NB: This article in no way reflects the actual reality of my specific place of work – it is just a lighthearted commentary on office-life in general.
On the 1st July 2016, I entered the world of full time work for the first time. Yup, that’s right. I graduated university and went straight into the grown up world of working in an office.
Now, starting my full time job wasn’t quite as daunting as it might have been, since I’d already been doing the job part time for a year. But working 2-3 days a week is very different to working 5 days a week, and looking back I know I’ve learned a lot in the last four months.
So today I thought I’d share with you 5 things I’ve learned about working in an office.
1) Working in an office is a lot like going to school
You know how everyone moans that school doesn’t prepare you for the real world? Turns out school actually prepares you perfectly for working in an office.
The schedule is pretty much identical – 9-5, Monday-Friday, with a one hour lunch break in the middle of the day. Which means not only is the routine oddly familiar, but you also get the return of Sunday Night Dread that every teenager and office worker alike has experienced.
Like school, you spend most of your day tied to a desk, starting at the same few walls, sneakily trying to procrastinate without your teacher (boss) noticing.
Office groups are also a lot like school cliques. There are inevitably the cool guys (sales), the creative types (marketing), the nerdy ones (IT), and the seems-to-be-friends-with-everyone types (HR)
And like school, gossip is rife. If you get hideously drunk on a work night out, the whole office will know about every sordid detail, including who got off with who.
Definitely a lot like school.
2) No one knows how to write emails
Before I joined the corporate world, I thought everyone secretly had been taught how to write important emails without anxiety.
Turns out, no one really knows what they’re doing. The number of times I’ve proofread colleagues’ emails before they’ve sent them is astounding. When it comes to emails, everybody is secretly scared they’re going to copy in All Staff to a private conversation; send an All Company email full of typos; or just generally sound like a massive dick.
And don’t even get me started on the signing off debacle. Is it ‘Kind regards’? ‘Best wishes?’ ‘Thanks’? ‘Cheers’? ‘Best’? WHAT?
3) There is no such thing as ‘Business Casual’
The dress code in my office is ‘Business Casual’ – and before you ask, no, I don’t know what that means.
And nor does anybody else who works here.
Men have it easy – although it seems none of them have come to a consensus over the jacket and/or tie issue.
Women on the other hand – oh boy. Do we wear dresses? Skirt suits? Trousers? A nice top? A blazer? HEELS? No heels? Nobody knows.
Which basically means as long as you don’t rock up in jeans or trackies, you’re grand. I actually have a ‘smart’ pair of black leggings that I wear regularly to work.
4) Office sexism is real
You know how in films there’s always that sexually inappropriate male boss that gropes his young, female staff? You know how you always thought that was kinda made up?
Although office sexism isn’t always groping and outright harassment, general misogyny is definitely a thing. I spent most of my school and university days surrounding myself with badass feminist women, that I forgot the real world is actually kinda terrible.
5) There is no greater feeling than turning your ‘Out of Office’ on
Whilst school life and office life share a lot of similarities, one thing they don’t have in common is holidays. In office life, you don’t get regularly scheduled holidays automatically. You have to request them yourself. And you’re only allowed 20-odd days a year. A YEAR.
Which means when you do get a rare week off, it’s absolute bliss. And that bliss starts the moment you turn your Automatic Email Replies on.
So there you have it, five things I’ve learned about office life in my first 4 months of full time work! Do you work in an office? Let me know what things you’ve learned in your time as an office bod!