While starting a new job can be stressful and overwhelming for anybody, it can be especially tough when you're an introvert. But the good is that if you know how to adjust to a new job when you're an introvert, the experience doesn't have to be miserable. In fact, it's important to remember that there a lot of awesome things about being an introvert, and identifying as an introvert is by no means something you need to change in order to be good at your job. While you might feel pressure to be more extroverted and have a bigger, more outgoing personality, it's most important to stay true to yourself and do what feels comfortable and right to you personally — even when you're trying to get used to a new situation.
No matter what your job is, workplaces take all kinds of personalities to work well together, and balance is important. You may even have been hired in part because you are an introvert, so don't feel pressure to fake a personality you don't truly feel comfortable with. With that in mind, there are definitely ways you can be strategic to make your first week or two at a new job as comfortable as possible, especially if you feel a lot of stress about the social pressure and level of interaction that tends to come with a new workplace.
While the list below is certainly not exhaustive, these tips might help you adjust to a new job when you're an introvert.
1. Give Yourself Reasonable Expectations
Although it might sometimes seem like our culture favors extroverts, there's nothing wrong with being an introvert — and, indeed, introverts bring a lot to the table that's worth being proud of. Don't set yourself up for expectations that aren't realistic or aren't something you feel you would be comfortable doing every day. If you know that going out for drinks with coworkers after work is not something you enjoy doing, or that connecting on social media tends to give you a lot of stress, it's OK to acknowledge those things and not engage with them, even if you feel some pressure. It's important to know your own wants and needs and set up boundaries when appropriate. This can help you prevent burnout in the long run.
2. Make A Point Of Checking In With Others
Even if you're an introvert, or if you're just nervous about new social interactions, making conversation with your coworkers matters. Now, this doesn't mean you need to have epic, long talks with the person sharing your cubicle, but it's not a bad thing to greet people, make sure you know their names and positions, and get to know a little about one another. Getting into the habit of being comfortable with small talk can make the day-to-day interactions in the workplace a little less stressful.
3. Get To The Office (Or Coffee Shop, Or Wherever You Work) Early
If you aren't a morning person, I know it might feel like a really hard thing to do, but trust me: Getting to the office early, especially when you're starting in a new position, can work wonders to help you feel more comfortable. Allowing yourself to get used to the physical space and having some quiet time to yourself before others arrive might be just what you need to be able to embrace the day and not feel too stressed or overwhelmed when it's time for working together on projects, attending meetings, making phone calls, and so forth.
4. Make The Most Of Your Commute
It's common to loathe your commute, the time you spend traveling to and from work can also be a good way to fit in time to focus on yourself. When you're starting in a new position, it's normal to feel like you're zeroed in pretty much only on your job, but that might not be the best thing to do, especially if you're already feeling nervous or insecure. Instead, spend your commute enjoying things you love or take comfort in: Play your favorite song or album, read your favorite book, or chat with a trusted friend or loved one. Giving yourself time to focus just on yourself as an individual can be a great way to recharge before going into and leaving work.
5. Don't Sell Yourself Short
When you're the new person on the job, it's normal to feel like your role is just to be quiet and follow the lead of those around you. But while it's of course important to pay close attention to social cues and the behavior of those around you, it's important to remember that you were hired for a reason and your skills are valued to the team. If you have suggestions or ideas, share them! Even if you aren't the most talkative or outgoing person in the room, your voice and participation still matters and is just as valuable as anyone else's. It's OK to take time and think about what you want to say before you speak, so don't feel intimidated if others speak first or have a lead on the conversation.