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Posts Tagged ‘Personality’

This time it’s personal

I am not a prolific blogger; any visitors to my website will have spotted this. In today’s world of sharing, liking and tweeting this may seem a little odd. But here are my reasons:

  1. I am a perfectionist. As someone whose career is anchored fundamentally in the use of words, I feel I have to hone my every utterance to be a shining example of language at the peak of its utility and beauty before I can release it to the masses. Naturally this never happens, if only because priority has to be given to paid work rather than my own whimsical meanderings. Like Joseph Grand in Camus’ La Peste, when it comes to the creative expression of my own thoughts, I can never stop editing. Perfection getting in the way of function yet again.
  2. I am an introvert. I’ve blogged before about this contrary aspect of my nature, and there is simply no getting away from the fact that, at heart, I simply don’t have an urge to share my innermost thoughts with the world. It’s generally enough that they’re there in my head. Any thoughts that need to be acted upon just get acted upon: I don’t feel the need to have a preamble about what I’m thinking about what I’m planning to get round to doing when I can finally drag myself away from blogging about… oh, wait, the moment has passed. You see?

However, one thing I have found in my first few months as an active freelancer is that I am absolutely rubbish at knowing how to relax and spend my ‘down time’. I used to come home from work, have a glass of wine (or two), cook dinner, watch TV and go to bed. Now I have (slightly) more choice as to when exactly I start/stop work and when I fit in relaxation/domestic chores. I enjoy swimming, going out for walks and running a nice hot bath, but often to enjoy these things fully I need more time than is available to me. I wish I could sit still for half an hour and just chill out, but I seem to be incapable of doing this. So I need to start making some more practical use of my time, something that engages my brain, keeps it busy and stops it wandering off on pathways that simply aren’t helpful. (My inner landscape is a thing of wonder and not a little wilderness. Imagine the blasted heath of Macbeth‘s witches, complete with storms, weirdness and full-on Shakespearian poetry, and mix it up with a substantial dose of Doctor Who navigating the perils of the space-time continuum in a dilapidated Tardis, and you come somewhere close to beginning to understand what it’s like inside my head.)

So I’ve decide to make a conscious effort to to start blogging more, if only to try to cling on to some semblance of what others perceive as reality. It’s quite nerve-racking for me, as one of my biggest fears is that potential clients could read what I have to say and not like it – and that this will impact on the work I get offered. But one of the main reasons I went freelance was to enjoy the, er, freedom that comes from being outside a company-bound environment – and if my thoughts provoke disagreement or disapproval, then I hope I can at least engage in a discussion as to why.

This, then, is my inaugural ‘kick-starting the blog’ post. Read it and digest, or weep. You’re more than welcome to comment below, but please be advised that I haven’t really got the hang of this yet, so if I am a little tardy in responding to any comments, it is nothing personal. I’m just otherwise engaged somewhere in my inner wilderness – quite possibly without a map – and will be with you just as soon as I can reprogramme the teleporter to whisk myself away from those pesky Daleks…

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Dear librarians, it has been five+ months since my last blog post.

I do feel that this is something of a ‘confession’, given that librarians are all about sharing information. And what’s the point of a blog if you don’t use it? But, you see, I’m in a bit of a dilemma. I’m an introvert. And there’s nothing an introvert hates more than randomly sharing personal thoughts and feelings with others. I mean, why would you want to do that????

And yet, and yet… Here I am in a profession that defines itself by its natural inclination to SHARE and CONNECT. It’s a bit of a mis-match, don’t you think? Well, here’s my take on why I’m drawn to what I do, despite my own persona.

As an introvert I get drained by too much interaction with others. That’s not to say that I don’t enjoy it; I really do love socialising with people I know well, who are close to me, and with whom I can just be myself. It’s just that it takes me a lot longer to recover from these interactions than people who are more extrovert. Extroverts gain energy from socialising, introverts’ energy is depleted.

So why would I choose a profession that requires me to interact with people? Here’s what I think.

I find the world hugely interesting and, despite being introverted, have no desire to go off and be a hermit in the woods. I love being able to observe what others do, enjoy the results of their creativity, and become informed by their discussions on life. I therefore recognise that I need to exist in the world of others and, to do that, I have to accept that a certain amount of interaction with others is required; it’s part of the deal, as it were.

There are different ways in which we can interact with others. There is the positive, and there is the negative. And this is key.

‘Positive’ includes the abovementioned socialising with friends, chatting, sharing food & wine, chilling in each others’ company, knowing you’re among people who understand you and love you for who you are. Or it’s about working with a bunch of people with shared objectives and mutual respect, who support and encourage each other to be the best they can be. It’s about things working, people helping other, and life going according to plan.

‘Negative’ includes complaining about things, griping about how unfair life is, and grumbling at things that should work but don’t. How many of the negative experiences you have in a day come about because of something that doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to? The call centre that puts you on hold for half an hour before telling you there are no operators free to take your call? The shop that declines to honour your discount voucher because you didn’t read the small print that tells you it ran out last week? The library that fines you for an overdue book because its system was down when you tried to renew online? AARGHHH!

Introverts avoid interactions with others, but if we have to have them, we’d prefer them to be positive because it is SO MUCH EASIER AND LESS STRESSFUL. And so I think the reason I’m drawn to librarianship (and associated branches of the information professions) is because it is all about helping people, breaking down barriers, fixing problems, and facilitating all the processes that make life run more smoothly. When did you ever hear someone complain that they’d been given all the information they needed to make an educated decision? Or grumble about being introduced to the wonders of literature? Or snipe at being pointed in the right direction for claiming their benefits?

So that’s why I do what I do. I engage in interactions with people, even though it takes a huge amount of energy on my part, because I hope that the end result will be an easier life for us all – and fewer people coming to me to grumble about things.

Any other introverts recognise this? Or am I alone in my interpretation? Perhaps I should go off to be a hermit in the woods after all… Oh, but where would I go to find out about such opportunities?

Guess…

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