Monday, January 22, 2007

Marti Olsen Laney: The Introvert Advantage


Marti Olsen Laney, Psy. D., The Introvert Advantage: How to Thrive in an Extrovert World (2002, Workman Publishing, ISBN 0761123695, hardcover. 330 pages, indexed) tackles the question of introversion and extroversion in our culture.

The issue is important because in recent years the job market really has been favoring extroverts even more, as many "individual contributor" kinds of jobs become vulnerable to offshoring. Extroverts don't mind schmoozing and manipulating people -- in fact sometimes they like to do it -- to build wealth for themselves and their own families. Introverts are more content oriented.

A news story that illustrates this problem is Varlerie Strauss, "Headmasters' Salaries on teh Rise," The Washington Post, Jan. 20, 2006, at this link.
This is the kind of job that requires building social networks, preferably using your own spouse and family, to raise money for other people's interests. Not the kind of thing someone with an artistic temperament wants to do. Technical sales jobs have exploded in recent years, as many techies really don't like the extroversion required to sell.

While Laney's extrovert and introvert (or "innie" and "outie") may seem to correspond to Rosenfels's masculine and feminine, a better analogy might be Rosenfels's balanced and unbalanced personalities. I have a longer review here.

Friends have mentioned several other books along these lines (such as Seligman). I will try to read these later.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Interesting subject... however one could summarize by saying "good things come to those who take them".

If extraverts were corporations they would simply have bigger advertising budgets.

On the flip side, its fair to say that perhaps introverts are more analytical - and this can be a huge plus in a strategic sales role. I am a successful introvert salesman myself.

Any introverts out there who want to skip the whole interview mess and get their skill set right in front of hiring managers at their target companies are welcome to use my database to identify over 28,000 F500 hiring managers at http://www.localdog.com.

Here's to getting better jobs faster - regardless of ones personality funded marketing budget.