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Thread: Is being quiet a bad thing in the workplace?

  1. #1
    Double J
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    Is being quiet a bad thing in the workplace?

    I started working here a few months ago. I enjoy the work, and everyone here is fairly nice.

    A co-worker of mine (who I happen to sit next to) told me that people in the office are always asking her why I'm so quiet.

    I'll admit - I'm not the most talkative of guys. However, my job involves a lot of writing and requires me to keep focused. The more time I lose chatting away, the harder it is to meet the weekly objectives they've set for me. One of the top managers has realized that others who have occupied this very position tend to work similarly. Still, they've acknowledged how well I do my job and are pleased that I work for the company.

    The fact that this is a small office with less than 15 people probably adds to the problem. In a corporation with 300+ people, people don't even know those who work outside their respective departments.

    Is it a bad thing that I'm starting to gain a reputation as "the quiet guy"? Does "quiet" in the workplace have a negative connotation attached to it? I wouldn't want this to hurt my prospects for promotion if I decide to stay here for a few years. I honestly find it hard to balance work and play; in my case, one has to take clear precedence over the other.

    Thanks in advance.


  2. #2
    hers
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    You're there to work, not make friends. I wouldn't worry about it. As long as you do your work and do a good job at it, who cares if you're quiet? It also shows taht you don't care about the office gossip and don't want to get involved in office politics, which is better than chatting away.

    It doesn't hurt to ask people how they're doing and answer them if they ask you the same, but carrying on conversations isn't a big deal.

  3. #3
    george237
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    If your quite you will never meet any of the people. Which can be a good and bad thing. Good as you won't be labeled a talker or a goof. Bad because you might not get put on the best jobs and you will be quite lonley at lunch time.

  4. #4
    Timebandit
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    Depends very much on which positions you could potentially be promoted to. For leadership positions, or positions that involves many interactions with other people, it will definitely be an issue. For more analytical jobs, less of an issue.

  5. #5
    redtan
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    I've been told the same thing by my boss, to try to be more outgoing and friendly with people. I smile and say hello to everyone that I pass by, but besides that I don't go chatting up a storm with everyone around me. Frankly, I barely have enough time to complete my tasks as it is. If I was walking around chatting with everyone for hours like some people do I would never finish my work.

    In a way I can see how it can "hurt" you in future promotions etc, but only if the specific positions available require you to be in heavy contact with clients/other people. They would probably look for a more outgoing person to do such job. But for positions which don't require heavy communication with others you should not have a problem simply because you're quiet.

  6. #6
    DakotaSkye
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    I, too, am considered the quiet one, but not just at work. It's not just my work that keeps me from being talkative, it's just my personality. But either way, whether that's the way you are or that's how you are when you're working, I don't see anything wrong with it. I work in a small office, too. There's really only 7 people I work with regularly, so everyone knows everyone else and has a friendly repoire with everyone. I started here in May, and I was initially very shy. I didn't know anyone, and I didn't know what was socially expected of me.

    But even though I'm now comfortable with my co-workers, I'm still considered the quiet one. When I come into work, it's often an hour before anyone even notices I'm there! Which is sad when people constantly walk by my office. I really only speak when I have a question or when I'm asked to provide input about a specific problem. And I don't see anything wrong with that. In this environment, I'm here to work, not chat with everyone, so (I'm hoping) it's not seen as anti-social behavior. Occasionally I'll talk about something personal with a co-worker, but it's hard to segue from, "did you get that report done?" to "the craziest thing happened to me this weekend!"

    Either way, I really don't think that being "the quiet guy" has any effect on your future within the company. If anything, being the guy who concentrates on his work without getting constantly distracted is the kind of person companies are looking for! It shows you're attentive, dedicated, and take pride in what you do. I definitely don't see being quiet as a bad thing. And I don't think your boss does, either.

  7. #7
    Traveler27
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    It sucks that we live in a society where being labeled as "quiet" can be viewed as bad thing. I especially hate when people in the workplace single someone out for being quiet. I mean, come on, you're there to do your job and you're doing it. I don't see why people need to make an issue out of this. In my opinion, unless your job specifically requires that you to be chatty and socially aggressive (think sales), then you are quite normal. I wish more people would realize that not everyone expects work to be a form of socializing. I am a very private person and I prefer to keep work and private life completely separate.

  8. #8
    calidreamin0
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    I agree with 'you are there to only work philosophy'... but seriously its 2008... you have to be outgoing, friendly, and social if you want to get anywhere at a company. you have to get NOTICED. unfortunately, sitting at your desk super quiet wont get you noticed despite the good work you may be doing.

    also you spend more time at work, than anywhere else... why not make it a part of your life rather than just 'work'?

  9. #9
    fireflies
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    Small talk doesn't take much effort, but it does make a real difference. You never know when the relationships you have at work can make the difference between being layed off or getting your next job lead.

    For a friend of mine, not socializing meant he was the first to be downsized when business slowed down. Although he worked extremely hard, his job was a solitary one... out of sight and out of mind, so there wasn't anyone to say "Hey, we really need this guy." They just took his job and split the duties amonst his co-workers.

    My friend still doesn't like socializing, but he makes the effort now, because he knows that it's easier to make small talk than it is to try to talk his way into a new job at another company.

    Think of networking as a form of job insurance.... You hope you never need it, but if you do, you'll be prepared.

  10. #10
    Abbygail
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    I think it depends on where you work... At my former job, I was very quiet and in the end it caused a lot of people to dislike me. Eventually I got fired over a misunderstanding with one of the managers (I told her I needed a day off and she forgot to tell the appropriate person... then wouldn't own up to it when I got fired for it). Now, had I actually spoken to this person/she'd gotten to know me, most likely that wouldn't have happened. It pays off to have friends in the long run, imo.

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