If you're an introvert like me, you probably revel in the ability to work and communicate in our modern world without needing to leave the house or even put on pants.
However, some experts feel that our technological ability to reach others without speaking a word makes IRL interactions even more stressful for the bookworm set.
Technology does provide many useful advantages. It allows those in the workforce to skip the morning commute, reducing carbon emissions, it opens up new educational opportunities and it even promotes discourse between relative strangers on opposite sides of the world.
But can too much of a good thing lead to further isolation and disconnect at work?
Pro 1: Technology lets introverts be heard
Have you ever had a brilliant solution cross your mind while in a meeting but hesitated to share your insight? You're not alone.
Many introverts hesitate to speak up in group settings either out of fear of embarrassment or from struggling to get a word in edgewise around more gregarious peers. Technology permits introverts to share their stroke of genius via email or message as opposed to sharing it verbally
Pro 2: Technology opens creative career doors
In earlier times, success in the creative world meant writing, painting or acting — three fields notoriously difficult to earn a living in unless talent, determination, and serendipity collided perfectly.
However, if you're a creative introvert today, you can find career success in designing web pages, coding apps, and software or producing internet content.
Pro 3: Technology celebrates unique talents
No, you may never knock recruiters' socks off with slick-talking braggadocio, but the right employer will honor your unique abilities nevertheless. Introverts take to deep work like baby ducks to water and easily maintain their attention span when working on tasks that interest them.
Whether your boss needs you to prep a carefully written legal brief or reconcile the company's balance sheet, they'll know you're someone they can count on to do the job right.
Con 1: Technology can contribute to burnout
While telecommuting delights most introverts, the temptation to do more work and impress supervisors can lead some to feel permanently on the time clock. If you work from home, establish a regular schedule just as if you still clocked in and out of the office daily. This helps to preserve work-life balance.
Con 2: Technology can increase social anxiety
While social anxiety is a very real disorder, avoiding contact makes interactions all the more difficult when real life discussions need to occur. Try your best to initiate at least one IRL interaction each day.
No, this won't turn you into an extrovert, but you can improve your conversational skills just like you hone your programming or accounting prowess.
Con 3: Technology can hinder coworker relations
Even extroverts dislike dealing with certain coworkers, but if you gain a reputation for being snooty or stuck-up simply for being quiet and skipping out on after-work gatherings, you can stymie your career progression.
Yes, the office Chatty Cathy may drive you batty, but when promotion time comes around, guess whose name sticks in your manager's mind? You don't need to go to happy hour with the team every single Friday, but making an occasional appearance brands you as shy but a still a team player, not an aloof ice princess.
Finding balance as an Introvert in an extroverted world isn't easy.
If you're an introvert like me, thriving in a talkative world may seem a feat akin to scaling Mt. Everest without the benefit of ropes and Sherpa guides. But plenty of introverts achieve enormous career success and contribute immensely to society with their insight and creativity.
By balancing technology with IRL contact, you can reach your work goals without needed to spend too much time making small talk about the weather.