Most of us graduate from high school with plans to never return again. We wholeheartedly believed that the bullsh*t of cliques and terrible assignments and competition wouldn’t follow us where we were going.
When we talked about our careers, we envisioned corner offices and think tanks with bean bag chairs and office parties straight out of “The Wolf of Wall Street.” Office life would be a breeze compared to the cafeteria jungle, right?
We have never been so wrong. The office environment is exactly like high school, except with fully-developed breasts and paychecks for report cards.
That girl who had a color-coded binder and could always be counted on to correct the teacher? She works in HR. That mouth-breather kid who brought smelly ethnic food to lunch? He’s in IT. And he still brings his own lunch.
The whole gang is still there -- they just grew facial hair and even bigger egos. There’s the super pretty girl who you still can’t compete with.
There’s the guy who tries too hard to be funny in class and now meetings (and he probably sits next to you). And there’s that one kid who is absent more than he is present and yet still manages to do better than you.
The office isn’t a place for the meek. Much like high school, you’re constantly reminded that your future is always on the line. Not much has changed since those dreaded four years. Here’s how the office is exactly like high school.
1. Lunchtime is anxiety provoking
You’re still freaking out that no one will ask you to go to lunch and you’ll have to eat at the table alone. While all the account executives grab their coats and leave to go sh*t talk (probably about you), you feel right back in the 10th grade cafeteria when people only sat with you out of pity.
At least you have a laptop to hide behind now.
2. You’re nervous when your boss asks you to stay late
It’s the grown-up version of ”Please see me after class, Jane.” You’re perpetually afraid of your superiors and the power they wield over your success. Bosses, like teachers, want to believe they’re making a difference.
The uber toolish bosses even refer to themselves as “your teacher” because they “want you to learn and grow here.” Sure, grow our paychecks first.
3. Office gossip is rampant
At any given moment someone is talking about someone’s bad hair, embarrassing Instagram photo or poor behavior at the staff meeting. In the office, everything gets shared -- bathroom stalls, germs, pens and, yes, major gossip.
4. You’re still fighting for a promotion like it's pom-poms
The most coveted positions will always be the hardest to attain. Make the cut or be cut. It’s an exclusive thing, nbd.
5. The friends you have today aren’t the same as yesterday
The office and high school are like “The Godfather”: trust nobody. Except the nurse. She has private bathrooms.
6. You get up early and stay late because you didn’t finish your work from the night before
Lose-lose situations are the cornerstones of both puberty and the office. Cheer up kids because you’ll basically be working for the rest of your lives.
7. You eat all of your lunch before 11 am
And then you’re starving by 3, which is exactly time for your afterschool snack. You’re really growing up in this world.
8. You escape to the bathroom when you need a break...
It’s not exactly a safe space, but it’s the only place to go and not get caught.
9. ...But you’re also scared to use it
Nothing stinks more than having to poop in the communal bathroom. Regardless of how much you try to avoid it, how little you eat for lunch or how well-timed your bowel movements usually are, there will be a time in every person’s life when he/she succumbs to going number two at work.
There’s a real fear that your peers will find out you are the culprit, and then they’ll really be talking sh*t about you. Don’t flush your career down the toilet.
10. The dress code is bullsh*t
Why are we wearing the ugliest version of our grandma's slack suits? We don’t look professional; we look like we got blinded back in the 80s.
11. You don’t know how 67 percent of the people around you are graduating
Seriously, you once saw the man in accounting try to print a fax. How are you two even working at the same place?
12. You’re nervous your tuna sandwich will smell
If you’re bringing tuna, you’re pretty much announcing that you won’t be sitting at the cool kids’ table. It’s a choice: friends or fish?
13. All the girls talk for the first 15 minutes
This is very true. Some things never change.
14. There is the one hot guy who you have a crush on and in no other context would be hot
When you’re in the same environment every day your mind starts playing tricks on you. In school, it’s funny to hook up with this guy and reflect about your poor choices.
At work, it’s funny to pretend like you’d hook up with this guy. Internalize this difference.
15. When the Internet goes out, it’s like having a substitute teacher
Everyone checks out, nobody pays attention and it’s pretty much anarchy for 10 minutes. Sweet.
16. Gchat is the new texting in class
No matter how old we get, we’ll always be finding ways to talk to our friends instead of doing our work.
17. Days off are still awesome
You no longer have the vacation time that you’re accustomed to, but those silly bank holidays are still cherished time off. And now you can do the same things you would do as a kid -- like stay in bed the entire day.
18. Office and class parties are the best
Again, another excuse to kill 20 minutes of productivity. You think you’re fooling the teacher, but you’re not.
19. You wait for 6 pm like you would the last bell
Sitting still was never your thing. Good thing that Adderall prescription still comes in handy!
20. Company sports teams are your after-school activities
See, you can revisit your old hobbies as a kid even when you’re 35! And now no one cries when you slap them in the face “accidentally.” They just put you on their sh*t list.
21. You want to do the best out of your class
Competition is present everywhere, but especially in the work and school settings. Everyone is trying to get ahead and be the number one employee. Too bad you can’t cheat.
22. Paychecks are the equivalent of report cards
You still aren’t doing well.
23. There are different cliques
You should have learned and accepted this back in high school. The mean girls only get meaner and the assh*le guys only get more assh*lish. People don’t change, they just become more of themselves.
24. Teacher’s pets are the ones who stay late just to say they’re staying late
Generally speaking, they’re the most unuseful people in the office and so they try to make themselves useful in the most trivial of ways. We’re onto you.
25. You still need to hide your boner
Or don’t. Prove to everyone you really have grown up since high school.