Sharon Boyd asks whether you have to be an extrovert in order to have a successful career in the media sector:
The media industry is one in which working with people is inevitable, so if you’re not really a people person then you should consider this aspect of having an occupation in this particular industry. There are many different personality types, some people are extrovert, others are introvert, and still others are a blend of the two. When choosing a career path you should think about how your personality could impact you in the work that you want to do.
Not everything can be taught in an educational institution, some things come naturally to some people such as leadership, a creative eye or organisational skills. Taking online personality or career tests can give you an insight into the type of work environment suitable to you.
At least one third of the population is introverted. An introvert isn’t someone who is shy as such, they are individuals who gain energy by being alone and they feel more drained when surrounded by others. They may have good social skills, but they simply find being alone and being more concerned with their inner thoughts more comforting. Extroverts on the other hand gain their energy by being around other people and can find being alone boring. Extroverts speak while they think, whereas introverts think before they speak. Most people have a combination of both extroversion and introversion, but knowing your personality type can help to assist you in your career choices.
If you prefer to work alone but want to be a scriptwriter, you should understand that although you will spend a significant amount of time by yourself writing, this job also involves working with other people. You may be required to give a pitch, discuss ideas with the director, producer and other individuals on the writing team. Writing a book may involve less interaction with others than writing for film or TV, but both require a thick skin due to the critical feedback you will receive which might not always be positive.
When deciding what career you want to do, it’s essential that you know as much as you can of the job so you can handle all that is expected of you. If you’re an extrovert, you may feel frustrated in this position due to the lack of people around you, while if you’re an introvert this part of the job could be ideal. Correspondingly, if you’re an extrovert you may find giving pitches to be a rewarding part of the job, while if you’re an introvert you may find this more challenging.
If you are an aspiring director, you need to ensure that you have strong leadership skills, commitment, decisiveness, communication skills and artistic vision. As director you will be involved in all aspects of production so will be working with a large number of people. This job will also involve long working hours, so if you’re introvert you must expect to have little time to yourself to unwind and recharge. This is a job that seems ideal for extroverts who love to be around others and can easily deal with having little alone time. Nevertheless, this does not mean to say that being an introvert excludes you from this career. Director, Stanley Kubric, (‘2001: A Space Odyssey’, ‘A Clockwork Orange’ and ‘Spartacus’) was a hugely successful introverted director. Although Kubric was introverted he still managed to have a huge influence on the industry, and has inspired many other leading directors. He did, however, avoid press interviews and seemed to be very private when it came to discussing the films he was working on, but he did manage to be a great director nonetheless.
A great deal of introverts are good at analysing and typically have insightful natures which can prove useful in the media industry, especially when it comes to observing scripts or schedules and recognising how they can be improved. Introverts can also be extremely focused, which is a great trait to have when working in a noisy environment, which the media industry often is. While some people will be distracted by everything that is going on, introverts can still concentrate on the tasks they need to do. Introverts also radiate a calming influence, which can be beneficial in a stressful environment.
Extroverts conversely are more comfortable working in groups, which is important in the media industry since working with people is often unavoidable. Extroverts are also good at moving into action quickly, which is good when things need to get done fast. Introverts may spend too much time thinking things through and not act quick enough, however acting too quickly may mean that not enough time was spent reflecting on ideas. Extroverts are often energetic which is a useful characteristic when it comes to working in a busy industry like the media, given that this energy could help in motivating other people. In addition, extroverts are generally leaders and plenty of roles in the media industry require people who are good at giving guidance and leading teams of individuals.
Although this industry seems to favour extroverts, there is still definitely room for introverts too. A successful team of people is likely to contain a mixture of personality types, which will result in a selection of different characteristics that fuse well together to produce work to a decent standard. Employers should consider hiring both introverts and extroverts into their companies, seeing the positives in both personality types, and likewise introverts should not feel put off by working in such a people orientated industry, because they certainly have their place.