Personality expectations

Is it normal for first-year analysts to be a bit shy? I don't think I'm a shy person - I think I'm in the middle - but sometimes I get socially overwhelmed at work because I'm at a small shop with a culture of everyone being close. I got here just over six months ago and have been encouraged to "break out of my shell". I've certainly been trying to speak up more, but I also feel like if I were at a bigger shop then I'd be in a position to organically form relationships rather than be forced into them from the start. I definitely started off being on the quiet side but isn't that somewhat normal?  

One thing I think I should definitely be better at is generating better conversation with my boss during work meetings. I think more often than not we have a lot to say, but sometimes when my boss is going through something with me and I don't have questions, I find it hard to generate a long response to keep the conversation interesting. I think this irks him. 

I don't really think I'm a good culture fit here. I think that makes it a bit difficult to connect with some of the people in the firm, especially my boss of all people, unfortunately. While there are some people I have great conversations with, I'm concerned with how my "quietness", especially with my boss, will affect my progression at the firm and my reviews. 

Has anyone been in the same boat? Has it gotten better when moving to another firm? Any thoughts or advice is very much appreciated. Being in the office has started making me feel depressed.  

Comments (6)

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redever, what's your opinion? Comment below:
Analyst 1 in RE - Comm

Is it normal for first-year analysts to be a bit shy?

I would say generically, yes, to the question above. You are new, likely younger, less sure of yourself, and in a new environment... being shy at first seems rational to be honest. Some say this is partly "generational" as younger generations are more used to online/texting type communications at so good at face-to-face. Personally, I don't know how true this actually is, BUT many "seniors" have come to believe this (so can be a factor regardless). 

In your situation and others who started about 6 months ago, you (in theory) spent last year and a half in covid world of isolation and bullshit. I can't imagine this helps with anyone's "outgoingness". So, possibly you are in a worse off situation by the nature of the world (again, not personally sure I buy this... BUT some are thinking it for sure). 

Either way, long-term career success in this industry is absolutely helped by being "outgoing".. it will lead to more promotions, better performance reviews, and other positive job results (including friends at work). But, don't worry if you get there overnight, I think this is normal part of first year (even in pre-covid world) transitions. 

Will be better a different firm? Is this a cultural misfit? Honestly, no way to know from here. If you have any mentors (maybe classmates or even old professors) who know you and kinda know the firm, they can give you some better insights. Overall, real estate is a very "outgoing" style of industry, like relative to other major fields of corporate America. So, personally, I wouldn't bet on it being that different at other places (but again, not enough info to really judge). Being at a "bigger" firm really won't make hiding from this easier, as you still have the same size group to interact with on average. 

What should you do? First, just relax, you are probably making a bigger deal of this than needed. Second, spend time just talking to the boss. I wonder if you are afraid of "bothering" people, because they "look busy"... don't, just go in and talk. Ask your boss to chat at lunch, be proactive, may be scary at first, but will prob be easy once it happens. At that point, you are home free. You could also do things like joining a local Toastmasters group (I did this in early 20s post UG, and I seriously credit it as part of my career trajectory success), or find similar ventures to practice "talking more" (leadership/volunteer at real estate or school alum orgs is also good!). Bottom line, don't hide from this, run head first at it! May be painful now, but really really worth it long term! 

CREnadian, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Agreed with above, its very normal and probably to your benefit. Nothing worse than a fresh analyst who tries to start talking about things they don't understand. Better to ask good questions and absorb.

To add to that you don't need to be as outgoing as your broker (unless you are a broker), you just need to be able to be yourself, make small talk from time to time, and get confident voicing your opinion. If you're good at your job, nobody cares if you're the life of the party.

  • VP in RE - Comm

There is a very big extroverted broker culture in this industry, even at the very institutional high finance shops. It is something you should consider if you are trying to build an investment career and picking the RE industry. It is something I wish I knew earlier, though I've gotten by just fine not being the most extroverted person.

Justman, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I was exactly in the same shoe as you when I first started working for a smaller firm. I was the only analyst working with the Director and the CEO. It's hard, and believe me, I wanted to be "less shy" but I just don't know what to say. For me, it was intimidating because I was talking directly with the CEO on most deals. During a quarterly review, my CEO wanted me to speak out more and I know I can't be hiding in my shell so slowly in meetings, I started asking a question or two and slowly once I break out of that comfort zone I just began to talk more. One of their biggest concern for you, is that you're not engaging yourself and learning. Therefore, small steps, no need to be giving speeches, just ask questions small or big. 

  • Manager in RE - Comm

I think its normal to be a bit quiet in your first year. Ask questions, no question is stupid. Don't be too intimidated by anyone. Everyone knows its your first year, so you're learning a lot and going to have questions. I hate to say this but try to make small talk with your boss, like "how was your weekend?" "did you catch such and such game on tv?" try to keep it conversational without too much thought.

odog808, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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