When you feel alone at work…
Fresh out of college, I started at this amazing, wonderful company as a graphic artist. Kinda same city I’ve always been accustomed to, but new people, new job, and HELLO SALARY!!
Things people never told me about being the new person:
- If there are opportunities to be involved with something — DO IT.
- If you’re not sure about something — JUST ASK.
- If you work on a team of people — MAKE SURE YOU FIND A PLACE.
- You may or may-not at some point feel secluded.
The company I work at is a very close/family like company where everyone seems to get along (for the most part) with everyone else. Teams have lunch together, work together & collaborate with one another & even pull pranks on each-other sometimes. We have dogs that roam the floors, chocolate around every corner, and occational drink at the end of the day ALL WHILE providing educational materials for children in need. Yes, it’s pretty magical (at least to me).
So here’s the thing…I came into a team where the people have all worked together for years, gone to school together and well, I was(am) the outsider.
BACKSTORY: Remember that new kid that came to school in middle school? Either A) people flocked to them because they were so cool OR B) they rejected him because he was ‘weird’ or ‘awkward’. The same thing happens in Highschool but worse. Kid B tries to fit in by bringing up a similar subject, or commenting on a subject in a group of friends & they kinda get a side look or nothing is built off their comment. Kids are so damn harsh. Well, I am an adult & I am kid B. & as an adult I can tell you first hand it isn’t any better. Being the new person sucks, BIG TIME. It’s so not like me to feel like an oddball one out. I know I am outgoing and can make friends easily so I didn’t understand & really beat myself up. Then I talked to a few people and confided in my boyfriend who as well struggled with this his first year. Some people mentioned that it’s totally normal to feel this way your first months working at a new place. I thought maybe I just need to be here a good 3/4 months in order to feel included into things.
- 4 months passed “how can I hangout with these people”,
- 6 months passed “what is wrong with me, did I upset someone?”
I’ve made good friends with Lucy the pitt (the co. presidents dog) & is my best friend.. She sometimes joins me for snacks & sometimes drools on my leg when I don’t share said snacks.
- 8, 9, 10 months passed “does anybody, wanna sit by me and eat their food while I sit and eat my food too?”
TODAY: 1 entire year has passed. I don’t get invited to any lunch’s, no-one asks me how my weekend is, no-one asks me about my life or how I like it here. My team members talk to one another and visit each-others cubical throughout the day, but never mine. They invite each-other out on the weekends, complement each-other etc. So what do I do? well I came across this Linkedin post “You don’t have to be lonely at work” and BOY did it hit home. I shared it with a comment “hits home for me as I am in this situation now.” Not even thinking that my team members or boss would see it (duh we’re Linkedin buddies). Later in the day I get this daunting message from my boss. “Hey do you have a second?”
Well, I somewhat freaked about the situation thinking I deleted a library of graphics or this was a random evaluation from my 1st year. NOPE and thankfully because I was so nervous I felt like I was getting pulled over. Sat down in the conference room and she said “I saw your Linkedin post today & thought I would talk to you about it”
← Literally me. Embarrassed? Scared? Sad? I have no idea what I was feeling. Of course I want the issue to be addressed buy I guess It’s so out of my comfort zone to even feel like this I didn’t know how to feel.
Conclusion: Turns out she has felt the same way form time to time. Being in a manager roll I kinda expected that would happen. She said it’s not my fault and the team I joined is just very tight-knit with each-other because of prior associations. She asked for me to explain myself and as I was talking I felt all my built up frustration starting to express themselves in nothing other than TEARS. Yes I sat there and cried in front of my boss. HA! (new thing for everything right? -_- ) In the end we swapped numbers because she accepted a new position closer to her home & she said if I was ever out by her to call her up or to text her if I even needed someone to talk to. She apologized for not noticing sooner (which I was not blaming her at all). We talked about other possible solutions, maybe talking to others around the company and see if I fit in with other teams socially.
So I guess nothing REALLY changed at work nor do I think it will change with my team members but I feel 100% better than I did when I walked into work at 7:57 a.m.. I guess I am going to keep chugging along and if you are going through the same thing I am now, just know you aren’t the only one. There are solutions & I am still testing them, some has worked thus far, others have failed. I do love where I work & at least I still have Lucy to hang out with & share my lunchs with…