— 8 June 2004 —

On Introverts and Unexpected Opportunity

Being an introvert, it’s really difficult sometimes to meet people. Even when those people share common interests. Even when those people who share common interests gather together in one place, on purpose, to talk about those common interests.

So as an introvert, you tend to, when thrown into these situations, to just stand around hoping that somebody comes up to talk to you. Of course that isolation is usually what keep people from talking to you.

So the opening reception is revving up. Lots of people mingling, drinking, debating, drinking. And I am wandering around; hovering at the fringe. I do pretty good in one-on-one situations. I do fine having to speak in front of 300 people. But it is hard to break into a conversation (politely) and become part of the group.

But I am stretching my people skills on purpose this trip. I didn’t specifically get a chance to break into a conversation, but someone did come up to talk to me. Which in this case is a little strange. Regular readers know I am looking for a new job. Passively at this point, ramping up to a solid search in August.

The person that reached out to me was also waiting for some coworkers to arrive. He asked me where i work and what I do. Mentioned meeting the guy who runs my company’s usability lab. As I talked about what I do and my experiences, we came to the conclusion that my company and his company are facing similar organizational challenges. Challenges that don’t necessarily inhibit success, but that could inhibit effectiveness and specifically efficiency in the near future.

Oh, he’s also the hiring manager in his area. Oh, and his area is at Microsoft.

So then my speaking turned a little. I wasn’t at all interviewing, but the things I elaborated upon while talking were influenced, I think, by his comment, “I wouldn’t think of taking you away from a job you love of course, but if you are interested I suggest you take a look at the job board over there.”

So I did. We’ll see what the follow up will be. It would be wonderful to be back on the West Coast. Would it be wonderful working for Microsoft? Given our conversation I think it would be essentially the same. There are aspects of my job that are wonderful and aspects that suck. I think that is a factor of any job. So now that is a given, what next?

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