Tales from the Office: Look around you and see if someone's getting left out.

@boiboing (12517)
Northampton, England
November 20, 2015 5:12am CST
A couple of weeks ago in the office I was talking to one of the temps who has been helping out on a big admin task. I don't work in her field at all and I'd previously only really spoken to her to ask her to "PLEASE - BEFORE I GO TOTALLY INSANE - STOP USING THE SHREDDER". Poor woman didn't realise that 100 feet away it sounded like someone was killing a herd of mice. Anyway, let's say we weren't exactly best buddies and I'd not had much to do with her. But she sits near the coffee machine and I'm an affable sort so I started chatting to her whilst I waited for the machine to dispense my dark brown vaguely-coffee-like-beverage. After that I'd have a brief chat whenever I was passing. She subsequently told me that she'd got a new job and was leaving within a few days. On my last day in the office before she went, I dropped by to wish her well and she had a mini-meltdown. She told me that she'd been with us for nearly 4 months, and that all the people in her 'department' had just totally ignored her. They never spoke to her, never invited her to go to the canteen with her and just acted like she wasn't there. I thought it was really sad and said I was really sorry that she'd been treated so badly. About half an hour later, she appeared at my desk to thank me and to tell me that in the whole time she'd been there, I was the only person who'd ever treated her like a human being. I really didn't think I deserved much thanks for the odd little chat as I passed but she made it clear that it had meant a lot to her and that she was leaving with a pretty bad impression of most of the company but I'd been nice to her and she was grateful. It made me stop and think. It had been so little effort for me but TOO MUCH effort for her direct colleagues. I also thought about how utterly miserable it must have been for her to sit there all that time being treated like a piece of furniture. So the moral of the story - if there is one - is to please look around you and see if someone is getting left out. Don't assume that they don't want to be invited to go to the canteen or they don't want to talk about the weather or the lousy coffee. Give it a try. A tiny effort on your part might be the difference between someone having a totally lousy day and one in which they realise that somebody noticed they were there.
10 people like this
8 responses
@MALUSE (40182)
• Germany
20 Nov 15
Is it something you could talk about to the colleagues who overlooked her? They may not have done it out of spite and may be open for some hints on how to treat newbies.
1 person likes this
@katsmeow1213 (29047)
• United States
20 Nov 15
Is a canteen a bar? I work in a very small branch, we have a total of about 12 employees. Nobody ever really gets overlooked because of how small we are. There are a few people who don't really chit chat with anyone, they're pleasant and friendly but just don't chit chat. But there are others who make it a point to say good morning to everyone every single day, even if they don't come out of their office until after lunch they say hello to you.
@boiboing (12517)
• Northampton, England
20 Nov 15
Canteen = staff restaurant.
• United States
20 Nov 15
@boiboing Ah, ok. We might call that a cafeteria. I don't have one of those, just a small break room with a fridge.
@Jessicalynnt (47872)
• Centralia, Missouri
20 Nov 15
very true, I'm often on the left out side, it's not a fun place to be.
@boiboing (12517)
• Northampton, England
20 Nov 15
I'm sorry to read that. It must be very uncomfortable. You don't need people to take you home and make you dinner or godmother to their kids. You just want them to notice that you're there and treat you as a human being.
2 people like this
• Centralia, Missouri
20 Nov 15
@boiboing exactly. I don't expect to turn into everyone's best friend, but being included instead of omitted would go a long way
1 person likes this
@Missmwngi (9850)
• Nairobi, Kenya
20 Nov 15
Waoh you did good talking to her and i feel sorry for her. I hope where she went she will find the likes of you who can talk to her
@boiboing (12517)
• Northampton, England
20 Nov 15
I hope so too. I felt terrible that she'd had such a miserable time.
1 person likes this
@jstory07 (67126)
• Roseburg, Oregon
21 Nov 15
We should care about everyone that we work with.
20 Nov 15
so true! it's so easy to assume someone is fine. and it's often hard to make the first move
• United States
20 Nov 15
There is always office politics so to speak and sometimes the quiet ones need to learn to speak up of just as she found, they get swept under the rug. My last job was just myself and my boss in the office and usually just me..I loved it - no office politics to deal with.
@TRBRocks420 (77600)
• Banks, Oregon
20 Nov 15
I couldn't agree more, a smile and, a kind word goes a long way in this world, it can be a rare thing sometimes.