I have always been introverted. In the past, I was able to build my extroverted muscles so that I could flex into that mode if it was required. After working from home for the better part of a decade compounded by the effects of a pandemic, those muscles have apparently atrophied. I took a personality test for work this week and my results showed that if I were any more introverted, I would be a mollusk.
I spent the work week at the corporate office, interacting with other humans. The point of the personality test was to give us some insights into our strengths and preferred communication styles. I’ve done this at past companies as well. It’s a thing.
I was reflecting on my score and the way I seem to have settled into my introverted tendencies over the past several years. At the same time, we were making some dinner plans. My boss’s boss made arrangements to take all of the out-of-town people to dinner two of the nights, but it seemed like everyone was begging off on the second night to do their own thing. It occurred to me that dinner might be a one-on-one meal with me and my boss’s boss and that made me uncomfortable. She’s lovely, but I can’t handle being responsible for 50% of the conversation with a person I don’t know well.
It occurred to me that this was a good thing, considering my personality test. It would be a good opportunity to rebuild some of that extroverted muscle mass. It was a rare chance to build a professional relationship with the head of the department. And aren’t I supposed to be interested in networking? I feel like the internet says I should be, even if I am not clamoring for a promotion or more responsibilities. I decided that if it ended up just being the two of us, I would go. I would be open and interested in getting to know her better. I would ask about her plans for the department and how I could play a role. I would “lean in” like it was Sheryl Sandberg’s 2013 and not post-Covid’s 2023. I was going to go out and enjoy myself, even if it made me miserable.
Right about there in my thought process, my boss’s boss approached me and said, “looks like it is just you and me for dinner tonight. Should we cancel?”
“Yes,” I said reflexively without consideration, because that is what I always say if someone asks if I want to cancel.
Damn, I thought. So much for networking.
Maybe this is the real reason I don’t eat oysters. I’ve been telling myself that it’s a texture thing, but maybe I’m just too closely related to the little dudes. My introverted soul doesn’t want to consume the slimy booger fish; it just wants a shell of its own.