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Feeling Isolated.

10 June 2013

Am I fitting in? I don’t know. I’m not sure I know how to discern it. We got our new operating plan for the new fiscal year today. MECMC is an academic medical center, so our fiscal year mimics the academic year. i.e., July 1 – June 30. There was, apparently, a massive shakeup in people’s work assignments. I mean, I can tell there was a big shakeup, but it was apparently also unprecedented. I can’t really tell the mood. I’m not good at taking those kinds of temperatures.

I hope I’m fitting in. But I don’t do things that I feel like someone who’s fitting in would do. I don’t eat with my coworkers. The ones I get along with and have conversations with are older than me. I’ve always fit in with the older crowd. People my own age have always been… cooler than me. I don’t know how to be the right kind of social. No one has ever accused me of being cool or socially adept. Every once in a while I’ll be a part of a gathering or group that feels comfortable and I feel like I fit in. I’ll participate and have fun. Those are the times that I usually find out later that I was a total asshole without realizing it.

So at work, I’ve been trying to be low-key and low-profile. This has resulted in my not really getting to know anyone. And people here don’t eat together anyway. Everyone works all the time. I’m not like that. I like to chat and take breaks and have lunch. I can’t concentrate on coding 8 straight hours. I usually have a problem that I can’t solve, something like that. It takes time for it to percolate from my subconscious to my fingertips, where I can turn it into code. And I’m lazy. Always have been.

But I wonder if I’ve made mis-steps that have resulted in my coworkers not really being interested in getting to know me. Have I talked too much about academics? Have I insinuated that an academic calling is “better” somehow than what they do? I know I have a tendency to come off as arrogant. I don’t mean to, truly. But I have a way of submitting my opinion as if it is fact that can seem to some to be insufferable, I know. To others, it comes off as confidence. To many, I think, it comes off as compensating for insecurity, which is probably closest to the truth. I work hard at not doing it. But it’s a habit I formed in childhood that’s easy to fall back into before I’m thinking about it.

I’m working reasonably hard though, and I feel like I’m making basic accomplishments that will speak well of me. But I don’t feel like I’m really connecting with the people. We’ll see. I’m lobbying for a short course in Boston in August. Hopefully several people will be able to go and that’ll be a good chance to meet people in a different context. In the meantime, I’m feeling like I don’t really know anyone here. I have met some AA people. And some work people. But I don’t really do anything with either group outside of meetings and work. I don’t know how to make friends, really.

But things are all right. I’ll make friends. I’m just a little outside of my comfort zone. I know it takes time. Things will grow. I just hope that I can deliver in the environment I’m in. And I’m nervous about it. It’s ok. I’m allowed to be nervous. I just need to let it inspire me, rather than paralyze me.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Syd permalink
    10 June 2013 12:40

    So do your colleagues get together after work for a pizza or something like that? Or perhaps you could invite a few of them out for coffee or hang with some in your AA group? It does take putting ourselves out there for others to get to know us. I tend to be introverted so it is difficult but not undoable.

  2. 10 June 2013 14:01

    I would recommend to maybe meet up with coworkers for coffee in the afternoon or morning instead of lunch. Maybe that would be something they are more comfortable with? I know that it seems to be the thing for me, since everyone takes lunches at different time and/or work through lunch. coffee breaks work better.

  3. 11 June 2013 08:57

    I’d give it some time. Watch the flow – where I work the talking points are the “tea points” (how English is that!!!) people go there to make themselves a tea or coffee (if you can decipher the wall chart of instructions on how to use the Espresso maker – I stick to instant so as not to embarrass myself! I found by judiciously going there when there was a gathering – 8:30am, 10:45am and 3:00pm seemed to be the time. That was how I just conversed through small talk. I wouldn’t say that of my current co-workers there is really anyone that I’d class as a long term friendship – maybe that will come maybe not. There is a burritto club but I didn’t join that but was asked after a while which was at least nice.

    As often said to me at times “go with the flow” hopefully it’ll come out well in the end.

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