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Not appreciated

September 24, 2018

Lately, I’ve been thinking about how much I am (or am not) appreciated at work. Forever, I have made a point to try to help people feel appreciated. Getting everyone to sign birthday cards, for example, maybe little parties. But as I’ve spent more time here, realizing that nobody is arranging anything for me in return, I’ve found myself spending less and less time doing that kind of thing. And even feeling bitter when anyone gets things organized for them.

I think this really came to a head when I had a milestone birthday and there was not even a peep at work about it. I even got an unusual call to go to talk to someone about something on the Friday before the day, making me wonder if it was their way of starting a surprise party. But it was a genuine request to talk to someone about something. At that point, I did make it known to my boss that this was disappointing. At the time, other people explained that my milestone 40th birthday “wasn’t that important”, vs. other people’s 50ths or 60ths or 65ths. Which I think is total bullshit, since everyone knows 40th birthday is the midlife crisis point. From the point of view of needing approval in the workplace, it’s really the biggest one.

The fallout to that is that everyone was asked to contribute a significant sum of money to a pot for celebrations. Of course I was part of the donors. So now we have stuff. 40th birthdays. Pre-wedding celebrations. Pre-baby celebrations. Someone recently got a really nice necklace for their 40th. Theoretically, I’m happy this is now happening. But at the same time, I have more and more, “wait a minute!” moments, when I’m being reminded that nobody did jack shit for my wedding or my baby. (OK not entirely true, since I did get a really nice bouquet of flowers sent to my house after I had the baby.)

But it still burns. Because I got nothing. But now I have to give and give and give, and act happy about it. And I don’t feel like that. Because it keeps reminding me how nobody showed me appreciation in those ways. Despite my biggest life milestones in the last few years, there’s actually been no celebrations whatsoever for me. And now there are no more milestones for me for another decade. Maybe everyone will forget about doing stuff for people again by then.

So it makes me feel indignant. And it also makes me wonder what I’m doing, compared to those other people, that make me less likeable. What drives people to NOT want to organize stuff for me? What drives people to not think, “Oh hey, you know what she would really like? A little celebration! And I like her enough to bother!” Which makes me sad.

More than titles and pay and accomplishments, I really just want to be liked. I’m certainly not the most outgoing, but I also don’t think I’m a total social dunce. I also don’t think I’m generally a bad person. At least I always try to do the right thing. I help people when I can. And yeah, I just really want to be liked. We spend so much of our waking lives and mental energies on work. It’s a nice thing when work decides to send over a little appreciation.