Feeling unliked and unrespected at work

  1. Hi everyone,
    Just looking for some advice as I have dealt with this a long time, not just as a nurse but in my previous jobs as well. No matter what I do I cannot seem to fit in at work. I am naturally quiet and introverted and kind of socially awkward. I would probably tend to prefer to work alone, however I always try to be nice and helpful to everyone. I am more comfortable around some people than others, and I think the more comfortable I am the more talkative or "myself" I am. Basically I know other nurses talk about me behind my back. I know they've made fun of me for things or made snide comments about me. I heard one nurse say once to others that she had to work with me tonight in an unpleasant way. There's a couple charge nurses who are friends with each other and I know they've gossiped about me too, making fun of things I have done like I am stupid. There's a group of nurses that like to go out after work sometimes and I have gone a couple times with them to try to be friendly and social, but they just talk about sex and gossip/talk crap about a couple other nurses, so I don't care to go anymore. I know I'm not the only person who is gossiped about, but I feel like a target a lot and feel a vibe of disrespect among other nurses, including charge nurses. Now there are some very nice nurses at my job that I like to work with, and I try not to take work home with me, but I can't help it. I have cried and stressed many times because of this. I just want to fit in and be liked and happy while I am at work. I work in the ER and have been there and been a nurse for a little over a year now. I have thought about doing home health nursing instead, So I wont have to work with other coworkers much. But I also would like to do travel nursing so I'm not sure. So I'm just looking for any nice advice please.
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  2. 13 Comments

  3. by   caliotter3
    Focus more on doing the job and less on trying to win a popularity contest. It is the former that earns your paycheck. When it becomes the latter, then it is time to find employment elsewhere because that kind of popularity usually is short-lived.
  4. by   Emergent
    My advice is to ignore the snotty group that is excluding you. Talk to those nurses that you say you enjoy at work. Go about your business and only talk to the people who you find good to talk to.

    I've had some of the same issues the various times in my career and this is what I've done to deal with it. I'm not comfortable trying to fit into a clique. Some of these groups are based on commonalities I don't share. Not to sound snobby but in actuality I find some of these gals to be awfully immature and somewhat lowbrow. I prefer to talk to the people that have something interesting to say, instead of a bunch of junior high antics.
  5. by   ILUVERNSG
    Keep your eyes open for other job postings. In the mean time, hold your head up high and keep doing your best.
  6. by   Juniper83
    Thanks for your replies. I will just keep ignoring it and doing my best to not let it bother me. I don't plan on working there forever.
  7. by   JadedCPN
    I've never once cared about fitting in or being liked at work. I'm there for a paycheck, and to take care of my patients, that's it. Cool if I happen to get along with some people to help the shift pass, but I'm not losing any sleep or crying any tears if that doesn't happen.
    If this is of importance to you, I wouldn't recommend travel nursing for yourself.
  8. by   meanmaryjean
    I have a whole entire life outside of work- I suggest you do too.
  9. by   Ruby Vee
    It's harder for introverts but you still have to develop your workplace relationships. For us, that means faking it. You have to greet every one of your colleagues with a cheery hello and a moment of chitchat every time you come to work. It doesn't have to be profound. "Traffic really sucks on I-95" is good enough. Or "It's so hot this weekend I'm just going to veg under the AC" or "How did Jr. so at the Science Fair?"

    Not everyone is going to like you, but the more frie sly and approachable you seem, the more people will.

    (Also, paragraphs are your friend )
  10. by   elfself25
    Hi,
    I can relate to the experience of not fitting in as my family moved annually when I was a child. I have some suggestions: Focus more on yourself and your patients. When you overhear something negative, ask yourself--is this really true about me? If so, is it something you'd like to change or is it your basic personality? If it is your basic personality, consider personalities that you don't care for. This reminds me that I don't like everyone either. Getting your certification in emergency nursing will help build your confidence. You mentioned that you have experienced not fitting in well before. This makes me wonder if you grew up in an alcoholic home. Having grown up in an alcoholic home myself, I have discovered that when I am feeling stressed, I feel as though I don't fit in and this experience can occur when I am surrounded by people I know love me. Al-anon is an organization that helps people who have been effected by the family disease of alcoholism. Al-anon helped me more with this and other issues of co-dependency more than anything else I have done to help myself feel better about myself. Try to base your self worth on your own measures of yourself. Everyone but me in my nuclear family--husband and children are introverts. I enjoy their quiet calmness. I enjoy their thoughtful responses. Trying to change yourself to please others is a losing battle--one that I have lost in the past. I also recommend avoiding joining in with gossip yourself. I was an emergency nurse for 14 years and loved it. I wish you well.
  11. by   NurseCard
    OP, I can relate. I have had issues fitting in, my whole life. I'm a natural
    introvert and sometimes don't even remember to make "small talk" or
    remember to ask "Oh hey, how was your weekend!".. that kinda stuff.

    It may seem like most people have a ton of friends at their work, but
    I can assure you, more people make it a point to NOT mix work and
    life outside of work.

    So, have a life outside of work. Go hiking, boating, fishing, rock
    climbing.. find hobbies. Join a church, if you are religious. Get involved
    with their activities. Join a community theatre. Community chorus.
    Art guild. Coach a little league team. Volunteer at a soup kitchen.

    Don't worry about what coworkers think of you. Work relationships
    are so temporary anyway. Usually.
  12. by   Davey Do
    Quote from NurseCard
    Don't worry about what coworkers think of you. Work relationships
    are so temporary anyway. Usually.
    Oh, NurseCard, truer words have not been spoken. I've had colleagues who I loved and did lots of things with and those I despised and they're both the same now: memories.

    Oh! and BTW, Juniper- Welcome to AN.com! The best to you!
  13. by   caffeinatednurse
    Catty nurses usually don't last long. They're being catty likely because they're either (a) bored or (b) truly don't care about their job and are distracting themselves from it. They will all move on, eventually, and so will you. Ignore them and keep doing your best.
  14. by   KatieMI
    Being a natural and very deep introvert, I can relate, too.

    I came to the point of not caring any more after a couple of years. I have my own life which is as distant from ones of 95% of people who surround me as it could be, and I am not going to change it just to be "accepted" by them. They have football, I have Royal Shakesperian Company, good enough for all of us.

    That being said, mastering to stellar level some of the skills needed in a particular unit helps a lot. Even mean gossipers would think another time before painting black someone who can put in that IV, fix the beeping wound vac or speak with that forever angry surgeon.

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