How to Succeed in Hospitality When You're an Introvert
How do you know you’re an introvert vs. extrovert? Everyone has a little of each in their personality and you may tend more toward one set of traits than the other. Both are a “spectrum” of traits, not just one characteristic. You can take a type of personality test that can reveal your tendencies, but don’t let that sway you into thinking that you’re not suited for a hospitality job, simply because you tend toward introversion.
There are different types of introverts as well. You may find that you fit more comfortably into one of these 4 main types. Good jobs are yours for the taking as long as you understand how to work within your needs.
- Social Introverts: Introverts that fall into this category aren’t shy. They may prefer solitude, or working in small groups, but they don’t feel anxious in social settings. They simply prefer situations where they don’t have to interact with large numbers of people. Typical jobs that work well for this type are Private Chef/Baker, IT professionals, technicians, drivers, admin/office workers or skilled tradesmen.
- Thinking Introverts: This group tends to be very thoughtful and introspective. They’re often quite creative. They are good listeners and are respectful of other people’s ideas. They don’t mind being around a lot of people, but like to spend time using their imaginations and self-reflecting. Typical jobs that work well are things like computer programming, landscaping and interior design. Surprisingly, social media managers are well-suited to this type as are remote sales, tourism package sales and business-to-business sales.
- Anxious Introverts: These are the people who like to be alone. They are often shy and feel awkward in social situations. They are very detail-oriented and have a laser-like focus. Good options for this type are any job working with numbers (accounting, finance, analyst, and auditor), security, maintenance, or housekeeping.
- Inhibited Introverts: This group is very reserved and laid back. They have a slower pace and take a while to come to decisions or take action. They prefer thinking things through before doing anything. They are often the “voice of reason.” They may be better suited to strategic planning, HR and other jobs that require big-picture thinking and analysis. They may shine in market research or as a marketing specialist.
The truth is, no personality assessment is perfect and you can find yourself growing and changing over time with experience. Introverts typically need some alone time to re-charge, are more apt to listen than to speak, seem calm and quiet and are well-versed in a few topics instead of having a shallow knowledge of a lot of subjects.
No matter what job you find, there are some survival tips you can employ to be sure you can get through your day without being completely wiped out (adapted from an article by De Elizabeth):
- Come into work early when it’s quiet. Have a little time to yourself to have coffee, plan your day and check off a few to-do’s before your day begins.
- Be “over-prepared.” If you have to run a meeting, or meet with clients/guests, be sure you know exactly what you’re going to say and manage your own expectations.
- Eat lunch by yourself a few days/week. You can have some quiet time over the lunch hour without seeming anti-social.
- Make sure you take some “me” time when you first get home. Don’t immediately turn on the TV or engage with your significant other, just let them know you need 10 minutes to decompress.
- Use your commute time to put on your headphones and listen to a podcast or some music. Audio books are great, too.
- Make sure you’re taking care of your body – staying hydrated and not skipping lunch. You need breaks to ensure you have the energy for your mental well-being.
- Volunteer to run an errand or find ways to get out of your work area, briefly, and out on your own. Little breaks throughout the day are important.
- Consider yoga or meditation on a regular basis. You can achieve more balance and mindfulness in your day when you’re able to focus inward and take time for yourself.
- Build quiet moments into your day. Make it a priority to find 10 minutes alone no matter what’s on your schedule for the day. Sit on a bench, find an out-of-the-way spot and enjoy a moment to yourself.
And when you’re considering a job, instead of worrying about how social or extroverted the position seems, ask yourself “what are the key priorities of the job?” It will help you evaluate if you can put the emphasis on how you can help someone and shift the focus off yourself to see the full scope of the job.