Things Are About
To Get Real
by Bryan Duff
describes the events of July 13th, 2009, my first
day in the real world - also known as my first
day out of college and in the workforce. Because
the majority of my graduating cohort has not been
as fortunate as I have been in finding employment,
I self-importantly took it upon myself to write a
running diary of the days events in order
to share the joys of employment with my
6:00 am: Wake
up anxiously before my alarm. Heres to the
my bed smells like fish and chips. Odor either
results from the fact that my roommates let
several random British strangers use my bed over
the weekend, or because I suffered nightmares
about my upcoming first day and the aroma is the
smell of my night sweat.
6:18: Go to
Walgreens to get Cheerios and eggs for breakfast. Also
buy hand soap. I do not eat the hand soap for
breakfast, but I do eat the Cheerios and eggs.
for train. Make mistake of sitting next to an old
man who was either asleep or dead. I didnt
really need anything else to worry about, so
thanks a lot, World.
that Pretty Young Thing is stuck in my head.
Begin to worry if this will persist all day.
provides confirmation that aforementioned old man
is not dead.
at work 39 minutes early out of nervousness.
Unsure how to kill time, I begin to circle the
block. I pass a TJ Max which makes me miss my mom.
8:17: Get on
8:21: Get on
another wrong elevator.
get on the right elevator.
that the mission of my company is to Help
Make Democracy Work. I am sure this very
tangible and specific statement answers any
questions you have in regards to exactly how I am
making a living with a sociology degree.
that no weapons are permitted in workplace. Begin
to worry how I am going to hide the two dozen
hand grenades I impulsively put in my back pocket
8:59: Told we
have a casual Friday dress code. When I ask what
this means, I am told to wait until Friday. Assume
I can just wear jeans, sandals, and my high
school football jersey like I did on Spirit
Fridays back in my bucolic hometown, but maybe
will bring an extra change of clothes just in
9:01: Pop quiz
time! What do I do if contacted by reporter? My
answer: direct them to publicity department,
unless that reporter is Connie Chung. In
that case, I should ask Where the hell have
you been all these years, Connie Chung!?
My answer is correct, making me then newest
winner on Americas Fastest Growing Quiz
Show: Human Resource Pop Quizzes.
9:05: I Want
To Love You (P.Y.T.) Pretty Young Thing.
there are no P.Y.T.s in the room
only human resource representatives.
five page handout containing a list of government
acronyms. My favorite? FMLD: Federation of
Mommas that Love Dinosaurs. Why does our
government sponsor that organization? No idea,
but I am now prouder to be an American.
to fill out confusing W-4 sheets. My struggle
causes me to question the worth of my liberal
technical orientation by IT-staffer Ricky. Hey
Ricky! Youre so fine! Youre so fine
you blow my mind! Hey Ricky.
explains what an email is.
becomes clear Ricky lives with his grandmother.
Orientated to company library by company
librarian. Told I can use library for personal
use, so when I want to read An Introduction
to SAS Programming for recreation, I can!
Some Lovin' (T.L.C.) Tender Lovin' Care.
Introduced to company advisor. She
offers to take me to lunch tomorrow to discuss my
career goals. I now have 25 hours to invent
second thought, that old man this morning might
not have been snoring but rather undergoing rigor
Escorted to my new home CUBICLE 3024B. Its thin
walls and square footage make it the McMansion of
Cubicles. If I stand, face left, bend, and squint,
I can see part of the lake. Heres to the
that I wont have a computer until tomorrow.
Three separate supervisors apologize for this
as if I would make this a deal breaker and
quit. Chill out guys, I am more desperate
pushing my box of office supplies around for a
while, informed to go to lunch.
11:53: Get on
11:56: Get on
another wrong elevator.
Finally escape building in search of food. Decide
its best to go somewhere close. Resist temptation
of McDonalds for a place called Oodles O
long wait, I receive a Moderate Portion O Rice
from Oodles O Noodles.
fortune cookie with following fortune: It is not
the count of the words but rather their weight. So
far, this diary is at 873 words. Unsure what each
of them weighs.
building after being told by a 7-foot ice-cream
cone that a new Dairy Queen just opened down the
street. Will be taking my girlfriend there when I
feel like being fancy and have paid off student
loans. Hopefully this DQ is as good as the
one back home. Remember that one time when we all
Distracted by reminiscing of hometown DQ, get on
the wrong elevator.
return to cubicle.
Introduced to my company buddy Lino. He
is five feet tall. He tells me that he is here to
answer any questions and that I should feel free
to talk to him. Unfortunately he tells me this in
the most intimidating way possible.
exits, but not before the following exchange:
Lino: Any questions?
Me: No, I think Im good for now. Thank
you very much.
(really long pause).
Lino: You smell like Oodles O Noodles.
frantically trying to figure out how not to smell
like Thai food, whisked away to take out the
National Science Foundations
find a computer to start online course. Begin to
feel the effects of not being able to sleep last
night in my bed of fish and chips.
how short Lino is. Giggle.
Interrupted by company emailing saying that our
PR department will begin to Twitter. We are
course? Completed. Hatred of government
bureaucracy? Just beginning.
to cubicle. Attempt to look busy by putting up
non-specific post-it notes such as
Paycheck and Meeting.
Interrupted by Lino
Lino: Do you like coffee?
(really long pause).
Me: I sometimes drink tea.
(really long pause).
Lino: Lets go to Argo Tea.
shows me the right elevator and we walk to Argo
Tea. It is a very pretty day - made even
pretty by the sunshine off of Lino's head.
buys me a green tea. He tells me this is what the
buddy system is all about. In fact, his buddy did
the same for him when Lino started. I ask
Lino where his buddy is now. I learn that
Linos buddy quit the day after Linos
3:23: I again
think to myself that Lino is really short.
tells me he is a karate black belt.
3:25:30: I wet
3:31: Back in
office, Lino says You still smell like
Oodles, new guy.
Introduced to yet another boss. She shouts
I heard you were tall! I smile and
glance at Lino. He appears jealous and angry. He
is clearly practicing his round house kicks in
his mind. My boss is interested in how I
plan to decorate my McMansion-cubicle. I tell her
I may get a plant, but in my mind I am
brainstorming the best way to honor the old man
who died next to me on the train this morning.
long decorating discussion, return to my cubicle
and again pretend to be busy. Notice that
the man across from me puts headphones on to
block out the raging sounds of shuffling papers.
That guys ninny status is henceforth
4:05: Begin to
debate: Is MJ talking about things that are
pretty young, or are they both pretty and young?
Either way, they need tender lovin care.
debate with no real conclusion.
tells me I can go home. He leaves for karate
4:33: I begin
to stealthily type up these notes on Linos
5:08: I finish
these notes. I exit to TJ Max to buy bed sheets
that don't smell like fish and chips. Day
one is over. Somehow glad I didnt sleep
through it, and heres to the working week.