Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Introverted? Consider Accounting and Auditing...

Opportunities for accountants and auditors are expected to grow more than 22 percent between now and 2014, which may be good news for people who want to strike a balance between working with others and working alone.

The economy's shift toward service industries is making it more difficult for people who prefer to work by themselves to find jobs that suit them, says Laurence Shatkin, Ph.D., who co-authored the book 200 Best Jobs for Introverts. "Chances to work alone will become more scarce," he says. "Even jobs in manufacturing are increasingly being done by teams of workers."

Nearly a quarter of the U.S. population are considered introverts, whom Shatkin describes as people who often "prefer to work alone, in the quiet, and free of distractions." He and his co-authors - the editors of the career-publishing firm JIST - based their rankings for the book on a measure of how much interaction is required for each job.

However, Lynne Goldman, a Pennsylvania-based organizational psychologist who specializes in the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, thinks the book's selection process may have been a bit extreme. (Myers-Briggs, test that identifies certain psychological differences and preferences, is used by many businesses.) "Introverts can be extroverted very well, it just depletes their energy faster than it does for extroverts, who get charged by interacting with people and things," she says. "So introverts would prefer jobs that have a greater balance between quiet work and interaction. They are fine working on teams, as long as the extroverts give them a few moments to collect their thoughts, and contribute."

Besides accountants and auditors, the top jobs for introverts include personal financial advisors - which comes as something of a surprise, given the contact the job requires with clients; real estate appraisers and assessors; and actuaries.


Laurence said...

Hi, Mark. I'm the author of the book, and I think the comments from the psychologist might give the wrong impression. In the book I don't say that these are the only occupations that introverts should consider or that introverts cannot be successful in other, more extroverted, occupations. I characterize the occupations in the book as introvert-friendly and say that introverts will find a greater level of comfort in them.

I totally agree that introverts can be high achievers in extroverted occupations. I question, however, whether the level of discomfort (specifically, drain on energy) that they feel will be worthwhile. I think a lot of people who feel burnt-out in their jobs may be suffering from a bad match with their personality.

I also agree that introverts can function very well on teams if they can shape the ground rules so they have time to collect their thoughts. In fact, I say this explicitly in the book.

Lynne said...

Thanks for the clarification, Laurence. I agreed with your comments. In particular, introverts need to assess how much of a drain on their energy they are willing to live with or burn out will occur (including irritability, exhaustion and even anger). I also agree with your comment about establishing team groundrules that encourage participation from all participants. This is especially useful in multicultural teams when you have individuals who come from non-American cultures that are either not as extraverted, or who have cultural norms that value listening and silence a bit more than our culture!

-Lynne Goldman

fanos said...

Hello to every one,

I would like to thank the author (Laurence) for this book. I am an introverted person who is employed as an Assistant Front Desk Manager whithin a hotel group. I have been quite successful within the Front Desk Department, but I cannot say that I have been happy with this job so far. I really hate being a front desk manager because as a front desk manager you need to behave like a politician all the time. I left my job a few weeks ago, and I am now looking for a new job where I don't have to be lying to people all the time. This is why I think Laurance is right when he says that introverts can be successful in any job if we eliminate the satisfaction factor.

I used to like my job in the beginning as a receptionist, but my life has been like hell since I became a manager. My job requires diplomatic skills and I just hate that staff.

I think this book is a fantastic book if you want to see the jobs that are best for introverts. I have read a few books, which have been relevant to this subject, and I think this particular one stands out from the crowd.