During my time at your company, I have grown tremendously. Recently, I developed perhaps my greatest professional strength: grieving in a way that isn’t super inconvenient to others. When I returned to work after The Event (see how I used “The Event” so I didn’t force you to think about my trauma in detail?), my new skillset blossomed. It is with the utmost humility that I request your endorsement of the followings skills:
Returned after just 3 bereavement and 2 personal days despite everyone in my family taking more time and feeling like a big giant meanie mean.
Endured a pre-meeting sympathy hug.
Only cried at work twice, and when no one was looking.
Brought back The Event leftovers, but referred to them as “desserts from home” so others didn’t have to think about my misfortune.
Stopped drinking office coffee due to a constant heightened state of anxiety following The Event.
Responded “good!” when a coworker asked me how I’m doing.
Responded “good!” when a different coworker asked me how I’m doing, and then when they clarified “no, but how are you really doing?” gave them enough information to make them feel important but not enough to actually give insight into the deep, emotionally shattering anguish I experience on a daily basis.
Wore a color!
Only listened to one Bon Iver album too loud.
Ate more than a handful of almonds and less than an entire cake for lunch.
Channeled personal stress into work stress, creating the most perfect and organized Excel spreadsheet of all time.
Said “totally” in response to a coworker deeming the loss of an email attachment as “traumatic.”
Thanked a coworker for the flowers placed on my desk the day of The Event that were dead by the time I arrived back at work, reminding me of The Event.
Smiled and sang happy birthday to a work acquaintance despite the more-present-than-ever feeling that life is fleeting and should be spent with those whom you love most.
Did not throw every stapler, computer, and office chair when a coworker asked via g-chat “So, things getting back to normal now?”
Dissociated at the water cooler less than 10 times.
Pretended to relate to a manager’s bad day, which was caused by a soggy sandwich.
Refrained from divulging sad weekend plans that included wine consumed alone and The Event-related paperwork.
When coworkers said “I can’t imagine,” resisted responding “Well, then let me paint you a picture” and then launching into an overwrought description of my trauma.
Abstained from screaming in the face of every person older than the one I lost in The Event, asking why they deserve to live longer.
Avoided confiscating the computer of anyone who sent sympathy via email and insinuated that The Event was God’s Plan™.
Did not get in my car during my lunch break, turn on the ignition, crank the radio as loud as possible, scream with as much lung power as an entire high school band wind section, and drive straight into the nearest body of water.
on Twitter @MichelleLoserby
Thanks to McSweeney's, which published this piece on 5 October 2018
Photo credit: Canon EOS 70d at MaxPixel