I get out of the elevator and animatedly wave to the building staff at the front desk wishing them a great day ahead and, if time permits, sharing a New York anecdote as I am the New York girl in the building. I then get into the Uber car and I inquire as to how the driver is doing and I proceed to engage in a long engaged conversation that lasts the full 20 minute car ride. Often, I laugh pretty hard at the shared Uber stories (a post for another time).
I arrive at my job location, wave goodbye to the Uber driver and hop on in to work. I wish everyone, one by one, a great morning. At times, I stop for more in depth conversations about totally random tidbits. Eventually I make it to my office, drop my handbag and head out to the back of the office to say “hi” to everyone else. At some point, I make it back to my office where I proceed to answer my emails in extremely polite and “sandwiched” critiques and feedback. I then have meeting upon meeting where I dig into protocols, systems, HR issues and assorted big boss problems. At 4:40pm the other Friday, a team member cane to me hyperventilating because she felt she had no one to turn to. I listened, placed a hand on her shoulder and smiled. That meeting I just described is typical of what I encounter each day at work. I smile, I joke and I sympathetically nod. I step out of my office and go to peoples cubicles to chat. Then at some point I go home, wave hello and stop to talk to people in the lobby.
In a way, that daylong series of interactions remind me of the Truman Show movie where Truman (played by Jim Carey) walks out each morning and says to his (fake) neighbors “Good morning, and in case I don’t see ya: Good afternoon, good evening, and good night!” At times I feel like I have created my own unreal reality show that I get to participate in each day.
Once I get to my apartment, I get dressed and go to work out. I avoid everyone in that routine. I barely say hello to anyone in the gym. I prefer to just keep to myself. I blast my music and run, run, run. I do not like talking to people while I work out. I believe many others would note that they feel the same. In that aspect I am fairly normal. Here is the thing. My not wanting to talk to anyone at the gym is how I actually feel most of the day. I am an introvert. I am an introverted extrovert. Or put another way, I am an outgoing introvert. Doesn’t sound right? Honestly, not everyone falls into a neat box of pure extrovert and pure introvert.
I grew up performing yet I was shy. I hate large group gatherings. I far prefer small group home affairs to 20 people restaurant outings. How can you even hear anyone in such a situation and what happens when you are seated to a non-conversationalist. Maybe I am not an introvert but am instead a curmudgeon. That could be. I do know I am a bit shy. My outgoing persona at work and as a leader, is just that: a persona. I see these interactions as a role I am acting out. My mother trained me to be a performer. My role is that of outgoing, vibrant, energized, dynamic leader. And for an introvert that is a lot of hard work. By the end of the day, I want to just collapse onto my bed. Being an outgoing introvert is taxing on the mind and body. No wonder my shoulders are so tense. And I hate massages so my shoulders stay completed lopsided from the tension. This weekend, I treated myself to a day at home where I binged watched all sorts of bad television. I am ready for the week.
What is an outgoing introvert to do? I tell you what. I need a trip to tahiti where I can do nothing, see no one and just sip a cool Mai Tai, Pina Colada or ginger margarita. Time to drop the mic and go to sleep.