How to Have a Grownup Job

By 9:31 this morning, I had already completed all necessary tasks for my day at work. Fueled by too much caffeine and with what feels like endless hours ahead of me, today is much like every other day. This is the kind of job where working quickly and efficiently does not get you praise, but is rewarded with annoyance at having to find another task for you to complete.

This kind of routine does not sync well with my Mary Tyler Moore, go-getter, lead-by-example and don’t-quit-until-the-job-is-done attitude. But hey-it’s Thursday, which means it’s almost Friday, which means I’ve been mentally checked out since 1:30 on Wednesday.

And while—let’s be honest—I’d like to be job-hunting right now, I respect my employer just enough to not search for new jobs while on the clock, despite the wonders of incognito mode. And while some days are more productive than others, it’s clear that today will not be a productive day. Below then, is my day’s itinerary, adaptable to your workday:

9 a.m.-Arrive at work, make the perfect morning cup of tea, open company email account, respond accordingly.

9:30 a.m.-Learn that supervisor has started on all of your work today, because of an impending deadline. Your position (at least for today) is redundant. Rather than worry about job security for your middleman position, stream the latest Moth podcast, because who doesn’t like weeping at work about a widow’s struggle to take off her wedding ring? Leave you email open, and occasionally click on things—boy, do you look professional and busy.

10:30 a.m.-Now that your friends who don’t work in offices are awake, begin a frenzy of text conversations. Be prepared for your deskmate to be annoyed by the constant bzzz bzzz of your phone. But playing Kill, Fuck, Marry with characters from Parks and Rec is an integral part of your job, so he’ll just have to deal.

11 a.m.-Is it seriously not even noon yet?

11:01 a.m.-Switch over to streaming NPR and find out what’s going on tonight on your favorite websites. Have a quick cigarette with a coworker, not because you want one, but because if you’re going to die at this desk one day, at least a cigarette will shave a few minutes off your perspective lifespan.

11:30 a.m.-An impromptu meeting reminds you that this job might be kind of dull, but it is teaching you some new things, and hey-you’re actually pretty good at this stuff. Savor this moment-you will need it to propel you through the rest of the day.

12:15 p.m.-Lunch. Go for a bracing walk in the cold, stomp your feet, and thank whoever you worship that you don’t have to smell your deskmate’s tunafish sandwich today.

1 p.m.-He decides to eat the sandwich now? And who puts mustard and garlic on tunafish? At least eat it in the breakroom, man. Spend the next thirty minutes working at breakneck speed to make it look like you’ve been working at a snail’s pace all day. Color-coordinate your shit. Bosses love that.

1:30 pm-Scheduled conference call to discuss internal progress in the department. Dazzle them with your wit and productivity, and find yourself rewarded with one task to accomplish if you’re lucky.

2:30-2:35 p.m.-Call ended, and task completed.

2:36 p.m.-Suddenly, you are inundated with emails, phone calls, and questions. It’s as if everyone collectively decided to start working at the same time. Finally, a flurry of productivity that makes you feel like this day isn’t wasted.

3 p.m.-Just as quickly as it began, the stream of work ends. Shoot a quick email to your boss, alerting her to the fact that you’ll be leaving early to do some recon on our competitors.

3:01 p.m.-Slip out like a thief in the night—better still, slip out like a one-night stand in the wee hours of the morning. Celebrate your early freedom with an early happy hour.

**Originally published on on February 19, 2015**

How to Have a Grownup Job

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