You’re employed, congratulations! You did it. Your college degree was, sort of, worth it. Welcome to your new reality; where you will almost never have the chance to talk about what you majored in, nor will anyone really care. It’s okay though, what you learned in those art history classes will give you the upper hand on talking about that new Ai Weiwei installation in Washington Square Park.
You know how the advent of social media has turned half of your brain into mush (this is yet to be scientifically proven but most definitely will soon be) and has led you to have to rely on Facebook to remember even your closest friend’s birthdays? That same part of your brain is also what’s supposed to help you remember the names of all of your new co-workers. Cool! Moving on.
At the end of your first day you’ll realize that you only remember the names of two of the fifteen people you got introduced to and will feel anxious about it for the rest of week. “Just play it cool,” you’ll tell yourself. But that’s a large order. Especially for someone who has just had their third oh no why am I so tired I’m not used to waking up this early cup of coffee.
Trips to the bathroom and kitchen are when you will be at your most vulnerable. When someone walks up to the sink as you’re washing your hands you might resort to blurting out compliments of very specific articles of clothing to disguise the fact that you don’t know this nice person’s name. “I like your socks?” you’ll mock yourself in the mirror, “I’m a fool!”
Take the free food, but not too much. Prepare small talk topics as you wait for the toaster to dispense your bagel. Yes, it will always feel like it’s taking 10 minutes. Listen and learn about what everyone else likes to complain about. Does the lemon and/or cucumber water always run out before noon? Did someone just microwave their fish lunch?
Hopefully you’ll have a decent amount of time to allot towards a lunch break. During your first week you’ll manage to convince yourself that when you get back to your desk your boss will have decided to fire you. You’ll develop a crippling self awareness of how loud your chewing is when you’re having your mid morning and mid afternoon (and any other time of the day that is worthy of an innocuous label) snacks.
When you're running late you're statistically more likely to run into a senior level employee in the elevator. Hopefully they’ll make it clear if they want to chat. Chances are if you take the initiative and say something about “how crazy the weather is today” that they won’t hear you and you’ll have to play it cool (again) when you use your ID to open the door and walk into the office together.
In a few short months - yes you managed to keep your job - and after many bouts of social anxiety induced stomach issues, you’ll have the, “what’s the new person’s name?” conversation with one of your coworkers. Ah, how things come full circle.