Thursday, 12 February 2015

Thoughts on "The Introvert's Way" [Book Review]

One doesn't have to know me well to realize, that I am an introvert at heart.
I do not reject other people in general, but I prefer a small circle of very good friends, rather than expanding my social network day by day. As a matter of fact, social occasions are always a bit stressful for me (but I can still enjoy them). Instead, I love to stay at home with my books, my computer and my TV.

My family and friends accept this part of me, but I am convinced, that there are many people who are a bit mistaken when it comes to the concept of "introversion vs. extroversion".

This is why I was so interested in this book:
"The Introvert's Way - Living a quiet Life in a noisy World" by Sophia Dembling.

I did not expect world-changing revelations about introversion. It is not a book which will tell you how to cope with your introversion - mainly because there is no necessity to cope with it in the first place. It is not a lifestyle-guide or a self-help book, but it will enlighten you about some interesting facts and misconceptions about introversion (and extroversion).
I found myself giggling and nodding quite a lot, because so many anecdotes spoke to me and described situations I find myself in quite frequently. I almost forgot why I had bought this book in the first place:

 I was looking for solutions on how to deal with my introversion and my life.

From the very beginning Dembling clarifies, that introversion and shyness are not the same thing. While the author herself is an introvert, who needs a lot of time alone to recharge, it is no problem for her to keep conversations going and put on her "dog and pony show". She is not shy by any means. It is simply a question of actually wanting to actively contribute to a conversation for example, or to just sit back and observe.
I, on the other hand, am both: an introvert and shy. A sometimes difficult combination.
I was aware of the fact, that introversion is not just a synonym for shyness, but I always had the image of those two being very closely tied to each other. 

Dembling does not go into detail very much about shyness. She does not present world shaking scientific insights. She doesn't give us a list of things we need to survive, but there is one important thing about her book:
She puts into words, what some of us might only think and are not even able to articulate. She gives us a voice. Also, Dembling refers to a lot of experiences form her own life, thus being very relateable. She  confronts us with the strengths and weaknesses that derive from introversion.

Introversion is not the absence or lack of extroversion. 
And the first one is not better than the second one and vice versa.

If you are looking for a book with a scientific approach on this topic, or a self-help kind of book, "The Introvert's Way" won't be for you, but personally, I found it very interesting and even encouraging.

Would you consider yourself as an extrovert or an introvert?

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Why I find Job Hunting SO hard

For the past two years, I have worked at my university's student office. It was an amazing time with a lot of great coworkers. It taught me how insane (and stupid) university students can be and what it means to accept responsibility.
I am always a little bit ashamed to admit, that this was my first job, because so many people start to work at a rather young age and are far more experienced once they reach the "wise" age of 23, but I am glad that I got the chance to work there anyway.

However, I am now faced with the difficulty of finding a new job. I have already sent out a couple of applications and to my surprise, there I will have two job interviews within the next two weeks. To me, this is very exciting, because I don't know what to expect.

Namely: what my potential new employer expects from me

Applications and job interviews  are always problematic for me, because their purpose is to create the best  image of yourself, in order to make yourself look as attractive as possible for a certain position.
This will most likely result in putting a strong emphasis on your strengths and elaborately talking about how perfect you are for the job (and who on this planet is ever perfect?). There will be some serious whitewashing - no explicit lies - because you do not want to end up admitting all of our little weaknesses.
They are not lies, but I am always afraid, that people will be disappointed, once they really get to know me.

What if I'm too slow?
What if I'm not creative or independend enough?
What if I turn out to be too forgetful?

There are many worries, many fears spinning through my head at the moment.
The thing is, that is SO hard for me to present myself in front of others, especially when it is face to face.

When I write a letter of application, I have enough time to think about things:
How I want to express myself and what might be important to mention.
In short: I can think things through very thoroughly.

During the interview, on the other hand, everything has to be spontaneous (my least favourite word).
You have to work with impulses at short notice and react appropriately to your conversation partner.

But as worried, as I might be, I am also excited, because it can be the start of something new and amazing. Maybe I find new friends or discover new abilities.

Whatever job I end up with, these phases of insecurity are also a good way to get back in touch with myself, what I want and how I want others to see me.
An experience which can be even more important than the application itself. 

What are your experiences with job hunting?