Traditional, old-line thinking labels employees who display independent characteristics as problematic, not team players and hard to manage. In truth, people who are self-starters, like to work alone, and who are project oriented and possess independent traits, are necessary and valuable in many jobs. You don't have to start your own business to remain an independent thinker at work. There are many in-company jobs available to you. Let's take a look at some company-based careers that are suited for independent-minded people:
Sales: The very qualities necessary to be a successful salesperson are the same qualities many independent thinkers display. Salespeople who excel are self-motivated. They avoid routine and are flexible. They enjoy autonomy and like having the authority and the discretion to make independent decisions, wheel and deal, and get results. Salespeople are goal setters par excellence and enjoy the monetary and recognition rewards their work offers them.
Scientists: Often introverted and always analytical, a good scientist loves challenges. He or she will go after a problem like a dog after a bone. Many times scientists like working alone or in small teams so they can develop theories and pursue them to the end. Scientists get great satisfaction in approaching mysteries and demystifying them.
Engineers: Self-motivated and quick learners, engineers are intuitive folks who love challenges. They are creative, good time managers, often very independent in their thinking, and they enjoy overcoming obstacles. Many engineers like working alone or in small groups as long as they have some autonomy and are recognized for their work.
Software developers: These folks combine creative thinking, intuition and technical ability to create the computer programs we all need to do our jobs. They like to make things happen, troubleshoot, overcome problems and tweak the results. Often loners, they have a strong work ethic and take great pleasure in producing the final software.
Other good jobs for independent employees are: Insurance agent, real estate agent and/or broker, auditor, business analyst, graphic artist, photographer, technical support specialist, and project manager.
Marie Stempinski is president and founder of Strategic Communication in St. Petersburg. She specializes in public relations, marketing, business trends and employee motivation consulting. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Look for her new website - howtomotivateemployees.org - to be launched soon.