Thursday, June 02, 2005

The New Guy.

I've started work in my new lab. It's a great place, the people are nice, the science is interesting. One issue -- I'm the new guy. God, do I hate being the new guy. It's lunchtime that's always the loneliest. I'm the type of guy that typically takes the new guy for lunch, making sure he/she feels welcome. Being the new guy, I'm dying for somebody to say, "Hey Vavoom, wanna get lunch?" Alas, my silent pleas for camaraderie are going unnoticed.

I've got a solution: I'll create an imaginary friend at work. Here's where you come in -- give me your best imaginary co-worker friend. I want all the details, male or female, smart or dumb, attractive or coyote ugly, talkative or the silent nodding type. My initial thoughts are to name my imaginary friend "Tony." It'll be great, he'll speak to me through my finger, in a deep scratchy voice and make me scrawl "Redrum" on the bathroom wall. If you haven't seen "The Shining," please watch it and report back on my Tony idea.

What do you think? Who's your ideal imaginary co-worker?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I was in elementary school, I used to have an imaginary buddy. He was just my altered ego, always sympathetic and kind. But he has not appeared in a long while now...

12:04 PM  
Blogger Hillbilly Mom said...

My ideal imaginary co-worker would save me a seat at all the faculty meetings, laugh at my jokes, and take my side in every conflict, even if I was wrong. Ooops! I have a 2 real co-workers who do that for me in one building. I am very lucky. In the other building, it's every man for himself, though.

And speaking of Tony...when my son was almost 3, we moved into our new house. I heard him talking, so I said, "Who are you talking to?" He replied, "Oh, just Tony, that little boy that I play with sometimes." That made the hair on the back of my neck stand up. I had read The Shining. My boy never did it at our old house, and only did it in his bedroom at our new house. He never talked ABOUT Tony, only TO him. He wouldn't sleep in that room.
It was about 10 degrees colder than
any other room in the house, winter
or summer.

1:23 PM  
Anonymous NMUFNPHD said...

Vavoom, I thought you had already met and hung out with these new people at meetings and such and during the interview. I do not think that you will have trouble after the little initial issues. Maybe they will shun you out of jealousy.

1:54 PM  
Blogger bum from jersey said...

heh. yet another entertaining post. i am not going to comment on what my ideal imaginary coworker would be because it might not be appreciated by most but i just wanted to give a suggestion and just comment on others.

the first suggestion is - if you have a laptop or something - why don't you read blogs during your lunch break. thats what i do. yours and others keep me entertained during what is a rather crappy work day.

i think its obvious hilbilly mom is the boss where she works because no one is that funny or always right ...except for me but thats because i am awesome.

3:39 PM  
Blogger Raine said...

I'm with Jersey bum--eat at your desk and read the internet. I usually do that.

The imaginary co-worker I'd wish for you is Britney Spears--her asinine dialogue would motivate you to ask a co-worker if they wanna get lunch with you.

6:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

what a great post- all of us have experienced being the new guy/gal at once...these co-workers sound a little imature...or at least the supervisor should have coordinated something???

7:38 PM  
Blogger Lily said...

When I first started on job I am currently in I would take my lunch to the park next door. Once I met and was more comfortable with my coworkers I began to venture in and eat and mingle in the kitchen and have not left since.

A small group of us recently adopted some Kitchen Rules...

#1 - The first rule of the Kitchen is, you do not talk about the Kitchen.

#2 - The second rule of the Kitchen is, you DO NOT talk about the Kitchen.

#3 - If someone says stop, goes limp, taps out, or flees the kitchen, the fight is over.

#4 - What stays in the Kitchen, does not go out of the Kitchen.

#5 - No one is safe in the Kitchen.

#6 - No shirts, no shoes, no service, no kitchen.

#7 - Mocking will go on as long as it must.

#8 - If this is your first lunch in the Kitchen, you will be mocked.


As for your imaginary co-worker, since you're here in Boston, I think his name should be either Sully or Scully. :)

8:53 PM  
Blogger An80sNut said...

For some reason, I can see you talking to your finger at lunch, so I'm going to opt out on giving you ideas for conversation as it will only make you:

1) a pariah
2) the looney they just hired
3) really fond of your finger
4) a really big fan of the Shining or
5) all of the above

I do like Lil's idea of going somewhere else to eat (get to know your surroundings) until you get to know the staff a bit more. Be the guy they wonder, "Where does he go for lunch every day?"

9:46 PM  
Blogger Vavoom said...

I can't eat at my desk. It's against safety rules... chemicals, food and ingestion are a no no. So far, when I ask co-workers out for lunch they say they're going later and then go about 5 minutes later with another labmate. It's all good. Things will improve. It's nothing personal.

Today I ate outside by myself in the sun. It was actually quite pleasant.

9:58 PM  
Blogger Moose said...

I know what you are going through. My last job was like that. I was 23 and the next youngest person there was 45. When I left 3 years later though it all worked out.
My imaginary co-worker/friend is named Renton. I only keep him around because he makes me look good my comparison.

11:11 PM  
Anonymous FNPhD said...

NMUFNPHD: You stole my moniker. May you burn in hell for eternity with H.Y. reading over your shoulder every ten minutes.

Vavoom: Sorry to hear it's so tough starting in a new place. I had the same problem. It's too bad you weren't in my lab when I started, or you could have taken me out to lunch!

12:14 AM  
Blogger CafeCath said...

I agree with an80snut. If you start talking to your finger, no one will ever go to lunch with you!

12:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can see it now:

"Vavoom loves that finger..."

"You think he and that finger, you know..."

"Man, that finger gets around!"

1:25 AM  
Blogger Anandi said...

Could you set up lunch w/ your wife once a week? That way you'll have your own plans and it'll be fun :)

A friend of mine said she thought it took 3 months to get acclimated to a new job and coworkers. It should stop sucking after approximately 3 months. So good luck to you! Maybe you could find someone in a different lab to go to lunch with or go for a walk instead?

12:07 PM  
Blogger Vavoom said...

Unfortunately my wife works across the bay from me. No fun lunch dates for us...

2:52 PM  
Blogger Teri said...

Are most grad students this rude? Is is competetive working in a lab? Are any of them the same people who ignored you at the TGIF party?

8:41 PM  
Blogger Vavoom said...

Teri: No, these are entirely different people than the TGIF thing. They're actually good people. It's just hard to get into their circle, it seems. Today was much better. I really like my advisor and I think I'll grow close to my coworkers. I'll make this work.

8:47 PM  
Blogger An80sNut said...

I'm starting to think that this would make a great scientific study. I'd start counting the days and focus on this as an experiment to see when the a tight social group breaks and lets someone in. If only you could run this at a few other universities, I'd see this getting tabbed for grant money.

8:51 PM  
Blogger Radioactive Jam said...

The voices in my head have reached a consensus: I don't have or need imaginary co-workers. They further suggest you consult with their counterparts in your head before you expend more mental energy on this.

Speaking for myself, I

7:33 AM  

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