I’m an introvert. Not that I hate people, I just tend towards my own company. That being said, I also like people, just after being around them too long, or if I’m in a group of extroverts for a prolonged period of time, I burn out and need to take time for myself to recharge and build up again.
The last couple of jobs I’ve had I’ve been in the middle of what may be considered an idealized version of extrovert heaven. In fact since I moved to Calgary I’ve been working in those types of environments, and then when I leave, I feel broken bullied, had my confidence and self worth shattered, and have been left picking up the pieces of my shattered mind.
For the longest time, I would pass the blame on the people I was working with because they were singling me out and pointing out how weird I was for being me, and now with this last job got removed because I really didn’t fit in with the culture.
Today, I came to the realization that yes, I’m different, I’m an eccentric and that’s OKAY. The previous people I worked with were conformists and extroverts and that’s okay too. What isn’t okay, is me doing the same thing again. So I re-wrote my cover letter and instead of telling employers that I’m a team player, I’m now going to tell employers that I work well in a team, but excel by working independently, all of the attributes and skills I am advertising are more geared to who I am, as opposed to what I will do, but barely tolerate in order to land me the next job.
I feel a bit dumb not doing it sooner, but my confidence was so muted and my ability to laterally think compromised, because I had created an endless crappy cycle for myself. Today, things change, and I will find a career and work environment I will fit into because I’m consciously asking for it, and not for a job that doesn’t fit my needs. It may give me less replies, but the replies I get will be better suited to my work and communication styles.
Getting a job that allows me to work independently will directly affect my social life as well, as I will have more energy and be a happier person when I get off work and instead of needing a whole night to regenerate and get over a long arduous day of dealing with extroverts, and non stop stimulation, I’ll need an hour to chill and reflect and then go and have healthy social interactions with the people I care about and want to be around.
That, I think, has been the most difficult part of trying to be something I’m not. I feel so burned out and miserable and have have the creativity and spark that I carry completely drained and or shut down due to my jobs. When I was still working at previous jobs…my soul had been crushed so badly and they had put so much on my plate I actually started losing it, and unfortunately took it out on the wrong people. I don’t think that those friendships will ever be fixed because of that, and for that I’m going to be forever sorry.
I want to be me again, regardless of what the extroverted and conformist world wants. I know in my heart that there is a place for me to flourish and become the most I can be.