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Always Something to Prove

by Akaia

Doesn’t it feel like we always have to prove something to somebody to get anywhere? When we work for others, our boss. When we work for ourselves, our clientele/fan base. And all of it is typically for one thing: money, the item through which we sustain a living.

Now being a rather introverted individual, I often find the task of socializing with anybody to be rather exhausting. So then how might I go about making plenty of money when I hate probably the most important aspect of earning it? Building rapport, networking, and selling on my particular skillset/product seems like a lot of unnecessary stress.

Take my job for example. I currently work as a teller at a small local chain of banks.

My manager called me in the other day to tell me that I’m not building enough of a connection with the local clients.

Here’s how that conversation played out:

Her: “I’ve received a couple complaints from one of our customers saying that you come off as insincere.”

Me: “How do you mean?”

Her: “He just told me that you could do to be a little more approachable.”

Me: “Ok. I mean, I process his transactions and everything, so I’m not sure what the problem is. Was it just that one customer?”

Her: “Doesn’t matter if it was one customer or several, you need to start being more sociable with everyone who walks through that door.”

Me: “You mean like making small talk and being interested in what they have to say, right? Stuff like that?”

Her: “Exactly. Our customers could go to any bank in the area, but they choose us. Why do you think that is? Because we make it our mission to treat everyone who comes in here as a regular.”

I can’t help but feel a little smothered by such an expectation. Treating every customer as a regular? Making small talk? I just can’t cope with this job any more. The only reason I got it (I feel) was because I had to lie through my teeth to get it. I had to look at her in the eye during the interview and proclaim with mock sincerity that I was looking for a career in banking. And this has been the case with any job I’ve ever had (lying through my teeth just to get it.) I mean, god forbid I should be honest as to my real intentions about why I want the job, and that is for the money.

In short, I get the feeling that all life has in store for us is to just keep our heads down, grin and bear it, and prove to some asshole/set of assholes that we can meet their needs/demands. All in the hope of one day (maybe) furthering our station.

I don’t think I’ve ever wanted an out more now than anything, especially considering that I lost my job shortly after that meeting.

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AmIStuckNow 10/27/2014 - 8:44 am

I think you weren’t suited for the job because it isn’t what you want to be doing.

What is it that you want to be doing? And, is it realistic?

I wanted to be a video game designer, but I don’t have enough knowledge or skills. It’s not realistic.

So I wanted a different job that requires a lot of social interaction and smiling and energy. I am NOT that type of person. BUT, I really wanted the job. So I faked it. I faked it HARD, because that’s the job I wanted to do. That’s the role I wanted to have. I faked it so hard that it became real. When I am at work, I am bubbly and goofy and humorous and personable. I learned how to small talk for HOURS (i’m not joking. Just standing and talking to ONE person for hours), because that’s what I had to do. But I did it because I wanted to do it. Not the small talk, the job.

I learned a lot of valuable skills which stick with me today. I can fake it at work because that’s the work I want to do. But when I’m not working, I’m as shy and quiet and introverted as the next person.

So it’s a lot easier to fake something if you’re doing it because you want the job.
It’s a lot harder if you’re doing it because someone wants you to do it.

Although I’m still in the same line of work as I was before, I’m running the show now, so I don’t act as goofy or silly or whatever at work anymore. But I still makes lots of small talk and build rapport. I like my job overall, but I don’t like being super social.

On another note, even if you fake smile, it will actually make you feel happier.
At my previous workplace, in the staff check-in area, we had a big mirror where all of the staff should stand and smile to themselves before beginning work. It’s so we can stimulate our brain to produce chemicals (serotonin?) to make us happier.

meshellmybell 10/28/2014 - 12:14 am

Reminds me of the last job I had. I was so depressed at the time but I managed to fake it and act happy too. I would snap into this happy very social-able talkative person and as soon as I got home I would cry and feel this huge weight being lifted off my shoulders because I could finally be myself where I felt safe. Having to fake being happy was awful. I only work there for a week till I completely shut down and couldn’t deal with pretending everything was ok because it wasn’t. I couldn’t even go in to pick up my check I felt such a coward and a fake. I asked my mom to pick it up. I asked her what my boss said and my mom said that he asked her why I wasn’t coming back and she told me with an smug look on her face.. because she’s crazy…my heart sank why would you say that to someone who’s going threw such a hard time and feeling so low? It still hurts me to this day that my mom did that. It also hurts that people don’t realize how anxiety and depression can make you want to run and hide away.

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