Fitting in


When you break it down to the basic components, work can be a lot like high school. There are groups and cliques and you have to try to fit in to one or all of them. But what happens when you don't seem to fit in anywhere?

Sometimes the thing that separates you is your gender. One of the people interviewed for this article, Vicky Oliver, author of "Bad Bosses, Crazy Co-workers and Other Office Idiots" relates how she worked at an ad firm where most of the people there were men who had been in the business for a long time.

Her advice? "The trick is to accept that maybe you won't be let in to every single social activity -- I don't recall ever being invited for a beer after work - but hopefully, for the things that really matter, your input as an outsider will be appreciated. You are like a tiny focus group of one."

Other times it may not be the people around you, but your own attitude that is alienating you. Look at the people you don't like or that you perceive do not like you. Is there a pattern there? If there is, maybe you have some kind of prejudice towards one kind of group without even realizing it.

And, when all else fails, sometimes you just have to accept that you will just not be liked by all people all the time. Sometimes if you try too hard to get everyone to like you, you end up being liked by less people than had you just accepted things as they were.

The writer of the article also gives tips of things you can do to at least make yourself liked a little bit more than you might be now. By recognizing these patterns and making changes, you might be able to make that lunch time or your hours in the cubicle, at least a little more bearable and less lonely.