When I was a teenager, I didn’t get a job until I was 17. My father didn’t understand me as an introvert- or in any other area for that matter, and simplified my complex personality by telling me I was lazy. No I wasn’t. I just couldn’t stand the thought of interacting with so many strangers- co-workers and customers- as the only jobs available for a teen were in retail or food service pretty much. I took a unique approach: I went into business as a fly-tier. Flies are artistic fishing lures; furs, hairs, feathers, and synthetic materials fastened to a hook to imitate a food organism, such as an adult or larval insect, or baitfish, that a gamefish would feed on. They range in size from your hand to a fourth of your pinky nail.

I had been tying flies since I was 13, having taught myself from a book and lots of practice and trial and error. I could tie a dozen in 60 -90 minutes, depending on the complexity of the pattern, and was paid by the dozen by a local sporting goods store. I worked in my bedroom, packaged them, and delivered them to the store. Now I had a job, complete with business cards. This was perfect for me at the time.

Finding a job (or even better, a career) that matches your Introverted personality:

1. Entrepreneur

Work for yourself. What skills do you have that you can put to work, or what skill s can you develop quickly? Do you have a driver’s license and a reliable vehicle? Open a courier service. Can you trim hedges and run a lawn mower? If you have a truck, open a lawn service. Put a plow and the truck and start bidding on parking plot plowing jobs in August. Some of the wealthiest and most powerful men in the world are entrepreneurs, who started out small, e.g., Bill gates ( Schocker, (2015).

Entrepreneur

2. Psychotherapist

This is more a job task- to practice psychotherapy, you must be licensed as a psychologist, psychiatrist, mental health counselor, alcohol and drug counselor, or social worker. The licensure requirements vary somewhat from state to state, but typically require close to, or over a decade of education and training. This is an ideal introvert job, as you will be listening, observing, reflecting, analyzing, and understanding the human mind.

Psychotherapist

3. Writer

There are so many venues for writers these day to get their work published or self-published, including Amazon. Writing is a solitary activity, requiring deep thought, research and organization of ideas.

writer2

4. Photographer

The market for photography is tight- there are many on-lien venues to sell your photos, such as BigStock, or Shutterstock, but they are highly competitive. You have to develop (no pun intended) a great reputation, gain the recognition of your peers (sorry, I know introverts won’t like that part) through publication in major national magazines, and juried shows, which can take years, and require real skill and talent, as it is easier than ever to take high quality photos with digital imaging and photo enhancement software.

Photographer

5. Professor/lecturer

Again this will require at least a master’s degree for an adjunct teaching position, which will require at least six years of study. There is also a clear preference for candidates who also have extensive real life experience in their field, unless you hold a doctorate degree ( a total of at least 10 years of study, maybe 12 or 15). This is a major investment in time and money, but for an introvert, it is a dream job. You get paid to talk about ideas that you are fascinated by. What could be better?

( I am currently one through five on the list, and have never fit better into my work in my life).

Professor

6. Web developer

Developing and maintaining websites is a great way to make a living. You will do most of your work from home, or café’s with Wi-Fi. Cafes are also a great place for writers to get their work done.

Webdeveloper

7. Fly tying

It was a way to make a few dollars, when I was a teenager, though not something one can earn a living at long term- with the exception of some people who do it as part of a business involving guiding and outfitting, fly fishing and fly tying lessons, writing, and speaking. There are opportunities to sell flies on line of course, through Amazon or your own on-line fly shop.

Fly tying can take years of trial and error before you work will be up to professionals standards, as well as studying entomology, ( the study of insects), and many hours on the water testing them for effectiveness, durability, and having a context for what you are tying, and credibility with your customers. Buying flies from someone who does not fly-fish would be like buying a car from someone who has never driven. This is an ideal introvert activity, but it can take many years for it to become lucrative enough to make a living at.

Flytying

Something I have learned as I have gotten older is that job satisfaction is just as, if not more important than salary. Ideally, you find a profession which delivers both. You have to find your niche: you need a career were your personality will be a good fit, or you will be miserable until you walk out or they fire you for your bad attitude. You cannot drag yourself to your job every day. You must have something you are happy with.

 

Written by David A. Porter, MA, LADC
Private Practice, Otter Creek Associates
Adjunct Faculty in Psychology and Criminology, Community College of Vermont & Burlington College
Freelance Behavioral Science writer