the secretary who is retiring.
I found out afterwards from pictures on FaceBook. People outside the department were invited.
They kept this so hush-hush that I did not know in advance. This scares me. They could be actively planning their next attack on me and I would have no clue.
The next day, I wanted to hear their reactions when I asked if we were going to have a retirement celebration for the secretary. "Will it be at a restaurant, or will it be here? If it's here, I'll bake cookies or cupcakes in her favorite flavor." This was my line.
The person who works closest with the retiree blushed and looked down. "Oh, she doesn't want any fuss. Definitely no party." She would not make eye contact with me.
"I see," I replied.
I sprinted to my immediate supervisor, Linda, before the first one could tip her off.
"Are we having a retirement celebration?" I asked.
She looked at me as if I were crazy. She didn't have to fumble for words. "We already went out and celebrated her retirement. Why would we do that twice?" she sneered, not even concerned that I was left out.
"I didn't know that you already had a party," I replied, trying to sound hurt.
"That's because you were not invited," she snapped, never stopping to shuffle her piles of papers.
Working as an outsider is not an unfamiliar situation to me, but it is stressful. They can ban together and have me ousted. My friend told me to not worry, that they tried that before; I prevailed then and I will prevail if it happens again.
If they replace the woman who is leaving (as opposed to dumping her tasks on me), maybe that person will not side with the crowd against me. They don't like new people, so that could be my strategy to align with the new secretary- offering her the only friendly hand she'll see in that place.