Wednesday, March 30, 2011

What's The Weather Like Out There?

I am 25 years old and I just realized I am an introvert. Why did it take so long? I can't be sure.

I graduated from law school in May 2010, sat for the bar exam, and learned that I passed in November. The economy being in the shambles it is has led to few interviews. I interview horribly, to say the least. I spend hours rehearsing answers to potential questions and am ready for all the notoriously difficult queries. Once I am sitting in the chair, I am typically well-prepared for most of the questions thrown my way.

Then it happens...

"So, how was your drive?" "Can you believe this weather?" "Oh, you went to such and such college, my cousin went there!"

After having no problem telling the interviewer my life goals for the next 10 years, I sweat over the banter and chit-chat. I mutter a one-word answer or give an awkward chuckle, when I should have sparked a conversation. And the interview swirls down the toilet.

Perhaps I am being dramatic. My poor chit-chat skills cannot possibly be the entire reason why I have yet to receive a solid job offer. I very well may not have enough experience or qualifications. But it sure as hell does not help when I am up against a stack of 30 other resumes of unemployed attorneys.

Hold on a minute. Why would an introvert even consider being an attorney? Believe it or not, lawyering is one of the highest ranked career paths for introverts, presumably due to the fact it requires a lot of thinking about how to respond to possible arguments. This is a skill I have mastered, even in my every day life. I cannot say that is the reason I attended law school though, since I did not classify myself as an introvert at that point. Honestly, I was terrified to go to law school. My fears were (and still are) calmed by the idea that most lawyers never see a courtroom. I truly, I know...that I went to law school to prove everyone in my life wrong, including myself. I refused to be the quiet, smart girl everyone pegged me as. If anything could push me out of "shy", law school would be it.

Three years, a law degree, and a bar license later and everyone was right about me. Well, partly.

Sure, I survived law school and am confident that I would even be comfortable in front of a judge. Yet I still cannot get through a simple interview or group dinner with ease? Law school failed me and I could no longer just chalk it up to "being shy". After an enormous amount of frustration over my interviews and difficult social interactions, I began to read up on what my problem could be.

I decided to look into introversion, but believed there was no way I was that severe. Come to find out, I knew nothing about introversion. My preconceived notions of an introvert were totally false. Many introverts often do well in front of a large group. Check. Most introverts do not engage in chit-chat successfully. Double check. The more I read, the more I connected, and the more I felt...well, normal.

As much as I feel elated to know others feel as I do, I still am struggling. Did I choose the wrong career? Even though introverts often function well as lawyers, will anyone ever hire me if I cannot have a simple conversation or schmooze like the stereotypical, extroverted lawyers do? I have come to accept my introversion, but now I need to find my path.


  1. i like that you comment about being comfortable in front of a judge despite your introversion. for me it's the structure of public speaking that puts me at ease. im in control and the interaction is more or less on my terms. happy to have stumbled upon your blog. much luck!

  2. Absolutely! The control and ability to be prepared makes such a difference. People always ask me how I can be so shy, yet be able to speak in front of a crowd. Nice to hear from someone who understands. Thanks for reading :)

  3. Found you on 20sb. Hey, I'm a fellow introvert too. I can totally relate to the example you gave about the chit chat that proceeded your actual interview. If someone says to me, "Oh, my kid went to your college too!!!" All I'll probably say is "cool..." {awkward silence]

  4. Yes, the "cool" comment often comes out of my mouth because I am at a loss on what to say. It's not that I'm uninterested in what they have to say or don't want to listen, I just have to think about it and with the small chit-chat, you really aren't given the opportunity to do so. Isn't the awkward silence so painful? Well, I don't mind silence, but I know the other person is saying "ooookaaayy".

    Thanks for reading!

  5. I actually really like this post a lot and can relate to it. I suck at small talk, and am definitely an introvert (from what I think it is anyways). I'm graduating from criminology and people always tell me to take my LSATs and apply to law school. But I say that I just don't have the personality to do it. I'm much too shy and quiet. That, and I really don't want all the crazy hours and stress. But I worry about interviews coming up like crazy. My boyfriend can talk and talk and talk and sell himself no problem. I wish I was able to do that.

  6. Bree, I have the same situation where my boyfriend actually thrives in a setting like an interview. It's funny how such opposites can attract. Small talk comes so easily to him. I was a criminology major myself, and thought law school was the natural route to take. Law school itself is so stressful that if you don't think it's for you, then definitely don't do it.

    Best of luck with your interviews. I know it's not easy, try not to get discouraged! :)

  7. Wow, I just stumbled upon this blog now and it's crazy how much I can relate. I'm about to go to law school and I've been having the same worries. Personally I've embraced my introversion but I have yet to find a career path that will.