In today’s post we hear from Holly who is a freelance software developer. I want to say a big thank you to her for sharing her thoughts with us.
How do you form networks and connect with others as an introvert?
I have a small circle of people I hold dear. Sometimes I find myself listing them as the list can change over time, but the list is rarely more than 10 people. Sometimes it is hard as they are extroverts and don’t have as much time for me as I have for them. But I don’t need much of their time, once a month is good for most of my friends. I have a spouse who is a little less introverted. I spend a lot of time with him and enjoy it. When he goes away I look for more company from my friends but on average I like one social commitment per week in addition to spending a lot of time with my spouse.
I am particularly bad at social media. I will look at it but feel uneasy about posting things. It feels like a public broadcast, which is not aligned with how I like to communicate. I have started using Instagram with a smaller circle of friends and family members, but people keep following me which makes it less appealing. I am not sure how to manage this.
I enjoy seeing friends in small groups, a maximum of six people. More than that feels tiring at best. I like seeing family in the same way. Right now my family wants to do everything as a big loud group! I find that less enjoyable and would prefer to see them in smaller groups.
When I first moved to my city I made lots of effort. I joined a few volunteer and non-profit groups and made friends through that. I have an “on/off” mode that I use so I can be friendly and outgoing when needed, and I often use this to make friends. I enjoy female company and have a collection of “girlfriends” that I like to see for one-on-one dates. I love animals too. I wish I had a dog and am working on getting one!
Which of your strengths as an introvert do you value most and how do you use this in your work?
I have strong intuition and an ability to read social situations. I am perceptive and this helps me understand social dynamics. In my work this can help me navigate difficult social situations and stay ahead of conflict.
I work well independently. This skill allowed me to transition from a government job that was very busy, social and stressful, to a job where I work on software from home.
I have strong organisational, problem solving and analytical skills and can see relationships between different concepts. This helps me in software but I am also looking forward to working in professional organising. I have helped my friends organise their spaces and enjoy the combination of using my intuition/perception and organisational and problem solving skills all at once. This is also typically a one-on-one job which is also great for introverts!
What is your number one tip for succeeding as an introvert?
Find a remote job! There are more and more remote jobs and not just for people in software, although this is a good field if you are choosing a field or looking for a career transition. As an introvert working from home you have control over your space, are protected from office politics and the stress of working with others directly, and feel recharged so that you can enjoy seeing your friends and family. If you can’t find a completely remote job, maybe you can find one that is sometimes remote.