You squandered your entire last term at uni filling in tedious applications for grad schemes and begging people to let you make them tea so you could put it on your LinkedIn profile - but you're finally here.
You've got your first 9-5 job and Real Life has commenced. But rather than a briefcase-carrying man/woman about town, you are a professional mess. Why is office life so... confusing?
1 The ceaseless, demoralising swathes of jargon
Can we push back on that please? This totally confusing way of liaising is not best practice. Seriously, your dissertation (probably) contained less waffle.
2 Tea worship
You thought you liked tea. If fact, you thought you liked tea a lot. Two days into your new office gig and you realise that tea isn't just an okay-but-not-quite-as-good-as-coffee thing to drink with a biscuit, it's the only reason anyone in the office ever actually talks to each other. The tea run is a sacred opportunity to not only leave your chair (no deep vein thrombosis for you) but also to appear generous and considerate to your peers. Oh, and caffeine. That too.
3 In-depth analysis of what day it feels like and what day it is actually
You and your colleagues have so little in common (except a passion for sales, of course) that most of your chit chat consists of what day it is and how many days remain until those scared two days that you can spend with other people. Tuesday and Thursday are unquestionably the driest times for day-related conversation but, fear not, you're never more than a day from 'eurrgh Monday', 'Hump Day' or 'omg happy Friday!!'. Thank God.
4 Inane discussion of your weekend
Aside from lamenting that they woke up this morning convinced it was actually Thursday, your new colleagues also love to discuss the weekend. Those two precious days provide almost a week's worth of banal chat - but be careful. Your weekend mustn't be too much better or too much worse than anyone else's. Too bad and people might feel like they have to console you (meaning time and effort), too exciting and you might have to console them (intolerable).
5 The unknowable nuances of email etiquette
You thought the post-its your housemate used to leave on the fridge were passive aggressive. Nothing prepared you for the world of work emails. Is it okay to send your boss a kiss if they sent you one first? Why does everyone insist on thanking you for your boring emails? What kind of savage would ask you how your weekend was before tearing apart that presentation you did last week while viciously hungover?
6 The dismal silence
If occasional visits to the silent floor of the library taught you anything, it's that silence is the most distracting thing ever. Is my typing annoying everyone? Do people actually have nothing to say or are they just afraid? What if I suddenly stood on my desk and beat my chest like a gorilla? Chances are, someone would give you the 'Could you drop that down in an email please?' glare and office life would return to normal. If you're lucky, someone might put the radio on. If you're really lucky, someone might ask you if you want a tea.
7 The Christmas 'do'
Seeing Actual Adults pissed was something you previously thought was reserved for weddings. Not so. Suddenly people are flocking round creepy IT Dave like he's the office adonis and that quiet girl from reception is making the HR team cry with her rendition of 'All I Want For Christmas'. Come back sticky floors and watered down Sambuca shots, all is forgiven.
8 Lunchbreak politics
Your boss's benevolent insistence that you 'must take an hour for lunch' was about as sincere as their offer of a six month pay review. Why does everyone insist on typing while they eat their overpriced sandwiches? Are they writing emails or snide Facebook statuses? What ever happened to sitting in a circle and talking about That Hot Guy in year ten and dissecting last night's episode of Skins?
9 Team meetings
10 people. Two hours. Minimal snacks. Maximum showing off. Who are these people?
10 Never actually saying what you think. About anything.
The only way to survive.
Feature image: NBC Universal/ iStock