There are many ways in which I do not fit in at work: culturally; religiously; age-wise; possibly (probably) politically, at least insofar as upper management is concerned. This is not to say I want them to be carbon copies of me, because that would be dull (I can talk to myself anytime 😉 ), but on the other hand, sticking out like a sore thumb can get old. It’s like this…
A plurality, if not majority, of the employees are of the same ethnic heritage — and I’ve stopped eating lunch in the lunchroom on my floor because when I did, the head honcho was prone to remarking that I could make healthier eating choices (hello, I know what I’m eating, please don’t talk to me like I’m five)…when he wasn’t insisting I join the table where he sat with a couple of other management-level folks, and once I’d done so, proceeded to have a conversation in their home language, which they know I don’t speak.
And there’s the fact there’s a notice up in one of the lunchrooms about weekly Bible study, although several of the people I know were in it when I started working there aren’t with the company anymore, so I don’t know if the group is as populous as it once was. Never seen anything about anyone attempting to start a secular humanist group…
I’m older than most of the rest of the staff. And probably a third of upper management. I go to Burning Man, something a lot of the younger people think is awesome (it is 🙂 ), but I’ve never tried to explain it to my supervisors except to say it’s a huge arts festival in the middle of the Nevada desert. True, as far as it goes, and yet I think additional explanations would not be…expedient. I have a tattoo, and am planning on another, but I won’t wear anything sleeveless. That would show my tattoo (both of them, when I get the other), and I’d like to avoid experiencing for myself something one of the guys in shipping, the only one with visible ink at the time I got my first one, described: the head honcho walking up to him one day, taking him by the arm, gesturing to his tattoos and asking, “So when are you having these removed?”
I think avoiding the chance for me to be asked that question and replying, “Probably when hell freezes over,” is a good idea.
So, yes, I like my coworkers but I do not feel simpatico with most of them. If there’s socializing after work, I don’t hear about it, and I’m so out of the habit of lunch at this point that I enjoy catching up on my reading at my computer when everyone else in my department is gone.
On the other hand, I’ve gotten a raise every year, and though it’s true I’m making only a bit more than half what I made when I worked in the financial industry (very back-office: cost center, not profit center), I’m getting paid a fair wage to do work I enjoy and am good at. Nothing to sneeze at, considering the number of people who are unemployed or underemployed.
Beats the homeless shelter by a damned sight. Trust me on this one.
The reason this came up is that my department head took me out to lunch today to thank me for my work. (Last year, he took the whole team out for something a little bigger, but this seems to be the year of smaller individual thank-yous. I still appreciate it.) One of the things I do is proof his emails before he sends them out, English not being his first language, and he really appreciates it — and he rarely has to ask me to rewrite something because I misunderstood what he was trying to say. Yay me for getting to put at least a little bit of the editorial side of my talents to work!
Therefore, today I am grateful for my job: it got me out of the shelter, gave me something infinitely more interesting to do with my time than what I did when I was homeless and, of course, gives me the wherewithal to do things like rent a car now and then, and go to Burning Man.
Also: tasty lunch leftovers for dinner? A good thing. 😉