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Is there a place in the workforce for the quiet employee?

1762 Views 11 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  Linnie48
I hear my parents and even my coworkers in the past say that social skills are a must, and I should at least try to socialize with coworkers. The coworkers I've cared to befriend are the ones where I've liked their personality and had common interests. But if I talk to them and discover we don't, then I just don't see the point.

In a fast food job I probably should've made more of an effort as I was surrounded by people my age. Now I'm in a "real job" and there is no one near me that I even care to socialize with. There are 2 guys my age in the break room that I'll try to have causal conversation with because they seem nice. The other 2 guys who sit near me around my age I cannot stand, especially the one who I actually did try to talk to during down time. They are calling the architects idiots all the time, complaining a lot, kind of know it alls. My supervisor is the same way and I don't think he likes me, though to be fair, my work ethic could use a lot of improvement. Everyone else is far older than me.

I recently got a comment that I should be more engaged which is true in some ways. I need to ask for help more instead of messing around and experimenting with the program on company time. I usually just stay quiet unless I run into someone in the break room where I will ask politely about their day. I know I have an attitude problem, but I don't like these people. I don't like hearing them constantly talk about how our clients are idiots and complain about the revisions they make. That's what being a designer is. Seems the quiet employee that just wants to be there for their time and then go home is seen as a problem, even though we don't bother anyone. What are your alls experiences with being the quiet one? Is there a place where this is seen as neutral or even good?

I also think my slight shyness is costing me job interviews. I am trying to hard to get out of this job (not hard enough though) and I usually make it to the second interview, then will never hear back
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I think there's absolutely a place for you in the workforce - I know quite a few people who are just like you, and all have managed to find themselves in roles they really like!

I think it's important to distinguish between being "socially quiet" (fine to talk to people for work purposes, but not as keen on socialising), and being absolutely quiet (won't even talk to colleagues about work, even when you need their help). The first is fine - not everyone wants to do that, or is comfortable with it. Still, it's no bad thing to learn a bit of small talk, as it can make interactions with colleagues a bit more pleasant and less awkward/artificial. The second one would be more concerning, and it sounds like you've recognised that you need to work on this. The way I'd look at it, you're drawing on someone else's experience to find a solution that you don't know, which can help you to do your work better.

On interviews, they can be a really tough experience. It's quite common to not get through rounds early on even if you're a really good candidate because of what they look for, screening processes etc. Keep applying on that front and eventually an opportunity will come good. Also, I'd work on interview scenario confidence, and the best way to do that is practice!
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