Blow my own trumpet? How?

Posted May 18, 2012

Blow my own trumpet? How?

Picture the scene. It’s annual appraisal time. And my boss is commenting on my lack of enthusiasm for self-promotion.

I’m not a bragger. Never have been, never will be. I prefer to get on with things in a quietly confident way. Clearly, in the corporate world, that is not enough. My boss  doesn’t understand why I persist in hiding my light under a bushel. “You need to get out there and blow your own trumpet.”   

Inwardly I’m thinking - oh crap, here we go again! It’s all very well (thanks so much for the clichéd advice) but I haven’t a clue how to go about blowing my own trumpet. More to the point, I don’t want to; it’s just not me.

Instead I nod in agreement, draw my shoulders back and exit the room with a bouncy step, hoping to instantly appear LOUDER. I return to my desk and begin to dream up tactics to get myself noticed -  wear brighter clothes, learn some witty put downs, develop a raucous laugh?

Of course, in the end, I did none of these things and my personality (yep, I may be quiet but I believe I have a personality that’s worth preserving!) remained intact. In her book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, Susan Cain says “we are encouraged to develop an extroverted personality for frankly selfish reasons – as a way of out-shining the crowd.”  I guess I bucked the trend.

And yet I'm definitely drawn to the company of extraverts. For starters, they're fun! They also make perfect companions at a networking event. With their incessant chatter, they save me from those awkward moments when the conversation dries up.

Mind you, being with an extravert 24/7 (try being married to one) has its drawbacks. How do I know my husband is an extravert? Because every time he asks why I'm not saying anything, I want to yell, “If you’d stop feckin’ talking for a just one second, then maybe I could get a word in!”

I now work for myself but I was curious to know if I'd made the right decision to leave the corporate world behind. A quick trawl through some career websites produced a list of top jobs for introverts. The profession of writer appeared at the top. It was also suggested that introverts may be happier working for themselves. Being a freelance writer should suit me well then. Although, according to the list, I could just as easily have opted for singer, actor or dancer (apparently they all serve as a way for introverts to express their inner self).

Here’s a genius thought: why don’t I combine all of them? From today I will write and star in my own musicals. Seeing my name in bright lights will finally give me something to trumpet about.

 Image: HawardLake, flickr


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