Social Expectations in the Workplace

Hi, I am going to be an intern soon and I am a bit anxious about whats expected of me. In previous roles, I have been expected to have a more chipper and social personality and as a quiet more reserved black woman I didn't act as I was expected to in the office. I am a hard worker and like to give the best results when I do my job, but I feel that the pressure from expectation from me puts me down and hinders my growth career wise. Has anyone else experienced this? I am first-generation so a lot of this is new to me and I have been figuring things out as I go. Is having a positive and social mask what's necessary for the game?

Hi JuleeThe world of work can be a confusing place, as you're entering a place where you don't know the culture and what is expected. I am just reading (in my Book Club) the book Quiet by Susan Cain. There is more and more recognition that not everyone is an extrovert and that there is a lot of value in being introvert. Having said that, there is still a high value placed on extroversion and personality. That's not necessarily right, but the way it is. To an extent I would recommend that you just give it a go. Learn as much as you can about the culture, the work, the people. Knowing yourself as you do, make sure you have plenty of time to recharge and do quiet work. And - as you're so early in your career - learn, absorb, find out what you like (doing) and what you don't, find ways of getting your point across and your work noticed. And enjoy! You've got this!
@Tineke Hi! So finding a balance of leaning into and valuing both sides? I'll also check out that book, thanks for the recommendation! :)
You're welcome! Yes. And learn as much as you can. About the company, about how to work in that environment, but also about yourself. About what's important to YOU, what you like and don't like. So that you'll know what to look for in your next job.
I’d recommend against a social mask, which in part involves repressing who you are. You can be friendly and polite without being fake, a workplace that requires you to create a fake persona is not a healthy one, in my opinion. I’m saying this because I tried to “fit in” before for the sake of professionalism and I ended up burnout, and physically ill, which led me to quit that job. There are workplaces that are more inclusive, diverse and intelligent out there, no need to hide yourself.
@Nadene17 Thank you for your advice. I experienced really rough burn out in the past putting on a mask for work. Its exhausting but I wasn't sure if that was just the unspoken norm. I want to go at this internship with a new approach where I can be me but also challenge myself and step out of my comfort zone. I'm trying to find that balance, I'll try without having to hide myself in the process. :)