This is so much on my mind right now. As some know, I was laid off from my job back in March. I took it pretty well, this being the third time now I’ve been through this. I knew the struggle to find a new job awaited me, but deep down inside somewhere I welcomed being freed from the tyranny of Corporate America.
Don’t get me wrong. I enjoyed my job, my co-workers, and my boss. The environment was pleasant enough, the pay, while not great, was sufficient. And in 2 1/2 years there I never once dreaded going in in the morning. I never had those Sundays that were ruined by the thought of the inevitable arrival of Monday. The only thing that got me down about this lay-off was the idea that I would not end up in such a good atmosphere again. It was pure luck to land in that situation and I know it and am grateful. I’ve been in the other place so I really do know how fortunate I was this time. Despite all that, as an introvert, the idea of having to deal with people all day long exhausts me. But society has no use for introverts.
As fate would have it, I came down with a nasty flu the week following the lay-off. It was that lingering flu that seemed to hang on for a month when anyone caught it. The first week I was just flat on my back in bed, hardly even ate. So I had that excuse for not beginning the job search right away. I thought at the time that if I’d still been employed they would have had to put me on short-term disability. I got a little severance from the job to tide me over so I had some time to pull myself together, though not as much as I would have liked.
Now I am on the dole, drawing unemployment (received first check yesterday, May 18). The longer I’m away from Corporate America, the happier I am. As much as I’m a creature of habit, I. Am. Tired. Of. It.
I am, however, dutifully applying to jobs as required by the Employment Dept., but I admit I have no enthusiasm for it. I don’t know how anyone can have enthusiasm for some of these awful jobs. I don’t want to spend my days creating Powerpoint presentations for a marketing department because I really don’t care what they’re selling. I don’t want to answer phones and listen to angry customers. I don’t want to sort and distribute mail. I don’t want to take meeting minutes. So much of what people do is useless drudgery. And yet, we must eat so off we go.
I am tired of trying to pretend I fit in with corporate culture. I’ve never managed to pick up the corporate jargon that comes so easily to others (“ask” as a noun, for instance). I put on my happy face in the office, when really all I wanted was to be home writing. I despise the conformist attire as much as the attitude. If I showed up in the office dressed like Stevie Nicks circa 1978 with my Tarot cards and crystals, I’m pretty sure they’d have a problem. Conform conform conform. I used to risk wearing my pentacle or goddess pendant in the office because I figured most of them would never know what either one was.
Am I old enough to be a crazy old lady now? Probably not quite. But I may yet decide to run around dressed like Stevie Nicks anyway. This is Portland, after all.
5 thoughts on “Non-conformist Introvert”
” Despite all that, as an introvert, the idea of having to deal with people all day long exhausts me. But society has no use for introverts. ”
~this hits me, I felt the same way as you did. It so hard to cope the stress of dealing of people all day long, sad to say, we can’t avoid that because our society demands ‘socializing’. And as an introvert, it is very stressful. 😦
Also, I think it’s not true that society has no use for introverts like us (Have some time to read Susan Cain’s – Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking) . We had use in this society and there are a lot of successful people who are introverts. 🙂
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Thanks! I’ll look for that book.
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Wow, D.D. this post is so spot-on for me and a good number of people in our age bracket. I think, in large part, we are old enough to realize that the carrot corporate American was dangling as our incentive was a crude ruse to keep us productive workers showing up each day. The happy accidents of workplace camaraderie were lucky perks, but they were few and far between for me. Now that we’re experienced enough to see through the B.S. it’s a lot harder to buy in. Lately I’ve been laughing at how I started my career in an industry that was just beginning its collapse in the 80’s, but those lay-offs forced me to be more flexible and creative. And, like you, gave me some breathing room that I never would have been brave enough to just take for myself. Keep on with your Stevie Nicks-inspired, tarot card flipping, crystal carrying ways — just keep on writing, too.
We all drank the Kool-Aid when we were young and idealistic. These days I can’t muster any enthusiasm for the job search, or the jobs I find listed. Employers still expect people to somehow be “excited” and “enthusiastic” to get these wretched jobs, while it’s hard to have any interest when you know the minute it becomes financially expedient for them, they will let you go. I have no energy left to become a piece of future corporate refuse.
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Like Rosie, I find that what you wrote here is spot-on. Hope you are wearing your Stevie Nicks outfits and pentacles freely, and enjoying the time you have to be creative between the required bouts of filling out job applications.
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