Almost two years ago, I worked a temp job and made some new acquaintances. Innocent enough, right? Well little did I know that the people I’d acquainted with were good friends with each other.
Fast forward to a few months after the job ended. I was invited to brunch by my former colleagues and then invited into a group chat to keep me abreast of future brunches.
Why not? I said.
This will be fun! I said.
So now I am mired in an endless whirlpool of mundane texts.
At first it was okay. Someone would post something and I’d respond with a “Cool!” or “Congrats!” or whatever was appropriate.
My phone would beep a few times and I’d check the chat to see what was going on.
Next thing you know, it’s beeping every three seconds. I look down at my phone and see 12 or 13 unread messages. If I went to the movie theater or some other place that required me to silence my phone, I’d turn my phone back on only to see fifty-something unread messages.
On top of this, it didn’t take long for me to lose interest in the chat conversations in the first place. For example, the chat has turned into a kind of career-centric circle jerk of encouragement. And while I enjoy encouragement (and would probably enjoy a good circle jerk if I had a penis and was into that sort of thing) the career stuff is annoying after a while.
It’s an endless “keeping my fingers crossed” for whoever has a job interview that week. And my chat group might as well be called the “Professional Job Interview Gang”.
Here’s an example of what it looks like:
Person #1 – I got a job interview this week!
Person #2 – Congrats!
Person #3 – Congrats!
Person #4 – Congratulations!
Person #5 – Oh my goodness! That’s wonderful! Where at?
Person #1 – Don’t congratulate me yet!
Person #4 – Is this at the same place as before?
Person #2 – Is it at Corporation Company?
Person #1 – It’s at Conglomerate Industry
Person #3 – We should celebrate!
Person #4 – I thought you interviewed there before?
Person #1 – No it’s not at Corporation Company. I didn’t get that job.
Person #5 – Their loss buddy!
Person #3 – Oh boo!
Person #1 – Thanks guys! This is actually round 2. So we’ll see how it goes.
Person #2 – So wait, you didn’t get the job at Corporation Company? I thought they liked you? 😦
Person #1 – Nope. But onto better things!
Person #3 – Guess what everybody?? I have an interview next week with Business Incorporated.
Person #1 – What? That’s awesome!
Person #5 – Wait, what happened to Career Enterprises??
Person #2 – Congratulations!
And the cycle continues. It was as if I was being punished for my honest attempt at extraversion. It got to the point where my phone was beeping and vibrating so much that it threatened my damn marriage.
Fortunately, I discovered the mute button last week.
However, my complete “text withdrawal” from the group created slight confusion and disruption. The natives got restless. And to be honest, how they even knew I wasn’t actively texting is beyond me. It’s not like I offered anything substantial to the group outside of a few “Congrats!” and “Fingers Crossed.” I never told them about my job interviews or networking experiences even though I’d actually had a few.
Either way, someone said “Where’s Peggy?” and the jig was up. So my solution was to occasionally dip into the chat with a “Congrats!” so they’d know I was still alive and then delete that chat right off my phone – for the sake of space.
HOWEVER . . . the fact that I don’t actually read the texts got the best of me two days ago. All I know is that one day I saw a message that said “Peggy has been removed from the group chat.” The part of me that cares about not burning bridges was curious as to why. I did the mindless participation that was required of me, didn’t I?
It’s funny I didn’t care about the group until I got kicked off. But being kicked off was really weighing on my spirit. So I called a person from the group to ask what’d happened.
They laughed and asked me if I was serious.
I told them yes.
They invited me to dinner.