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My Intern Diary: Five tips to thrive at work as an introvert


Starting a new job is exciting - it’s a fresh start in your career, opportunities to learn more and try out new things. However, it can also be intimidating. Meeting unfamiliar faces, going through introductions, and getting acquainted with your role, can be especially difficult for those who are more introverted than others. Nevertheless, these are nothing more than obstacles so they can definitely be conquered. Here are five tips to survive at work, written by an actual introvert:

Don’t be afraid to ask questions

Many people fear asking questions. There are different reasons underlying this fear - you’re ashamed of your situation, don’t want to come across as incompetent or you deem your struggles insignificant compared to your co-workers’ workload. Marketing is something entirely different from what I did previously so I couldn’t let my questions go unanswered! To beat this fear whenever I hesitate to ask questions, I let myself think about whether I’m more afraid of not getting the right information or being judged based on the questions I ask?

Get in the right headspace

If you’re an introvert, you tend to prefer one-on-one conversations and take a little bit more time to get comfortable with your co-workers. Because of this, it may be slightly challenging adapting to new situations and people. To prepare myself, I spend time thinking about a meeting that’ll happen later in the day. Visualising how it will go and who will be there helps with instilling confidence in my ability to perform at my best.

Small talk

For introverts, small talk is what bad dreams are made of. I brought up to a friend that small talk fills me with dread. “Perhaps, the other person does not find it easy too” was her reply. This created a shift in mindset and I realised that everybody struggles with small talk, some more than others. To get around this, keep a list of potential topics in your mind. It’s also important to listen and chime in whenever necessary. I’ve learned that participating in a conversation makes time go by faster than keeping quiet.

Push yourself

Although it’s tempting to stay in your comfort zone if you’re an introvert, you need to get yourself out there. At Wantedly, we wrap up our week by sharing our highlights, lowlights, learnings, help needed, and kudos to thank each other. The thought of speaking in front of other colleagues terrified me to no end. It wasn’t comfortable and easy the first few times. However, doing it weekly helped me familiarise myself with speaking to a small group of people!

Take time to recharge your battery

By the time you’ve practiced all four tips earlier, your sirens will be screeching and that’s when you know you’re all “peopled out”. Replenishing your battery is important if not bad things will happen. Get away from people and offer yourself a quiet day! Reading is my favourite way to recharge and feel human again.

Don’t let the fact that you’re reserved stand in your way. If you identify as an introvert, I know how challenging it feels to meet new people and share your ideas in a group. But, there are things you can do to make yourself more at ease. For a start, pick any one of these tips and try it out. Then, observe how you feel. I’ve been there so I know how daunting it can be. Putting yourself out there and stepping out of your comfort zone is uncomfortable but you’ll get used to it. Over time, you’ll even feel accomplished!

#MyInternDiary is a monthly series where I let you in on my learnings and challenges as a marketing intern at Wantedly, a tech start-up. ICYMI, read about the steps I took before making a leap of faith into a marketing internship!

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