Yesterday my roommate and I were relaxing on the couch after respectively long days at work, and she asked me, “Do you ever notice how you always hear people say the same phrases over and over again at work?”
I asked her to give me an example.
“Like, people at my office are always saying, ‘Just another day in paradise.'”
I was immediately reminded of the scene in Office Space when Peter tells Lawrence, “Say Lawrence. When you go into work on a Monday and you’re not feeling too good, does anyone ever say to you, ‘Sounds like a case of the Mondays?'” And Lawrence replies, “No. No, man. Shit no. I reckon you’d get your ass kicked for saying something like that.”
I reckon I’d kick any coworker’s ass who insisted on saying “Just another day in paradise” at the office on a regular basis.
But if you think about it, jobs become kind of like relationships after a while. Each office is its own little world, with its own habits and quirks and personalities. Regardless of whether you love your job or hate it, after you spend 10 hours a day in a room with the same group of people, Monday through Friday, the whole routine becomes a bit of a security blanket. Everything is an inside joke, people have little nicknames for each other, and you start to look forward to some of the repetitive, mundane realities of day to day life, even if you don’t realize it.
At my current job, the whole staff sits around two big tables in one room. No cubicles, no offices, except for the bureau chief. Everyone hears what anyone says, all the time– and while I’ve never heard anyone say, “Just another day in paradise,” thankfully, we do start to develop little office-wide habits after a while. For instance, there’s always a jar of snacks on the table– sometimes goldfish, sometimes pretzel sticks, chocolate covered almonds at the moment. Inevitably, someone dips his hand in that cookie jar one too many times, and the rest of the office feels obligated to comment on that person’s gluttony. “Have another handful of M&Ms, fatty!” “What, did your girlfriend forget to pack your lunchbox today?”
We all share one big phone line, and there’s no secretary, so we answer the phone on a “whoever picks it up” basis. Inevitably, someone gets flustered and makes an ass out of themselves on the phone, and the entire office hears the whole thing. A few weeks after I started, Julian, one of the interns, answered the phone, “Huffington Report, this is Julian.” Everyone died– HUFFINGTON REPORT?! Hahahaha, Julian, how’s the new gig at the Huffington Report?
I was laughing too, until I answered the phone, “Washington Post, this is Laura,” a few days later. The person on the other line was very confused, my face turned beet red and the whole office went nuts again. OHHHH, You WISH you worked at the Washington Post!
Oh, and here’s one I really had to get used to. Every day at 5 pm sharp, the whole office watches Glenn Beck– for comedy purposes, of course. At first I found it unbearable– I would start sweating, squirming in my chair. “Seriously, guys? Glenn Beck? Why are we watching this?!” Everyone would just ignore me until I surrendered. And now, if 5 o’clock rolls around and someone forgets to turn on Glenn Beck, I’m the first to shout, “IT’S GLENN BECK TIIIME!”
Everything about my workday, from the bathroom door handle shocking my hand every time to the California Grille panini I get at Corner Bakery every day has become a comfort to me, even if I find those things simultaneously annoying in their repetitiveness. I can’t imagine what it feels like to get laid off after 10, 20, 30 years at a job. People must feel so lost.
Do you guys know what I’m talking about? Do you enjoy the comfort and familiarity of your 9 to 5, even if you hate everything else about it? What are your weird workplace quirks?