I am an introvert.
I am perfectly happy alone.
I need to be alone to recharge and find peace.
I spend most everyday surrounded by people.
I work in an office with 800 other people.
So many people.
All the people.
I am good at my job. Really good at my job.At all my reviews, the only constructive criticism my supervisor had was that I could to work on on interpersonal skills. She knows I stage manage, she even has a pretty good idea of what that job entails. Over the last year she's figured out that I am capable of being not-quiet and introverted.
Recently, I was given the opportunity to assist in training new hires to my department. My supervisor and I were talking about what I'd be doing as the "Subject Matter Expert" for the training and she made a point to let me know that it would be best if I could pretend be friendly and personable. We laughed about it.
I understood immediately.
I needed to be “stage manager Kristin.”
So I was.
For that week I was friendly, outgoing, personable and approachable. So much so that my co-workers wondered what had happened to me.
It was very tiring. It isn’t hard to be “stage-manager Kristin", I've been doing it for years. But it is very tiring. There's a lot of effort that goes into being "stage-manager Kristin".
As soon as that training ended, I began training for a new position and spent the next four weeks in training.
I talked with the trainer a couple of times about careers and what-not; not surprisingly, he commented that I was very quiet and that it would behoove me to be more approachable and friendly.
So I was.
I flipped a switch and became “stage-manager Kristin."
I love surprising people with the drastic change in personality. It's always such a surprise. It isn’t my natural state of being, but I can do it.
I found that I like how people at the office respond to “stage-manager Kristin."
So, I've decided to be that Kristin at the office.
Stage manager Kristin is a persona that I have to wear over my natural introverted self. It isn’t an easy thing to do. Stage-manager Kristin doesn’t get to hide in the back corner.
She’s generally noticed and remembered.
I dislike being noticed.
I hate drawing attention to myself.
But I can make it easier.
There are things I can do to be more comfortable in an uncomfortable situation.
For years I’ve tried to add color to my wardrobe. I naturally gravitate towards colors (black) that don’t draw attention to myself. I’ve tried to push my comfort zone out to be okay with wearing colors that aren’t black or grey.
Don’t like doing it, not gonna.
At work I’m pushing my comfort zone so much in order to maintain the “stage-manager” Kristin, I don’t need to push anywhere else.
I don’t need to become the complete opposite of myself to get to where I want to be at the office.
So I’m going to be as much of myself as I can.
In dress blacks.
With pink hair and sparkles.
Pretending to be confident even when I don’t know what the hell I’m doing.
Approachable and friendly.
Standing in first position.
Ready to take over the world.
Because that is Stage Manager Kristin.