I’m filing official complaints with the real world


Humor columnist Justine Baird pens an open letter to life after college.

Ariana Gueranmayeh | Cavalier Daily

We’ve all heard it before — college is the best four years of your life. Until this summer, I have always taken that saying with a grain of salt. Could it really be the best four years of my life? I mean, sure the amount of free time I have is great, and I love Charlottesville as much as the next person. But I’ve always looked forward to having a real life as a functioning adult. Who isn’t excited to have a classy night out with their new work friends instead of pounding Busch Lights on a Friday night with some bozos in Sperrys? Not to mention the lack of exams, papers and Collab quizzes. The real world sounds pretty great when you dream about it. But, let me tell you, it’s nothing like your dreams. 

This summer, I spent eight weeks in the real world. I wasn’t enjoying a four day work week or a part-time schedule like lots of my friends. If those people try to tell you about the real world don’t listen to them, their take is not hot. I was an actual employee at my summer internship with a nine hour work day, five days a week. After these eight weeks, I had a lot of complaints about the real world that I would like to officially file. I hope the complaints will be processed by the time I graduate, so this version of the world will learn how to change its behavior by the time the Class of 2021 enters the job market. For now, these notes on the real world can educate anyone who wants to understand exactly what is waiting for them after graduation. 

First off, I would like to talk to your interior designer. Who decided that office spaces need to be so depressing, gray and square? I understand that cubicles are practical, and gray is a good neutral color, but is there not anything better? The fluorescent lights and linoleum floors also need to go. I’d be happy to consult with you on other design changes. 

Another thing, why are you so tiring? It’s not like I’m doing CrossFit during the work day. I sit for nearly the entire day — besides my acutely timed bathroom breaks. And yet, I get home and with absolutely no energy — even with caffeine still pumping through my veins. All I want to do is sit on the couch, watch some sort of garbage television show and eat an ungodly amount of sugar. Could you at least leave me with cravings for something healthier? Or how about this, leave me with even an ounce of energy to do something fun?

On that note, what happened to free time. An intense work week can really leave an employee with no personal time. Yes, I understand weekends are supposed to be for free time. But, you’re also leaving me without much sleep, and I can’t sleep and enjoy my free time. That just doesn’t make any sense. Maybe, we should take some advice from Spain and completely change American cultural values. I’ve heard siestas are a real thing, and they sound pretty awesome. I know most people wouldn’t be opposed. Then, we would have time to catch up on sleep and actually use weekends for fun things like not working. 

Bathroom etiquette is also confusing and needs some clearer guidelines. Is small talk always necessary when standing next to someone at the sink? How excited should I act when someone compliments the hand-me-downs I’m wearing? Do I have to offer a compliment in return?

One last complaint — can we please just make things a little less expensive? I need coffee to get me through the first few painful hours of your days, so maybe just make it a little cheaper. My expired plus dollars don’t work at real world Starbucks establishments. I have a lot of loose change, so I’d prefer a price that’s under a dollar. 

Also, can good food just not be priced above $10. You know, with the federal minimum wage being ridiculously low and all that, I have no way to eat anything good these days. My diet includes Easy Mac and whatever is on sale in the freezer aisles. If you don’t do it for me, do it for the health of your workforce. Oh, and maybe make all gym memberships Planet Fitness price? I like working out, but not when it takes a big chunk out of my paycheck. 

These are some pretty serious complaints for the real world to consider, and I hope that it really uses these notes to change its behavior and outlook on the workforce. But, don’t get me wrong — my hopes are not high. I think the most change I can expect in the next two years is an improvement in the snacks available to low level employees.

Justine Baird is Humor Columnist at The Cavalier Daily. She can be reached at humor@cavalierdaily.com.

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