I write to you from the other side of summer. Where alarms go off at 7.30 and coats are worn and day drinking is met with a more hostile attitude. For the past week I have been a working girl, spending my days gaining experience and insight of the real world, and I shall continue to do so for the next two weeks. Because there is barely anyone around to share the events of my days with, I thought I’d do so with you.
Some people say knowledge is power. I disagree. Having a recognisable company’s email domain is power. I get great joy from sitting at my desk writing adult emails knowing the reader has no idea that, despite the official looking signature and my sassy tone, I have no authority and my account will in fact be deleted in two weeks. I’ve had people give me their ‘sincerest apologies’ and tell me ‘not to hesitate to contact them with any further queries’. Sometimes I reply just to say ‘many thanks’. It is amazing how much more respect you’re given when people can’t see that you actually look like a fifteen year old.
The lunch break is a tricky area to navigate. Firstly there is the issue of when you take it. I’m normally ready at about 11.30 but I feel like I’d get a few judgemental looks from the rest of the office if they saw me heading off with my sandwich at that time. The difficult decision comes at 12ish. I have to choose whether I want to have lunch then and return to a longer, sometimes seemingly endless, afternoon or whether to push through until 1 so that I can return to my desk knowing that only a few short hours remain. In my experience the latter option is the one to go for. And remember, snacks are your friend. Secondly comes the issue of what to have. I would love to skip off to Pret everyday but unfortunately my bank balance doesn’t allow it. Instead I make a sandwich the night before and grab an apple, not quite the same but does the job. If you find it’s not filling enough, drink plenty of water. Your colleagues may become concerned about how often your toilet breaks are but at least you’re not hungry.
I’m now prepared for the question that’ll come twice a day, mid-morning and mid-afternoon like clockwork. ‘Do you want a cuppa?’. Entirely well meant, but for someone who is quite fussy with their tea (only green or mint, two thirds hot water, a third cold) it can cause mild anxiety. I find it best to assume that the only tea on offer is breakfast so in my case, I politely decline the offer. However as the week went on and the declines mounted up, I felt an air of curiousity surround my neighbouring desks, as if my colleagues had met someone from a strange land, and I knew there would be a follow up question the next time I declined. ‘So, do you not like hot drinks?’. I find it best to just say ‘not really’ rather than ‘I do, I’m just high maintenance’ and proceed to bore them with my beverage preferences (please see a picture of said preference in the header image).
The biggest hurdle of the day actually comes after I leave the office. On my walk home, I pass right through the town centre…not ideal for someone with no money and limited self control. I don’t think there was one day this week when I was home on time. I don’t know why, the shops were the same everyday.
So far it’s gone well, nice people and no major disasters, but I’ll keep you updated….
P.S Apologies for the lack of pictures, the only thing I could think of that would be relevant was iStock images of offices and no one wants to see that.