People at work don’t like me.
I know I always joke about it, but people at work really don’t like me. Things have changed.
The teams and how we work, it’s all different, and the once-tight-knit group I was a part of either no longer work there or sit far away, and things have…changed. Which I already said, and hey, June, talk in circles. I wonder why you’re so very not loved.
It’s not my imagination. I’m talking about people are gathered, the hour before the holiday break, and I walk up and suddenly everyone’s phone is compelling and they walk away.
I’m talking weekly references to parties I wasn’t invited to, Instagram photos of happy hours I knew nothing about.
If I didn’t make an effort, I would go the whole day with no one talking to me about anything except, “Can you get this done right now?”
I’m not sure what I did, but at this point it doesn’t matter. Those are the facts, and I just have to muddle through it, keep my head down and do my work, which is why I’m actually there in the first place.
But here’s my problem: I built my social life around that place. When I moved here, I was a married person, and most of what I did was with Marvin. When he left, I started that job within the same month. So, for the last six years my social life was my work people and Ned, mostly.
Now there’s no Ned (although Ned still wants for there to be a Ned), and now suddenly I’m the workplace outcast. It’s probably because I’m older than everyone, or because I’ve been depressed since 2015, when there first was officially Not a Ned®. It’s probably a number of things, but what you can’t do is change anyone other than yourself.
If I knew what I’d done wrong, or even where to begin with who stopped liking me first, I’d ask. But it appears almost universal now, so I just work quietly and try to be pleasant.
Every year at Christmastime, I get blue. I hate this fucking holiday. If I could leave all of December and hang out in Tahiti, I would.
The good thing was, every year the Christmas stuff at work was pretty much the most celebrating I’d do, from the big work party to our team events. Those were fun. I was having fun with my friends.
When I was on the floor I worked on for five Christmases, right when it was time to leave for the holiday, I had a little tradition, just with myself.
I’d stand in the kitchen and look at the treats and the gifts (that’s another thing–just one person gave me a little gift this year. I saw little gifts on other desks, but not mine. And I thought of making little gifts myself, but didn’t want to hand one to someone who doesn’t like me) and give a small thanks to the universe for presenting me with such a great place to work during a time that I needed people. Every year, in the dimming light of the late-December afternoon, with everyone else bustling off to their families, I said thank you for making those people my family.
As I left yesterday without saying much to anyone, there was just one guy still working on my old floor. He’s married to another person at work, and I like them both very much, and they seem to still actually like me. They were the only two people to come to the happy hour I tried to have back in October.
“Merry Christmas,” I said to him as I left.
“I hope you’re going to have a good holiday,” he said, looking up from his work. “I remember how sad you were this past Valentine’s Day.”
I’d forgotten that. I’d forgotten how sad I felt, having zero Valentine for the second year in a row.
After work, I headed to the grocery store, and as I pulled up, I remembered that I’d spent 4th of July here this past year. I had nothing to do, and ended up watching the fireworks with the employees. We had a perfect view, with the vast sky looming over the parking lot.
It’s been a lonely fucking two years. Things are not going the way I thought they would. I thought by now I’d have met someone new. I thought I’d still be lucky enough to consider my coworkers family. I never in a million years thought I’d be alone at 52.
And I realize it must be my fault, some flaw in my character. Probably because my beauty and raw talent and animal sex appeal repel people. It’s probably m’boobs.
And maybe next year at this time, things will have turned around. But I thought that last year. And I thought it at Christmas of 2015. So maybe I’ll be exactly here again next year, and I have to find a way to be okay with that. I try to think about people who have it so much worse than me, people whose problems crush a lonely old lady’s.
If you’re one of them, if you’re one of the people whose Christmas is going to suck, one of the people whose life sucks right now, please know there is a person who is with you on that. Who’s muddling through this goddamn holiday, and this goddamn life, as best she can.
You are not alone.