Career Woman

Introvert’s guide to starting a new job: infographic


The best employees aren’t always the ones who shine brightest in group scenarios. How often have you watched a commercial for this or that business solution, and the heroine is some super-confident, outgoing, charismatic power suit – and you’ve failed to recognize any of your strongest colleagues in her? As an introvert, you will be twice as sensitive to this disparity. Unfortunately, there’s nothing inherently ‘cinematic’ about introverted businesswomen – they’re more likely to be featured as characters in novels, where we get a bit more insight about what’s actually going on inside.

This is why, if you’ve made a great impression at your interview, backed up your stunning application with quiet insight and a will to engage, and been awarded the job of your dreams (or at least a pleasant stepping-stone), then your new employers are to be congratulated for their perception and good taste. They have recognized what you already know well: that the best teams are built from a combination of bold team workers, canny lone agents, thoughtful collaborators, and everything in between – except perhaps for that fantasy woman from the commercials.

It doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy. The corporate atmosphere tends, unfortunately, to be geared more towards the outgoing socialite than the contemplative wallflower. You will already be worrying about being greeted with cake, laughter, and speeches, when all you really want to do is to get on with your work and get to know your new colleagues through meaningful interactions and carefully cultivated trust. And then there’s the orientation process. So many things to learn and places to find, and each challenge feels like a trial because it just isn’t the way you function.

This being the case, it’s time to start turning the many super-positive traits of being introverted into tools for navigating your first day in your new role.

Take those research skills, for example. Most introverted people feel most comfortable when they can get on with a project by themselves, negotiating the tools of the trade rather than with a tricky group of customers. In this particular case, you can set yourself the task of fully researching your industry, job, and role, in advance of when you show up for that first day. Whether you’re new to the industry or not, you will benefit from having a look over some recent trends and projections for the next weeks, quarter, year, five years. This can be an excellent foundation on which to build your new professional profile.

Then look more specifically at the business with whom you’ll be working. How have they done lately, and where do they look to be going? How does their profile fare in the industry context that you identified above? Who started the business, why did they start it, are they still part of the organization – and will they be part of your daily life?

And have a look again at your job description and any additional notes you may have taken from the interview. Are there any terms or instructions that you don’t understand? Google them, talk to a trusted former colleague or, heck, email your new boss in advance and get some clarification. Showing that you’re enthusiastic in advance can help quell any fears that they might have that your quiet nature is indicative of apathy or a superiority complex.

This kind of preparation is a good idea for anyone serious about their new job, but the positive effects are greatly magnified in the case of an introvert.

Next think about the practical steps you can take to deal with the parade of social interactions to which you’ll be subjected on your first day. Plan to do something nice by yourself before you show up, even if it’s just coffee and a book in a nearby café, so that you have your own private moment to hang on to for the rest of the day. Prepare some questions to ask at your induction – some might be specific parts of your job description that you still wish to clarify, such as targets and expectations; others might be more general, anything from the WiFi password to where to find the bathroom! This latter type of question is always good to ask when you’re introduced to some random colleague – they’re useful without being too heavy.

Don’t be afraid to be honest about how you feel. If you’re asked to introduce yourself in a group meeting or induction, turn this nerve-wracking experience to your advantage by using it as an opportunity to let your new colleagues know that you work a little differently to some (including the chick from the commercials). Don’t make excuses for yourself: be bold and elegant, and explain that if you don’t always respond quickly or speak up in group meetings, it’s just because you like to process information a little bit longer before venturing your input. If you feel comfortable with it, suggest that you’re always available for a good one-on-one to discuss ideas before or after a big group meeting.

If this is all a bit much for your big introduction, save it for when you start to work with these guys later, and instead prepare something simple to introduce yourself: what you did previously, what you like to do outside of work, and why you’re excited about your new role.

You know how much easier it is for you to bond with individuals than with groups. Perhaps this is even a technique you utilized at interview stage – addressing the panel one by one rather than as an amorphous jury! Hold onto that thought as you start work, and concentrate on one person at a time. Your first day is a good chance to check in with your line manager – you can even ask for an end-of-day debrief to make sure you’re on the same page. If you’re inundated with offers for group lunches and after-work drinks, just be honest and say you’d rather have a cup of tea face to face, later in the week. There’s no need to rush.

So you’re ready to survive your first day at work without needing to transform into that power suit from TV! For another look over the things you can do to make it bearable, check out this new infographic from OnStride Financial, and start setting out your survival plan today.


Courtesy of: On Stride

About John Cole

John writes on behalf of NeoMam Studios. A digital nomad specializing in leadership, digital media, and personal growth topics, his passions include world cinema and biscuits. A native Englishman, he is always on the move, but can most commonly be spotted in the UK, Norway, and the Balkans.

Recommended for you