Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about feeling unwanted: Then the girl put in charge of training me seemed from the outset to not want to have anything to do with me.
I recently started a new job and both my supervisor and the girl put in charge of training me are much younger. From the very first, the supervisor, whom I had not met, did not introduce me, and I introduced myself to most people. Then the girl put in charge of training me seemed from the outset to not want to have anything to do with me. What do I do?
Signed, Feel Unwanted
Dear Feel Unwanted:
Unfortunately, some supervisors and trainers fail to make new hires feel welcome. You have choices before you: to suck in the “I don’t feel like I’m wanted” feeling and be a cheerful friendly soul yourself. Or you can candidly, but honestly, say to them that you don’t feel like you’re welcome and ask if they have suggestions about what you might do to fit in. Or you can gossip about this feeling with coworkers, dicing supervisor and trainer’s behavior. Or remain mum about your feelings at work but talk about them with family and friends. Or allow this feeling to escalate and force you to flee.
You might think of other options, but while doing so, realize that starting a new job is like walking into a room in which other people are engaged in conversation. It is awkward and you can stand there hoping someone will notice you and allow the feeling of being lonely swells up unless someone grabs you and invites you to join in.
You didn’t want to have to introduce yourself, but you did. That was the right thing to do. You don’t say how long you’ve been in this new job, but the feeling of not being liked has grown. There is no sure-fire answer to your question: What do I do? But, if you need work, as most of us do, map out a several actions that will mark you as a serious new hire:
1. Keep your eyes open and do more listening than talking. Be present in body and mind.
2. Soak up what is presented and demonstrate that you are there to learn. Be present in body and mind.
3. Smile. Don’t giggle. Don’t roll your eyes as though you can’t believe they are stupid; don’t allow your mind to drift. Be present in mind and attitude. Don’t fawn over anyone, but remember that how to influence almost anyone is to show them attention and a woman or man’s name is the sweetest sound in the world to her/him if spoken respectfully.
4. At breaks, you’ll be able to strike up a conversation. Don’t talk about yourself. Rather make light conversation about the weather or the news or more importantly ask questions about your company. Be present in body and mind.
5. Imagine learning your job is like learning to dance, a new dance that is not just learning new steps, but learning them well, well enough to do them with feeling. Be present in body and mind.
6. Don’t over or under dress. Follow the example of coworkers. Be neat and well groomed. Be present in body and mind.
7. See each day as giving your workplace an examination. List criteria it must pass to keep you there, such as is the work the kind that will do more than earn you a paycheck? Will it harm you psychically–hands, eyes, ears, body? Does it have potential as a career, something that offers opportunities for promotion or transfer to other jobs you might like more? Is the work meaningful and helpful to customers? Can you be present in body and mind?
Do any of these suggestions make sense? Can they shift you from obsessing about not being liked to a determination to giving your new workplace a reasonable trial? After all finding and sticking with almost any job is important to us at certain times in our lives and finding a job that you can see as a career is a process of elimination; rejecting those that you don’t want and/or being rejected by those that don’t want you.You will see that I corrected the email you sent. I don’t know if you will be expected to write well, but working on your writing is important in almost any job, so that is something that you can work on, too.
My advice is summed up by my signature sentence that echoes repeatedly in the seven steps above– Be present in body and mind. That sentence signals you can help shape and are shaped by the interactions with others: Working together with hands, head, and heart takes and makes big WEGOS. You daily presence of body and mind shapes not only your own attitude but can make those with whom you work face their day feeling good about where they work and themselves.