My ideal Friday night is spent alone, ideally with a book, more ideally with some mozzarella sticks from Uber Eats. As much as I enjoy my job and take pleasure in working hard to strengthen my career, after hours of talking with coworkers, making decisions, and spending time in a bustling city center, I am wiped. The thought of mingling at a networking event, constantly “leaning in” to seek out recognition or promotions, or forcing my over-thinking brain into overdrive after every interaction with a new contact or superior is enough to make me want to just forget I ever had dreams of a flourishing career, let alone of holding a significant leadership position.
At least 50% of you should’ve gone, “me, too!” at the above description — hello, introverts! Or, at least — hello, non-extroverts! Introversion is currently having a ~moment~ (see: all memes that talk about staying in rather than going out), but there’s one area where it seems like extroverts still hold all the cards, and that’s the workplace. In a culture that relies on “who you know” to move forward, that favors the gregarious and charismatic leader, and that requires what feels like constant attention to your inbox, those of us that require significant alone time and who can come off as “shy” or “unsociable” seem to be at a disadvantage.
But, introverted career enthusiast, your time is coming! There’s no one type of career-savvy woman or great leader, and we’ve rounded up some of our favorite books that affirm your particular strengths (your self-awareness, your well-thought-through decision making, your attention to detail), teach you how to pursue your career in ways that make you thrive, and, yes, give you some pointers on how to handle social situations even when you’d so much rather be anywhere else.
A number one bestseller in behavioral psychology, Quiet was one of the first books to put introverted thought not just on the map, but in a celebrated position. A great book to read to understand how your introverted characteristics are actually some of your greatest strengths — even in the workplace.
Heading to a networking event — or even just drinks after work with your coworkers — and dreading the effort it's going to take to keep "putting yourself out there"? This book is for you; learn how to make people come to you rather than your pursuing them.
When terms like "shy" or "aloof" are often applied to introverts, it can be difficult to accept those qualities as anything but negative. This book knocks down those negative character myths and articulates how those specific characteristics — being inward-focused and attentive — are your superpowers, not your downfalls.
First, listen to Morra's killer podcast "Hiding in the Bathroom" to satisfy all your women-killing-their-careers-and-the-patriarchy needs. Then, pick up this book and learn from Morra how to create your own version of success, as she reminds you that there's no one "type" of professional career woman.
Not all leaders look the same — introverts naturally excel at nurturing others, making well-thought out decisions, and checking their self-interest at the door. Learn how to grow your career using your strengths, even if they look different than the norm.
Sometimes, you just can't avoid the networking situation or the office holiday party. Instead of being terrified of the small talk that's to come, get to the bottom of why it makes you uncomfortable and learn some tricks of the charisma trade that might not come naturally to you. You'll feel far more comfortable in any social situation when you've got some tools in your back pocket.
"Quiet is might. Solitude is strength. Introversion is power," is the tagline of this great read that teaches you how to structure your life in a way that creates a space for you to thrive — slower tempo, spaces of quiet and solitude — in a world that sometimes feels geared against you.
Looking for some tangible ways to make your schedule, your home, your office, and your thought patterns more introvert-friendly? This is the read for you. Tackling everything from conflict resolution to physical self-care, The Quiet Rise of Introverts pays special attention to the practical applications of living an introverted life.
Think that the electric magnetism that some people have is for extroverts only? This book says otherwise; in fact, it's not even an innate quality. You can learn some practices that enhance and draw people to your natural personality (introversion included!).