GOLDMAN: It’s lonely at the bottom 

By: Bob Goldman//July 27, 2023//

GOLDMAN: It’s lonely at the bottom 

By: Bob Goldman//July 27, 2023//

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It was Elvis who did it. 
You remember, I’m sure, the lyrics to “Are You Lonesome Tonight?” 
“Do the chairs in your parlor seem empty and bare? 
Do you gaze at your doorstep and picture me there? 
Is your heart filled with pain? Shall I come back again? 
Tell me, dear, are you lonesome tonight?” 
A few simple substitutions helped me see the light. 
“Do the chairs in the reception room seem empty and bare? 
Do you gaze at your office door and picture me there? 
Is your heart filled with pain? Shall I come back to the office again? 
Tell me, dear, are you lonesome today?” 
My answer was yes, dear; I am lonesome today. 
Of course, you’ve heard the expression: It’s lonely at the top. 
What I discovered — with a little help from The King — is that it’s also lonely on the bottom, in the middle and everywhere else on the org chart, especially when you find yourself working by yourself, all alone. 
Thanks to COVID-19, it made so much sense to avoid close proximity to our co-workers that even dim-bulb CEOs realized we could get into our work without going into work. 
You know what that meant. 
No more commuting. No more office parties. No more collections for Bitsy in HR, who somehow defied the laws of biology by requiring three pricey baby showers a year. 
Still, there was a downside: loneliness. 
One person who realized she was missing the companionship of office life is Octavia Goredema. Or so I learned in her recent “Harvard Business Review” article, “Is Your Remote Job Making You Lonely?” 
As Goredema explains, “Loneliness — the distress and discomfort we feel when we perceive a gap between the social connection we want and the quantity and quality of the relationships we currently have — can be a side effect of remote work.” 
It’s possible you don’t realize you are lonely. After all, you have Mr. Bear to cuddle you, not to mention the fun of gossiping with Kelly — Ripa or Clarkson, take your pick. And for sheer inter-personal drama, not even the steamy swamp that is the marketing department can beat what happens five times a week on “The Bold and The Beautiful.” (Will Liam forgive Hope for kissing Thomas? Can Liam forgive himself for kissing Steffy?) 
Fortunately, loneliness can be cured if you “consider what you need to feel like you’re connected and thriving at work.” Here’s what I came up with. See if you agree. 
No. 1: Get critical 
Constant criticism is an element of office life that you can easily replicate at home. How? A cynic might suggest you get married. I suggest you get a parrot. Teach Polly a few simple remarks, like “Polly wants a report,” and “Polly unhappy with report,” and “Polly thinks you’re an idiot,” and, the inevitable, “Polly notices a certain lack of commitment on your part and has decided to replace you with another parrot.” 
Don’t bother to squawk. You’re toast. 
No. 2: Bring back your commute. 
Commuting really wasn’t so bad. If you drove to work, you got to spend quality time with yourself. If you used public transportation, you could feel superior over those who wasted natural resources by driving and, if you walked to work, you could feel superior and get in your 5,000 steps, as well. 
The problem was that no matter how you got there, you eventually arrived at the office and had to go inside. For the remote worker, that’s no longer necessary. Restart commuting, but when you get to work, simply turn around and go back. 
You’ll be so happy to be home that you’ll never feel lonely again. 
No. 3: Go to lunch 
For many people, the best part of going into work was going out to lunch. When you’re working from home, it just makes sense to go the kitchen and make yourself a tuna sandwich. This is why you should make it a rule to, at least once a week, change out of your sweats and put on the most uncomfortable work outfit you own. (It shouldn’t be hard to decide. Considering the weight you’ve gained working from home, wearing anything without an elastic waist is torture.) 
To truly complete the restaurant experience, wait a half-hour at the doorway (since you don’t have a reservation), and when you’re finished, pay yourself an outrageously high price for your tuna sandwich — and don’t forget to give yourself a healthy tip. 
Still feeling lonely? Next time, take Polly. 
Bob Goldman was an advertising executive at a Fortune 500 company. He offers a virtual shoulder to cry on at [email protected]. To find out more about Bob Goldman and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at 

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