How To Be Weird (And Other Workplace Dilemmas)

As I may have mentioned, I recently moved to the Portland area and have been searching for a new job. But what I have not yet mentioned is that after a month and a half of sending out my resume and starting to seriously consider becoming a professional dog walker, I FINALLY FOUND ONE.

That’s right, folks, on Tuesday I will be officially re-inducted into the American workforce, and the job will not involve leashes or inside-out plastic bags. Hold your applause, please.

This two-month stretch of being jobless has been simultaneously relaxing and stressful, luxurious and terrifying… it is bittersweet to have it come to an end, but I am ultimately hugely relieved to have a reason to set the alarm in the morning again. Inertia isn’t a good look on me.

However, there is one aspect of my re-employment that has me a little squeamish… and that’s the fact that new job = new people.

Having to introduce yourself to new people is scary. Which might be why in the days leading up to my first day of work, I am having high school-type nightmares. What if I trip? What if I call someone by the wrong name? WHAT IF I FORGET TO WEAR PANTS?!

And the thing about meeting new people is just that that: they are new people. I’ve maintained the exact same group of friends since I was 12 – partially because they are the best group of people on planet earth and certainlybetter than any stinking NEW group of friends – but also because I am a weird human being, and my weirdness matches with their weirdness. And that’s a rare find.

With new people I can’t guarantee that my weirdness will match anybody else’s. In fact, I can’t even be sure that these people will be weird at all. We can go ahead and add that to my growing list of concerns: WHAT IF NOBODY’S WEIRD?!

So I guess to be safe I have to hide my weirdness, initially. Which is a feat all in itself. I imagine I will develop a lump in my throat after spending all day swallowing the stupid jokes that try to bubble up in my esophagus. If, in the middle of a conversation, someone pauses and says, “But um…” I will have to resist the urge to make a “TSSSSSSS!” noise and pretend to clang an invisible cymbal on my imaginary drum set. (Because if I do, I will inevitably have to follow it with, “Get it? ‘Baddum, TSSS!’ Like a punchline!” And the moment you have to explain it, you’re already past the point of no return. You’ve become THAT COWORKER, now. Congratulations.)

I won’t be able to keep it up forever, though. All that weirdness will be building up inside me, spring-loaded and ready to pop. And if I don’t let it out then one day I’ll just explode and shower everyone in a ten-foot radius with bad knock-knock jokes and obscure movie references.

So in the coming weeks, I will have to let it out gradually. Little by little, I will try my weirdness out on people somewhat haphazardly – like throwing spaghetti noodles on the wall to see what sticks. And it won’t take much! All I need is maybe ONE person who can quote Anchorman on a conversational basis. Or just ONE person who can discuss the Oxford comma and its unquestionable necessity in the English grammar landscape. Or, hell, just let there be one diehard Harry Potter fan in the office and I’ll be happy. (Cuz then I can incorporate Harry Potter-related advice into regular workplace dilemmas: If they’re complaining about the boss I can say “Well, you know what Dumbledore always says… ‘Perhaps those who are best suited for power are those who have never sought it.’” Or, “You know what Sirius would say, ‘If you want to know what a man’s like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.’” …Come to think of it, I’m kinda rooting for the Harry Potter thing. Let’s make thathappen, universe.)

Anyway, I hope to god that my coworkers are even a little bit weird. Cuz if they’re not I’m not sure I’ll be able to survive… and I might have to resort to dog-walking after all. (Because then I could tell them to bark twice if they’re in Milwaukee. And that’s sure to get a lot of laughs.)

5 thoughts on “How To Be Weird (And Other Workplace Dilemmas)

  1. “We’re all a little weird. And life is a little weird. And when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall into mutually satisfying weirdness—and call it love—true love.” Robert Fulghum
    Congrats on the new job. You didn't say what you would be doing (except not dog walking)

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