Thank you Joseph Conrad for my post’s title.
I’ve been at my new job about a month now and I really am loving the work. It’s lot more mentally stimulating than my previous job and my boss is very good about keeping me busy. She’s given me tons of “decks” to read (a term with which I’ve recently been acquainted, referring to powerpoint presentations on one topic or another), a list of online courses to take, projects and proposals that the team is working on for me to get involved with. I’m learning a lot. And while I’m still not 100% confident of all the material I’ve been absorbing, it feels good to put my mind to work.
But in between the readings and the online courses, the proposals and the reports – there’s a whole lot of nothing.
I haven’t been very successful at being social. And while I admit I was quite shy coming in and keeping my “fraternizing” to a minimum, I really have made a conscious effort of getting to know people – especially the girls on my team. But it’s been slow and difficult. A couple of the girls weren’t excited about my stepping in and managing them – which at first they made no effort to hide – but my manager and the GM reassured them I was more than qualified for the job, so attitudes are more benign. I make it a point to get in a bit of a chat everyday so that I don’t come off as stand-off-ish or uncaring. I’ll talk to them about diets and weekend plans, movies, the Oscars – whatever nonsense I can come up with to start conversation. But the conversation ends as soon as my questions do and I feel like I’m interrogating them rather than having a two-sided discussion, so my desire to keep trying is dwindling. Don’t get me wrong, they’re quite friendly and very polite, but there’s just not a whole lot to talk about.
I’ve made some acquaintances with people in other departments (solely due to my cigarette breaks) and I’ll chat with them every now and then – but I only see them if they happen to be smoking – so again, I’m on my own for most of the day.
Lunch is the worst. Come lunch time everyone disappears into the cafeteria. I’ve joined them for lunch once or twice, but I was still very new and didn’t have much to say, so I opted for having lunch at my desk in order to avoid the awkwardness. But that backfired, because since then no one’s invited me to lunch with them (which is, I think, why the fruit fast went so well – easier to eat alone when you’re not eating much).
Honestly, I don’t talk to anyone unless it’s work related. And to be honest, it’s very lonely.
I’m used to being in a really loud, fun and family type environment where music’s always playing and people are always talking about something or other (the one thing I truly miss about advertising). I used to sit among 4 or 5 other colleagues and random conversation was always flying about. Now I’m set apart from the team and if I want to have a conversation, I have to physically get up in order to see them and join in on whatever they’re discussing (I can hear them – there’s no door between us – just can’t see all of them). And I do it every now and then, but I also feel like I’m eavesdropping – so then I just keep my thoughts to myself.
Anyway, not sure where I’m going with this. I appreciate that a few people will be reading this and I’ll feel less alone. Maybe I should learn to actually function alone. Or maybe I should break out of this self-consciousness (which will be the death of me, I swear) and just get a little nosier and pushier with everyone. I just hope that it’s not this boring throughout the rest of my time here. 9 hours is a long time to spend in silence.