2 Issues: Invisible at Work & Feel like a "Debbie Downer"

Updated on October 27, 2010
C.N. asks from North Tonawanda, NY
7 answers

I need to vent a little here and hopefully not feel so alone in this situation. I work part-time for a company and really like my boss as he's super accommodating with my schedule. I work 3 days/week and the days can change depending on dr. appts etc (or if there's a special meeting which I need to attend on a day I'm normally off). I started as a temp. and they found me a PT position helping the business Mgr and HR dept. The work-load is also pretty easy and there is a lot of downtime (which I try to hide from others so as not to piss off anyone). Sometimes I just feel useless or invisible here. There are times I bristle (internally only) when they give me menial tasks but how can I complain when they pay me $x to stuff envelopes? I used to run payroll at my last job but this job is def. different and my tasks are generally supportive and yes, menial. I keep telling myself that they hired me for this and if they wanted more they'd ask. I do have a lot on my plate at home so I really like having a job that I can leave at the end of the day! I’m having a tough time right now: taking care of my 2 children & everything around the house and a husband out on workers comp with no idea when he’ll be able to have surgery and get back to school & eventually work. Our lives are almost on hold right now for the past year & it’s terribly upsetting. To top it off I apparently have some issues with a few women in the company. You'd think that with my limited schedule that I could avoid gossip & b.s. but apparently I can't. Well since I returned from maternity leave I am out of the loop with any of the things that are going on. The other day some women were whispering in the kitchen and shut-up as soon as I walked in. I tell myself that I don't need drama and I should just be happy to stay out of it but I feel ignored too. I tried befriending another working mom once I started here but we're WAY too different and so I distanced myself from her. She never wanted to get personal and seemed to only discuss shopping and vacations (something on my lower income I cannot indulge). She likes to be superficial so now it's basically just "hi" and "goodnight". Another girl wanted to hang out outside of work. We did that twice with our husbands but then it completely fizzled and she only communicates via text and a quick (rare) chat in the hall.
So boo-hoo not only am I unfulfilled in my job but I feel like an outcast socially. The holiday dinner party is coming up and I wish I could skip it. Last year I did because I was super sick in my 1st trimester so this year I feel like I have to go.
Thanks for listening to me whine!

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answers from Chicago on

It's okay to vent, that is what we are here for! :-)
Work is work. Your real life is when you get home, being with your family and friends. Sounds like you have a lot of immature people who work with you, as well as people who are just not like you in personality. There are many other places you can befriend people. Try joining a M.'s group (there are even groups for working mamas) at www.meetup.com, or at a class or volunteer service. Believe me, it seems that way, but there ARE a lot of moms out there just like you, who want to meet other moms but are often shunned and left lonely.
I also work, but full time. When my daughter was younger, I also tried meeting people at my work and it just didnt' work. My coworkers are nice, but they just were not people I'd hang out with if I met them on the street or something. I've joined some moms' groups since then, met some nice people, but I still feel lonely and wish I could meet more moms. However, like you, I am grateful for my job, which is light and allows me to get home to my little pumpkin by 4:30 pm daily, no nights/weekends.

It's not my ideal job, but like you, I am at a point in my life where my home/family life is more important than what I do at my job. I could go for a higher paying job with better coworkers; it would mean longer hours and more stress. But now is not the time. Now, to me, is spending time with my daughter and husband.

As long as I have my job, my benefits, and flexible schedule, that's enough for me, as for you.I wish I had more friends at work to keep me occupied during down time, but heck, they are just not my type; my REAL friends lie elsewhere.
We can't change the way others behave; we can only change ourselves. So in your case, do what you're doing! :-D Continue to be happy about your job, shrug off those superficial/immature coworkers, and be assured, that your REAL life begins the moment you get home and are surrounded by real people and family who mean to you. :-)
And screw that party -- why go to a party where you don't feel welcome and part of the team? Time is a precious, indispensible factor to you, and spending time with people who mistreat you is unecessary.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

I would keep out of workplace drama and find friends elsewhere. There is a chance they weren't talking about you but even if they were who cares, do your job and go home. Look into local moms groups to find friendship.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boise on

I know how you feel with the invisible part. Luckily, we work for the money, and not the friendships. I am always hearing about how so and so went to Sally's over the weekend and they had a cookout, etc. but I am never invited. I try to let that part of it roll off my back and just get the work done.

As far as the work, it sounds like you aren't challenged, and you are right, you were paid for the menial things, but in your "downtime", you could ask your boss if there is anything that you can help with since you have some time. You probably don't want to hear it, but will have to suck it up to keep the job and the money coming in, and when your husband is back on his feet, maybe you can look into more of a career. Besides, be greatful that it allows you to deal with family, etc.

Update: I hope that "suck it up" doesn't come across the wrong way, my brain just isn't coming up with a different way to say that.

Also, I usually want to skip the xmas parties too, as I just don't have much in common, but it is one of the duties. :(

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Oh, My heart goes out to you and believe it's not a whine. It's real feelings. And right now, sounds like you aren't being appreciated at home necessarily, and aren't getting validated at work. Hopefully, these feelings will pass for you soon. If they persist, talk to your doctor. Try to connect with a good church if you haven't one... one with child care so you can attend adult service and/or a mom's group would help. Be of Good Cheer!



answers from Kansas City on

I rarely socialize with people from work. I love them while I'm at work and they are a really awesome group of people, but that's where it ends. I have no patience for drama and gossip, so I don't put myself out there. If I walk in a room and it goes silent, I'll say something like "Oops, sorry to interrupt, looks like a private conversation" and leave.

If you need to connect to you coworkers, use your downtime to their advantage- go up to one of them that looks overwhelmed and say "I have 20 minutes to spare before I need to be back at my desk- do you need help with anything?" Even if all you do is go make copies for them, you can establish yourself as friendly and trustworthy. If you are consistent, you may be able to move up to more challenging jobs.

Finally, you are under no obligation at all to attend an office party. You can say "such a bummer- we can't make it on that date, we have a prior committment." Even if that committment is sitting in your jammies in front of the TV, you don't have to give anyone any excuses.

Are you in a position to job hunt? It looks like you are torn about what to do. An easy job is nice, but it's also nice to be challenged. Sounds like you have so much on your plate right now... Hopefully, this will be a short-lived thing and once your husband is back on his feet, things will improve.

Good luck, I hope things work out for you!


answers from Dallas on

Do a little soul searching? You sound bored at this job, plus the social side sounds upsetting. What do you really want?

If you want to try to make the job work then instead of "hiding" when you have down time, start asking people how you can help them. You won't be bored, and the other workers might get to know you better.

Otherwise, why not start thinking about what you might rather be doing, and start looking around.



answers from New York on

I love you post and your vent. We all go through this at some point in our work lives. I find that for me and my friends that have had this experience it came with working a job and not a career. It is great that you like your boss but that is not the paramount thing. The most important thing at any job is doing the best job you can do and collecting your check and collecting the check is the distant second. If you are doing your best job and find that you have too much down time you can take one of two routes with this situation. You can ask your boss for additional things to do or create additional things for you to do. You may even consider taking some classes in something you are passionate about. If you have a paper for class to do you could ask your boss if you could work on it at your workplace only if the class has some direct link to the work you do there.

Make friends else where because these women don't sound like the kind that would make good friends for you anyway. I have great friends at my church and other social groups I belong to.

What are you passionate about and is there any way you could turn your passion into income? Hang in there because this too will pass.

You may even consider changing jobs but that will come with some risk and challenges along the way but while you are there do your very best at what you do and pay no attention to those women. They have no life and you have one so live it up.

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