Help Wanted

helpWanted(Reminder:  Our first Club Introvert social event is in progress.  Go to the information page and then proceed to have a lot of quiet fun getting to know fellow club members.  If you have participated, thank you for playing along.)

A little while ago I did something somewhat rash.  I declared, in public, that I would start an introverts blog on our company’s in-house blog.  I was flush from the success of this blog and wanted to take it into the workplace.  I think it’s needed there.  After all, we spend more of our awake hours with our co-workers than we do with our family and friends, often times.  Lots of you have said that you’ve printed things out to share with co-workers.  There is a need.

Here’s where I want your help.  I’m not sure of what to write.  Can you believe it?  Me?  Maybe it’s just that there are too many things to write about and I can’t grab just one of them long enough to hold on to it.  Since there are a lot more of you than there are of me, and a lot of you work for companies of various sizes, I thought I’d ask you for some topics.  So please pitch in and give me ideas.

Here are the ones I can think about:

Forced socializing:  I recently wrote about having to attend a going away party for my old team.  I feel so uncomfortable when I’m being forced to be social.  And socializing during working hours is bad enough, but when I’m expected to socialize after work, I draw the line.  Don’t even bother to ask.

Chatty work mates:  People who stop by your desk just to shoot the breeze.  People who stop by other people’s desks near yours just to shoot the breeze.  People who get offended or worried about you when they see you wearing your Introvert Face.

Cubicle farms:  Ugh!  Open work spaces would be even worse, I suppose.  Furniture and space makes a difference.

Annual reviews:  a lot of American companies hold annual reviews of your performance during which one or more supervisors judges you and lists out your successes and weaknesses (usually with emphasis on the later because we should all Strive To Do Better).  Do you have to do the same thing?  How many of you get chastised for being too quiet?

Public humiliation (otherwise known as award presentations):  And when I am doing a good job, just tell me privately and quietly.  If you feel that you absolutely have to acknowledge me publicly, just send an email or something out to the whole group.  Don’t make me stand up in front of a lot of applauding people.  I feel like an idiot.  I know the thought is sincere, but it only makes me want to retreat into my shell.  It’s a disincentive.

Do those topics work?  What else should be on the list?  What have been your bad experiences that could have been made much better with an understanding of how introverts feel?  I have to present both sides… what doesn’t work and what would work.

Thanks for helping out.  Have a quiet day.

Hi.  I’m Chris.  I’m an introvert.  Look for my ongoing series debunking the introvert myths (Sunday) and introvert cartoons (Wednesday), plus anything else interesting that I find in the meantime.  Come and share with like-minded introverts.  I also contribute to the new food blog Three’s Cooking, learning to cook from the heart, for the soul.

12 thoughts on “Help Wanted

  1. Every single one of those topics is an issue I have as an introvert or have been brought to me as an HR person. I say you are on the right track!

  2. Your topics are very good. I have to deal with those in the workplace when I was still in our HR department. I’m a self-confessed introvert too. I must say, it was hard for me to be an HR professional. 🙂 Good luck on your topics!

  3. Yes to all of these! My biggest was un scheduled stops to my office (especially interrupting my only quiet time, lunch) and meetings that Solent the first 20 minutes catching up on each other’s weekend. I just wanted to get down to work, darn it!

  4. How about the Monday morning ” how was your weekend?” conversation that ends up taking an hour or two when you don’t want to talk about your weekend, but everyone else in the office does?

  5. WORK BIRTHDAYS. I hide mine like it’s the Pentagon’s launch codes. I have warned nearly everyone around me at work:

    “I don’t care if you somehow managed to find out when it is, in spite of my best efforts. If you even so much as HINT about it to others, or acknowledge it in ANY way, THE CONSEQUENCES WILL BE UNPLEASANT.”

    Now that some idiot at work updated the entire employee birthday calendar and sent the link to all, it remains to be seen if anyone will respect this. Mine was “public” for about 20 minutes before I managed to get it yanked off the site. I don’t know how many people saw it. I have a feeling that my request will not be respected, and I’ll get one of those g/d fake meeting invitations that end up in a surprise party.

  6. Definitely that first one of forced socializing. I dreaded going on retreats when I was in training. I felt so out of place. And sharing a room with someone who wasn’t family? So, so awkward.

    The other thing I’m not a fan of is birthday recognitions. I know that makes me sound mean-spirited, but it’s not that at all. I admire people who are so good about things like that. But I don’t want anyone going out of their way for me on my birthday, or bringing a cake in and putting me in the spotlight. Makes me uncomfortable. What a party pooper I am!

  7. Glad so many people are providing the help you asked for, CD.I can’t offer any, having been out of the workforce for far too long. Good luck with all this! 🙂

  8. I can speak about the annual reviews. If I’ve been doing a bad job you should have already informed or fired me. If I’m doing a good job, just say so and move on. We used to have to set goals. You know, where do you see yourself next year? What areas would you like to improve in? I’m a secretary, I just hope to still have a job next year. Areas I’d like to work on would include any new software/hardware I’m required to use. I don’t need a big long, 10 page questionnaire! Utterly stupid, just give me the raise or don’t.

  9. One of the biggest areas for many at work are team or project meetings.
    To help an Introvert contribute then it really helps if the genda is known beforehand and there are pre -reads rather than things being all presented in the moment . The introvert tends to like time to digest, think about their view on the topic so they feel more ready to contribute.
    It also really helps to have a good chair who mKes it possible for all to contribute – not just the usual noisy extroverts. Introverts tend to be turn takers in meetings but in some settings you cN never actually get in to the discussion and it moves on. Sometimes using pair or small group activities in team meetings helps too- the introverts can get more of a voice that way.
    Hope this is helpful!

  10. Hi Chris,
    I love your blog, although in typical introvert fashion I haven’t commented before and have managed to avoid the introvert social event so far!
    My two work-related issues are phone phobia – I will avoid answering the phone at work where possible, letting it go to voicemail (and I’m thinking of having my home phone line removed as I hate speaking to friends on the phone so much) – and going on what we call ‘awaydays’ where the whole department goes out of the office for the day, or sometimes, horror of horrors, more than a day, to some other venue where we are supposed to plan for the next year or 3. I get so grumpy on these occasions that it’s extremely counter-productive.
    Sorry if this is too late to be of help.

  11. What about something on the advantages of hiring introverts or setting up an introverts workspace (making allowances for introverts) to encourage more employers to hire introverts? How to introduce an introvert into your work place? I don’t work anymore due to disability, but maybe it’s time we started educating employers so they know why having introverts on staff can be a good thing.

  12. I work in the tech department with a digital agency, so 80% of my team mates are introverts. We all sit together in an open work space, which believe it or not, actually make us work better by making it easy for us to reach out and talk to somebody when we need to discuss something (rather than having the feeling of invading someone’s space by walking into someone else’s cubical). Other teams in the company always tell us that ours is the most pleasant to be around, since we all get along, we respect each other’s personal spaces and we tend to solve conflicts in pragmatic and non-dramatic ways. Extroverts are known to come and sit in our room because they said they feel it’s more chilled out than their own room.

    So how about a topic about fields of work where introverts thrive on, and where a lot of them can be found in one room, and how it impacts the working environment?

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