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?