Owning your shyness at work

It’s the night before the first day of your new job. You’re standing in front of your closet, trying to decide what to wear. Your goal: not to draw attention to yourself. If you’re lucky, no one will notice you and you won’t be forced to engage in conversations that end in awkward silence.

If this is you, you need to remember something very important. Your future boss may already know that you are shy based on your interview, but guess what? He/She picked you for a reason. Not only did you demonstrate that you were the best candidate for the job, but you have something that your boss longs for–the voice of reason. This voice is something that you’ve developed strongly, probably as a result of your shyness and your experiences as a shy person.

In an office seemingly filled with extroverts, go-getters, or generally assertive people, it is refreshing to introduce the “quiet” one to the team. Shy people bring great qualities to the table. Whether you are a shy extrovert or introvert, in many cases you are almost forced to embrace the introvert world and this, alone, is filled with benefits. You may be the one person who can bring consensus to a group or facilitate a collaboration.

Those shy moments can be uncomfortable, but you are on the right track. Know that you’re a valuable member of the team. You possess traits that most employers look for in an employee.

  • You’re A Great Listener… you make eye contact when others are speaking, you take notes, you don’t interrupt people while they are talking and you ask a question then wait for the answer.
  • You Respect Other People’s Space… you leave the hugging to others, you don’t go through people’s stuff, you don’t stand too close to people and you knock before entering a room.
  • You Think Before You Speak… you choose your words carefully, you are considerate of other people’s feelings, you are not confrontational and you don’t speak just to hear yourself talking.
  • You’re Approachable… you’re great to talk to one-on-one, you speak on an even keel, you give others your undivided attention and you have a great smile.

As you get ready for your first day on the job, take a few minutes to think about your strengths. Remember, you were hired for a reason. If you follow your shy heart, everyone is going to love you… it’s okay to be timid because that is where you are right now.  You are going to continue to move upward and forward and eventually you may wake up one day and realize your shy days are behind you.  For now, you are okay. It is okay to be the one who avoids conflict, waits your turn and speaks up when it is important. When you do get everyone’s attention, you’ll feel like you’re in an E.F. Hutton commercial… When the shy guy speaks, everyone listens!


-Written by Tommeka Semien

-Edited by Wallflower Bloom

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