The last company I worked for, I worked from home from Dallas for the first eight months. It wasn’t until I moved to Tulsa and started working in the office at their corporate headquarters that I felt like an outsider. I was hired as their only Talent Attraction Strategist.
To back up a bit, when I started with them, I traveled back and forth to Tulsa frequently. I always flew in for meetings, but it’s a short four-hour drive and a great opportunity to extend weekends away so my husband would drive up and join me.
After our fourth or fifth weekend, we talked about moving to Tulsa. We could make our money and retirement go further than in Dallas. It would also be great for me to be closer to stakeholders and senior leadership, which is essential for any employer branding initiative to be successful. We put our house on the market and got an offer in about two months. We had to find a house in Tulsa in two days. And just like that, off we went to new a new city.
In retrospect, I recall my boss not being overly excited about us moving here and I never understood why until we did. I’m pretty sure I know why everyone gave me such a cold reception, but that’s a story for another time. Here I am, an outsider from Dallas, a metropolitan city, coming in to shake things up.
Change is scary for some, but I thrive on it. I very quickly felt like a round peg in a square hole. Our team was the largest I’ve ever worked on, a team of 20, all-female except for one male. The Recruiting Managers were like the mean girl’s club. I found out after the fact some on the team actively thwarted my success. It wasn’t all doom and gloom. I did have some exceptional advocates for the work and value I provided within the TA team, and others across the company, including one at the C-level, but only a few people went out of their way to make me feel welcomed. Inclusivity starts on your own team.
There were rumors spread about me having had an affair with my husband before we got married, which is so far from the truth. He was married when I met him, but there were no shenanigans until after his divorce. Most of the games they played on me in TA were subtle, like not inviting me to lunch, micromanaging my projects, social outings, strategy meetings, and distancing me from hiring managers. I always had a go-between with the recruiter, which never made any sense to me and made the process less efficient.
The global pandemic has been horrible for many reasons, but one of the biggest changes that came out of it was being sent home. I thrived on working from home. No more office gossip, uncomfortable lunches, and the pettiness to deal with, at least face-to-face. I learned from this experience that I am not everyone’s cup of tea. Not everyone appreciates change or those who champion it. Some people do not want to see you succeed, but some do, and those are the people who matter. The best revenge (which I don’t believe in) is a success, and I embrace that. Even though I had a rough two years, I was there for three. I don’t regret moving to Tulsa or working for the company. I made incredible strides in my career, achieved a lot of industry firsts, and formed new friendships, and that’s something I’ll always be grateful for.