On Introversion

If I had a nickel for every time I heard someone wrongly use or define the word introversion, I would have an unspecified, but large pile of change somewhere in my room.  Just as I am guilty of properly using obscure and big words properly but mispronouncing them, many people are guilty of pronouncing words right but using them improperly.  So in this brief (at least in comparison to my last two posts) I will attempt to explain introversion.

First, I would like to clarify, introversion does not mean antisocial or not liking to spend time with people and being extroverted does not mean being social and being a people-person.  Instead, Introversion and Extroversion refer to how we recharge our social energies.  Just as people have physical energy, which largely comes from eating and sleeping, people have several types of “psychic” (not the ESP kind, the Psychology kind) energies, such as spiritual, sexual, moral.  Social also happens to be one of them.  Introverts and Extroverts both have social energy (in fact many Introverts technically have more of it than extroverts) but they differ in how the refuel when exhausted.

Introverts refuel their social energy by being alone.  The ways they recharge vary greatly, ranging from reading to TV to being outside to playing a sport to even being online.  Many (if not most) introverts like being around people, and may even act “hyper-social” for short amounts of time.  However, after an extended amount of time around other people, they need to be alone or risk “shutting down” or in extended cases even depressed.

Extroverts, on the other hand, recharge their social energy by being around other people.  They still need some alone time once in a grand while, but they thrive being around other people.  If not around others for a long period of time, they will often find themselves tired.  It’s important to note that no person is 100% introverted or extroverted.  Everyone is a mix of the two, falling somewhere along the spectrum, usually further along one end.

So, what kind of introvert am I?  On literally every MBTI (Myer-Briggs) and Neris Type Explorer I’ve taken, I have the blessing and curse of being an INFJ (on a side note if you’re curious of what your personality type is you can find out here).  One of the rarest types in the world, the INFJ has the unique privilege of being a bundle of contradictions.  You see, among other things, INFJ’s are what is known as “emotionally extroverted”.  This means that while they are really good at reading other people’s emotions, like really good, they are often clueless of their own.  This is why they need to spend alone time so they can spend time “introspecting” and subconsciously analyzing their own feelings.  INFJ’s often seem to be extroverts until they “shut-down”.  They are arguably one of the most introverted types out there, despite how much of people persons they are.  So why go into this detail about myself, in spite of the fact I dislike talking about myself?  To prove a point.  There are different types of introverts, and we become emotionally drained for different reasons.  Introversion isn’t just about emotions though.

Because of the “common-knowledge” belief that introverts are anti-social, there hasn’t been as much research into them as extroverts. However, in recent years it’s become apparent that there’s a disparity between how Psychologists and some introverts describe introversion.  Not all introverts are emotionally introverted.  Jonathan Cheek, a researcher at Wellesley College has in fact observed 4 types of introverts: Social, Thinking, Anxious, and Reserved.  As we learn more and more about introverts, it becomes more and more clear we only understand the tip of the iceberg.

So what’s the takeaway from this?  What introversion actually means.  Yes, introverts need more alone time than extroverts, and yes, some are anti-social (just as some extroverts are anti-social) but that doesn’t mean that introversion and being anti-social are mutually exclusive.  That’s it for now, enjoy the rest of your day.  Or don’t.  Your choice.

 

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That Awkward Moment When Someone Asks You What You Want to Be When You Grow up and Your Answer Is, “a Librarian”

Like many people, I possess to some extent career aspirations.  As attractive as living in your parent’s basement is to some, I’ve never really understood the appeal of it.  It also helps that my parents don’t have a basement.

Over the years my exact goals have changed at bit (sometimes quite a lot), or as I would say “grown more refined”.  They’ve ranged from Firefighter to Video Game Designer to MPAA Movie Rater.  I know, I’m a man of many talents.  Or lack thereof.  I prefer to think I have many.  Or at least some.

Despite this wide variety of potential careers in mind, over the past four to five years I’ve narrowed it down to a more specific field: Computer Science.  But wait, hold on.  Some of you may be thinking, “I thought you want to be a Librarian?  What does that have to do with Computer Science?  And nice use of bolding”.  First of all, congratulations on reading the title.  And to answer your questions: Yes, I’m getting to that, and thanks for noticing!

Before I get to the Librarian bit, I’ll go over the progression of interest in IT jobs.  First, I wanted to be a Video Game Designer.  I’m mean, who didn’t in middle school?  It turns out however, they don’t make a lot of money.  Yikes.  Next I wanted to into Cyber-security.  Lots of money, lots of jobs.  Sounds better.  Then, I got a little more specific.  I wanted to be a Computer Forensics Analyst.  It combined two of my favorite topics, computers and law enforcement.  *Cue Batman Voice* “JUSTICE!”  And that idea stuck for a while. A good two years in fact.  But as I grew older and began to understand the type of person I was, something seemed to be missing.  It turned out that something was just a few books.  Or a lot of books.  Ya, more like a lot.

So if there’s one thing that interests me as much as Computer stuff (OK…..There’s a lot of things that interest me as much as Computer stuff…..but that’s not the point….) it’s the wide world of Literature.  I love books.  Which is ironic because for the first six to seven years of my life I hated them, hated them!  That didn’t last for long, though.  Soon I couldn’t get enough of them.  It actually got bad for a bit though.  I would read in class during lesson time and got in trouble.  I guess you could say I was a “problem child”.

So ya, I like books and I like computers.  For a while that didn’t really seem compatible to me.  That was of course until I took a Myers-Briggs personality test (which by the way, if you haven’t taken one yet I would strongly suggest you do.  One of my favorites can be found here).  This is the standard 4-letter personality test that many of you have probably heard about or even taken.  My results were the INFJ type, which it turns out is the rarest type in the world.  I share my type with the likes of Jesus, Hitler, Gillian Anderson.  Yikes.  That’s a mixed bag.  Anyways, back to my point.  One of the suggested jobs after my test was “Librarian”.  “That’s interesting” I thought.  So I engaged in one of my favorite pastimes: impulse googling.

It turned out being a Librarian was right up my alley.  Not that I have an alley.  Come to think of it I can’t think of anyone who “has an alley”.  Let me know if you do.  So it turned out that being a Librarian held a great deal of interest to me.

Here’s a brief list of reasons why it held a great deal of interest to me:

  1. I could still specialize and work with computers.  In America, Librarians have to get at least a Masters degree.  And whatever they get for there Bachelors often determines their specialty as a Librarian.
  2. I definitely would get to work with books.  Do I even need to explain this point?
  3. The Pay’s decent.  Finding your dream job is nice, but so is having a reliable sufficient income.  While Librarians earn on the lower end of Masters degree recipients, they still earn a good salary and have the potential to eventually earn six figures.
  4. You get to help people out.  From the comfort of an air-conditioned building with free WiFi.  I like helping people out.  It’s a part of my who I am and a part of my faith.  Whether it’s helping a library patron find the perfect book or assisting in job training being a Librarian holds plenty of opportunities to serve.  I don’t however like strenuous labor and as an introvert I tire easily in large crowds.  As a Librarian the largest crowds I’ll have to deal with on a regular basis are long book checkout lines and the occasional community event.
  5. Did I mention there’s books?  Gosh, I can’t believe I just wrote that line.  So cringy.

As much as I would love to keep discussing how excited I am to be a Librarian, I’ve rambled for almost a thousand words and I think that’s probably a good place to stop.  There’s always a future blog post where I can expand upon the topic.  So thank you for reading, and don’t forget to tune in next week!

 

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