Straight to the point: I don't feel included at work. Here's the situation:
I've been working in the HR department of a small business for the past 9 months. I'm technically a contractor, initially hired on to do data entry for about 3 months. Instead of doing data entry, though, I was made the temporary receptionist while the main receptionist was on leave for 8 weeks. After that, the scheduler quit, so I took on that position while they looked for a replacement. I applied for that position permanently, but I didn't get it. After they hired someone else, I took on a position that I can only describe as "HR support." I filed, I organized, I performed audits on employee files, I did some data entry, little things that needed to be done.
The whole time, though, I've felt completely out of the loop. I know that, being a contractor with irregular hours and uncertain employment, I shouldn't be considered part of the "HR team." For the last 3 months, however, I've been working full-time and interacting with my coworkers on a regular basis. It's the little things, though, that really make me feel like I'm not valued as a member of the team.
Like last week when everyone (and I mean the entire office) left to go to lunch. I hadn't even realized they had left until they all came back an hour and a half later. Later that week, they all made plans to meet up for drinks after work. One coworker went around asking people whether they were going to go. Though my workspace was in plain view, I was never asked to come along. Even after I offered directions to one coworker who had no idea where the restaurant was. I've never been invited to lunch, and it's not from lack of opportunities. Maybe they just assumed I wasn't interested...?
It's true that I'm the youngest one in the office (I'm 22), but the previous scheduler (who is 21) had a good repoir with everyone in the office, even hanging out together after work, so I can't blame it on age.
It's not just personal things, either. During meetings, I'm always the one they call on to relieve the receptionist while they have HR meetings. I realize that I probably have very little to contribute to the conversation, but the receptionist isn't even part of HR! Even while I was the scheduler, I was still told to do reception (in addition to my scheduler duties) during HR meetings. When I asked why, I was told that the scheduler isn't actually a part of HR. Even though the previous scheduler was always included in the meetings. And when I was a scheduler, I had significant things to contribute to meetings, if only I was allowed to be there. A month ago, there was an "all employee meeting" that I was planning on attending. I thought I couldn't be excluded there; I AM an employee, and that's the only qualifying criteria for an invitation. When the day came, however, I was told to stay back at the office and man the phones, a job I absolutely CANNOT stand, yet I'm constantly stuck in.
I thought maybe it was because I was the newest one there (though I've been there for 9 months now), but that can't be true, either. The new scheduler, who started a few weeks ago, has had no problem becoming part of the team. She's included in everything, as she should be, but it still puzzles me as to why I'm considered so different.
Maybe I'm just taking this whole thing too personally, but I've realized this is the way things go all the time, in any situation.
If you've ever worked with contractors at work for any period of time, do you become friends with them? If their work pertains to yours, do you try to include them? Do you see them as lower on the corporate ladder, and therefore not worthy of inclusion? I realize the work I do is pretty menial and mundane, but it's the work that no one else will take the time to do and will ultimately make everyone's lives easier. So I don't know why I'm such an outsider at work. And please don't berate me for taking such a personal approach to this; no matter what I do, it will always affect me personally, and telling me I'm being stupid for thinking like this will not help me in any way. I just want to know if anyone has ever felt this way, or at least seen it from an outside perspective.