I think ostracization comes in a spectrum. On one end, there’s people being outright rude and excluding others. On the tamer end, there’s just not “fitting in”, where you might not be the best cultural fit. Coworkers tend to maybe be friendly to those who don’t fit in, but deeper connections aren’t really made.
I’m in a situation right now where I feel like I don’t fit in at work. I’m a young 20-something working at an aging workplace, in an aging market. I think I’m the only one in the office under 25. I have a tough time relating to conversations about kids, buying a house, marital problems, etc. Likewise, coworkers have a hard time relating to my weekend adventures rock climbing or learning parkour. We’re all great people, but we lack commonalities. It’s hard to build trust and rapport between very different people, but necessary for the best possible workplace.
With modern work, we spend more time with our coworkers than with our own families. For modern work to be sustainable, we need to make sure employees are able to form deep connections.
Not fitting in is outwardly not as bad as outright ostracization, but a form of slow ostracization. It eats away at you over time. I’m hoping that a few more younger people are brought into my workplace, and more people recognize this issue. Thank you for the insightful article.