Thursday, September 5, 2013

I'm convinced it's because I'm Asian.

Remember when I wrote about popularity in the workplace and how, basically, popular I was NOT?

Well! Today, I think I have cracked the code!

I have been at this company for about 2 1/2 months now. I was patient, I continued my attempts to be friendly and get to know the girls here better, but with no progression. Basically, I come into work, cordial "Hello's" are exchanged, and then I sit at my desk and work, only being talked to when it involves something needing to be done.

I promise this has never happened to me before!

At all my other jobs, I got along with most everyone, I found lasting friendships, there were happy hours, there were lunches to be had! It was FUN and it made my long work days worth it!

But here? Good lord, I can't tell you how many times I cried to The Dizzle wondering if something was wrong with me. I mean, I know I've forgotten to wear deodorant a time or two, but certainly that can't be the reason for my lack of friends at work? I'm not going to lie, as someone who thrives off human connections and social interactions, it's been pretty miserable here for me these last few months.

Anyway. Here is where my newfound theory comes into play.

Today, I went to lunch with a girl in a different department.
Her name is also Michelle.
Michelle is Asian, just like me!
(P.S. I can't tell you how many times girls here have confused us for the same person. I mean, come on people, not ALL Asians look alike.)
For awhile, I thought we were the only 2 Asians in the whole company!
But then, other Asian Michelle invited another girl to lunch with us.
Her name is Maria.
Maria is Asian too!
So there we were, the Asian Parade out to lunch.
See there? That was basically us for an hour.

(Something riveting was happening, apparently.)


We got to talking, and turns out, these two feel the exact same way that I have been feeling!
They said they always feel left out.
They said they don't feel a part of the team.
They said they always hear the girls talk about their get together's and trivia nights.
They also said this has never happened to them at any other company but THIS one!

I mean, hallelujah I'm not alone in these feelings! I honestly thought I was going crazy and had lost all sense of social skills. But at lunch today? It was natural, it was fun, and it felt like I was talking to actual human beings instead of Stepford Wives.

I'm serious, you guys.

99% of the women here act and look like this (minus the 1950's dresses).


Here's how I see it. I have three options.

1) Dye my hair like a blonde Kimora Lee, slap on a fake smile, and talk about whatever superficial topic comes to mind and I'm sure I'll just fit right in!

2) Ignore the girls that don't want to see me as a person and continue on with my new Asian Posse:


3) Chalk this job up to an experience that I tried out but have realized it's just not the right fit for me and look for a new job that does not adhere so much to office politics and cliques.


Asians + Blonde Hair = No thank you.

So, looks like I need to consider options 2 and 3?


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  1. That is so weird! I have worked at a few places where I felt like I wasn't included. It is the worst feeling and definitely makes the day go by slowly. Hopefully things change. Have you tried initiating something with others that aren't including you? I have found that everyone wants to be invited but people rarely want to be the one to initiate things.

  2. I've never had the problem of not making friends at work. I would say stick with the girls that are Asian. I mean everyone has to run in their packs right? It sounds like high school cliques.

  3. If that is the case as to why they aren't being friendly towards you then that's appalling. I'd say stick with Michelle and Maria, as awful as it feels to be not included, it doesn't sound as though the other people in your office are people who would be particularly good friends.
    I hope the environment does start to get easier for you though, it's awful when you don't feel comfortable where you work.

  4. That is so frustrating! I'm so sorry you've been feeling that way. I'm glad you found a few girls to visit with and have lunch. But it's really a shame all of you are feeling that way. Office politics are tricky, and the cliques don't make anything easier!

  5. And then people wonder why people of the same race tend to form groups. Ugh. Sorry this is happening to you. I'd go with #2, honestly... unless you're the confrontational type or have an extroverted streak, in which case I'd consider aggressively, evilly trying to make friends with the other girls and gauge how they react to it. But I've never been in your shoes (and I have no extroverted streak to speak of), so that advice may be totally offbase. Either way, hope things get more comfortable for you. <3

    - Lix | A Classic Notion

  6. Ugh! I'm sorry you feel like this at work! Have you worked at a big company before? The reason I ask this is when I've worked at big corporations (I'm at a small business now) the cliques ARE EVERYWHERE!! It's so hard to be new in a company like that. I say continue with option #2 and if after a few more months you still aren't happy there maybe you should start to look around. Life is too short to be miserable. On the other hand, it's too soon to jump to leaving just yet. In my opinion.

    Cheer up buttercup! Maybe they're just jealous of your pretty Asian hair (prettiest hair out there in my opinion).

  7. Wow! I thought prejudices and racial issues were a thing of the past. Especially in California where there are so many cultures and races mixed together! I have a hard time believing that still goes on. I wonder what they'd do if V went to see you at work? :)

  8. This is a tough one! I guess you have to decide if you LOVE your job enough to tough it out and be happy with the work, or if that culture is important enough to leave (and trust me, I know how important it is). Very tough one and I'm sorry this is happening to you. Girls are bitches. That's basically the conclusion here.

  9. They're just jealous you're pretty and have big boobs Mishi! You're the easiest person to befriend in a work environment, speaking from experience. If you're not liking your job and/or environment, you can always start looking for something else. Meanwhile, hang out w/ the people who give you energy (your fellow Asians at work!) not the Stepford Wife energy suckers. Although I'm VERY interested in seeing you blonde.

  10. Have you considered asking them why they aren't friendlier to you? Say you're taking a survey and want to know who they ask to their "parties" and what they talk about.

    Maybe they think you have nothing in common with them, and then again, they could just be racist.

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  12. I hope that it gets better soon . From reading your blog you seeem to like actually job just not the people. I am getting ready to go back to work and I will be starting at a new place.

    From another half asain Michelle :)

  13. Welcome to the fashion industry! Not that I'd know a thing about it. I work with a lot of older folks who actually wear polyester. I really hope that's not the case but if it is then at least you have discovered some other Asian gals to hang with.

  14. Duuuuude I am going through a similar thing. We started our new jobs the same day because you and I are weirdo twins. And while there are no stepfords at my job, the environment is really not right. It's unpleasant and cliquey and people are being just awful. Time to look for new jobs for us, love! Can we just get paid to be cute bloggers?!


  15. stick with the asians! since i'm half-korean too, but live in a predominantly white area, most of my friends are white. but i miss my asian/korean posses that i've had in the past. sigh.
    -- jackie @ jade and oak

  16. Keep calm and stay Asian! And recruit some more Asian people to work at your place of employment. And then take over the whole company and boss those boring people around.

  17. effing racists ;) they are probably stupid and scared you'll be SUPER smart asian so they just avoid. sounds like a great opportunity for growth actually lol

  18. :( sad but I am glad you found a couple friends!! I would say stick with them but still be looking for a job, it doesn't have to happen right away but if something you really like comes along you have no reason not to take it!

  19. It really surprises me that in San Fransisco of all places you are running up against this. So sad. I'm glad you found a posse to hang with at lunch!

  20. I'm disgusted at your colleagues. Stick to your new friends. I would look for another job. I am so shocked. How can people be so stupid and nasty.

  21. Since it seems like tons of other half Asians are replying to this (even another half Asian Michelle), I have to reply also.

    From one half Asian Michelle to another (I had to laugh saying that, how many of us are there?!), I'm so sorry! This does not sound like fun.

  22. ASIAN UNITE. ok, i'm just going crazy.
    option number 2 is like helloo for sure. jk. well not really.
    ok seriously that sucks if your workplace is very fake and clique. work is like home numero 2. You gotz to be comfortable and happy in home numero 2. Hopefully this new asian squad can cheer you up.................
    or find another job?!

  23. Would it be too awkward to invite yourself to lunch with them? Or to invite a couple of them to drinks afterward with you?

  24. well that's just shitty (pardon my French)!! my office is super diverse and everyone hangs and it is amazing. Those girls are clearly ignorant and missing out. If that is really why they aren't nice to you then you def don't need/want them as friends (not that the rejection doesn't sting a little). hope you can work it out!

  25. Ouch, that doesn't sound fun. I thought racial stereotype was a long past story. Guess companies have different cultures. It's not your problem at all Mishi. You're very easy to fall in love with. I'd say keep your eyes open for other opportunities, at the same time, be positive! After all, work is only a part of your life.

  26. I know exactly what you mean. For me, my workplace is 95% people in their 30s and 40s so I stick out a lot. It's weird to think that people wouldn't like you so I say we just chalk it up to the workplace.

  27. I'd say, go with number 2. Fully embrace the Asian stereotype and make everyone in the office feel as uncomfortable as they've made you feel the last two and a half months. Eat rice & kimchi at your desk while giving them lessons in math and bust out some karaoke tunes every once in a while. I guarantee the Stepfords would have no idea how to respond to that.

  28. That sucks. As a full-on Asian, I know how hard it can be to break into cliques like that. And most of the time, it isn't worth it! Stick with the people you're comfortable with. It's unfortunate that cliques run the work social sphere though :/

    Michelle @ Mishfish13

  29. UGHHH the cliques!!!! I have fallen victim to them so many times. I'm currently having the same problem, but I'm not Asian, so I'm not sure what my reason is yet. It's hard when you're shy, too, because I can't just force myself to talk to people all the time. It is really hard these days to find a good work environment. Let me know when you do, and I'll apply too!

  30. #3. No matter how much you ignore those girls, it's still going to be a sucky job unless you have friends around. Sorry this is happening. It's so weird to here considering you are in California and not like the Midwest or South or somewhere where Asians are fewer.

  31. At my current place of employment, it took a solid 6 months for me to feel included. Every day for three months, I went to lunch by myself and it was awful. I felt like such a loser. One day someone invited me out to lunch and I was in! If they knew how awesome you were, I am sure they'd be lining up at your desk asking about lunch plans every day. Hang in there, sister!

  32. They're just bitches bein' bitches... In the meantime, hang out with your new Asian friends and just be patient with those other girls. I'm sure if you keep being your sweet funny self somebody will be bound to notice how cool you are and want to have a lunch date! I know this white girl would! <3

  33. Wow. Who could not like you? I don't even "know" you, and I like you! You make me laugh. Uh-oh. Just realized I'm Asian too! *cue twilight zone music*...

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