do not be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make, the better

A week now since my annual review at work. I've talked it over with a few people (outside the organization, of course) and have come to the conclusion that, despite the presentation, I'm not really all that bad. The salient points:
  • I'm a bad teammate
  • I do not follow the chain of command; I "do not respect [my direct lead] as a supervisor"
  • I am perceived by my coworkers as unapproachable
  • I am perceived to 'talk down' to my coworkers
  • I have not learned all aspects of my role
While I can certainly appreciate the theoretical value of each of these goals, I don't see them as ends in themselves. Nor do I believe that I fail to live up to the spirit of the enterprise.

I think that what all this means is that I am independent, and do not wait for someone to tell me what needs to be done before I do it. The respect bit goes without saying; respect is earned. When I considered who among my direct coworkers (the 3 in my "team"? The 17 in my "group"? the 20-some in my "section"? the 80-ish in the building?) might consider me unapproachable, or that I talk down to--I could identify three for whom it would arguably be true. One is the lynchpin of the mean-girls, the person who I think holds the key to all the evil in the building. When she is absent, the air becomes visibly cleaner. I don't trust her, don't like her, and can't look her in the eye for fear I'll be tainted. So, yes: I try very hard to be unapproachable! And the other two are, frankly, my supervisor and her boss. She's a rabid bitch on wheels and he's a wet, moldy sock. If I've yet to learn all aspects of my role, it is solely because my lead has refused to surrender several day-to-day duties to any of the team, in favor of something that goes well beyond micro-management, to the point of blatant inefficiency and resource wasting.

Yes, I realize that I have to suck it up if I'm going to get along in that environment. If I can't change my attitude, my behavior will need to be better - or there won't be any opportunity to persist. I'm struggling to reform, and it's not turning out to be the worst thing in the world. I've faked my way through worse things.

As a treat, I came home and took an IQ test from Psymed.info. Although it blew me away (way too much math for an evening after work, seriously) I didn't do as poorly as I'd feared.

Less than 10% of the population, according to the website, hits this mark.

The site also offers something called the Introvert Test. Interestingly, I scored only 38.

That result fit well with the way I perceive myself, and has me thinking about a couple of conversations I've had recently.

Some of my friends--a few of them--have expressed concern that I am "too introverted." That my tendency toward solitude is negative, or dangerous. Definitely unwelcome. This concern makes itself known to me through a sort of drive-by mental health status check, some sort of apparently randomly generated poke (whether literal or metaphorical) to determine that I'm still...all right, whatever they think that means.

It's well-meaning and loving and friendly. But also condescending, and bewildering.

Yep, I'm an introvert. That's for sure. And I'm also grieving, on a couple of levels. But I'm not depressed. (Yes, I've had that discussion with a professional. No, it's not your business.) To be clear: introversion is not depression. The two are completely separate phenomena. It would be like saying that every extrovert is by nature happy--and I'm sure that the falseness of that statement is obvious. It also completely discounts what my friends actually know about me, which is that I'm not antisocial, nor plagued by social anxiety, nor truly shy. I simply tend to be overwhelmed by too much noise and people at once, and to be truly worn out by extended social interaction. In between, though: if I wasn't capable of being social, how would we have become friends in the first place?

So, these little jabs of "hey, what's wrong with you?" when nothing's really wrong with me? Where I feel like I need to come up with a justification for having been myself, for having lived (what is, to me) my normal life, for behaving and being the way that I am? That's not making things better for me, really. And the "why haven't we gotten together lately?" question, when I know damned well that you haven't tried to get together with me? If I'm not hiding in my cave and refusing your calls, then don't use that as your excuse for not having called, either. Stuff happens, people are busy, life is hard, blah blah blah. But that's just hurtful.

If it's not something you'd do to/for a friend who's not an introvert, then don't do it for me. Please.

While I was reading in prep for this post, I found an article titled (annoyingly, but there's modern "journalism" for you) "So Apparently There Are 4 Kinds of Introversion," about the subtypes of introversion. (See my results, below.) I am the Thinking/Social type, which means that my introversion manifests in Social ways (I talk to a few friends at the edge a party, not to everyone from atop the coffee table) and Thinking ways (the stuff that goes on in my mind contributes to my self-perception as an introvert, more than anything). I am less Restrained (slow moving/thinking) and least Anxious (concerned about others' thoughts/feelings).

(Other relevant articles for tonight's topic:
Why Being an Introvert is Actually the Biggest Blessing
Revenge of the Introvert
and especially Caring for Your Introvert)

This may be overly angry and unfocused, and maybe should have been a draft rather than the published version. But I'm feeling a little hot on the subject, and pinched between the truly well-meaning extremes of "be good to yourself" and "why don't you just lighten up?!"

This may be about as light as it gets, eh?

[the title quotation is by Ralph Waldo Emerson]


  1. Nothing instills anxiety in me like the word "review"... likely due to a job where review time was open season for being shit on by a bitch boss that actually had very little interaction with me.

    My point is sometimes it's just that your boss is an idiot. Actually, that's usually the case.

    1. I tend to concur with Cindy--the boss is usually an idiot. At least lately, and at least in my experience in my career. I had a brief time with a non-idiot boss which makes all the others even more painful.

      You are fine. I don't so much "worry" about you when you go into hibernation/deep-thinking mode as I hope you return to sociability before I forget all the things I need to tell you. Which I never do of course...lol

      I loves ya Gerby just the way you are.

    2. Thanks, both of you. Keeping the idiot-boss in perspective is helping, as is having friends like you'all!

  2. This is a reasonable vent, no apology is ever necessary for that. I would say calling someone "too introverted" is a bit like telling me I'm "too tall." It may be true but it's not really something I'm going to try and change. You shouldn't either.

    1. An excellent analogy; thank you. For this and for everything.