A year ago I was a pile of nerves driving up to my first day at my new job. I’m not kidding, before leaving my house, I was crying wishing I didn’t have to go back to work. Yeah, I loved being unemployed simply for the fact I got to hang out with my dog. Otherwise, I wanted a job so badly, but when the day finally came to go to work, I was dreading it.
As many know, I desperately want people to like me. It’s probably super unhealthy and I should go to therapy, but here we are instead, writing about it. After my first day of work, I went home and told my parents (yes, I was living at my parents house at the time), “Okay, I like these people, I hope they like me too.” And as typical supportive parents, they say, “they probably won’t, but keep dreaming.” (I’M KIDDING! My parents are truly the most wonderful people and love me endlessly and always build me up, even when being super sarcastic).
Honestly though, I didn’t feel hopeful. I was back in Minnesota and the first time I moved here it took me two years to find actual friends. So, instead of holding out too much hope, I would go to work, do my job, talk whenever someone approached me, and then went home. At least, that’s how I remember it. With my need for people to like me I’m sure it’s a little different.
One person in particular, Abby, would always chat with me. She would come by my desk and ask if I was drowning in trainings yet or see how I was doing in general. It meant a lot to me. She was someone I quickly looked up to and strived to be like in the office.
One day, I was working on a training at my desk, when I overhear my team talking about going to an escape room. Abby was figuring out who all was going to go and who still needed to pay for it. I kept to myself, figuring since I was so new, I wouldn’t be invited.
“Hey, we talked about going to an escape room before you were a little sparkle in our eyes and I was wondering if you’d like to join us? We’re going in two weeks!”
I pretended to look at my calendar like I might have plans (haha, fat chance), and responded with, “I’ll let you know, I just need to check one thing!”
Abby smiled, said sounds good, let me know as soon as you can! And walked back to her desk. I quickly texted my family text group and said, “OMG. Someone at work invited me to go with the team to an escape room! Should I go??”
The answer was unanimously yes.
I quickly (and eagerly) walked over to Abby’s desk and told her I would be there. She seemed genuinely excited.
Before the escape room, we met for drinks. Did I get lost on my way to get drinks? Yes. Did I tell everyone I got lost on my way to get drinks? Yes. Are we surprised by any of this? No.
I sat in my car a minute before going to the escape room, because I was genuinely nervous about spending the next hour locked in a room with people who barely knew me. I’m competitive and didn’t want that side to show to my new coworkers (seriously, it’s not cute). Then, my coworker Amy pulled up behind my car and we walked in together.
“Jess and I were talking and we really think you fit well with the team. We’re glad you’re here.”
I wasn’t sure if these people would only be work friends. Being in a situation where you’re the new girl, it feels like you’ll never make progress with these people. Yet, as I sit here a year later, I look back on the girl who was so unsure, scared, and meek, and I have one person to thank…Abby.
Throughout this year she was a confidant, cheerleader, sounding board, and friend to me. Without her initially inviting me to hang out with the team, I don’t know where I’d be. I always tell her she was the first person (who wasn’t my boss) who made me feel welcome at the office.
And while Abby was probably my first true friend in the office, I now have many friends who I also get to work with. I’m fortunate.
Thanks for reading,
P.S. I asked my friend Abby what I should blog about today and she said her, so here we are.
P.P.S. No, my wonderful friends reading this, I won’t write about all of our stories just yet. I love you all. I promise I’ll ask you what I should blog about next.