Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Welcome Back to Mind, Factor X!

Ah yes, I'm steaming about Factor X again, that imprecisely defined trait that seems destined to have a large impact on my life, for the bad, without my volunteering. I've been really working on my concentration as of late and trying to reobtain The State of Complete Vigor, but for some odd reason when I break from my books I find my brain heats up in irritation to revisit memories of people reacting negatively to Factor X, motivating me to rehearse speaking some sense into them.

To quickly resummarize, I think that Factor X is an accent I have. My hearing-impairment changes the way I interpret phonetic sounds, and my speech as a corollary. The evidence in my assumption is that people don't treat me with these negative manners *until* the sound of my voice reaches them, and due to the precise alignment of a polite sentence I utter and their emotional unraveling I conclude it is my voice.

While I can train my speech patterns I can only go so far, as I'm literally deaf to certain sounds most other people can hear, which leaves me to guess at the "right way" to speak to a certain extent. Even though to my ears I speak like all the rest, people still ask me where I'm "from," meaning what country.

What's additionally odd is that the change in my patterns of uncorrected speech versus my newly trained habits get the opposite effects. As a kid I was stuck in special ed because people assumed I was mentally deficient in some way, even retarded, and after I corrected my major misconceptions people now tend to get angry or extremely anxious. Even my bosses at work try to speak to me very little and are visibly eager to end our conversation as soon as possible.

It gets me steamed that a trait that's by and large invisible to me causes so much hardship and unpredictable responses. How many job applications get thrown away because I made somebody nervous? How many bullies arise out of insecurity? How many people do I scare out of my life?

I think my anger is reasonable since literally *no one* has been willing to be forthright and tell me what's agitating them. I've have tried my speak to speak in proper tones and use the appropriate manners to be respectful, so in my perceptions all the negative reactions are pure bolts from the blue. I alert the cashier that a customer is waiting and he snaps at me. I politely ask if my boss called for me, in a low-stress situation, and he curses at me. I ask a parking attendant how his system works and he's instantly yelling. All I'm left to think is WOW somebody is in a bad mood!

Yet, this is a really prevalent phenomenon. This happens to me with extreme regularity and extreme consistency, and has been happening to me for a long time, perhaps my entire life. And again, since nobody is communicating their interpretations I cannot make adjustments to myself.

There's so much confusion. The most confusing factor is that the people I tend to deal with tend to deal with extremes: They either get really agitated and afraid, or extremely fond. There's almost no problem getting women to flirt with me -- though I don't have the habits of James Bond -- so the same attribute that drives other people scared drives them to affection. Truthfully, I don't think I commonly deal with anyone in-between on the spectrum: By and large people are either on the side of agitation and fear, or fondness or infatuation.

The fondness part of the spectrum makes my friends' advice and perceptions, unfortunately, unuseful because, in liking me to want to deal with me, that means they can't accurately tell me what it is about the "attribute" that bothers other people, as they either like it or can't see it. Such are the comments I've received from friends on my Youtube videos, which I started mainly to do something about Factor X. 

I'd have a impenetrable nerve if the consequences were simply isolated to people -- as I'd still have my close friends and goals -- but alas this is probably resulting in a lot of bad material consequences for me.

For instance, this may be why it's so tough for me to find a job. When I deal with interviewers there's a common thread of them always being visibly eager to end the interview as soon as possible. I've always been baffled as to whether my interviews have gone well or not, since most all are outrageously short; one person, I remember, even tried ending it in under a minute.

The oddness doesn't stop after hiring either. The majority of my bosses -- including the ones who directly hire me -- try to converse with me as little as possible. There's a tendency of them to try and answer my questions as absolutely soon as they understand what it is I'm asking, and to walk away asap. That discomfort is probably why the majority of the jobs I've gotten hired for were ones where an interview wasn't conducted. Four jobs in my career history were without prior facetime.

As such, I think I'd be a lot further ahead in my career and better off money-wise if Factor X weren't "terrifying" so many people. If I could hold potential employer's and bosses' attention more, I'd be able to show off my intelligence more, instead of them flittering away and leave me to work out of their sight.

Three major courses of action come to mind.

One and two, I'm going to consider training myself in assertiveness and doing some vocal practices to improve my aesthetics. I'll change my voice as far as I can -- since I value good speaking skills anyways -- and work on assertiveness so that other people's irrationality isn't muscling me into submission.

On that last, I think part of my diluted influence is that, when someone unleashes a irrational response, such as a snapping coworker, I tend to withdraw from contact to leave them alone in their bad mood, when really I could press them into recognizing their irrational behavior. When they're "acting up" is the time to point out they're not communicating properly and being unjust.

Thirdly, I'm going to contemplate my career options in the context of my personality type, as listening to Diana Hsieh's podcast on personality has been making me think intensely upon the subject. I'm extremely introverted and cerebal, so perhaps I'm threading too much into extroverted territory giving the areas of the restaurant industry I'm trying to break into, or else I need to make some adjustments.

Either way, even if Factor X is the result of other people's unobjective thinking methods and irrational interpretations, it has to be addressed since its material consequences have been so large for me.

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