May 31, 2023Stories
NANOG 88 Panel: "How to Survive NANOG as an Introvert"
Louie Lee Will Moderate Panel Discussing Coping Strategies for Introverted Attendees
by Elizabeth Drolet
The "Hat Man"
The NANOG community may recognize long-time member Louie Lee, peering coordinator for Google Fiber, as "the man in the hat." Lee has worn the unmistakable wide-brimmed hat at NANOG meetings for the last 15 years.
The distinguishable hat is not just a fashion statement. It has also become an impressive way to make friends or make conversations.
"I wear the hat so people will come up and talk to me, or those that know me can find me," he said with a smile.
Lee is an extrovert and loves connecting with others at the NANOG conferences. Not everyone shares Lee's enthusiasm, however, for socializing with new people.
The Challenge as an Introverted Attendee
A NANOG conference can be arduous for the introverted community as making new friends is not a strength nor a desire, and socializing can be exhausting.
"This is a problem as the tech industry primarily draws introverts to it," he said.
"For attendees to continue coming to NANOG events, they need to feel like they are part of the community," he continued.
As an extrovert, Lee felt responsible for finding a solution for more inclusivity among all personality types. He then took action to organize a panel to create a safe space for introverts to share creative methods for self-care during large social gatherings.
"It's hard for many folks, especially the Newcomers coming to NANOG for the first time. They might feel like NANOG seems cliquish, and that's because we are drawn to those that we already know," he said.
How to Survive as an Introvert
The "How to Survive NANOG as an Introvert" panel will feature a diverse group of NANOG members from different spectrums of introversion. They will candidly discuss fears of socializing and coping mechanisms to stay recharged throughout meetings.
According to Lee, when picking panelists, it was important that audience members felt like they could relate to and see themselves within the speakers. Lee was also surprised at some of the community members identified as introverted. Those who are introverted or extroverted are not always obvious.
Extrovert or Introvert?
Carl Jung first introduced the Theory of Introverted and Extroverted Personalities in 1921. According to Simply Psychology, being one personality type or another has less to do with being shy vs. outgoing and more to do with where one gets their energy from.
For example, an extrovert will get energized by connecting with a large crowd or having a lot of social stimuli. An introvert, however, will need to recharge by spending time alone or may prefer to focus on what is going on in their head rather than their environment.
There is a spectrum of personality types; some may exhibit both characteristics and are called ambiverts. According to the same article, an ambivert’s behavior is based on the situation.
"When I think about the words introvert and extrovert, I think about the ways in which people relate to themselves, and the world around them," Chelsea Connors, MS, NCC, LPC-A, Board Certified Coach and therapist said in a CNET article entitled, Introvert vs. extrovert: What they mean and why it matters.
According to Conners, You may be an Introvert if:
- You mainly enjoy spending time in solitude
- You prefer quality time with one or two people rather than a large group
- You need alone time to rest and recharge after a busy workday or period of activity
- You can get lost in your thoughts easily and need time to process and think through most things
You may be an Extrovert if:
- You prefer spending your time around other people and dislike being alone
- You like crowds, parties, and other gatherings with lots of new people
- You need quality time with others to help you recharge
- You're outgoing, talkative and like being the center of attention
Save the Date
The panel will take place on Monday, June 14, during the upcoming NANOG 88 conference in Seattle, Wa. You can sync your calendar here.
Lee hopes audience members will participate in the discussion, ask questions, or share their experiences. If nothing else, it will be a fantastic opportunity to build a community with introverts facing the same challenges and simultaneously overcoming those challenges and building successful relationships.
Curious about what personality type you are? Take the Myers-Briggs personality test.
Elizabeth Drolet is NANOG's Multimedia Story Producer
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