I’m very conscious of my Myers Briggs type (ISFJ) and my preference for introversion. This isn’t shyness or quietness, it relates to how you get your energy. Some people are energised by others, loving a crowd of people (extroverts) whilst some prefer a bit of solitude and find it easier to think and get energy internally.
I’ve always been aware of this from an early age. At school I preferred to work alone. I can happily work with others and consider myself a good team member but ultimately I feel I work best when left to my own devices. Interestingly my five-year-old appears to be heading in the same direction with very familiar feedback from her teacher.
The fellowship has taught me that there is nothing ‘wrong’ about my personality type. I simply have strengths and preferences that are different to others. At times I feel under pressure to ‘be’ something that I’m not. There have been times recently where the fact that I’m not talking is perceived as a lack of involvement. Its not, I just chose not to say things for the sake of saying something. Usually I’m not talking because my brain is going mad trying to make sense of the issue.
There are times when I have to work against this preference for solitude and work with big groups of people. I feel I can flex to this alternative way well but continually being put into a busy atmosphere causes me stress and I feel like I cannot achieve anything. I’m interested in the thought that introverts are overlooked for leadership roles and that they find such a role challenging. I read this post in the week and it struck a simple chord with me – I don’t have to be something I’m not.
We recently acquired a new office in my building at work. Its a small office, tucked away from the rest of the rooms we have. I’d said that I would take it as my own office with an element of guilt – was it right that I was separating myself from the rest of the team? This week I’ve come to the conclusion that yes it is. My time at work is pressured and I feel I do not have enough time in the office to do my job. The time that I am there is often a struggle to deal with other members of the team who feel that they can come and speak to me about anything at any time. I’m all for an open door policy but at times people will come to me to just recount a phonecall they had just had. No input or help is needed for that phonecall. Its not a problem that needs debriefing. Often its just an off the cuff ‘you’ll never guess what she said?’ which then drags me into a conversation that isn’t necessary and I don’t want (I’m far too sensitive and polite to say ‘stop wasting my time’) In the past I’d explained to the team that I needed set times when I was available to talk through any issues – a day and a half a week – but this has fallen by the wayside. I requested this when someone grabbed me in the carpark to tell me all about a urinalysis result from the day before and then attempted to follow me into the toilet to continue telling me about a second patient. I was put out that she hadn’t even said hello to me and I wasn’t given the chance to get in the door and take my coat off.
So, this week I’ve moved my stuff downstairs into the new little office. I am separating myself from the rest of the team but this is to increase my productivity, make the most of the limited time I have in the office and to reduce my stress levels. I am concious of the need to interact with others and will not become a hermit in there but just the thought of a space to escape to is calming me already.