Beth Buelow of The Introvert Entrepreneur shared an article on her Facebook page the other day; it’s about jobs for introverts and extroverts. It’s another one of those articles that make me think the war against introverts is back on.
This site is almost totally based on my identity as an introvert – and promoting positive images of introverts. And I feel that since I talk about that almost to the exclusion of other topics, there’s something important to point out.
Yes, I’m an introvert. But I’m also many other things. I’m an entrepreneur, a writer, a sister, a daughter, an aunt, an avid reader, a beginning sewist, etc. The list goes on. In other words, I’m only showing (and sharing) parts of myself here. I am more than an introvert, and so are you.
Labels are tricky. In some ways, there are a lot of benefits to putting a label on yourself and identifying with others who share that label. We all want to belong to tribes. But you need to be careful that you don’t limit your beliefs – especially your beliefs about your abilities – based on these labels.
And that’s what bothers me about this article. It makes this completely outrageous claim:
The data does indicate that extroverts may be better suited for higher-level positions, many of which involve a lot of collaboration and public speaking
I don’t even care about the conditional “may be”; it still pisses me off. First, I remind myself that there’s no information in the article at all about the study. Not who was interviewed, how many were interviewed, how they were interviewed or what kind of questions they were asked. I suspect if I saw some of that data – particularly how questions were asked – I would know why someone could make a statement that’s so infuriating.
The problem with this type of statement is that people read it and believe it. What about the fact that some of the most successful people in the world have been introverts? My guess is that those jobs called for lots of public speaking and collaboration. What about, say, the President of the United States? Yep, LOTS of public speaking and collaboration. And there’s little doubt that President Obama is an introvert.
(In fact, I tend to think introverts are a bit better than extroverts when it comes to collaborating. In fact, collaboration is this week’s Introvert SuperPower.)
The article also goes on to list jobs that each personality type is “drawn to.” This is where labels tend to become restrictive instead of permissive. Any introvert or extrovert could do any job they wanted to do – NEVER think of your personality type as a limit to what kind of job you take. You can do whatever you set your mind to do; and don’t ever let anyone – a career counselor, a human resources study or even your mother – let you believe otherwise.
We are all more than our personality type. Make sure that the labels you use for yourself are empowering and fulfilling. Don’t let a label hold you back.
Share your labels! What else are you besides an introvert?