So you’ve graduated university, finished your last summer of fun and are now ready to catapult yourself into the real world. After coming out the dissertation tunnel proudly armed with a 2:2 in Philosophy, you’re ready to enter your dream job with all the enthusiasm of a lost puppy.
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But wait, something’s getting in the way of your visions of joining a progressive socialist think tank or being head PR agent at an up-and-coming art gallery on Brick Lane. Oh yes, it’s because pretty much every job that offers even the slightest aspect of enjoyment is filled with trust fund babies and dumbasses who are willing to work for free.
It’s about this time (you know, after sending out five CVs and getting no reply) that you realise you’re going to have to start on the lowest rung of the ladder – an office job. Whether it’s admin, data entry or an achingly boring junior role, you take it because it offers an actual salary and has an HR department. Plus you can always work on your creative projects in your spare time, you know, and the morning commute is a prime opportunity to start your own business… you know? That’s definitely going to happen.
So now you’re a fully-fledged office team member (you’ve got the tie to prove it) it’s time to prepare yourself for what’s ahead. Forget the days when you’d sleep until 12, wake up and huff a line of ket before heading into your lecture on the history of English linguistics – you are now a part of the rat race and there’s nothing much that you can do other than be prepared for what’s ahead. So here goes:
You’ll shag the junior accountant and instantly regret it
Within the first few months of your new job role, the rest of the team in the office are going to be buzzing about the fresh new blood and are almost definitely going to organise some sort of team outing to celebrate and find out what you’re about.
Don’t be fooled by the company card free drinks and obligatory lines of gak in the bar toilets. The real reason for this party is because Angela from accounts hasn’t got it in for nearly half a year and you’re not hideous to look at. So while you’re being dragged back to her studio apartment in Hackney (which she shares with her best mate), just try to envision the next morning and how hideously awkward it’s going to be every time you guys make eye contact in the meeting room. Never shit where you eat my friend.
You’ll soon realise that ‘Work Perks’ aren’t really perks at all
As soon as you’re settled into your new working environment and start to feel ‘a part of the team’, the office mum will dump an entire month’s supply of Belvita Breakfast Biscuits or joke-size sample bag of Twinings herbal teas on your desk. As you stare at her through the mess of highlighted spreadsheets in bewilderment, she’ll wink back and say, “we signed up to Work Perks and told them we’re an office of 300 staff members. You’re welcome.”
Get used to this. Each month a new truck load of pointless food items will arrive at your desk, and each month you’ll dump it into your large lower desk drawer because you can’t be bothered to take it to the bins outside. With each influx of ‘Work Perk’ parcel, your joie de vivre will slowly diminish. University suddenly feels very far away.
You’ll become an evening alcoholic
After you’re over the first couple of weeks of your new office job, you’ll realise that with the one-hour commute, the eight hour work days and the crippling exhaustion you feel from sitting stationary all day, will leave you with very little downtime in the evenings.
As the lethargy takes over, you soon give up on the idea of creating your own successful short-story blog or freelance illustration project and instead find your enjoyment in wine. Red, white, rose – it doesn’t matter really. Getting sloshed is about the only pleasure you have in the week now, so why not drink as much as possible, whenever possible, for as long as possible.
You’ll learn how to turn killing time into an art form
The fact is, the 40-hour workweek is pointless. I can guarantee that if you are in a low-level office job, every task that needs to be done in a working day can be finished within the first four hours of work.
Join this with the fact that you are almost 100% not engaged in your job and you’ve got yourself at least a good few hours to kill each day. Especially on the shifts where you don’t have any bullshit hour-long meetings to pass the time. You will soon learn to get the important shit out of the way in the morning before cruising your way through the afternoon looking at Sick Chirpse posts (don’t pretend like you don’t). Just remember to delete your browsing history at the end of each day – particularly the NSFW shit.
You’ll soon give up on tea and coffee altogether
Another first week milestone is your first tea and coffee round. You might initially enjoy the bants of running around the office with a Post-it note, writing down all the milk/no milk/sugar/sweetener specifics, but by the third or fourth round there’s going to be at least one wanker who will pull you aside to let you know that you’re not leaving their decaf Redbush bag in the hot water long enough.
Soon you will learn to despise Lynn for demanding no more than one and a half teaspoons of sweetener or Andrew for refusing to drink out of a cup that has a fat rim. Tell you what Andy, why don’t you suck on my rim you utter cunt? Soon enough the rage you will feel each round outweighs the times that someone else makes you your regular tea with milk and you’ll give up on the hot drink round altogether.
You’ll eventually start a side job to get out of this hellhole or you’ll give up completely and accept the fact that life is shit
After six months of the job chipping away at your soul, you’ll slowly sink into the depressing routine before the epiphany hits you – this can go one of two ways depending on what kind of person you are. You’ll either have a flickering memory of your final year of Uni when you actually had hopes and dreams of working towards a career you’d enjoy and decide that enough is enough and you’re going to start freelancing on the side. If this is the case, try to replace the afternoons where you’re browsing through shitty blog posts and start writing some of your own (that’s what I did and look at me now).
Or you’ll reside yourself to a depressing life of mundane office work, shitty work banter, mediocre pay and increasingly severe alcoholism. Obviously you’re going to want to go with the former option but if you can’t be arsed and you’d rather just give up on life, then you could probably use our guide on how to waste time in the office. Good luck to you.