Embrace and extend your inner introvert

The contrast between my extroverted social worker wife and my introverted engineer self could not be made more clear than when one of us travels, leaving the other behind. When I leave, she goes on outings with her friends. When she leaves, I find myself reading or experimenting with radios and computers. 

The broadcasting technology world is quietly run by introverts like you and me. We tinkered with radios as teens, showed up at a local radio or TV station and eventually took a job caring for the equipment while others pursued the more social aspects of sales, news, and promotions. 

While technical introverts should feel no shame in embracing our lonely preferences, I recommend taking inventory of how your behavior may be limiting your career and ultimately a more full life. If you are not networking with other engineers, vendors, and broadcast managers, you are in danger of being left in the cold when looking for a new job, in line for a promotion, hiring help, or attracting clients as an independent consultant. 

You may not feel the need to build relationships when you have a long-time relationship with your present employer, but to do so is dangerous to your career. I’ve observed conditions change radically for well-respected engineers when employers review their budgets and decide that an engineer is suddenly deemed too expensive, or they decide to outsource. As a consultant, what if your client decides to cut you in favor a newer, less-expensive engineer?

Ask yourself a few questions:

  • Is the management team you answer to aware of all of your station improvement initiatives? 
  • Do you know what your colleagues in sales or news do when they are away from the station?
  • Are you attending SBE meetings to network with your colleagues? 
  • When you do attend an SBE meeting, do you make it a point to introduce yourself with a smile and ask questions of a previously unfamiliar attendee? 
  • Do you volunteer as a leader for your local SBE chapter, scout troop, or as a mentor for a young person learning your trade?
  • Do you spend uninterrupted, quality time with your key vendors, sharing information about your goals so that they can keep you in mind when another client needs technical help?
  • Are you spending time with friends and family away from technology?

I recommend you push away from your big, comfy computer desk chair and get out a bit. Break through your comfort zone and over time–trust me–you will reap great benefits.

Gary Stigall, CPBE

SBE Board Member

Gary’s views do not reflect those of the SBE, or its Board of Directors.

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