Taryn Hughes


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What are some optimal professions for introverts?

Since introverts don't hate people, but merely choose to recharge and reflect by oneself, which professions allow plenty of room for solitary contemplation and reward the true innovation that rises out of that?

  • May 11 2012: I think that there is still some confusion about extraversion/introversion here. I would agree that not all introverts are shy but most do not revel in social interaction for its own sake. Personally I had a tendency towards shyness but was encouraged to 'use my talents' by sensitive parenting. Being 'shy' was seen as self indulgent!
    An ideal profession for an introvert is one which requires a reflective individual who is paid to express an expert opinion and can spend time preparing the ground for each planned interaction. I would place myself in that category. I work as a paid consultant in a field which is in the public sector. I am working for the greater good am focused on the bigger picture and preferred futures and spend about half of my time alone preparing researching and marshalling the information and the other half working intensively with one other or with small groups coaching and advising on how to bring that about or counterintuitivley for those who believe that 'performance is ony for the extrovert' delivering training and development acivities which needs to be entertaining because some of the stuff I train on is difficult to deal with- get em laughing to open up the ears. The alone time which follows supports recovery from the intensive interactions and the 'being paid to give advice' ensures that the thoughtful approach is appreciated and contributions honoured. i can identify with the actors, the psychology professionals and counsellors - we don't do the small talk well - we like to deal with the stuff that matters and we need to know that we make a difference.
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      May 13 2012: Annette, interesting point regarding "shy" being seen as "self indulgent!" Care to elaborate?
      • May 13 2012: My family had an outward facing, 'make a difference in the world' , philosophy.Being shy meant you were focused too much on what other people might think. Family mottos:-
        "That which is held firmly within the attention of the mind will one day become actual in experience."
        "You are as good as anyone else, brighter than most and you have a duty to live up to that"
        And 'To succeed is to be different' Not much sympathy was on offer for the self conscious shy introvert ! For which I am very grateful- in retrospect.
        We grew up with ' Desiderata' on the kitchen wall and argued philosophy and morality over dinner.
        I discovered fairly young that getting out there and being 'part of the dance' was worth the discomfort of exposure. I would liken it to diving into freezing cold river water, it takes courage but once you are in, the water is lovely and the experience is worth the initial pain.Afterwards you need to recover and recharge ready for the next plunge. in my experience , nothing is worse than sitting back and wishing ' if only...
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          May 15 2012: Annette, I loved this. Actually I even used it in my women's workshop last night, proposing the question "Is shyness self-indulgent?" The women agreed it is. It was our gateway to deeper work regarding social responsibility to get our talents out in the world and practicing giving / receiving compliments. Ooooeeee there was some wiggling going on throughout that activity.

          Thanks for the expansion on this conversation.

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      May 13 2012: " we don't do the small talk well - we like to deal with the stuff that matters and we need to know that we make a difference,"

      Well put! I feel the alone time I enjoy as an introvert allows me to deeply analyze problems, and solutions. Any environment that encourages critical thought and mediation seems most suitable for introverts.
    • May 16 2012: Superb! Nothing better an opinion of someone commited with the subject. Agree enterily. Introversion or extroversion does not have anything about talent or the so called "success" (for me success is a state of spirit, not being admired by third prats, but by ourselves).
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    May 16 2012: Loved Susan Talk and her book. Would be lovely to translate it into Italian. I am a translator and I am an introvert as well. Translation requires solitude :) words and meanings are your best companions.
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    May 7 2012: If you feel that you are introverted, I recommend Elaine Aron's "The Highly Sensitive Person...".

    Susan Cain recommended Aron's book in her recent book "Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That can't Stop Talking". That is the book from which Cain is mostly speaking in this particular TED talk.

    Within a given profession or industry, organisational cultures can vary widely. So train for what you love, and then find an organisation that suits you well.

    My own example of real-life application of Cain and Aron's principles:

    From these two books and my life experience, I have learned that it's best if I avoid:

    Pushy/sleazy sales and marketing fields.

    Work that does not allow for autonomy and independence much of the time.

    Open office floor plans and 'Dilbert cubicles'.

    The ubiquitous "fast-paced work environment" (I am an analytical, NOT given to multi-tasking).

    Organisations that rely heavily on physical meetings for brainstorming. Group dynamics screw these up. Face-to-face group meetings are good for intros, problem-framing, and trust-building; but good ideas come from the introverts in follow-on e-meetings!

    Get to know your own aptitudes, loves, and passions first. I found Richard Bolles' "What Colour Is Your Parachute?" to be amazingly helpful.

    Best of luck Taryn!
  • May 23 2012: I notice that most people have cited their own profession as the optimal profession for introverts, but as an introvert I still see some challenges in those fields. I don't think its a problem for introverts to find an optimal profession, but to find a way to succeed in any profession they choose when there's an obvious advantage to being an extrovert. There are many professions that are perfect for an introvert like me, but in a country where the ideal is to be extroverted there are many opportunities that I may not get offered because I don't "stand out" as much as the extrovert. The optimal profession for an introvert must be anything that allows them to be alone, but more importantly something that they can accomplish at a superior level, in order for the quality of their work to reflect their skill, rathern than self-promotion.
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      May 23 2012: And this has always bothered me. Especially in school, the students who are best in group situations are more highly recognized for their abilities than an introvert. The extrovert might not actually be better at or more passionate about the subject, but the introvert is less vocal, and therefore less likely to be recognized for their success.

      The extrovert will say that selling yourself is an important skill too. I have to ask, why? Because extroverts say so? I understand that extroverts are in the majority, but making extroversion a necessary skill for success in all subjects stunts our growth as a society by at least partially disregarding the contributions that some very insightful people can offer.
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    May 20 2012: Because introversion is a minority trait in humans (about 20%), and because it is often confused with shyness, many unconfident (shy) extroverts consider themselves to be introverted. Likewise, many social introverts don't understand their need for solitude because they enjoy social activities. The only true test is if you need considerable solitude to "recover" from social exposure (whether you enjoyed the social exposure or not). Dorothy Rowe, the Australian Psychologist, writes about introversion and extroversion in her many books. Another useful author is Elaine N. Aron, the American psychotherapist who investigated the traits of Highly Sensitive People.

    I used to consider myself to be an extravert. I only realised I was a social introvert when I found I couldn't take the strain of being around people - even though I enjoyed, and needed, some social contact. I need six hours per day (the whole evening) to regain my equilibrium after social exposure.

    I volunteer part time as a cook/housekeeper and I'm a beekeeper as well. I'd like to get to the position of being a full time beekeeper - much less social interaction.
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      May 23 2012: I agree. The stigma that there are just some things that introverts can’t do is falsely based on the confusion between introversion and shyness. An extrovert is socially simple; more is better. Also, extroverts are much more common in the human race and they are socially dominant. So, it is easy for an extrovert to lump the two kinds of rare people together (shy and introverted) based on the one trait that they share, which is the thought that more social interaction is not always better.

      Introverts are like left-handed people. There are fewer of them and it often surprises people of the majority when they come across one. Also, like left-handedness, introversion is considered undesirable, or even evil, because the people of the majority don’t know how to react to it or deal with it.
  • May 16 2012: I'm an introvert freelance translator. I have no bosses and no colleagues. I work on my own at home, and am perfectly happy. As a translator I can always learn new things from different sources. It is interesting and exciting without social turbulence. When I do want to socialize, I just go out with my close friends or enjoy online chat. For me it's ideal.
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    May 14 2012: is there an optimal profession for extroverts?
    how is profession and ones character related. as i know, all introverts are not alike and they dont have the same interests. the optimal profession for a person will depend on what are his/her intrests and what are they passionate about.
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    May 13 2012: Thanks for all the soulful and thoughtful responses. I've loved reading all of your commentaries and will keep checking back to hear more. Hopefully other members of the TED community have benefited from this discussion as well.
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    May 1 2012: Taryn,

    I can appreciate your Q, but would resist typifying introverts (or extroverts, for that matter) as optimally placed in specific positions or professions.

    Perhaps I feel strongly about this way because I'm a "lifelong" introvert who's worked in a variety of professions, none of which I could isolate as ideal or not related to my introverted energies, with the possible exception of a very early position in a large-windowless building sitting elbow to knee (or thereabouts) with hundreds of other staff. Which was exceedingly stifling.

    I'd say most important is the introvert simply has space, or as you put it, room to reflect and breathe. In work where I've had to be more "on" particularly in leadership positions, I learned to schedule and/or sneak this time into my day. Maybe at home, during a flight, by taking walking break, during drives between meetings or shutting my office door. This latter of course, was a luxury, and in fact one I avoided relaying on because as a leader I felt the need to have an open door policy.

    On the other hand, I have colleagues in fields like research and engineering who are extroverts. They, too, find ways to work their needs for external energizing into their work, by debriefing with colleagues, developing their work to interface with more people, etc. And, yet another who tends to be introverted who did most work online, until it became clear that the absence of human touch was a real lack in the work.

    Perhaps more important than all of this, is that colleagues simply understand that an introvert isn't always going to be chatty or as social as others. And that this shouldn't imply anything except that they (we) are recharging batteries. And, we as introverts, must do the same. By either carving out space, or using our listening skills to quiet our engagement in social situations. Where they are of value as fodder for future thinking and for allowing our extraverted friends to process their energies.

    • May 11 2012: Andrea I agree with you. People can be both introvert and extrovert. Sometimes they want to be energetic doers & interacting with others; other times, they must close the door and recharge. Nobody is exactly anything. People have varying degrees of both qualities.
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    Apr 30 2012: Great question. Introverts can truly do anything, the key is what you said, they must know and accept they have to recharge by themselves. This might take a few minutes or a few days depending on how far out they went.

    Retail is a good one to talk about. Helping a client, asking questions, getting them what they need. Just know that introvert will probably go home right after work and eat in bed.
    Public speaking-lecturer, coach, teacher, etc again put them out there and there is going to be alone time needed.

    There is a back and forth that is essential to the introvert to survive and thrive
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    May 15 2012: Introverts could be good writers,editors,architects,computer programmers and music composers(not performers); developing most of the skills requires solitude(but not neccessarily an extreme withdrawal from the society).But what if an introvert's interest does not fall into any of the listed fields? An introvert should follow her/his heart, for if one is passionate about one's profession,one would make sacrifices when neccessary to give it the attention and discipline it deserves, even despite one's personality, either as an extrovert or as an introvert.
    As an actor,I'm an introvert, but on film sets,auditions,film festivals and premieres,I just have to go with the flow.
    If a fan sees me,I cant act like an introvert because of societal expectation of an actor's code of conduct.
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    Gord G

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    May 11 2012: A product tester for the Cone of Silence or a house sitter in a space station.

    But seriously, since no one is strictly an introvert or an extrovert, they should find a profession they enjoy.
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    May 9 2012: What happened to this nice little question?!?

    "...hate people..." and "...like people..."?

    "Introverts...are rarely distracted." ?!?

    Race ?!?

    "An introvert would never be a 'Teacher'." ?!? Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

    "...extremely introverted, yet...I...a psychologist." ?!? Really?!? Are you kidding?

    Susan Cain's brief speech was okay, but her book is more substantive and probably more useful: "Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking".

    For real substance, TED needs to invite Elaine Aron - author of "The Highly Sensitive Person:" - to give a TED Talk. Aron might offer some useful info:

    -- The term "introvert" is ambiguous, biased, and probably should be avoided.

    -- A more useful term may be "highly sensitive" or 'high-sensing'. Fifteen to twenty percent of ALL mammal species populations have highly sensitive (specialized) nervous systems that respond more readily to sensory stimulation. In Aron's words: the extroverts are like "warrior kings", the louder, front-end, charge-ahead types; the high-sensing people are the "royal advisor" class, the wise counsellors and teachers behind the scenes who measure twice and cut once.

    High-sensing antelopes, for example, are the ones most vigilant for lions, jackals, cheetahs and the like. High sensing antelopes not only seldom get eaten, but by their own finely tuned sensory / nervous system responses, they warn the less vigilant antelopes to start running!

    -- Many high-sensing people are, in fact, introverted (70%), but not always. Many successful introverts gravitate to helping professions such as teaching and counselling. NOT ALL INTROVERTS ARE SHY!

    -- Shyness is a situation-specific social behaviour arising from fear. It is learned. No one is born "shy".
    • May 17 2012: What a coincidence , Im actually in the middle of reading The Highly Sensitive Person and I can honestly say nothing regarding personality has ever had such a large impact on me. It almost feels as if it is describing me specifically,thats how dead on so many of Aron's definitons and explanations of an HSP are. I was always dissatisfied with books or articles about Introverts because although I definitly lean towards that side, not all of it applies to me and I would even argue that the definiton of an introvert is quite simplistic in that it focuses soley on how a person is in a social context and says nothing about how he feels or thinks internally. Its the first thing Ive read on personality that actually makes me feel positive about the way I think ,feel and function rather than a freak of nature! Highly recommend reading this for anybody out there confused about their introverted/shy/ non social tendencies. It would be a thrill to see Aron do a TedTalk!
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        May 18 2012: Hi Nisrin;

        Thank you for your response! I had the same experience as you while reading Aron's work: her description of HSP's - and introverts - was eerily perceptive. I too feel ultimately positive in general about my discovery of Aron (and Cain's book that recommended Aron's).

        While reading about the HSP nervous system differences and temperament description, I slowly realised that understanding myself as an HSP required no peculiar sub-types. The fit was nearly perfect. The pall of guilt and 'wrongness' began to lift almost immediately!

        I have to admit to being very ambivalent, though. For about four years, I had thought that I had some peculiar sub-type of ADHD! I had to challenge myself to reconsider that self-diagnosis, which had at least offered some helpful structure and advice to people who don't think like the majority.

        For many years before discovering Aron, I assumed that a rotten childhood totally explained what I can now understand as at least partly due to how HSP's were (and are) treated. Anger and sadness were thus mixed in with the pride and acceptance!

        The extroverted ideal: I remember studying leadership training manuals - written in the 1940's-70's for Commonwealth military officers - advising students to extinguish about a dozen personality traits and replace them with a corresponding opposite trait. One of the pairs directed us to rid ourselves of introversion and acquire an extroverted personality type!

        I'm glad that you're experiencing Aron's book in such a powerful way! If I may offer some advice: Do ALL of the reframing experience exercises in a very thorough way, but only at your own pace. If you're anything like me, there's a lot of emotions to come to terms with.

        Good luck Nisrin! We "royal advisors" have a right to be happy, listened to, and proud!
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        May 18 2012: Nisrin;

        Elaine Aron's website is great too. It's in the book's index:

  • Apr 29 2012: A lot of these jobs seem to assume a quantitative bent; this list is heavy on accounting, high-tech, and science jobs. For non-quantoids, our choices seem to come down to writing, editing, and lawyering. Oh, and graphic design.

    The Top Five Jobs For Introverts, Overall

    1. Computer Software Engineers, Applications
    2. Computer Software Engineers, Systems Software
    3. Computer Systems Analysts
    4. Network Systems and Data Communications Analysts
    5. Accountants and Auditors
    Found this, hope it helps
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    May 25 2012: Taryn, Nice Question...
    I don't know that there is an "optimal" profession for one of the wide variety of us introverts. I have done many things in my life from the highly technical (US Navy Electronics Technician) to the artistic fields (usually involving cooking or painting houses). I suspect that unless you select something which is a profession that requires an extrovert (say politician, sales lead generator), the optimal situation is one which YOU create. The highly technical fields work well for me because my job requires me to think and analyze and identify the "problems" presented by the equipment and/or operators. The key for me is finding a niche where I have the luxury of setting my own schedule and pace of work. I also make an active choice to like what I choose to do... This gives me the interest and drive to learn about the details. So for me it's more a case of making sure my boss/partner knows what I need and proving to them that I am self motivated, this gives them the leeway to let me have the recharge time that I need. But the key to it all, for me, is making the choice to do what I love AND, the choice to love what I do.
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    May 23 2012: This question is well meaning, and a step in the right direction. But, I am afraid that many people, mostly extroverts, will read this question incorrectly. The way it is worded makes introversion sound like a disability or a disease. You could also ask;

    What are some optimal professions for people with no feet? Since people with no feet are not immobile, they just choose to limit their mobility to activities in which they are comfortable, which professions allow plenty of room for stationary work and the innovation that rises out of that?

    It is as if desiring solitary reflection is some kind of a burden that these people must live with and work around.

    If you are an avid consumer of TED talks, Aimee Mullins will tell you that not having feet is not the disability that people think it is. Similarly, not being extroverted is not the disability people think it is. Aimee uses her lack of biological feet to her advantage in ways that make us standard footed people jealous. Introverted people can use their penchant for solitary contemplation and reflection in ways that should make extroverted people green with envy.

    The answer to your question is that all professions are optimal. A more useful question is: How can we inform the extroverted majority that introverted people offer extraordinary strengths in ways that can be easily drawn upon?
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      May 27 2012: Lovely insight Russell. "Introverted people can use their penchant for solitary contemplation and reflection in ways that should make extroverted people green with envy."
  • May 20 2012: It's no more possible to blanket categorize introverts than it is any other group. Each individual will have the need to express themselves differently. Using myself as an example, I am very shy and introverted. I'm also an actor since that gives me a forum to express myself while ostensibly hiding behind a character. I tell people the truth about who I am and they think I'm acting. Not the stereotypical profession for an introvert perhaps, but it is mine.
  • May 15 2012: There are writers and writers. For example, when I have to write a note to my secretary or one of my employees, I have something to write: a short message, usually - but it does not make me a writer. If anyone that have "something" to write is a writer, so I am glad to be one. But the point here is not play with words. Introversion is the subject. And I am still convinced that writing could be a good profession for an introverted person. writer is one that came to my mind, but there are others, for sure. Fortunately there are many talented introverted people delivering amazing pieces of work. We can quote many examples, I've just tried to express my opinion in a single word, and now we are here writing so many words... Unfortunately, I need to go back to my spreadsheets and reports... Cheers!
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    May 12 2012: I prefer a quiet evening with one or two friends over a big gathering with people shouting over one another. And I very much enjoy time alone. I am never lonely. I think that identifies me as an introvert.

    Variety is key. That is, it would be no fun at all to keep doing the same thing over and over.

    Though I enjoy teaching, even very large classes, I would be miserable in a bull-pen office design.

    Reading and then writing about books is very pleasurable for me.
  • May 12 2012: I consider myself an introvert. I studied Chemistry and Philosophy. I thought solitary research would be nice. Now I am a teacher, because I found that tutoring and small class disscussions energized me. I went with what made me feel alive!
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    May 9 2012: I really don't know. I don't think introvert/extrovert has anything to do with career choice. Let me illustrate.

    When I was in high school I took a bunch of psychological tests. These took information about my interests, strengths, weaknesses etc. One of the highest recommendations was that I should go into forestry. And that I was particularly suited to work in a forestry watchtower to watch for fires. Far, far away from people.

    As intriguing as that occupation was, I ended up in a very people oriented profession. It drives me nuts sometimes but a very rewarding career.

    Interestingly enough, as part of a leadership development opportunity, I recently took another battery of psychological tests. Several decades after the high school assessment. Guess what they recommended. You got it. I should look into forestry. Watchtower. Far far away from people....

    Find what you love to do and get paid for it.
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    May 9 2012: This question seems to presuppose that introverts are a homogenous group. I would argue that this is not the case, that instead there is a wide range of people who will regard themselves as introverts and that many of these occupy positions that may be regarded as more suitable for the so called extrovert. The optimum profession is the one you finally choose (it may not be your first one).
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    May 8 2012: Contrary to what one might think, introverts make great actors. Acting is about listening and about being a character, that is to say, a real person. The problem with extrovert actors is often that they ACT, and it shows. Check the difference between great British actors - more introverted, subtle, and therefore fascinating - and American actors - more extroverted, obvious, and therefore tiresome.
  • May 3 2012: Think its like this : WOW !! LOVE THIS TALK (extrovert) ....... Wow! love this talk (introvert)
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        May 1 2012: You defintely made sense.....& I got your point.

        Yes from different personality traits we get different perspective which are enriching.

        That's a good example....I meant while you are talking about all teachers being either Extrovert or Introvert ...!!!

        Team work , team spirit is considered to be important factor in any organization......putting all similar personality trait in particular job seems like making a football team with only strikers or goal keepers....!!!
  • Jay Pay

    • +1
    Apr 29 2012: Introverts can also make great therapists, counselors, psychologists, since they're apt to Listen and observe well and spend much of their time understanding their clients/patients and drawing them out.
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    Apr 29 2012: I agree with Salim below that your choices are for all practical purposes unlimited. You probably don't want a job in front line retail sales, to be part of a telephone bank, or to have a job like waiting tables.
    You should pursue what interests you.
    People vary greatly in how introverted they are. Most introverts will do perfectly well with the level of daily communications in almost any job. Many extroverts also become frustrated in the workplace at insufficient time to think with so many responsibilities on their plates.
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    May 24 2012: Very good question, Im sure you know the feeling of been surrounded by people but yet alone? I feel like many artistic minds have the power to share their best skills doing what they do best for example at playing guitar player, flamenco dancing, horse training, visual artists can be in total concentration and inner conection these people are able to express so much, with their artistic talents they brake the regular forms of comunication.
    we are energy and if we voluntary choose for retreat we must understand that solitude is the worse punishment for a human been.
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    May 21 2012: electronics, gardening, proof reading, facebooker
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    May 20 2012: Become a self employed 'handyperson'. I get to fix things and not try to fix people. I work alone and often in vacant houses. It pays very well for part time work because people don't know how to fix things.
  • May 18 2012: I would suggest sales.
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    May 18 2012: In my opinion, it isn't a matter of that or those ways of being, but of willing and feeling good doing things. If one is able to feel oneself making something, bussiness will be good.
    But, however, if one enjoys doing something, everything is going to go well and the time seem to stop and the result will be good.
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    May 17 2012: Any job which involves crafts or hand-making objects.

    I read somewhere that the craftsperson is the introvert of the artist. Here's an example:
    In a recent local work for the Olympics called The Boat Project (search for it if you want to be amazed) deployed both a craftsman and an artist to create a boat from donated pieces of wood for the 2012 cultural Olympiad in London . The concept of the work (the artist) was interesting but it was (for me) by far outweighed by the sheer beauty, depth and meaning which came from how it was formed, such mastery in its construction. A work of love .Here the craftsman left alone to think, work and create, produced an object beyond imagining. So I'd say to an artistic/creative introvert- change the world (or at least our view of what matters within it) and be a craftsperson.
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    May 16 2012: Introverts prefer to journey inward than outward. Meeting new people could be more rewarding than engaging with one's own-self every time. I would say best profession for 'introverts' could be centuries old profession of inventors. Invent something so that the world remembers you gratefully always. For instance look for a Facebook substitute.
    • May 16 2012: I agree with you in many ways. For me there is no better experience than know people, of all kinds. But that is the way I am. However, I believe that each person and each life are singularities. At some point, no general rule cna be applied. With regards to the easynessof being a writer or an engineer, I also think it is very relative. There is only one Shakespeare as well an Albert Einstein. To be remembered by mankind means to offer a very special, outstanding and durable contribution. but it is not easy, both fro a writer or a ingenious inventor. so, whta I believe is essential is that each person dedicates to understand better his/hers own "singularity" and developed it fully. In the end, this could be the very purpose of life and people. Finally, despite the respect all the introverts deserves and human beings, I agree with you that, beyoond any doubt, one way to "live the max" is to live in harmony and freedom, without masks. with as many people as we can.
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    May 15 2012: Science! There is a booming professional field of laboratory scientists and technicians, who primarily work in small groups or individually to complete lab tasks, run procedures, design and test new techniques, etc.

    I have worked with several of these lab technicians and they do excellent work, focus on details, and as long as you let them know ahead of time that your going to be coming by, then they are great to work with.
  • May 13 2012: Writer...
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      May 14 2012: Writers that are worthy of the name have lived life to the max
      • May 15 2012: Well... you've raised two interesting questions: (1) what is "live the life to max"? and (2) Can't an introvert live the life to max? In first place, what means live the life to the max: is a sensorial experience or a sensitive journey? Is it about quantity or quality? Doing or observing? Releasing or setting free? What kind of space a writer shall explore? If "to live life to the max" means an intense "sensual" experience, in psychoanalytic meaning, don't it seems to be too absorbing to left room for the task of writing? Besides, I think that even the "life-intensive" writters need a lot of introspection to tell teir stories. It seems to me that even the most extroverted person needs an "introversion period" to became a writer. No matter what the kind of experience, sentiment or idea he/she intends to put in writing. May be I am wrong, but I've seem lots o people who had all kinds of intense experiences that they are not able to transmit to the others with art and feeling, simply because they didn't understood their own doings. What I call experience is about one's processing the his/her own doings, observations and sensations in the higher levels of conscience. and emotions. A writer would be someone capable to transmit the result of this process with art and style. May be I am wrong, but I still believe that introspection is one necessary (not sufficient) condition to be a writer, may be not. Let's leave the life the better we like and feel. There is something else about being a writer, the master of the language. it is obvious I can't be writer in English, so accept in advance mh apologies for any language mistakes.
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          May 15 2012: Luciano

          Your over thinking it. A writer has to have something to write about. More often than not they have had a lot of experiences to write about.
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          May 16 2012: Hi Luciano, Its good to see your views about 'live to max'. please see my humble attempt at resolving this riddle. Well firstly the phrase applies strictly at a personal level. A person who wish to live life to max would have defined her/his 'max' level. I am not sure if Shakespeare did get to live to max. Listening to Steve jobs's address on Ted, i felt as if he also did not think that he lived to max although in my opinion he certainly did. Personally i think that writing profession is overrated. Writing is easier than inventing a combustion engine or building pyramids of Giza or creating a google.
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    May 13 2012: Philosophy.
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    May 12 2012: Wouldn't be easier just to become an extrovert?
    • May 13 2012: It definitely would not be easier to become an extrovert - and I speak from a lifetime of experience.
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        May 14 2012: Fwiw I found toastmasters to be quite extroverting.
  • May 9 2012: You can browse occupational databases such as Online O*NET ( http://www.onetonline.org) to explore types of interpersonal relationships for any given occupation. In the advanced search, each occupation receives a score from 0-100 related to 14 types of human interaction processes. This is a good way to gather occupational ideas and some objective data to create a list for further exploration. Some of the occupations may relate to causes or subjects you feel passionate about.
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    May 9 2012: I am uncertain that there are 'optimal' professions for introverts. I am extremely introverted, yet I have carved out a successful career as a psychologist. Interesting that there are so many comments from introverts that have chosen professions one would consider the domain of extroverts!
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    May 5 2012: From my experience, careers as a clinician in mental health, social work or counseling can be very rewarding to introverts. The work is largely self-directed and require strong listening skills, as well as ability to be professional and set emotional boundaries. I believe the thousands of hours I have spent in my own mind, has made me insightful to what is going on in others' minds and the best way to enlighten them to it.

    Plus you get your own office, you get paid to read books and take classes, contact with co-workers is limited and you have a flexible schedule.

    Oh yeah, and the best part is you get to watch people get well.
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    May 5 2012: Paradoxically I have chosen a job where you have to be extroverted: teacher and choral conductor. And that's wonderful! As an introvert, I like an 'extrovert mode' on my work. Teaching and talking about education gives certainty for presentations and conversations. Susan Cain says that introverted people often make good leaders. At home I create my rest, without 70 choral members or 1300 students around me. I wrote a blog about the Talk by Susan Cain on www.michelberendsen.com (The power of introverts).
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      May 9 2012: Actually - I don't think teaching and conducting is extroverted at all - it's a performance to a collective audience and doesn't require the same extroverted personal interactions.

      There are many introverted actors (myself included) who would rather be on a stage in front 1500 people, then have to interact with a dozen random audience members after the show.

      But to "Yes, and" your point - introverts can be great performers, and performing happens under many job descriptions.
  • May 3 2012: I am not sure this is an answerable question. I am by definition an introvert, I love being alone and just thinking, so philosophy is one of my favorite subjects. The thing is that while I was probably born this way, my life has taken me in directions where I just cannot be an introvert all the time. I have many friends and I have had many jobs, for instance in the next few weeks I am going to quit my job as a mechanical engineer and move on. I really enjoy engineering, but I figured it out so now it is time to take what I learned and apply it to something new.
    I think the issue is not to find the job that best suits your personality because not only does everyone have their own personality, everyone has many of their own personalities.
    If a person has a hard time finding a place to fit in, they are probably looking at the big picture wrong, the question should probably be stated as what is the one thing I can do that makes me feel useful and that highlights my personal traits?
  • May 3 2012: Being introvert by nature I am forced to live in " extravert mode". So I guess I know the short answer. Introvert should avoid jobs based on immediate reaction to "external interrupt requests" .
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    May 1 2012: research
  • May 1 2012: Well, assuming that introverts like their solitude and like to do things quietly and unobtrusively, maybe they will prefer being accountants, editors, researchers, artists, computer programmers, or other jobs not involving rigorous direct marketing and vociferous public interaction?
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    Apr 30 2012: I consider introvert as melancholic and phlegmatic. But we have sanguine and choleric. If somehow melancholic nor phlegmatic is not the strongest, combined with choleric or sanguine. Here are the scenarios, less or more:

    - Introvert + Strong Choleric = any job would be required through smart diplomacy, smart teaching, smart spirituality or smart thinker (philosopher or creativity areas) and similar to these

    - Introvert + Strong Sanguine = any job would be required through excitement diplomacy, excitement teaching, excitement spirituality or excitement thinker (philosopher or creativity areas) and similar to these

    - Introvert itself as the strongest = any job would be required with atmosphere of hospitality, empathy, full of hope, imagining, mutually reinforcing and similar to these
  • Apr 29 2012: There has been much debate about this topic in the news as of late. I would like to add further nuance to this debate: I think a more correctly defined sub heading for "introvert would be "subjective personality."

    Anyone run across this terminology?
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    Apr 29 2012: Field Service Technician/Engineer works well for me.
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    Apr 29 2012: Introverts main strength lies in the fact that they are rarely distracted so the best options for them would be Typists , manual data loading or data feeding, Accounting ...Any job where too much focus and less interaction is required :)
  • Apr 29 2012: Math, programming, graphics design, whatever you can do in a computer, whatever you can do why paper and a few more instruments.
  • Apr 29 2012: Research of any kind - something you are interested in
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    Apr 29 2012: I hear writing is a popular career choice for many introverts, along with teaching??
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    Apr 29 2012: Whatever one is passionate about is the right profession for someone regardless of gender, race , religion, age or psychological trait.......

    "Since intorverts don't hate people"......when it is written in that way it automatically implies Extroverts hate people.......I don't think you wanted to mean that.........what's your opinion?
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      Apr 29 2012: Why disregard "psychological traits" when looking for the right profession?

      Taryn is not saying "Extroverts hate people."
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        Apr 30 2012: To be very specific I should have mentioned psychological traits like introversion Vs extroversion...........however if you want to specify right profession for them you are welcome to do so even on the basis of race, gender, religion etc etc........

        Where did I say that Taryn said something? .......please read again my statement above
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          May 1 2012: I can't tell if that is your answer to the question or...? I also don't get why you mention "race" along side "personality traits". Best profession is not based purely passion, nor is it wise to ignore the personality when thinking about which profession is best. To treat it as a negligible factor is asinine.

          Taryn - Since introverts don't hate people, but merely choose to recharge and reflect by oneself...
          Salim - "Since intorverts don't hate people"......when it is written in that way it automatically implies Extroverts hate people.......I don't think you wanted to mean that.........what's your opinion?
          Shallow - Taryn is not saying "Extroverts hate people."
          Salim - Where did I say that Taryn said something? .......please read again my statement above

          You quoted her, and then said what it "automatically implies". Please take your own advice and reread,
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        May 2 2012: I also mentioned a number of other elements based on which there is a tendency of deciding who is fit for which job.....why you are just picking "race" ?

        I read & know what I wrote.....if you have different perception /understanding about what I wrote , well that responsibility also goes to me............
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          May 3 2012: I chose race because I consider it to be the most deserving of those on your 'regardless' list, i.e. the most extreme comparison with personality. Others factors on the list can play a role in deciding on the best profession, but lumping them into a list with race is bizarre to me.
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        May 15 2012: Yes you can chose RACE as most deserving.......so I can chose any other criteria.
    • May 11 2012: You are correct Salim. Whatever one is passionate about is what you should try to do.
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        May 15 2012: Thanks Teresa , I am believer of "passion".
        Just think of Stephan Hawkins.......what a great genious he is !!!
        But if we decide on the basis of any criteria what is good for someone ....actually does not make much sense to me.....but anyone has the freedom to disagree with me and I am fine with that.
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    Apr 28 2012: Working on their own initiative depending on their interest!!!