I’m tired. Really, really tired. This happens to me every time I start a new job and yet, somehow, even though I remind myself before starting the job that I will be exhausted, I always seem to be shocked but just how very tired I get. I’m lucky if I make it to 9:30 pm before falling asleep these days. I mean, I like my sleep and all, but that’s a little much even for me.
People keep telling me that it’s because my brain is working overtime to process all the new information people are throwing at me all day. I’m sure that’s part of the equation, but quite honestly I think that’s a really small part of it. The real exhaustion factor for me comes down to one thing: having to enthusiastically interact with people all day long. There have been days when it’s literally been eight hours straight of meeting people. For some, this is a welcome energy boost. For me, it is the opposite.
For a long time, I thought it was just because I’m an introvert. I’ve come to realize that it’s not just interacting with people that’s draining, it’s trying to project all this enthusiasm and energy for my work that’s the real kicker. All day long, people are asking me how things are going so far, how I like the company, how awesome it is that the company is so committed to my line of work. I am not a naturally excited and gregarious person (except when it comes to candy and ice cream). I think the job and company seem fine so far, but a) it’s just a job and b) by no means do I get all pumped and rah-rah-cheerleader about it. I feel as though I need to project more than my baseline neutrality, though, because before people know me well my natural demeanour can be interpreted as apathy or negativity. Nobody wants a debbie downer for a new employee.
Putting on my game face and expressing endless enthusiasm not only doesn’t come naturally to me, but it also saps me of any last remaining energy, the reserve of which is already perilously low thanks to early mornings and stress from outside of work. Many days, I wish I could wear a sign that reads: “I may not look happy or excited, but I promise you I’m fine/the job’s fine/the company’s fine, I’m just really f’ing tired/don’t visually show enthusiasm.” It’s a bit of a long sign, I suppose, yet I still think it would be helpful. Until such time that this is socially acceptable in the workplace, I guess I’ll just have to stick with faking it and ridiculously early bed times.