Best careers and skills for extroverted introverts
Extroverted Introverts are a tough study. They're real introverts, but they've grown an external persona as a public image. This persona is specifically adapted to the career environment. They're so good, in some cases, that you may not even meet the real person, because there's no opportunity to see through the public image.
The EI is perhaps one of the most complex of all the four types. They are actually introverts, and the external image is a defensive and offensive measure. The EI uses their public image as a method of career advancement, and they're much more likely to be real careerists.
EIs are experts at personal appearances and self promotion. Every nuance of their public face is literally rehearsed. They're really actors. The introversion has remained, but the public imagery is all part of keeping others at a distance. This is classic introvert tactical behavior, but instead of retreating and avoiding the world, they adopt a complete role, and prevent the world intruding by separating the personal and the career modes.
EIs are very easy to misread. Because of their tendency to put on a show, they are initially seen as the public person. They can infuriate the other types with their performances. Introverts see them as shallow, Extroverts as too easily led, and even the Introverted Extroverts may react negatively to the persona until they pin down a real person.
The problem with analyzing an EI is that they're very fluid characters. They are perfectly capable of literally changing with every breeze. The main reason for this is that their social skills are very much tuned to the main game. If they perceive a change in atmosphere, they change. So if the boss changes his mind, they change their opinions.
It looks facile, and it is. It's also expedient. The EI isn't trying to win brownie points from others, even the people they're agreeing with. This is survival and position play, and they don't want or need to be fighting over every issue and every point. EIs are incredibly agile in any career environment, and they don't enter that environment for the scenery.
They're always real careerists, and if there's one word which always applies to the EI, it's pragmatic. Appearances matter to them because appearances matter to people who are relevant to them. Attitudes matter, not because the EI necessarily gives a damn about attitudes, but because those attitudes affect them in some business-related way. Everything is a sales pitch from the EI, and they're working on adding to their incomes, not their peer group popularity.
Infallibly ignored, when discussing the EI, is the fact that on a professional level, they are normally very competent. It's just that EIs are so focused on career that even their competence isn't allowed to interfere. They do know the issues, they do know the people, they're just concerned with their own bottom lines. They miss nothing, on the personal level. The slightest detail of any interaction with anyone is registered. Even the most devout and pure introvert can't teach them anything about feeling insecure and being sensitive to any new element in any career environment.
Their form of introversion is rather bizarre, compared to the pure introvert. The EI's entire persona and career is directed at producing a thing which is effectively another person. When doing their performances, they actually are someone else, quite different from their inner person.
The expert EI can be mistaken for an actual extrovert. They're so good at their work that you'd never guess that person had ever had an anxious moment in their entire lives. In any environment where they can just do their performance, they will excel. Where an extrovert at a business function looks good, they try and look great. They may not have the real extrovert's instant social rapport, but they can come up with a good imitation.
For EIs, like introverts, socializing is work, and even the smiles get paid by the hour. The difference is that the EI sees this as part of the job, not a burden, like the introvert. So they make a real point of being good at their job. If you were to accuse an EI of social climbing, the likely response would be that the name of the game is making social and business contacts.
For many EIs, it is the name of the game. It works very well, for really top class EIs, too. They're very good at penetrating social circles, exclusive clubs, and will get on to the A list if they have to kill people to do it.
Even that is pure pragmatism. To function, the EI needs a supply of people for their performances. Like actors, they need an audience. Hence the demand for lots of contacts. They're very good networkers, and know their way around their careers. They find the people who can help them very efficiently.
The true EI is the great salesman, the brilliant, polished presenter, and the office politician who always seems to come out on top. As professionals, they're not to be despised for their skills. Many are genuinely good in these roles, even by the standards of the extroverts, who were born to them. Also overlooked is the fact that the EI is very often extremely talented in their profession. It's how the EI operates as a careerist that distinguishes them.
The EI will show up at any gathering of human beings in the perfect role of host, diplomat, business associate, consultant, whatever. The performance rarely if ever slips or fails, because it's literally been rehearsed in front of a mirror. Younger or lazier EIs sometime trip over situations, but not the professionals.
The true EI does have one big advantage over the other three types. They're never out of their depth in any social situation. They're not going to get lost in a group, because they will know who everybody in that social scenario is, what they do, and where they stand with the others. They'll make the right contacts and achieve the right goals.
They say the right thing under any circumstances. They're good office politicians, and sometimes make good actual politicians, because they never get caught off guard. As diplomats, if you want an ultra-alert, ultra-cautious person around, wary of any movements, get an EI.
Their great survival skill is evasion. They don't have the fighting firepower of the introvert or the extrovert, and they're not empathic like the Introverted Extrovert. If there's a clash, the EI will have vanished in a cloud of evasions before anyone quite realizes what's happened.
They're not just being evasive. EIs don't see any useful results likely to come out of a personal clash, and their risk assessment skills are always operational. Even in a clash with an EI, the clash is with their persona, which, of course, is acting purely in character. The EI only clashes when they have support from somewhere, usually management. They pick and choose issues to clash about, and will be seen as heroically defending someone else's position, to their own benefit, whatever the circumstances.
The weak point with the EIs is that they're unstable if things go wrong. If they somehow lose their role orientation, or the performance goes wrong, they can react very badly. Some are prima donnas, and some are just plain insecure if their masks come off. Either way, the actor is stuck without lines, props, and the support mechanisms.
An EI can be considered to be an introvert who hasn't developed as an introvert. The creation of a persona is the EI's security system, whereas real introverts become hardened. They often have all the characteristics of a young introvert, and in some cases are frankly immature. Offstage tantrums are quite normal. Their emotional defences aren't anywhere near as well developed as a real adult introvert. If the defensive system is pierced, they're in trouble. Introverts will tear EIs to pieces, because they know what nerves to hit when they get through the defenses.
In a career environment, the EI can become a mess, and a liability, if the act doesn't work. Emotionally, they can fall to bits. Burnout is a real risk for EIs, because they put a lot of effort into their careerism, and failure is pure poison to them. The persona can go completely out of control, and the actor becomes a melodramatist, stuck with what is actually a role reversal. That usually crashes or seriously stalls the EI's career until equilibrium is restored, usually in another job or another career.
As co workers and as managers, EIs can drive people quite literally up the wall. Nobody ever quite knows why any EI behaves as they do. The usual consensus is that they're crawlers or just plain sleazy, but hardly anyone notices how well an EI will make their performances to their best advantage. EIs never do anything without a reason.
If the EI suddenly becomes a micro manager, for example, it's not because the EI fanatically believes in micromanagement, it's because the boss will respond to evidence of all this hard work. A sudden fascination with KPIs doesn't mean the EI believes in KPIs any more than any other professional, it means This looks good to someone. The pragmatism will be in full force.
As managers, the priority is that their staff reflect the EI's current persona. If the EI is being a Dynamic Executive, The Epitome Of Our Corporate Image, the business has to look great, suits all over the place, buzzwords by the ton. If the EI is being The Son The Boss Should Have Had, the appearance is an almost exact mirror of the boss's own office. Even the antiquated filing system will be used, because as the EI says, We've found it works so much better with all this paperwork. Quill pens will be used if necessary.
It's a matter of opinion whether anyone who realizes they're getting a sales pitch 24 hours a day from the EI knows how to react. EIs never do anything which can be considered wrong by those above them. They never get so lazy as to leave any opportunities for criticism. They will be tyrannical about making sure their staff don't create those opportunities, too.
This is exactly where EIs are dangerous. Nobody ever sees the EI as a threat. They're considered weak, predictable, and easy to handle. Even if the act is recognized as an act, the EI seems so innocuous, and so under the thumb, nobody considers them at all dangerous. That's the absolutely fatal form of underestimating an EI.
EIs have a common dominant trait. They're extremely ambitious. Their careerism is in the genes. Today's boss of an EI may well become tomorrow's bewildered subordinate. Their pragmatism extends to pure functional hypocrisy. They will change sides in an office political struggle like restaurants change napkins. They will help destroy The Boss Whose Son They Should Have Been without so much as a blink. It's business.
Not surprisingly, they will then continue to move up the ladder, and the people who put them there will find themselves out of a job. EIs are very skilled manipulators of people and situations, and they like to make sure nobody's left to manipulate them. This is fighting on their terms, in ways where they're the experts. Nobody else wins, in these circumstances.
The other types often overlook the EI's reliable ability to make the correct assessment of how to play to an audience. They know what will work as a persuasive argument, and the right appearance and attitude to present to practically anyone, anywhere. In this area they even outdo the extroverts, who have to rely on their own personality, rather than that of the audience.
EIs, despite their business and social abilities, often misread others. In career terms, the problem is that others operate so differently from their own methods. They may not understand the introvert's years of dedicated work, or the extrovert's ability to produce business out of thin air. They don't see why the Introverted Extrovert puts so much effort into creating a good working team, even when they're part of that team.
The worst career environment for an EI is among other EIs. They're not good at working with each other, because they naturally compete. They get in each other's way, and actively hinder each other, deliberately or otherwise. It's like having two salesmen selling the same car, and relationships will deteriorate in direct proportion to the number of times they're in the same building, or in some cases on the same planet.
An oddity of the EI is that they can change into other types. There's a good side and a bad side to this phenomenon. If an EI happens to be in a good personal relationship, their ultra-defensive inner self, which is the main driver, may become a much more evolved person, far less edgy than the average EI. They can even turn into Introverted Extroverts, a good result.
In a bad personal relationship, the EI can turn into a very nasty, malicious, vindictive person. The introverted persona, if hurt, will react like a real introvert, with all the weaponry of the EI. What's happened is that the EI's natural insecurities have all boiled over at once. It's an emotional crisis, and the tendency is to lash out at anything or anyone. The result is a pure misanthropic introvert, or occasionally an extrovert.
The only working key to the EI is their talents. If those are being allowed to flourish, the EI is quite happy in any career environment.