how to be an introvert in a customer facing role
Lifestyle

How to be an Introvert in a Customer-Facing Role

At this point in my life, I currently have 3 jobs; 1 full time job and 2-part time jobs; NYC is expensive. I work full-time as an administrative assistant at a law firm, part time as a studio assistant at a fitness studio, and on the weekend with kids. All 3 of my jobs, require me to spend the majority of my time interfacing with the public. This would be draining on a regular basis, but I also happen to be an introvert, meaning I gain energy by being myself and lose energy by being around people.

It took me almost 8 months to handle talking to people all day on the phone at my full-time job then I added 2 part-time jobs because I obviously like to challenge myself.  It can be extremely challenging and draining to talk to people all day even if you aren’t an introvert. Add to that being an introvert and most evenings when I come home, I barely wanted to have a conversation with my closest friends. I’ve been at my current job for almost a year and in this time, I have discovered some ways to take care of myself that allow me to find balance.

  1. Do whatever you need to do to recharge: Some evenings I come home and eat and watch Netflix until it’s time to go to bed. If that’s what I need to do to be a competent, pleasant human being the following day, then so be it. Some nights I need to exercise. Some mornings I might need to run to Starbucks to get a latte because I am going to go off on someone and I need it to get through the day. If a glass of wine is needed after a long day, please believe that a glass is poured. I do whatever I need to do and don’t apologize for it.
  2. Get enough sleep: I’ve found that I am a better employee and generally more pleasant when I am well rested. Being an assistant often feels like a being a genie where people expect you to grant wishes at a moment’s notice. That gets draining after a while and if I am well rested I am more likely to control my face when someone annoys me in the office.
  3. Listen to music or a podcast at work: If you work in the kind of environment that allows you listen to something while working, then take advantage of it. Introverts need time and space to recharge and I’ve found that it helps me to feel like I’m by myself while still being available in the office. I usually listen to Spotify or a message on Youtube depending on my mood.
  4. Plan your life according to your energy level: If you know that after a long day, you have no energy to talk to another soul, then don’t schedule any networking events at the end of the week. If your energy level is highest in the mornings, then try getting to the gym before work.
  5. Find a way to vent: I can’t really discuss what happens in the office with anyone outside of the office. It took me a while to get used to this and because of this, journaling has become an even bigger part of my life than before. During the warmer months, I’ll go for a quick walk on my lunch break which helps me to come back into the office refreshed.

As I write today has been a long day. It’s early in the afternoon, but I have been interfacing with the public since before 6am. Once I got into my full-time job, I knew I was going to need Starbucks so I made a Starbucks run even though it’s freezing. It did help me to get through the morning. Figuring out what I need to survive in terms of my personality style, helps me to be a better employee. So everyone wins!

 

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