A Psychotic Atmosphere


Here’s the story of positivity, jobs, and quietness.

Positive atmosphere? POSITIVE ATMOSPHERE! What the flying nun are you talking about? What is a ‘positive atmosphere’? I know what a hostile atmosphere is, but how can one create a ‘negative atmosphere’? I failed a job interview earlier this year because, as the interviewer put it, “Quiet people create a negative atmosphere.” Shyness is a condition and not one anyone can eradicate, nor one that we should be eradicating. It was a bloody data entry job, too! What do you want me to do? Smile? Come in to work every day with bells and ribbons like a ******* Morris dancer with a posse of flautists and scone carrying busty Swedish maidens? “Good morn, fellow workers, and how are you lovely chums doing on this fine and glorious day? Care for a scone?” I’d be fired for that and thrown to the kerb! And I bet they’d keep the busty Swedish maidens…

Is it discrimination? No, I’ve heard it plenty of times. I’ve concluded that it can’t be discrimination if every employer on Earth seems to live by it. As a shy person, I can tell you that we don’t stand up for ourselves. If someone asks us if we have an opinion, we sit there and politely shake our heads. It’s got to the point now where I’ve written in the introduction segment of my résumé, ‘Shy and quiet.’ Honestly, job interviews are just the worst.

“So, are you confident?”

“Not at all.”

“Are you a good speaker?”

“Oh Lord, no.”

“Are you good with people?”

“Hmm, no, they all seem to hate me.”

“And what grade did you get in mathematics?”

“A ‘U’. I don’t even think that’s a grade anymore…”

They’re right. Why would you hire me? My hair is always a mess. I don’t really talk much. I have no idea about pop culture because I gave up on it around the year 2000, because since then, it’s all been like a loud irritating noise. I struggle to show enthusiasm. And I rarely smile and when I do, I look constipated.

So I can’t do retail. I can’t do office work because offices are huge places with lots of people and large groups of people terrify me. I can’t work in a fast food restaurant because I have the cooking abilities of a wet sock. I can’t work in a warehouse because I did that once and I kept crashing the trolley. And I can’t do admin work because I’m an introvert and WE DON’T GENERATE POSITIVE ATMOSPHERES! Not that I’m jaded…

What do shy people reading want me to say? Don’t give up, there’s light at the end of the tunnel? No, I’m not going to say that. It might be true, but I’ve been in this dark and dank tunnel for the best part of 25 and a half years and I sure as hell can’t see a thing. You just keep plodding along, occasionally stepping on something valuable, like your dignity. Or a Fabergé egg. I don’t know why they’re in the shy tunnel, they just are.

It becomes repetitive. You apply for job after job and no one wants to know about you. Here, I’ll post the opening introduction on my résumé:

‘A hard-worker with a strong self-motivation and determination to meet deadlines. Strengths include conscientiousness and industriousness, with a subdued but creative personality. A solitary but methodical worker, who is logical, organised and observant. Whilst I am shy and quiet, I am reliable and efficient. A calming presence and easily approachable.’

What’s wrong with that? NOTHING! Exactly! Why will no one bloody hire me, then!

It used to be easier in the olden days. Yes, I’m harping on again about how glorious the olden days were, but I haven’t done that in a while, so stuff it. If you could do a job, they hired you. But not now. Oh, no. Nowadays, you have to undergo what feels like a psychiatric evaluation. Each company has an ethos and a belief system that you have to adhere to.

You have to have the right personality. The right dress sense. The right way of thinking. The right way of doing. The right look. Otherwise, the company thinks you’ll reflect badly on the image they want the public to have of them. I argue that individuality is of higher importance than all of that. Not to get too political, but surely one of the hallmarks of a democracy is that the companies that operate within it and keep the economy ticking over nicely, are made up of happy individuals who each contribute something different to said company, not worker drones slotting in to a pre-designed ethos. Surely, a smile and a hard worker is the best a company can ask for. Yet time and time again, I keep hearing the same dreaded four words:

You are too quiet.

I’m not asking for much. I know that there are certain things I can’t do and that’s fine. People like me – the shy, the introverted, those with social anxiety, all three of which I have to varying degrees – are just as important to the human race as the loud and brash extroverts to seem to run everything. I was born with this brain; I cannot and will not change it. Stop telling me to be less quiet. Stop telling me that I have to be louder. Accept me for who I am. A quiet and sometimes irritating little sod, who just wants to start his life. And with eight months to go until I turn 26, I can’t see that happening.

My kind doesn’t ask for much. A nice little job to earn the bread. Somewhere simple to live. And for others to be nice to us and not to perceive us as lesser human beings, which is often how it feels. If you do those three little things for us, we’ll quietly blend into the background. You won’t notice us. We’ll do our jobs to the best of our ability and represent the company with our brightest smile and our friendliest demeanour. We’ll try our best to contribute to the human race even though every single day and every single decision, is harder than you can possibly imagine. And we’ll happily live out the rest of our days in peace. And hope that, come the end, we get a nice obituary in the paper and that at least one person will show up to our funeral.

‘Alan. 1990 – 2055. Nice chap.’

I’d be happy with that obituary. Oh, and can I have a nice plot near to where my grandparents are buried? And don’t worry about the funeral service. I already have everything planned out. I’m not kidding, either. I really do, hymns and everything…

Hundreds of jobs I’ve applied for. What, five or six interviews? About that. I don’t want people to feel sorry for me, of course not. I don’t matter. There are people more deserving of your sorrow than I. I don’t want it. I just want to know, what am I doing wrong?

I can’t help who I am. But if you give me and others like me a chance, not only will you see that we are more than capable, but also you’ll give us the chance to build our confidence and grow as people.

Oh, and can you also tell me what a positive atmosphere is, how to create one, and why shy people don’t and can’t create one? I still have no idea.

For now, I’ll stick with my original answer. Morris dancers and busty Swedish maidens…

Peace Out :|:

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this post. You can leave a comment and/or like this post below, or by clicking the title on the top of this post if you are on the ‘Archives’ page. Likes and follows greatly appreciated. Thanks.

Please feel free check out the latest posts from my other two blogs:

To Contrive & Jive
New Posts Every Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday
Click Here to Read the Latest Post

Hark Around the Words
New Posts Every Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday
Click Here to Read the Latest Post


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