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Thread: Not part of the team at work...

  1. #1
    DakotaSkye
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    Not part of the team at work...

    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.

  2. #2
    agatha
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    I was a contractor for a foreign trade company once, and for the first three months I felt I was beneath the cleaning crew. I even had to decorate for the christmas party, while everyone else was busy with this awesomely important client, and going to meetings and complaining about how overloaded they were. then I stood up for myself and said 'hey, I'm here to do those things you guys don't have the time or the will to do. whatever you want to delegate, ends up in my lap, but there are a couple of things I must say - one, I was hired as an assistant, and I really don't think I should have spent the last week decorating, when the cleaning girls are clearly available and willing to do it. two, I was hired to help. you have been busy, and I've been sent to decoration. why do you keep paying me to do a job I'm not supposed to be doing, for 5 times more what it's worth? three: not participating in staff meetings has considerably decreased my ability to work properly with you. there's no dialogue, I don't know what you are doing, I don't have space to tune up our syncs so the job will flow as it's supposed to, I don't know what I could do to make it better. I've been working blindfolded in a soundproof cabin, it's not healthy for anyone, much less the company.'

    I said this to the boss, in a moment where we were both alone. he asked me if that was it, and all I said was 'yes sir', and left for home. next day, everybody was whispering at my back, and I was sure I'd have my ass kicked whenever mr.boss came in. quite the mistake, he actually ended up putting a big project in my hands, and things changed a lot.

    the thing is not just asking why you're not there, but stating loud and clear why you should be. at the first staff meeting after my blurt-out, one of the specialists tried to tell me that I should do the phone stuff. I just said "are we waiting anything big?" she said 'not really, but still...' I simply went past her saying "don't we have voicemail service for that?"

  3. #3
    KG
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    Agatha^^^^^
    Congrats to you. Big "cuyhonnes.!

  4. #4
    DakotaSkye
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    That's exactly how I feel. Even for the all-employee meeting, I was designated to set it up, call everyone to see whether they were coming, decorate and, even though I knew what I was doing was a big help to everyone, to end up at the last minute not being invited was kind of a let down. It was an affirmation that they didn't really see me as all that important, even though I did all of the work for them so they'd have a successful meeting. And when I'm put on the phones, I feel like I'm completely useless. There's nothing I can do at the front desk but answer phones, and I feel like that's a waste of my (and the company's) time.

    There have been a lot of changes in the company, especially in the HR department, and I've heard rumor of many budget (and job) cuts. So, being completely out of the loop, I'm apprehensive that I'll lose my job. I wouldn't be surprised or angry because I'm only a contractor and that's the way it goes, but I'd like to know if I still have a job tomorrow. I actually feel a little bad about writing this now because not two minutes after I posted it, my boss pulled me aside to talk to me about the status of my position. So in a way, they really do want me to know what's going on, but I'm always the very last to know. I had to find out who was being cut through the new scheduler who found out a week ago. I know my boss wouldn't want to give me any information that she didn't know was true, but any information is better than none, in my opinion.

  5. #5
    agatha
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    DS, I _so_ know how it feels to be in front of the stupid phones, begging them to at least ring so you won't be thinking about what's happening next door, or a couple of stairs above...

    but really, when things are tough, you gotta show you are there ten times more, the boss has to know, see and feel you _want_ to be there. go after him and ask what's going on. talk about your work, try to include him on the planning. since you have suggestions you'd like to share, take those directly to him. eventually he will see that it would be much better to have you on the meetings so everyone can share the info than to do it individually and then spread the word (this worked with a friend of mine - a less aggressive strategy if you are not as hot-blooded as I am : )

    also, if they are not inviting you, try to invite them. they probably won't accept at first, but then there's this social thing that usually goes that 'if she invited me once, I have to invite her once'. and pretend their invitation was not only out of politeness X D

    KG- yeah, I was so mad I did not even worry about being fired. it only struck me on the parking lot, when I realized I couldn't turn my car on because I was shaking from the adrenaline rush. but I never really raised my voice, just said it coldly, with a hint of despise.

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