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Topic: Glass Ceiling for Introverts
Posts: 1
Re: Glass Ceiling for Introverts
on: Feb 1, 2012, 8:58pm


Every word you wrote completly resonated with me. After recently reading the Time Magazine article on this issue, I also felt relieved that, while we may be in the minority, that doesn't mean that there are not many of us out there like you. I believe Time said nearly one third of the population could be considered introverts (which they distinguised from those who are shy, and often cannot function in social settings.) But the issue you bring up is the problem in the corporate world, where our nature often causes us to come across as individuals, rather than "Team Players."

In short, I identify with you 100%, in that with many companies it is almost as if it is a fraternity, and either you belong or you do not.

Posts: 2
Re: Glass Ceiling for Introverts
on: Feb 5, 2012, 7:09am

Hi everyone,

I think this is an incredibly important topic - one that cuts to the heart of diversity, equal opportunity, and the need to make visible the invisible discrimination that goes on against introverts that hold us back in social, economic, political and public life.

I don't believe it's overstating things to compare this with other forms of discrimination that are considered human rights violations in progressive western societies today. Introversion, after all, has a biological basis and, while many of us may have cultivated well developed coping mechanisms as 'pretend extroverts', it hardly makes it okay that there's a negative bias against introverts especially when, say, landing a job or promotion is at stake. It's like tolerating gay people in our midst on the condition that they 'act straight' and keep their waywardness to themselves. And like being gay, there isn't an overt physical marker like race or gender that distinguishes introverts as a fundamentally different group from the dominant group, so it's more likely to escape the radar of human rights discrimination. (By dominant I don't mean size, but power and influence.)

I applaud Susan for putting this on the map and am heartened to see her book taking the world by storm. (I've been waiting for a public conversation about this for some time.) And it's also nice to see introversion being reframed/re-examined under a more positive lens through various mainstream media sources.

However, the challenge remains of how do we go about change? I like the phrase 'Quiet Revolution' because nothing short of an overhaul of some of the arbitrary norms that define success and failure in our world today is needed, and also because it will fall to the Quiet half of the population to see that it will happen. (Yes, that's you and me, as against the grain as it might be to rock the boat.)

I would be interested to hear from others what pragmatic steps, however small, we can take to address institutionalised bias in our workplaces, schools and civic life. For me, institutionalised bias can take many forms, e.g. (from personal example) being demoted to 'B' reading group at age five when my primary school teachers expressed concern to my mother that they "hadn't heard a word from me for three months." Or, for example, having to hear from managers at every performance review that, while they liked my work, I could be less reticent and speak up more, which of course had a subtle way of pigeonholing me as a good worker but poor manager material.

There are more obvious forms of discrimination which I'm sure most introverts will have experienced at crucial junctures of their life, e.g. the psychometric test that employers seem to love so much (how many of you tried to skew your answers towards the more extraverted end of the spectrum to appear more likeable, competent and less anti-social?) How is this different than women being asked (illegally) to undergo a pregnancy test first by a prospective employer? Or the obligatory leadership related KPIs at work that are described in purely extraverted terms. I wouldn't mind so much if there were a more balanced appreciation of the positive traits of both extraverted and introverted employees, but, as this article suggests–-for-introverts/ we're a long way off from that…

So much for all that, eager to hear from others


Posts: 1
Re: Glass Ceiling for Introverts
on: Feb 15, 2012, 10:18am

Hi you all,

This is a reply from overseas, from Holland… So, my English may be a bit… well… you know icon smile Forum

I do love the concept "introversion reframed". Which is a strategy that works. Watering the plants instead of spraying the weeds. Extroverts focus on what introverts can't do instead of what they are really good at. And like I used to do, I spent a lot of time focussing on what extroverts claim is good for me, wasting time, because it is not my natural way of doing things. Right now I am doing a lot of research on the biology of introverts and gathering introvert natural qualities (not sure whether this is the right word - introvert qualities). The list is growing.

Another thing tied to this is my research on miscommunication between extroverts and introverst. I found that when extroverts understand where we introverts biologically come from, communication and appreciation grows.

I just wanted to share this with you,

Greetings from Holland


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