There’s a lot of truth in being forgotten as soon as the new coat of paint is dry.
Haven’t heard that expression? Hubby and I are familiar with it, knowing that no matter how close our friendships were, not being in the immediate line of sight soon led to invisibility, dismissal and eventual extinction.
But we’ve all heard it haven’t we, when we leave a job or move away, everyone says
‘Keep in touch’, ‘Don’t be a stranger’, or ‘Don’t forget to write’.
Paint the barn door and ‘your colour’ is passed into Neverland, that afterlife of what was, faded and then totally forgotten.
There are times though when I feel like a mushroom, forever being kept in the dark and fed on the sh1t people throw at me expecting me to thrive.
Like a dog with a favourite bone, I will lick it clean, and continue to do so in the hope of finding that little bit of juiciness still left that I may have overlooked, or that had miraculously appeared just when I was about to discard it.
At school, especially Grammar, my ‘friends’ were fickle and only interested in me when it benefitted them. Then I grew to know that, so it didn’t have much of an effect on me in the end, and I have no idea (and don’t care) what any of my classmates are doing today.
In my working life, I interacted with a lot of people during office hours, attended the firm’s Christmas Party, business celebrations and the Fourth of July Picnic, and occasionally, socialize with a few of my colleagues on a more personal basis.
One of the single and younger girls I worked with before I was made redundant had a series of problems at home, and turned to me often for sympathy and support. I always tried to rally her spirits by concentrating on her good points, and on one occasion, invited her over for a meal, but she didn’t turn up.
Luckily, what I had prepared was freezable so didn’t go to waste, and I didn’t hear from her for months.
Out of the blue, I had a phone call.
After a few pleasantries, she finally apologised for not coming over ‘that time’ and asked if she could come now as she was feeling depressed because her new job wasn’t working out.
When I asked what she was doing, she explained she had been hired as a support technician for a communications company and was on a three month probationary period. I was surprised as, without being unkind, I wasn’t aware this was something she could do, though I didn’t say so.
She said she’d ticked ‘Yes’ against various computer software programmes she was familiar with on the application form, but had actually misunderstood the questions and job description, believing she would be using the software at a desk in an office, not installing it, problem solving or maintaining it out on site. It was now becoming painfully obvious that she couldn’t deliver, and was apparently blaming me for her dilemma as I had ‘built her up’ to believe she could do the job she’d applied for.
Hubby was not impressed and tired of people using me to boost their egos at their convenience then being expected to get them out of trouble of their own making.
Bearing in mind that she had been made redundant well over a year after me and had no contact with me in all that time, I could hardly be held accountable for her failings on a job I knew nothing about, and he told her so.
The conversation ended with her promising to ring me at work to arrange meeting her for lunch on her birthday the following week, but surprisingly we never heard from her again.
No matter how valuable we are as friends, colleagues or employees, once we are no longer available, we are soon forgotten.
Perhaps occasionally someone will think ‘I wonder whatever happened to so-and-so’, but then it all depends how many times the workplace has been decorated be it with paint or new people.
In 1974, my old boss decided to leave his mark in the office by scrawling a message behind the new plasterboard after the decorators had left. The building is still there, but I wonder if his message has ever been discovered.