Ideal jobs for introverts

 

Being shy and being introverted aren't the same thing. An introvert enjoys time alone and gets emotionally drained after spending a lot of time with others. A shy person doesn't necessarily want to be alone, but is afraid to interact with others. According to Susan Cain, author of "Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking," "Shyness is the fear of social disapproval or humiliation, while introversion is a preference for environments that are not over stimulating."

Cain asserts that our culture is biased against introverts. They are encouraged to act like extroverts—those assertive, outgoing types that love teamwork, brainstorming, networking and thinking out loud—instead of embracing their serious, often quiet and reflective style. This leads to a "colossal waste of talent, energy and happiness" of the group that makes up nearly 50 percent of the population.

Introverts have many avenues to professional success in a culture biased against them. 

So what's an introvert to do? Plenty. Several jobs that have been cited as a great fit for an introvert, yet we list them with a caution. At some point an introvert will need to engage with others in their work environment and/or the public. Introverts: We recommend finding a job that fits your passion, and then search for the circumstances that allow you to work at your passion—alone and/or in a minimally stimulating environment. Here are some careers to consider: animal care and service workers, machine repair, social media manager, archivist, astronomer, court reporter, film/video editor, financial clerk, geoscientist, industrial machine repair, blogger, truck driver, artist, photographer, on air personality (radio DJ), Internet technology or computer programming, night cleaning person/janitor, night watchman, lab worker or researcher, trade occupations like landscaping, pathologist, engineer, statistician, actuary, accountant, stock broker and bookkeeper.

As a staffing company, we interview introverts and extroverts every day. An extrovert interviewing an extrovert is a sight to see. They practically levitate the conference table, may talk for hours, then go have dinner afterward. An introvert interviewing an introvert is also an interesting combination. Imagine a short interview, with little interaction, clear and concise focused questions (and answers and a sense of relief from both parties when it is over!) But seriously folks, we have learned by experience not to pigeonhole people. In the interview process, introverts demonstrate skills needed by any company, including concentration and focus. Like anything else, introverts needs to "sell what comes with you."

Employers, don't count introverts out of the interview selection and ensure that your system includes everyone and an opportunity for engagement. In fact, there are some interesting studies that suggest introvert versus extrovert may be determine by genetic factors and therefore an interview question that overtly asks "Are you an introvert or an extrovert?" may be discriminatory. Put that question on your "do not ask" list.

As a company, I have been told that diversity is one of our strengths. We have several introvert employees - and we are in the people business - who successfully interact with job candidates, employees and client companies on a daily basis. Introverts are great listeners. How will you best engage the quiet power of your 50 percent?

Jim Annis is president/CEO of The Applied Companies, which provide HR solutions for today's workplace. Celeste Johnson and Tom Miller, Applied's division directors, contributed to this article.

Read the full article in the Reno Gazette-Journal here

Positive power of workplace politics

 

The words "office politics" can make you cringe. We've all been there. That certain someone (often early in our career) who stabbed us in the back as he or she was overeager to climb the ladder, happily leaving everyone in the wake. Or the nepotism enjoyed by the upstart owner's child with zero experience but ultimate influence.

Is it really all that bad?

Not in our book. It is about power — either real or perceived. Think about the people in your life who have been successful office politicians. Who could rally the troops? Who got things done? Who made solid recommendations versus complaining? It is about power — either real or perceived. Think about the people in your life who have been successful office politicians. Who could rally the troops? Who got things done? Who made solid recommendations versus complaining?Most likely those people all had a high emotional intelligence quotient, were highly engaged, had great networking and negotiating skills, knew the nuts and bolts of the business and recognized the value of corporate culture. All these traits can be key skills that benefit an employer, fellow employees and customers.

Participating positively in office politics

How to do it? Believing you can make a difference and having confidence that your ideas will be heard is necessary. Be open and communicative, listening to build rapport and shutting down negativity. Give good, quality recommendations to leadership. Show leadership and allow and invite others to work alongside you to get something done. Offer a simple phrase, "Let me help you," and watch the productivity magic take place. Alliances are key because a lot gets done when hierarchy is not involved.

Managing employee politics

As a leader, you establish expectations of what is/is not acceptable. There are often difficult behavioral situations that may cause you to stick your head in the sand. The degree of the political sensitivity can dictate the action or lack thereof. We have made decisions to minimize damage in our organization because of the games employees were playing. It is hard to address. It is not always clear or black and white. Leadership influences performance but not behavior.

The aspect of office politics that speaks the loudest to me is the positive. There will always be the game players who manipulate the organization intentionally or consistently contribute to negativity. You deal with it and move on.

The great news is that your next generation of leaders may be the ones who wield positive political power. Perhaps your best "informal" leaders do not want to be a leaders at all. Maybe they simply want to be the best glue inside the team, the true servant leaders. We need everyone to make it work ... at work.

Jim Annis is president/CEO of The Applied Companies, which provide HR solutions for today's workplace. Celeste Johnson and Tom Miller, Applied's division directors, contributed to this article.

Read article in the Reno Gazette-Journal here

4 vocal tics that could cost you job offers

 

Honestly, if a job candidate has an annoying vocal trait or habit, it takes me about three minutes before I simply cannot get past the way they are talking. These vocal styles and verbal mistakes can hurt your career and job prospects.

Vocal Fry. 

Google hot vocal trends for video demonstrations of this low creaky vibration. A study compiled by The Atlantic regarding journal PLOS One research found that after listening to vocal fry examples, 800 study participants were asked for their impressions on which were more educated, competent, trustworthy, attractive and appealing as a job candidate. Respondents preferred the normal voices by 83 to 86 percent.

Uptalk.

If you are a child of the 80s you probably remember - or might still use - this form of rising, questioning intonation when making a statement. This affirmation seeking style can imply a confidence problem. Although uptalk people may be perceived to be easily approachable with a positive outlook, it doesn't make them sound credible or authoritative.

Pitch.

High-pitch, quiet voices get less attention than commanding voices. According to the Wall Street Journal synopsis of a Duke University study, a CEO's pitch should be more James Earl Jones less Gilbert Godfrey. There is a high positive correlation between male executives with voices on the deeper (that is, lower-frequency) end of the scale in relation to earning and assets. Pay averaged $187,000 more per year and $440 million more in assets.

Sloppy grammar.

The things that hurt the most are use of the word ain't and double negatives. Mental Floss has a great YouTube video on the 38 Common Spelling and Grammar Errors for your education and enjoyment.

It is normal to dislike your own voice. Common self-criticisms include: whiney, high, slow and/or fast, nasal, loud or soft, unclear, unconfident, monotonous, breathy or nervous. Your dislikes about your voice can differ significantly from what others perceive. The best way to get a feel for what the world hears when you open your mouth is to create a video with you speaking. Create a mock interview session with someone that you trust – or go to an outside company like C-Virtual – then assess what you see and hear.

You have two choices in terms of actionable results. The first is to embrace your vocal style and make it part of your brand. Think Kristin Chenoweth, Tony and Emmy award-winning actress and singer, whose nasal voice is often called annoying yet knocks it out of the park on stage with her vocals. The second option is to change your style and perhaps some bad habits like "ums" and "uhs" include hiring a vocal coach, viewing online video tutorials and joining a group like Toastmasters.

Remember, voice plus delivery equals affect. Just because you have a "good" voice does not predict success. Set your expectations. Be real with how your voice may or may not be a good fit for your industry, preferred job and professional relationships – then work it or change it!

Jim Annis is president/CEO of The Applied Companies, which provide HR solutions for today's workplace. Celeste Johnson and Tom Miller, Applied's division directors, contributed to this article.

Read article in the RGJ here