Every once in a while, a woman with stalking tendencies latches on to her place of work.
This individual grew up in a household where she was constantly competing for the attention of the authority figure, which in her family was her father. Her mother doted on her father and her older brothers, but had no authority. Her father respected only his sons, and perhaps pampered our stalker's prettier sister, but paid almost no attention to our stalker. Her mother was afraid of how much our stalker reminded her of herself, and this fear caused her mother to push her away. The result is an environment where our stalker could not gain respect or attention because she was neither a boy nor a daddy's girl. What's worse, she probably had a physical characteristic during adolescence that made her feel even more unlovable --something mundane but very in-your-face, like severe acne.
When our stalker entered the workforce, her office took the place of her family in for her lifelong search for approval. Indeed, she often likes to tell people that her co-workers are "like family" to her. No one has ever said this about her. At the office, our stalker laughs gregariously, but the gregariousness is stained with desperation, not joie-de-vivre. She watches sports and is always ready to talk about "last night's game," not because she actually enjoys watching sports, but because she wants to be "that cute sporty girl." Sometimes she brings baked goods to the office, not because she enjoys baking or (let's face it folks) has food issues, but because she wants to be "that cupcake girl." (Regardless of her age, she will always refer to herself as a girl.) She's a good worker, and people take advantage of her eagerness to stay late.
She narrows her eyes and gets extremely quiet when a woman who is less giving, but more sure of herself, is around. Our stalker does not want to acknowledge to herself that other women do not have to give so much to get what she has always wanted to have.
The guys at the workplace do not think of her as "one of the guys" in a good way. She's one of the guys only in the sense that they can be lazier around her --no holding the door open, no watching their language, no buying of the drinks at Happy Hour (she buys a pitcher for the boys and happily sloshes it over to where they are). They don't really get her and don't try to --but they certainly accept everything she offers. And this, to her, is as close to attention and respect as she knows; it comforts her when people let her smother them with her usefulness.
In her devotion to her company, in which the authority figures are predominantly male, our stalker keeps track of all anniversaries --she has a keen recollection of who started working when, and each authority figure's promotions through the years. She remembers the "old office lay-out" and will often reminisce about things that are completely uninteresting just to feel the warm embrace of a shared past. Outside of work, she will name-drop her company as if it were the name of a celebrity that everyone should know. She is single. When one of the guys at the office gets married, she is the first to buy a large Hallmark card from the shop in the downstairs lobby and send an email with text in various colors, soliciting signatures and demanding secrecy with too many exclamation marks.
What happens when our stalker has to leave her job, the one place where she has been able to receive approval? Answer: She doesn't really believe it's happening, even as she's writing her Last Day at the Office email.
Here is an example of a stalker's departure email:
It feels like yesterday that I started here at XXXX as the “new girl”. It’s been a crazy 4.5 years, seeing this place grow from 2 floors to 5. I have had so much fun working with all of you and working on such amazing projects. I am going to miss this building, all of your faces, the good laughs, and of course beer cart. Can’t wait to watch all the great things you guys do.This paragraph sounds less like a workplace departure email and more like someone bidding farewell to the child of their next door neighbor, whom they had had the privilege of knowing since he was just a baby. The writer knows full well that she's on the outside looking in, she's just glad that she was able to get a good seat. Note the familial, intimate tone of voice.
BUT, this is not really goodbye as you will see me lingering in the lobby or waiting for you guys at the Underground to have a dance party.Cough *stalker!* cough. On her Facebook page, she has many, many, photo albums of her co-workers drinking and dancing at the Underground. No one ever offers to take her picture. When she tries to include herself in a group shot, the pictures always come out with her face grotesquely distorted by its proximity to the camera. Note the forceful all-caps "BUT."
Here is my contact in case you ever want to catch up.
XXXX@gmail.com"Catch up" because she doesn't want to just stay in touch, she fantasizes about hour-long chats across an enamel-colored two-top at the local Dunkin' Donuts. By the window so that people can see. She always gets the one with sprinkles.
XXXXWell, I hope you guys have enjoyed this blog. I'm going to slit my wrists now.