It’s so hard to invite people into our lives. We fear we will be judged.
We often wonder, “Will they find out just how weird I am and run away, or will they embrace it because they are uniquely weird in their own way, too?”
“Will they look down their noses at us for not having our lives perfectly in order, or will they take our hands as we try to figure this thing called life out together?”
There are so many unknowns when you meet someone for the first time.
I will never forget being new to my current job and feeling like I was being examined under a microscope. They were watching me to see how I’d fit in with the flow of the office and with the families we serve, and I was testing the waters to see how I’d like it also being new to the industry.
It is hard being new to any industry, I’ll admit. Some welcomed me with open arms and helped me learn the trade. Others snubbed me, talked down to me, and just treated me poorly because they were friends with the lady that left this position. While it was her choice to leave, it afforded me the opportunity to take charge and run this office in an orderly fashion; something it was lacking before. My boss even had to call one person down with how they were speaking to me because it was anything but professional. I totally “get” the loyalty they felt toward the lady that held this position previously. They felt justified in their ill-treatment of me, yet they never gave me a chance to prove myself before automatically assuming I couldn’t possibly excel in this position.
But you know what? I have.
Everything I have learned, I have had to learn the hard way. There wasn’t a manual to go by, no clear-cut instructions left behind so I could fall right into this position fully equipped. Nope. I had to re-invent the wheel. But I did it.
There was one gentleman that made me extremely nervous, though. He came into my office one day, chewing on a tooth pick, as he turned a swivel chair around in front of my desk facing the window. As he plopped down I thought, “Oh great, I’m being evaluated again. I wonder if he plans on mistreating me, too, just because I’m so new.” The entire time he sat there, I was nervously anticipating something that never happened. Instead of being mean to me, he actually kept me company when I was alone in the office that day. Much to my surprise, he seemed to be looking out for me by not allowing me to be by myself in the office, just in case someone came in off the street to cause me harm.
Do you know what happened as a result of that “evaluation?” This gentleman and I became friends. We have to work so close together as it is, so it definitely makes it more pleasant not to be at odds with each other. We’ve invited the other to take a glimpse into our lives. We took what could have been an uncomfortable situation and turned it into a positive working relationship. He still teases me relentlessly now, but I give it right back to him.
Now after a year and a half, I think I have proven myself, to those that truly matter anyway. And I’m thankful for the coworkers who have turned into great friends.