The 8 Deadly Pitfalls Of Corporate America Through The Eyes Of A 20-Something

by Melissa Henry

For every hour in your workday that's essentially being wasted, I have a reason to match why Corporate America is a tragic place.

The following is based on the fact that I went to private school, went to (and graduated from) college and have been vastly disappointed by the real world expectation that you should happily devote your life to a 9-to-6 schedule, Monday through Friday to some corporation all in the interest of a "steady job."

When I originally started writing on the topic, I thought it was going to be a comedy, but it turned out to be a tragedy.

Here are eight awful things about working in "the real world."

1. The 8-hour workday and 40-hour+ work weeks

Who can we blame for this? I don't care to do the research on who is responsible for this concept, but I do know this: It's your life and you're spending it sitting at a cubicle.

I totally buy into Tim Ferris' "The 4-Hour Work Week" because the more I "work," the less productive I am. Corporate America is just school for grownups, and how much did you actually pay attention in school? Exactly.

2. The coworker who really takes his or her job seriously

If your goal in life is to be a robot, mission accomplished. I have two words: natural selection. How do these people exist in droves?

3. The absolute fact that most people have no idea what they are doing (or talking about), and the one person who does is somehow never in charge.

No further explanation needed.

4. Lunch "hour"

I don't know what's sadder, trying to actually pull off a lunch outside the office that actually lasts an hour, or sitting at your desk eating a Lean Cuisine. (Hint: It's the second one.)

5. The fact that these words are ever uttered: "Happy Monday. Happy Tuesday. Happy hump day. Happy Thursday. Happy Friday."

No day is a happy day at work, except maybe on Friday, and that is the only obvious exception to the rule.

6. Horrible bosses

At the risk of being inappropriate, a great man once said that some people "kiss up and sh*t down." Just because you are someone's boss doesn't mean you have to be a terrible person with nothing nice to say.

7. The mere existence of the following:

Meetings: 99.9 percent of the time, they're a waste of time.

Business Trips: No wonder practically everyone is a cheating fool. You are NEVER HOME and spend all of your time with your coworkers.

Email: Generally speaking, it can be effective. However, it often has a tendency to turn on you in the form of an email chain -- just one can ruin a day. Try more than one and see if you get ANYTHING accomplished. That goes for both business emails and the chain emails that have nothing to with business but you feel obligated to respond to (e.g. Happy Birthday!, Great job team! or Donuts in the kitchen!)

"Decks" -- not the kind you sit on -- aka Powerpoint: What happened to the power of public speaking? Oh yeah, it's dead (unless you're at a TED Talk or doing something legitimate with your life like stand-up comedy). By all means, let's sit in a room and look at yet another screen on this absurd "Deck"-- that's what they're calling it these days kids -- that the presenter put together to tell a story to people who probably aren't listening anyway.

Advertising Agencies: You may think you're the next Don Draper or Peggy Olson, but you're not. I've deduced that the bulk of agency staff are comprised of vapid Millennials who think they really care about their job (see #2), because they pretend to work really hard (see email) and "multitask," and at the end of the day accomplish nothing except pretending to be busy.

Social Media As A Job: WHY ZUCKERBERG? WHY???

"Gurus" Of Any Kind: If you refer to yourself as a guru, you better be packing transcendental heat.

Webinars: I feel that explaining why this is a problem is actually giving it too much credit, but I'll try: No one gives a crap about your webinar. There it is. Nailed it.

8. The Buzzwords. So. Many. Buzzwords.

Here are a few with definitions:

White Paper: Just paper.

"Offline" as in, "let's take this offline." This is special code for "I'm not going to answer that question in front of these people." This is apparently an acceptable response to a question or concern brought up in a forum allegedly designed for questions and concerns.

"I'm OOO and WFH but I will have those deliverables to you by COB/ EOD." Translation: I'm out of the office and working from home, but I will have that stupid sh*t you think you need to you by close of business or end of day.

Photo via HBO