Love my new job but discouraged by closely knit coworker
January 15, 2013 1:15 PM Subscribe
I got a new job and have, in record winning pace, managed to be the outsider weirdo of my team (yay!) Details below and advice on both practical and professional ways to deal welcomed.
posted by hillabeans to work & money (30 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Them: All late 20-something ladies, married, dog-people, socially and politically conservative, and extremely close-knit (socialize a LOT outside of work). I work with all these ladies under one boss. They are my 'team'
Me: Also lady in my late 20s, single, cat person, socially and politically very liberal, and a musician / photographer / punk/goth outside of work. Not extremely fond of being best buds with coworkers but enjoy occasional social interaction.
The job: required me to move to a new city, but I get to work on very exciting things and got a ton of training and coaching.
I have basically been ostracized by my coworkers in all things social in the work place. I no longer have their social-pity as the new person. The few instances one of them have inquired about my life outside work, I admit I've not been very forthcoming ("My weekend plans? Well, I'm going to start off at a pub crawl, then I'm going to a burlesque show to support my stripper friends, then go to band practice. Sunday? Oh I typically recover from a hangover with my boyfriend by making brunch and mimosas and watching horror movies all afternoon" --> "My weekend plans? Going to a show, seeing some live music, generally relaxing") They then continue to talk about Obama and how he's destroying the world and internally I'm being destroyed. BUT... I enjoyed most of their company, and a saving grace being we all shared humor at least. I do hide my facebook / manage internet presence accordingly. In the last several weeks I've been the *sole* person on the team no longer invited to the group's lunches, they all quiet down when they are huddled in a cube when I walk by, and no one says bye to me when they (and quite literally once it was comically apparent) sneak past my desk. At first it was upsetting, but now I'm just mad... the breaking point was when one of the ladies on the team invited the department out to lunch. They took off without me, and I was stuck to get a ride with my male boss and his male boss. Getting to the restaurant, I was forced to sit with boss and boss boss and another male while the ladies (eight of them) sat at their own table, well aware I was there and that they made no effort to save me a seat. I was both embarrassed and hurt.
I am trying hard not to take it personally. I am having a hard time coping though, as I am around these people 40+ hours a week and feel I have no one there to even talk to. Focus on my job? The nature of my job means I have a lot of busy then slow times... this sort of thing is most poignant in the slow times. We also work very separately (next to no common tasks or goals). I also do realize I have made little effort socially and I have no excuse... except that I have a hard time coming up with something to talk about with these ladies and often am not met very warmly when I do (therefore fear rejection). This is so bizarre because in my time away from work, I am a social butterfly, just with different crowds... people like me instantly and my poor boyfriend just cannot understand how these coworkers don't like me (bless him).
1. How can I rectify any ill-feelings I may have caused with these individuals (perhaps I subconsciously expressed judgement in what I say / how I act)? What are some safe office-appropriate things to start up communication with one or a few of them?
2. If I try and make some very good efforts to socialize and am still shut down, how have any of you tried to work through situations like this and what are some good mental tools to have at least for your own esteem or working with unpleasant coworkers?
3. Should I approach one or several of these ladies about this or my boss? Although it's stressing me out, they have absolutely no responsibility to include me socially... they are professional for the most part. I do not think this is an HR / professional issue but just office politics.
I feel like I'm in middle school again, and am not sure if it's my own perceptions and self-esteem or if this is truly the case of working with the wrong kind of coworkers (cliche mentality). I invite frank advice, but please let it be constructive and not snarky. Thank you mefites!