“I'm sorry I can't come; my mom said no.”
This is what you said to get out of every university party for four years, and university lectures. But this excuse is invalid once you start working for a real company. And big companies don't take lightly to their employees taking 'self-care' days every time they reach their quota for social interaction.
More often than not, most companies will expound upon all the glories that would await you, should you just have 'good communication skills' and 'willing to work well in a team.' It's the Kryptonite for all introverts. For this particular introvert, just thinking about working in a team drains her just about as much as actually working in a team. Companies would also prefer you to be generally sociable: just to know you more as a person, build up inter-office relationships so that everything works well, and frankly, building a good rapport with the boss is a big part of being part of an office.
No matter how draining it seems, teamwork really does make the dream work—as cliché as it sounds. It's often more difficult for one person to get the job done on time or with the right degree of specialty, whereas a more diverse pool would find better solutions.
That doesn't change the fact that you are, at the core, an introvert who doesn't like any of these things. These are not your forte: while you're alright with going about these things sometimes, doesn't mean you're up for it all the time. So, how should you go about this?
Here are a few things introverts bring to the big bad table that seems to be dominated by extroverts.
1. It's not all mostly extroverts. It would be a gross misrepresentation to assume all the people you see around you, communicating and teamwork-ing are extroverts. They are just being professional, and you can do that too. You don't need to have a personal connection with people at work. Just fake it till you make it.
2. Introverts make deadlines. I'm sure my editor would disagree, but most introverts don't miss deadlines. This comes from their straightforward focus on their jobs and less time wasted catching up on all the office gossip and whether or not Jim would finally date Pam.
3. Not speaking doesn't mean not having anything to say. The idea is that introverts don't like talking right? But that's not always true. Find something an introvert is passionate about, and watch all that repressed passion just explode. Aim that at an issue the company is facing and you have a goldmine.
All in all, you'd find that introverts tend to have more things to bring to the table. They just would prefer they could take a nap to recharge first.
Adiba Hossain is a final year law student and she's always stressed out. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.