Last week, my colleague who I’ve worked has been with our organization for the last seven years, quit abruptly. I found out through an office-wide email he sent two days before leaving. This guy sits beside me in our cubicle pod and hadn’t said a thing.
The next day my colleague frantically arranged a cake gathering as we always do when someone leaves the organization. Peter started talking about his new job. I’ve been looking for a new job for the past few months. I’ve been to a few interviews but nothing has worked out. So hearing that a guy who has barely showed up for work got an awesome job while I’ve been hustling was frustrating at best. It just felt like a “good guys finish last” situation.
After he finished talking about the new job, there was a pause. Then he told everyone that his wife is three months pregnant. Of course that caused an uproar of excitement and congratulations, along with jeers of how they couldn’t imagine him as a father.
I was already mad that this guy had gotten a cushy government job was I was hustling to get anything else; so when he announced the pregnancy all I could think was Of course. That’s just your luck. I was so mad that he got everything I wanted. So I said congratulations, left while everyone was finishing their cake and cried in an empty stairwell.
It wasn’t that Peter having a kid affects my chances. And what do I know about their fertility journey? It very well could have taken them a long time. These are things that colleagues share with each other. But in my mind, everything that I am working so hard for is happening to him in a heartbeat. I was furious. Where is the justice? Why do slackers get good jobs and people get pregnant at the drop of a hat while the rest of us struggle?
Beyond the anger, I just felt lonely. Nobody else was upset during the whole cake event except for me and I had to hide my feelings. I can’t tell my colleagues I’m looking for another job and I certainly can’t tell them we are experiencing fertility problems. So I just sat in the cold hallway by myself and stewed.
Peter wasn’t trying to hurt me. He was just being him, going about his business. But fuck, it’s so frustrating.