Uh oh! Your co-workers haven’t seen you in person since March of 2020, back when you were a hopeful idealist with a pep in her step and a contagious joie de vivre. Now you’re an empty shell only barely resembling a human being and you really don’t want to have any conversations about that.
“Why do you look so sad?” “What broke your spirit?” and “Is it the millions of people worldwide who died of a foreseeable pandemic?” Avoid these questions and more using the powers of diversion, confusion, and camouflage!
1. Pick a statement outfit for your first day back
Let your giant pointy shoulder pads be the personality you no longer possess! Don’t know how to start a conversation because you neither go places nor do things? Don’t worry, your geometric leopard print dress will start conversations for you. Plus, Greg from Finance can’t comment on your weight gain and/or loss if all your gemstones are blinding him!
2. Get Glasses
“Hey Carrie, welcome back! Something’s different about your eyes… Is it that your very soul has left them- Oh I know, you got glasses! What’s that style called, cat eye? Fun!”
3. Wear a fake mustache, use a fake accent, and adopt a new persona.
No one can compare you to your former self if they think she died and was replaced by kindly old Mr. Briar Pickles! It’s not identity theft if the identity you thieved was created by a random word generator. Plus, now that you’re peppy Mr. Pickles, you can start accusing your co-workers of being the true soulless drudges. Pull the ol’ switcheroo on THEM.
4. Set the building on fire
Don’t burn the entire building down – you still need this cursed job to pay rent on the detestable apartment you’ve come to consider a prison! Just a small fire, enough that a fire truck has to show up and you all get an extra long lunch break. The mystery of the office fire should take over all conversation for a few days, and all the smoke will explain why you’re crying!
5. Bring fish for lunch
By far the most drastic move. There is no coming back from this. But if you have NO. OTHER. WAY to distract from your lifeless vessel that used to be a person with hopes and dreams… then bring fish for lunch and microwave every last drop of moisture out of it. We call this the “troubled child” principle; if adults are going to give you attention, it might as well be negative attention.
Finally, if being back in the office is draining, don’t worry – your office is unmasked and open concept. You’ll get to take some sick days before you know it.