A couple of years ago, I left the Middle East, where I’d been working for three years, armed with a new motto: answer any opportunity that comes along with a ‘yes’ and move back from that position only if you have to. Which meant that when it came time to think about finding a new job, I was open to any and all suggestions.
There was only one thing that daunted me as I re-entered the job market: the personality test. The personality test, in a variety of permutations, had become so ubiquitous that every single opportunity that came my way required one, sometimes two, and sometimes even three tests. Now, I’m going on the record here to say that I detest personality tests, but in keeping with my new motto, I smiled and said yes, and yes, and yes, and yes.
Why do I hate them so passionately?
Not because I fear I’ll be revealed as a psychopath. Not because I’ve found them to be highly ignorable when I’ve hired people (and I’ve hired plenty) over the years. Not even because of the enormous time suck they are.
Nope – it’s because I already know myself very, very well, and no personality test has ever uncovered any stunning insight into my psyche. I know all my flaws, foibles, strengths and oddities. Even the one great paradox that every test I’ve ever taken has confirmed: that I believe I’m an introvert, but nevertheless always exhibit as an extrovert.
Here’s the introvert bit: I shun most social situations if I have a choice; I need a lot of silence; I live mostly inside my own head; and I can be reserved to the point of others’ discomfort.
And the extrovert: I’m supremely comfortable in my own skin; I’m not intimidated when I find myself in large groups; I’m impulsive; I have a wide circle of friends; I’m opinionated; and I’ll take just about any bull by the horns and wrestle it into submission!
I’m not in the job market any more, so I don’t think too much about this stuff – except when I find myself straying so far into introvert territory, I become a virtual recluse. This happens most often when I enter what I call Phase 3 of writing a book, which is when the characters consume me to the point where I can’t think of anything else, and actually don’t want to.
As a writer, it’s all too easy to nurture that side – working from home, keeping abreast of news and current affairs via the television and internet, and connecting with so many colleagues and friends on social media.
But I know I have to let the extrovert out for a run every now and then, because it’s when that happens, and I’m out amongst it all as either a participant or a voyeur, listening to the tenor and timbre and cadence of people from all walks of life and all ages as they communicate in real time…? Well, that’s when I get my freshest ideas.
I’m currently in a ‘Phase 3′ funk, almost a full-on recluse – but am already plotting and planning a few rip roaring days and nights out in the world the moment my latest book is put to bed.
Meanwhile, I have made a vow to myself: I will never again undertake any kind of personality test! Time for a new motto, methinks…
I’d love to hear which way you skew on the introvert/extrovert spectrum. No idea? Check yourself out by clicking here!
My latest book, Escaping Mr Right, which is jam packed with extroverted characters, is available for pre-order, but not out until September 30, and if you feel like taking a peek, here’s the blurb.
Sometimes Mr Right is Mr Wrong, and Mr Wrong is definitely Mr Right . . .
Television reporter Chloe Masters is a woman of cool control . . . except when Casanova rugby league player Nick Savage is around. Then cool control goes out the window. Her boyfriend, Marcus, is everything she ever wanted – but it’s getting harder to deny her body’s reaction to Nick . . .
Nick Savage has been head-over-heels since he first laid eyes on Chloe – just a moment too late to stop her connecting with his team mate, Marcus. But when the goalposts shift and he and Chloe are thrown together on a week away, Nick dares her to get physical in whatever way she wants – with a kiss, a punch or anything in between. And if Chloe claims to feel nothing, he’ll leave her alone for good.
How can Chloe say no to a week of mindless passion with the man she hasn’t been able to get out of her head?
Trouble is, a lot can go wrong (or right) in a week . . .