I recently started a new job as software engineer in a company with 100 to 200 employees. The company is run like a startup (flexibility, flat management, etc) and there are plenty of interesting initiatives, mostly orientated to learn and share new technologies, the salaries, the benefits and the office location are excellent. I also like my colleagues (for the most part ;-)).
However, the startup mindset comes with the "we must be funny" attitude that is bothering me. Just to be clearer, I have to take part in a meeting to present my work "in a funny way" in front of the whole company and probably I have to take part in a funny video too before the end of the year.
I am not against it conceptually, I understand that most of the people like this stuff, and I took part in meetings and I said that they are funny. The problem is that I am not "most of the people", I am introvert and socializing cost me a huge effort that I prefer to avoid. My dream has always been to do my job at the best of my possibilities and go home.
I managed to avoid the Christmas party and the karaoke night by simply not adhering to the invitations, but these other activities are mandatory...and for sure there will be others in the future. I have already made it clear during a team meeting that there is no way that I am going to do some idiot stuff in front of the whole company just because I have to be funny. They did not take it well, and to be honest I think to have lost the opportunity to be accepted in my team.
My questions are, how to avoid to take part in this mandatory funny activities without losing my job (I am still in the probation period)? And since we are here, how to avoid the stress and anxiety that taking part or being forced to take part to them cause me? Management asks regularly for feedback and I could speak with them about it, but is it wise? Should I do it considering that the "we must be funny" attitude is their approach?
A few things I think that are important,
- I like to work here and I do not want to change my job.
- I have read many books about socializing and emotional intelligence, but I know myself and I know my limits. There is no way that my brain will accept to do things that I consider stupid/humiliating without react.
- I am already doing what my character allows me to do, I took part in "funny pictures" (even though it was humiliating)...and in other initiatives where I feel more at ease.
- I have no problem speaking in front of people when my work requires it.
- I have no problem to make my point in front of people even if it requires confrontation.