The concept of working a 9-5 job in an office can be daunting for introverts. We like to work independently, follow our own schedules, and we tend to kind-of-really-dislike being around people all day long. But we gotta pay that rent, right?
There are actually some surprising benefits to working a 9-5 job that I have discovered over the years. Here are some tried-and-true tips from yours truly for how to make it work:
1. Plan Breaks Accordingly
A lot of large companies will structure your breaks and lunch hours for you. Others might not. If you have any say so, or you can politely request it, schedule your breaks every 2.5 hours. This is the sweet spot. It has been scientifically proven that our attention spans tend to falter after about an hour, so you are more than due for a break by then. Make it your downtime. Most introverts work best in social situations when they happen in short spurts. Breaks are our time to decompress, connect with ourselves and mentally prepare for the next leg of the day. I like to take tea or water and a snack and go outside on my breaks. It’s quieter than the break room and a change of scenery is ideal for clearing your head.
2. The Day Ends At 5
Not only is it helpful to have your breaks and downtime scheduled flexibly, but one of the perks of a 9-5 job is that when you walk at the door at the end of the day, you are done. Rarely is there an expectation to be on call in the evening hours. Unlike with freelance positions or retail positions, you can take relief in the fact that you are never on-call. Anything that happens after 5pm waits until the following business day. Most bosses are surprisingly strict on this (probably because they don’t want to have to pay you overtime) and will insist that when it’s time to go, you go.
3. Holidays = Your Days
Even though most everyone takes time off on national holidays, 9-5 jobs almost always guarantee that you will have these days off. You can plan vacations, staycations or getaways around those dates knowing that nothing will change unexpectedly.
Introverts crave plans, set-in-stone schedules, and predictability. You will get all of this with a 9-5 job. You will know where you’re going to be and what will happen and what is expected of you on a daily basis. Being in a predictable environment might sound like a bore to some, but it’s actually quite freeing for introverts. Not having to be “on” or “ready” at all ties means you’re more in your zone and able to put your best foot forward and be the most productive you can be. Monotony is your friend!
If you know yourself well, there is no reason that through a little trial and error you can’t make your 9-5 work for you.