Awkward Office Interactions and Why I Have Toned Legs

stairs

I like my quiet time. Small talk is incredibly stressful for me. I’m so bad at it that I used to take notes about potential topics to talk about in case I had to chat with someone in the elevator. Otherwise, I’m not much of a spontaneous conversationalist.

stairs 2

I eventually read in some magazine article about workplace etiquette that it’s actually okay to not have conversations in the elevator. A smile, nod, or hello would suffice in most situations.

stairs 4

My dad is sort of the same way. After showing up at family gatherings and saying hello to everyone, he sneaks out and takes a nap in the car. He’s a really nice guy and always means well, but he’s a little awkward when it comes to socializing.

stairs 5

I do try to be more social though. I’ve been to the office parties. I try to mingle.

stairs 6

I’ve even managed to become friends with a coworker working with a different team in the 8th floor.

stairs 7

But that entire team was eventually laid off soon after the corporation was purchased by a private equity firm.

Last I heard from her, she got a divorce, had full custody of Muffin, and met someone at Burning Man.

Oh, and a co-worker invited me to a wedding once. But when we came back to work, I was told to be quiet about it because it turns out, another teammate wasn’t invited.

stairs 8

Well it was “weird” because she knew about it anyway.

I do know what it feels like to be in the position of not being invited. I understand that not everyone can, or has to be included in a gathering, and that’s absolutely fine.

stairs 9

It feels awkward though.

stairs 10

All the mental and social gymnastics of wanting to be accepted can be taxing, regardless of the setting. I understand that we need to connect. I just wish it were easier.

Awkward office interactions aside, I do appreciate the solitude of climbing the stairs to get the topmost floor so early in the morning. It can be meditative when it’s dead quiet in the stairwell, and all I hear are faint echoes, my heart racing, the strained grunts as I attempt the last few steps to the top, before having to put on a much more agreeable face.

stairs 11

When Working Hard Means More Work

Work 1

You often stay late nights while the rest of the team heads out. Sometimes you stay until 2am.

Work 2

You try to do the nice thing by sacrificing your own time and money, thinking that you’re helping others.

Work 3

You think that by going to work sick, this would impress your managers. Your co-workers find this annoying, and they avoid talking to you directly because you could get them sick. The stress has taken a toll on your health. The doctor says your blood pressure readings are scary, and your days are plagued with migraines.

Work 4

Despite your sacrifices, and other’s sacrifices, people are still let go, and THEIR work is added to your plate.

Work 5

Every once in a while, they’ll dangle the carrot a little bit closer to keep you on your toes.
Work 6

It takes a toll on your relationship. The stress builds up. You go from having sex several times a week, to once a month, to none a month.

Work 7

It always feels good when you excel in your work, and you see the company is making money due to everyone’s efforts. You also hope that you’ll see a bit of that trickle down into your pockets.

Work 8

 

You’ve become bitter and resentful. You see how little they value you and others. How little they value their own product and customers by pushing things to be made cheaper and cheaper, lessening the quality of goods. You wonder how much harder you’d have to work. Lip service and promises don’t pay the mortgage.

You eventually give your two weeks. And you wonder if you did the right thing. But despite that, you feel better about yourself.

Work 9

As soon as you hand in your notice, the company brings in a temporary worker to do all the work you’ve been doing, for less money, and zero benefits. She will work hard, hoping that she at the very least gets a full time position.