Sunday, September 24, 2006

To Be Or Not To Be Shy

(Sorry, I know that's a lame title, but I feel that it's just so apropos to this whole contemplative discussion of shyness.)

Today I was reading, and in her latest post Jessamyn cited another blogpost that immediately appealed to me. It's funny because I just happened to be thinking about this exact same topic just yesterday. Well, I guess it started on Friday night when I was talking to my friend about my future because she asked me what type of library I want to work in. When I answered with "some sort of academic library" she cringed (having just finished her first masters) and said, "oooh so you'll have to be pusblishing or teaching," and made the Mister Yuck face. And I said, "yes I suppose, but I'm hoping to be able to publish rather than teach- I would hate to get a postition where I would have to teach also!"

But it's so weird because while I do think I would not like to teach an actual class, I'm kind of looking forward to being able to teach classes on how to use the library- in fact, that's a big reason of why I want to work in an academic library.

So that's where this post from T. Scott comes in. The conversation with my friend made me think about my shyness and why there are certain things that I just CANNOT do- at least without first feeling severely nauseated, light-headed, and cold and sweaty- and very similar things that I have no problem doing.

For instance, I hate raising my hand and talking in class, I prefer to listen and take it all in, and then later come up with my own ideas and opinions and write them down in papers, assignments, blogs, or notebooks. I am absolutely horrible at class presentations. No matter how much I practice and know the material, my voice always wavers, my hands always shake, and my knees always feel like they're this close || to buckling.

When I'm at work, however, I speak in front of people at meetings, I speak in front of group tours, and I sometimes train in small groups, all without a problem. I agree with T. Scott when he says that there's a point where you realize you must get past the shyness to get the job done. I also think there's a point where you just forget that you're shy because you're too busy getting the job done, and for me, that's not acting, that is natural.

It's part of my daily routine to come up and talk to people, so I do it, and they're usually expecting me to do it. I definitely still have my shy moments. Sitting in the break room or passing someone in the hallway can be painfully awkward at times, and I'm sure a lot of people at work still think I'm pretty weird. But it's nice to know that I can turn it off when I need to, or that it automatically hibernates for a while when I need to perform a specific task. I also feel that there's a value to shyness and don't really have any desire to change my behavior. I like sitting back and observing. I like being quiet. And I like that libraries seem to offer me the chance to be both shy and not so shy all at the same time.


Blogger Louise said...

Way cool post, Lisa. (Talk about a lame title, but really, that's what I think.) I feel the same way at work sometimes - I really dislike speaking up at times, but know it has to be done and I have overcome my hesitancy. Thanks for blogging about it.

10:00 PM  
Blogger andystardust said...

One of the things about having to raise one's hand or answer a question in class is that one is really sort of at risk. Whereas at work, you're in your element. Most of the time, anyway, you know what you're talking about, your position/authority/lack of authority is a known quantity. In class, one is definitely not an authority and one's position is constantly in question. At least that's how I feel. I think you'd do fine as a library user instructor, because I see that part of you that wants to help people make sense out of library tools. And like you, I don't see shyness as a total liability.

3:56 PM  
Blogger Juliette73 said...

Lisa, I loved this post! It was so human! Anyway, as much as you critique your presenting skills, I think you always do a fabulous job... Anyway, hope you are well!

7:59 PM  

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