I have encountered a lot of vegans whose biggest difficulty with their new lifestyle is to make it compatible with their work place as, generally speaking, most of them don't work in vegan businesses. Oh, I wish we all could do it! But how do we make the best of it in the meantime (while we support vegan businesses so we have more of them)?
A few years ago, I was working as a full time tax preparer in a thriving CPA firm in Los Angeles. When I first got the job, I was not vegan and had, therefore, no difficulties during lunch hour looking at what my co-workers were eating. But as my inner awareness of cruelty to animals increased, I went vegetarian, then vegan and that is when the difficulties started.
Going vegan is the easy step. It's just a learning curve which takes only a few weeks as we learn about new foods, which ones to avoid, what we should or shouldn't wear and obviously learn more about what is done to our animal brothers and sisters as we grow ourselves. The difficulty arises when we are confronted by those around us who "don't get it" and are not interested in changing. It is also hard to confront people who suddenly just don't understand who you are anymore. It is as if we have suddenly grown a third eye (literally and figuratively) and people around us, who don't possess this new awareness, become at once baffled and defensive. We become what Carol Adams calls "The Vegan in the room" and therefore we become mirrors to other people's own inner values. It is natural to be defensive of the unknown. After all our society teaches us to disconnect from our innate compassion from an early age by feeding us the flesh and secretions of other beings. This moral disconnection penetrates our psyche and very few of us eventually awake from the propagandist lie.