I’m a Loud Voice Doing Loud Things

IMG_20140313_181717Why must society value extroverts so much? Just wanted to muse on that for a moment.

I was thinking back this morning on pretty much every job interview I’ve ever had. All of them went something like this:

Potential Employer (hereafter referred to as PE): “So would you say you’re a people person?”

Me: “Oh absolutely! I love meeting new people.”

PE: “Do loud and obnoxious people make you uncomfortable?”

Me: “No, never! I find it easy to get along with all types of people.”

PE: “So what did you study in college?”

Me: “Philosophy and World Religions.”

PE: (dead silence, skips to next question) “Would you call yourself a leader?”

Me: “I’d say so. I consider myself a capable and compassionate team builder.”

– Two weeks later –

PE: “I’m sorry, but we’ve decided to go with someone more assertive.”

Now allow me to point out that many of these interviews were for stock room or warehouse personnel. Yep, Corporate America even wants extroverts sweeping their floors and unloading their trucks. Allow me to also point out that many of my answers were gross exaggerations of my actual social abilities. I do love people. I am, however, not particularly good at talking to people. At least, not inherently. It took me decades to even get to the point where I could string together a complete sentence when talking to a stranger. What you see and hear of “Rob White” today is about 10% social skill and 90% shoving words from my mouth out of sheer terror and hoping they make sense.

Okay, so that’s an exaggeration, too, but you get what I’m saying. I learned quickly that if I wanted a job that wasn’t from a relative – or hell, even one that was – I had to pretend to be something I’m not; that is: an extrovert.

Society wants loud people! Society wants opinions! Society wants confidence! Society wants you to live an EXTREME lifestyle and do EXTREME things and buy lots and lots and lots of Mountain Dew. Society wants you to believe something very strongly about politics and religion and shout those opinions evvvvvvvvvvvvvvverywhere. If you don’t…you’re just a little person, and who listens to them?

Well, fuck society. There, I said it.

I’m about damn ready to close my copy of Skyrim, sew an introvert flag made from footie pajamas, harness about a hundred house cats to pull my reclining chariot and lay siege to the halls of TMZ and Fox News and whatever board room The Man happens to be holed up in and say, “Look dude! Quiet people matter, too.”

Afterwards I’ll need about a week of me-time to recover, but it’ll be worth it. Who’s with me?

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Fake It ‘Till You Make It

1454617_10151860216158878_903010667_nIntroverted and not sure how to promote yourself as an artist? You’re in good company. Here’s an excerpt from a guest post I just did on fantasy author Jennifer Innes’s blog Fantasy Writers Unite. Follow the link below it to see the rest!

I’m an introvert. If you’re a writer – or any kind of artist, really – I bet you dollars to donuts you’re an introvert too, or at least have some ingrained introvert tendencies. Can’t speak for everyone but growing up I found my mental and creative stimulation through fantasy rather than through social interaction. I was the kid swinging the wooden sword in the woods at invisible goblins. I was the kid drawing monsters in the back of class instead of passing notes to cute girls. I was also the kid who had more than one epic fantasy tale mapped out in my brain before the age of 18. As an adult who allowed himself to believe that he could be a “real writer” (I’m one of those guys who says that being a real writer is about intention rather than measurable results) I finally began to share those fantasies with the world. If another lonely kid can gain the same thrill from my stories as I gained from Tolkien or Stephen King or Final Fantasy then I’d say all these hours in front of a keyboard or notepad covered in chicken scratch have been worth it.
 
Buuuut – and it’s a big but and I cannot lie – being a writer who releases his/her work to the public means that an introvert suddenly has to develop skills usually associated with that mysterious and alien race known as extroverts. We have to smile and greet passersby in hopes that they’ll buy our book (and therefore buy us lunch). We have to say hey, hi and how are you to dozens of names and faces online and in bookstores in hopes that they’ll carry or review our book. And if we’re really bold and really lucky – or persistent – we’ll get to sit at a table in front of a microphone and tell prospective authors about our experiences and how to get ahead in the business.

 

Read the rest and check out Jennifer’s work at http://fanwritunit.blogspot.com/