As an introvert, I had found the structured work environment unsatisfying. That is, until I figured it out. Well, I at least figured it out for myself. The pursuit of financial independence increased my job satisfaction and gave meaning to what was formerly meaningless (yup, even small talk). I believe it can for other introverts as well.
No, there’s Nothing Wrong with Introverts Who don’t Love Thier Jobs
It took over a decade to determine why I didn’t enjoy going to work every day. Most of my friends seemed fine with it. For dozens of years, my parents did it. My coworkers couldn’t get enough of each other.
Happy hour after work? Umm…no thanks we’ve spent all day small talking and sitting through largely pointless meetings.
What was wrong with me? My friends were even marrying their damn coworkers and I couldn’t wait to get away to get home.
Was I depressed? Shy? Not cut out for the business world? Would I really never be able to be a successful consultant because I didn’t stay out drinking all night with clients?
Well, I believed all that garbage people told me for over a decade until I started reading about introversion and where my energy comes from.
Social Energy is a precious Resource: ONe Reason Introverts Don’t Enjoy Work
Then the formula for why I disliked traditional working started to make sense.
Every bit of small talk, every political posture, every mundane meeting – they were all robbing me of limited social energy that I had for that day.
I wanted to spend my limited energy elsewhere! However, being overstimulated at work tired tired me out so much that at the end of the day I wasn’t able to socialize or form meaningful connections.
I didn’t know it at the time, but as an introvert I needed to get away from the high stimulus environment to recharge. This makes so much sense now that I understand how my energy works. Back then I thought something was wrong with me. I panicked about the upcoming work day and hurried home to recharge.
It wasn’t like that all the time but compared to my friends who were falling in love with coworkers at office happy hours I thought I was a loner for years.
Hating going to work became something I accepted. No one seemed to understand so I internalized it as my personality. (I was a great coworker as you can imagine)
My Dad’s mantra was “find your passion.” How the fuck could I find a passion when I was working every day and drained of creative energy? What if my passion was to sit with my dog, read a great book, think about and process the book, and then find a way to implement it in my life. Any six figure jobs out there for self-improvement?
This simple formula became clear and changed my life. Work was robbing me of my social energy that I wanted to spend on more important relationships and time that I wanted to spend on more rewarding pursuits. Therefore, I resented work and the people I worked with who “stole” that precious energy and time. As a result, I was (under)achieving despite a negative attitude and not being an easy person to work with.
Start By Accepting Your INtroversion and Your Coworkers’ Needs
My life started to get better once I understood this because I began to manage my energy more strategically.
My coworkers, clients, and colleagues were not “stealing” from me. They had needs too. I learned strategies to help me be a better coworker and person.
Things really improved once I accepted my introversion. Acceptance led to learning strategies to manage my energy and plan my days and weeks so I would know when my breaks would come. Strategies and planning lessoned anxiety and allowed me to be a more agreeable person in general.
It’s not forever: Learn About Financial INdependence and Plan Your Exit
Around the same time I began to understand introversion I also found a way to add meaning to my days at work.
Financial independence was the key to adding meaning.
All I wanted was to be free. To have my time to myself.
Learning about financial independence and making a plan and timeline changed each day at work into a micro step closer to freedom rather than an infinite trap.
My aim with this blog is to help introverts have greater enjoyment of their journey to freedom (i.e. work) by understanding social dynamics and financial independence and by providing actionable steps to get there that I have implemented or am experimenting with.
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