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Monday, September 2, 2013

The Three Worst Jobs for an Introvert (Based on Personal Experience)

I am an introvert. Given a choice between meeting new people in a social setting or performing unnecessary surgery on myself with a rusty spoon, I will choose the spoon every time. I will even bring my own if it means I don't have to go to the spoon store and talk to a judgmental cashier beforehand. As you can imagine, this makes functioning in society somewhat difficult especially when holding a job, having children, and getting a colonoscopy all require some degree of face to face interaction.
Or ass to face. The worst kind. And yes, I've been dying to use this image. 

That said, there are certain measures people like me take to minimize our direct contact. Like never dating (it was a choice, I tell you!), shunning music and festivities like Grendel, and taking jobs whose primary functions involve human to computer.

Just like with Hal, but without all that messy sexual tension.

Of course sometimes circumstances kick in (like being a teen and poor and having to repay your neighbor for his defiled garden gnome) and you take just about any job you can find. Even ones that require you to regularly defy your very nature. Some are, of course, worse than others. 

3. Waiter
Work in any service industry can be crippling for an introvert. It forces you to regularly interact with people who seemingly only leave their house to vent their anger at the nearest person with a name tag. And you have to accept it all with a smile. 

But waiting tables is twice a worse. For one, it confirms everything you already suspect about people-- that they're loud, disgusting, angry and filthy, filthy creatures. The things people leave on their plates after a meal out is more disturbing than the boat ride scene in Willy Wonka. And god help you if something in their order isn't exactly so (one customer tore me a new one after I brought him a regular spoon for his soup).

In his defense, I had carved that spoon into a shiv and buried it in his neck.

Then you can pretty much buckle yourself in for an emotional beat-down sending you turtling into your safe introverted shell. You'll leave your job only more convinced that humanity is something to be despised and feared and that a good time is watching Seinfeld reruns and going to bed at 9pm.

Instead consider working as a bartender. Usually, it's so loud in a bar you can't hear anything and drunk people tend to be a happier lot.

2. Soccer Coach
Want to know three things introverted people are really crappy at--being the center of attention, exercising confidence, and being an authority figure. Want to know the three most important qualities of being a coach?

Add whistle blowing and not getting winded when chasing a soccer ball and you've actually covered all the requirements

By the the end of my son's first soccer practice, a Lord of the Flies like society had evolved and I was Piggy. Kids had wandered into neighboring fields and playgrounds. Two got into a fistfight. One repeatedly got hit in the head with a soccer ball and had to leave early. And yet the only person weeping uncontrollably when all was said and done was me.

Instead consider guidance counselor. All the authority in a quiet, windowless office. And being creepy is a requirement of both introverts and counselors.

1. Event Photographer
For an extrovert (i.e., seemingly everyone but me), it may be hard to imagine what it's like to shrink from human contact like a Polar Bear's testicles in Alaska. Let me try and put you in my shoes for a moment...

Imagine it's night and it's so dark that you can barely see your own feet. The moon is out, but it's faint and shrinking. In front of you, so close you could touch it is a huge, clear tent. Inside are hundreds of people having a party. There's music and dancing and food and laughter. Lots and lots of laughter. What there isn't is a door that you can use to get in and, even if there was, you probably couldn't muddle through the dark to get there. So instead you just sit there staring. It's important to understand, too, that you can see the people inside but they can't see you--you're utterly, fucking invisible. You might hear snippets of conversation, but it's in a foreign tongue. Or maybe it's English. It doesn't matter, because you don't understand a word of it, let alone why everyone is so damn happy. I mean there isn't a TV or blanket in sight!

Sadly, Rupert Everret does not come to your rescue here.

That's how life is everyday for someone like me (with varying degrees of crippling shame, embarrassment and panic).

Now dig the job description for event photographer--circulating among a room packed elbow to elbow with strangers celebrating something you have no understanding of. Nobody knows you so no nobody bothers to approach you. And yet as an event photographer, it's your job to capture every painful moment on film. Which involves approaching every single person there and asking them to smile.

This would be like having a crippling fear of flying and working as an airline stewardess if, you know, the plane's destination was the bottom of the ocean.

Consider, low budget porn.  Just, for the love of god, don't share it with anyone.

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