Matt, an account executive at a major global public relations firm, had the ambition to rise to the top and the smarts to get there. But when he had to open his mouth at work, panic set in.
“For something as simple as speaking up in a meeting, my face would turn red,” says Matt, who’s in his early 30s (and asked to be identified by first name only).
“I heard people say once that I was afraid of my own shadow,” he says. “In my profession people exude confidence, and that was not me.”
Participating in a meeting, going on a job interview or even asking for a raise is no big deal for many workers. But for those who are shy – or, in clinical terms, suffer from social anxiety – even everyday workplace interactions can be terrifying.
The result can be smart, capable and ambitious people who stagnate in their careers because they avoid visibility.