so I appreciated your article’s mention of it as having challenges. Anything working with the public, as in patients families, multiple “bosses,” and then adding in terrifying responsibility for long long hours was THE most draining thing. Now that I realize I am an introvert, I fully and easily understand why, but it took me 3 years before I was dangerously burnt out. Now I’m still a nurse, but my work with the public is mostly on the phone (still extremely difficult at times as the phone is a special introvert nightmare), but a very autonomous day and good schedule, working with the same small group of ladies in my own quiet office. Definitely the best introvert nursing job.
I worked in call centre for an energy company and found this too much and was let go early, have struggled at interviews particularly group ones and feel I have been overlooked in favour of chattier people with less skills. I now work in a retail job, it was daunting at first but everyone I work with seems to except I am quiet, but hard working, the job can be draining when it’s busier with lots of customers to serve. But I do enjoy radio presenting and come across as confident, outgoing and talkative this is maybe because I am usually on my own in the studio. I am also interested in politics and have worked in admin roles which have been ok, but I need something like radio to express my creative side, I’m very good and research and planning but job opportunities are limited. I’m still unsure what I want to do “when I grow up” and I’m 28.
Very interesting thread! I have noticed even as I tend to be more introverted, jobs that I have enjoyed best while still dealing with people are home health aide(current) as I love the one-one personable, intimate relation I have with my client who like my grandfather, Research Assistant due to usually dealing with a prof and co-assistant I admire on topic I like, Pizza Hut delivery driver esp when dealing with sane, polite customers and similar colleagues and bosses, Driver for Telecom technicians with one tech in car usually and good-natured.
Jobs that I detested and were too draining:
-Vector Marketing Sales Rep of Pushing Sales On People and Talking Lots and Worst of Only Getting A Fraction of Several Hundred Dollar Product Sold As Commission..UGH!
-Dealing with the disobedient, unruly elementary-aged school children and as bad of their parents or guardians that wouldn’t get involved or would set a bad example and having to multi-task in a classroom as I thrive when working on one thing at a time.
-Working front-desk at a hotel where I had to multi-task in such a fast-pace and didn’t see good, supportive sprit from a co-worker while I deserve good, though loved my managers.
-Once serving as a waiter in an Indian restaurant and having to be so hurried and get scolded when accidentally spilling something.
Currently, I am pursuing a MA in Urban Planning and hope and pray I have jobs that play on my pluses and more of introvert nature. Thanks!
Great article! I didn’t know there were articles covering issues on introverts and extroverts until lately. Way back when I was starting my career, I was an INFP (introversion, intuition, feeling, perception), it is a personality type identified by a personality assessment called the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), these are the people guided by their own core values and beliefs. I struggle to find my true purpose. Thus, it affected my work situation not until I manage to go out of my comfort zone and slowly, my personality type changes. If you’re an introvert who loves getting into a worthwhile career with minimal distractions, there are plenty of suitable professions for you. Check this out: https://www.resumevalley.com/18-most-suitable-professions-for-introverts/