What would Wilf do?
I started working a new job two months ago. It’s a local one in my home town. I worked hard to get the jump on the summer rush for jobs by starting in April and commuting between exam period. But after a month of working here, all the employees from last summer have come back and I’m beginning to feel like the new girl more than ever. Maybe I’m being paranoid, but I feel like they all know that I’m the weakest link at work. I can feel them giving each other looks when I do something that is not the way they normally do things. I am trying to get on everyone’s good side, I always bring in extra coffee or even booster juice for the other girls that are working, but it doesn’t seem to change much. I like my job, but feeling like I’m constantly getting disapproving looks just makes me want to quit.
What would Wilf do?
The New Girl
I reckon we go back to basics: the purpose and expectations of your job. No doubt about it, when you applied for this job, your main focus was to earn cash and dash — with the bonus of establishing a few friendships. The return of the employees from the previous summer has, alas, left you under the impression that you’re being stigmatized. However, there are plenty of advantages with being the “new girl” — you just haven’t thought of it yet.
To them, you are a mystery. To you, they are distinctive. The commonality between you and “them” is the fact that you’re all qualified to work there — you weren’t hired fortuitously. With that said, there is no reason why you should feel as if you are the weakest link. But, with that said, the fact that you’re already assuming that you’re the weakest link is most likely why you feel so paranoid and isolated. Basically, you’re selling yourself short and probably to your co-workers as well. It sounds as if you’re prematurely reacting based on your own perceptions — assuming you’re the underdog and trying to win their approval by bringing in extra coffee. Indeed, you’re being thoughtful, but for all the wrong reasons. You don’t need the validation of anyone except your boss.
Begin to take control of the situation instead of letting the situation control you; go outside your comfort zone. The best bet is to be proactive among your co-workers, ask questions and offer help if you feel as if they need it. Give them what you have to offer a co-worker before you try and offer yourself as a friend. Most importantly, focus on being the best employee you can be — it leaves your co-workers no choice but to respect you. After all, tough love breeds champions.
All the best,
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WWWD responses are contributed by various Life staff writers, the Managing Editor Katie Flood and other individuals from The Cord Editorial Board.