Welcome to the Real World: The Office is Your Family

When you went off to college, chances are you didn’t live a block away from Mom and Dad. Even in cases where the trip home was do-able on weekends, rarely did family fun time rank higher than a Sigma Chi mixer. Sure, you made sporadic phone calls to the people who gave you life, and they were always your family, but it didn’t take long to realize you needed a family on campus, too. Roommates, hallmates, your pledge class, a study group (see: Community)…these became the people who held your hair back when you puked in the street, who crawled in your bed to watch tv marathons, who knew your favorite pregame songs and would always let you borrow their notes when you slept through class.

Graduation threw you all into a whirlwind of separation anxiety, with promises to call and visit and text and Skype and… Yeah, that didn’t really happen as planned.

Living on your own in the real world (“real world”), you won’t find pledge classes or study groups. Your roommate will be someone you found on Craigslist. Your hallmates will be invisible, except for the 87 year-old woman who owns six cats and listens to Wheel of Fortune on blast. At 5 am. Family, of the non-blood variety, is hard to come by. Nights eating mediocre take out alone on Ikea furniture while Netlfix plays in the background becomes the new norm. (Sorry to go all graphic, Bridget Jones-style on you there.) Just when you think you can’t possibly take it anymore, a funny thing happens.

You get a job.

Suddenly you work in an office with the same people all day, five days of the week. Some are older than you, some are younger. Some you have nothing in common with. (Actually, most you have nothing in common with.) You don’t really care for their taste in Pandora stations. You’d definitely encourage them to reconsider their wardrobe choices. But despite — and eventually because of — all their quirks and eccentricities and differences, you kind of love everyone.

It’s this twisted love that awkwardly grows from gchat conversations and shared eye-rolls to happy hours fueled by too much wine and someone agreeing to get their balls waxed on camera. One day you reach a point where you know so much about these people. I’m not talking in terms of so-and-so eats an apple with her lunch every day and what’s-his-face gets twitchy eyes when he’s lying. No. I wish. What you know includes stories about anal sex and uncontrollable boners and black tar heroin and midgets. The sort of stuff you hear and can never, ever un-hear.

In a way, even more so than your college family, your office is your post-grad family. You didn’t get to pick them, not all of them got to pick you, but for better or worse (for funnier or stranger), you’re stuck together. So accept it, drink up and get back to work.

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