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A few months ago, my fellow TeamSnapper and friend Bethany Garner wrote “The Extrovert’s Guide to Working at TeamSnap.” Well I’m here to provide you with the antithesis of her post, “The Introvert’s Guide to Working at TeamSnap.”
These two blog posts could not come from better examples of extrovert and introvert. Bethany and I were hired at the same time, for the same position. Our names both start with B, we are both hilarious and we have the SAME BIRTHDAY, but are opposite in personality. So without further ado, here I present the introvert’s guide to working for the fun-filled and exciting work family that is TeamSnap:
Have a Routine (that preferably includes showering)
First off, when you work for TeamSnap, you get to work from home. Being an introvert and working from home makes it all too easy to cocoon yourself from the world and transform into a cranky hermit whose crumbling social skills only become evident when you have to go out in public and speak to a real, live fellow human being. To combat any slow descent into becoming a caveman-like recluse, it is essential to have a daily routine you can stick to.
To start each day, I’d suggest at least eating some breakfast and having a cup of coffee while you get into work mode. Create a task list each day of what you need/want to get done. If you don’t get to everything on the list don’t panic, just put the things you missed at the top of the list for the next day.
Being an introvert means constantly getting caught up in your thoughts and what you are working on and forgetting that it’s been a couple of days since you have seen the sun. Try to go outside every once in awhile, even if it’s just out to your backyard to remember what outside is.
This may seem like too much to do at first, so when you find yourself lost in thought as you stare at your cat lying on the windowsill, try following your cat’s gaze so that you too are looking outside. It will be sort of like you are outside without having to actually go out, and you will be giving your eyes a break from the computer screen.
Make sure you change out of your pajamas and put on real people clothes at least every other day, and try to throw a shower or two in there each week. Preferably you can make all this happen at least once EVERY day, but we’re introverts so let’s be realistic.
Personal hygiene doesn’t always top the introvert’s priority list, and at TeamSnap you get to communicate with your coworkers mainly through Slack and the occasional Google Hangout meeting. This opens the door to you realizing far too late that it’s been a week since you’ve showered, and that ripe odor plaguing your house is you, not the garbage that you forgot to take out because you haven’t changed out of your pajamas or left your house in as many days.
Speaking of showers, it’s easy to rationalize to your introvert self, “Hey self, I’m not really doing anything but sitting here at my computer, so I’m not really getting dirty, so … I will shower tomorrow.” Beware! This is a trap that your mind is creating! Don’t fall for it! Too many times, I have realized with horror that I am about to jump into a Google Hangout meeting looking like a well-traveled hobo living life on the rails, like I have seen unspeakable things that have justifiably distracted me from practicing even the most simple and basic of personal hygiene habits.
That is a lesson I learned early on: Having a routine is key to making sure you still feel like a human being even though you don’t have to venture out into public every day to go to an office. Sure, you can get away with wearing a hoodie over your messy hair every once in awhile, but you can’t disguise the panic in your eyes when it occurs to you in the middle of a sentence that your hoodie might be the one thing betraying your unshowered status. Because really, who wears the hood of their hoodie inside the house in the summer? Not that anyone at TeamSnap will judge you for it. If anything you will find at least a couple of sympathizers who know that feel, bro.
If you have a really hard time with any of this, it might be a good idea to just pretend that you have to go to an office every day and go through the same routine of waking up early and getting office ready before you sit down to work from home.
Next, know that it’s OK, vital even, to ask questions. When you feel like you are bringing someone to the brink of insanity with your 50th question asking the same thing because you just don’t understand, and you feel your anxiety levels rising to the point of choking up your ability to speak, ask again. There is not a single person at TeamSnap who will be annoyed to answer and explain things until you feel like you’ve got it. Trust me, I know from lots and lots and lots of experience. The whole point is for you to get the information you need to be able to do your job effectively. Sure, you could wing it and guess, which can sometimes pan out, but too often it can lead to wasted time because you were wrong, and really there’s no harm in asking questions.
If you do feel like someone is getting annoyed with your questions, as I often have, you can do what I do: Take a little break … and then continue asking questions! But use different wording. (This is to make the person think you are asking something new and different, but we all know they aren’t fooled, it just makes us feel better. And don’t worry, they will play along.)
If you feel like you are getting into too much back and forth, ask to jump into a quick Google Hangout with them to discuss things more in-depth, and of course make sure the person you’re asking knows you appreciate the help. Sometimes as an introvert, I realize after the fact that I forgot to say thank you for something because I was in my own head, so that is one thing I try really hard to remember to do. You’ll leave the conversation knowing what you need to know, with a little boost of confidence, and a little less hesitation and anxiety for the next time something confusing comes up.
Own Your Intro-ness
Finally, don’t ever feel bad about being an introvert here. Working at TeamSnap, it may seem like everyone is an extrovert with all the jokes, laughter, and chatter in Slack and our meetings, but there are many of us introverts here. Well, at least I think there are. We don’t really talk about being introverts, I just assume there are others.
The truth is, we are all just really excited and happy to be working here and with each other. Sometimes, it’s easy to join in the conversations, and sometimes it’s easier to just sit back and watch, but there is genuine bonding and everyone gets along. Some of the meetings or Slack conversations can occasionally feel just as overwhelming and draining as going out to a party or being in a crowded public place for too long. When you feel like that, there is nothing wrong with taking a break, so don’t feel bad if you have to shut off your Slack notifications for a bit or take some time off to have an adventure (for introverts this can mean just laying in bed). You may feel isolated from time to time, but rest assured that with your TeamSnap fam, you are never alone. I mean, physically you might literally still be alone but the TeamSnap crew is there, you know, in spirit … and also online if you hop onto Slack.
TeamSnap is a company that truly embraces work-life balance and values each and every employee, whether extrovert or introvert. There are always times I have to adjust my introvert habits here and there, and occasionally I fall back into the “When did I last shower?” hole, but I can’t imagine a better company or coworkers to annoy with my questions or try to hide my bedhead hair with a hoodie from.
As a QA tester, Bria’s main job is to make sure things are working correctly and at their awesome-est before they get pushed out for TeamSnappers to use. Born in Seoul, South Korea; Bria grew up in Logan, Utah; and received her BS in Technical Communication at Arizona State University. She currently lives with her family, cat and dogs in Vancouver, Washington, and enjoys CrossFit, sleep and learning new things, especially of the online and for free variety.