Shhh … Don’t tell anyone, but I’m an introvert. Sad, isn’t it? Yet, don’t introverts everywhere feel like they need to hide the fact that they are an introvert?
Years ago, I sat in a staff meeting where my director had everyone complete an MBTI. I am certified in the MBTI and wasn’t overly surprised as it can be an effective tool to help teams work cohesively. I was shocked and surprised when everyone on my team believed I was an extrovert. I was more astonished when my director fought with me about whether or not I was an extrovert.
In this crazy world, introverts have had to adapt. It is nothing more than survival of the fittest or Darwinism for the introverts. If you want to succeed at a career, you simply must be an extrovert and in order to survive, even thrive. I did exactly that for my career. The truth was ever present though. I’d go home from work exhausted. I could hardly stand to deal with some days and longed to be hiding, unnoticed, by others. (In fact, the first opportunity I got to work from home as an online faculty, I took it!)
Later in my career, I had a boss who encouraged learning about others -cultures, learning styles, historical aspects, etc. We would choose a book to read and discuss it during lunch once a month. It was one of my favorite things about my job -even if it was ‘completed’ on my time. It was also a huge CON when I thought about leaving for a new position. I hated the idea of giving up on those conversations, experiences and getting to know things that were different than me. My favorite book during those conversations was Quiet. I wanted to stand up and scream, ‘Hallelujah. Someone gets it!’
The Quiet revolution has yet to hit the general public. So, for now, I will struggle through and pretend to be the extrovert. I will continue imitating my husband, a true extrovert, and attempt to ignore the side comments about how I’m too stuck up to communicate with the lowly inhabitants of my world.
By Tracy Harrington-Atkinson
Tracy Harrington-Atkinson, mother of six, lives in the Midwest with her husband. She is a teacher, having taught elementary school to higher education, holding degrees in elementary education, a master’s in higher education and continued on to a PhD in curriculum design. She has published several titles, including Calais: The Annals of the Hidden, Lemosa: The Annals of the Hidden, Book Two, Rachel’s 8 and Securing Your Tent. She is currently working on a non-fiction text exploring the attributes of self-directed learners: The Five Characteristics of Self-directed Learners.