If you're an introvert on the job, chances are people have called you shy, reserved or quiet -- qualities that aren't typically prized in the workplace.
It's extroverts, it seems, who hold all the cards in the world of work. Their gregariousness makes it easier for them to instantly establish relationships in which information, ideas and contacts can be shared, all of which can help speed a career along.
Introverts, however, increasingly are being recognized for their ability to contribute in what author Susan Cain calls "a loud and proud society." In her new book, "Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking," Cain argues that introverts have been undervalued by a society that reveres braggadocio and outsized personalities.
If not for introverts such as Albert Einstein, Steve Jobs, Warren Buffet, Bill Gates and Abraham Lincoln, she says, the world would be a rather different place.
But introverts needn't be genius scientists, computer wunderkinds, financial whizkids or courageous pols to leave their mark on this world. Plenty of jobs -- a few of which are noted below -- are well-suited to their desires for working alone or in small groups, and focusing on complex problems or finding nuance.
Of course, the world needs extroverts, too, so we've included a handful of choices for those who find camaraderie and collaboration to be valuable components in workplace relationships.
NOTE: The professions included here were chosen at random. There remain many more choices, regardless of whether you're defined as outgoing or introspective.
Jobs For Introverts And Extroverts
Best Jobs For Introverts (And For Extroverts)
Software engineer is a career that frequently appears on many best jobs lists with good reason, as more workplace functions are technologically driven. Software engineers are those geeky folks that come up with the computer programs and games that people the world over have come to love. And it's a good thing, too, that they don't mind a bit of isolation, seeing as writing code -- for perhaps hours on end -- can be a solitary enterprise.
Perhaps the archetypal introvert job, accountants examine financial records and help ensure they are accurate and that any payments, including taxes, are paid. It can take a bit of putting-the-nose-to-the-grindstone concentration to ensure the job is done right -- and on time.
Market research analyst isn't a title that rolls off the tongue, but it's a profession that many employers consider pivotal. Market research analysts help companies to know where and how to sell their products. The job requires a high degree of focus to ensure that information is accurate for the market -- local, regional or national -- being targeted. Generally, market researchers spend much of their day in front of computers, collecting and analyzing marketing data and preparing reports.
Yet another computer-related job, the graphic design field has its roots in another activity ideal for introverts -- drawing. Graphic designers take ideas and convert them into visual creations, either on paper or computers. Their work can help companies build a memorable brand through the use of color, shape and size (corporate logos are an example) that can captivate consumers -- or, if done poorly, alienate them.
To some, the job of translator may be a surprising entry on this list. Yes, translators are involved in communications, but because translators work with the written word (unlike their verbal counterparts, interpreters), they may spend hours poring over texts, ensuring that the meaning is being accurately translated from one language to another. Many in this profession enjoy the autonomy that is an integral part of job, a feature that particularly appeals to introverts.
It takes a special kind of person to respond to the myriad medical emergencies that human beings can find themselves in. People's lives often rely on the efforts of emergency medical technicians, or EMTs, first responders who must quickly assess medical emergencies and determine the best course of action, including giving aid and transporting injured patients to hospitals.
You might wonder why dental hygienists, who spend the bulk of their days cleaning teeth, might need a gregarious personality. But an outgoing demeanor can go a long way toward relaxing anxious patients, particularly children or those who fail to heed repeated advice about the importance of regular brushing and flossing. Nearly all in this field work in dental offices and they work closely with other staff, including, of course, dentists.
A physical therapist is another health professional whose upbeat personality can help people who have sustained injuries improve movement and manage pain. An outgoing, positive attitude can be infectious, inspiring patients to continue along a path of recovery despite sometimes daunting odds.
Public relations managers are responsible for handling the public image of organizations or people. That typically means spending a lot of time interacting with members of the news media, who can be prickly and ask tough questions. Being able to build relationships is key. It's a position that requires collaborating with co-workers and clients -- and an ability to sell cogent messages to the public.
By definition a people-focused profession, human-resource specialists help to hire and train new employees and resolve issues affecting current staff. Those and other duties often require hours of "face time" with new recruits and existing employees, giving extroverts a leg up in this often demanding profession.