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Is the real world going to be like ‘The Office?’

And how will I navigate the working world if it isn’t?

<p>Lucie Drahozal is a Life Columnist for The Cavalier Daily.</p>

Lucie Drahozal is a Life Columnist for The Cavalier Daily.

I cannot believe that my days in Charlottesville are numbered. It is surreal to me to think I will be packing up my apartment — headed for home — in just a few weeks. As much as I don’t want to leave the University, I must prepare for the “real world,” as adults so regretfully call it. 

Let me be entirely transparent — I don’t have a job. I went into college having absolutely no idea what I wanted to do post-grad, and here I am, nearing graduation still not knowing what I want to do. Clearly, I have more of an idea now than I did then, but every time I apply for a position I still find myself thinking, “Hm, do I really want to do this?”

OK, I lied, I do have a job. I have a bartending/dining assistant job at home, but that is not necessarily the job people think when discussing post-graduate life with a college graduate. So yes, I will have money and will be making money — just to put that one out there. 

This position affords me the opportunity to have one more limitless summer. Especially after a year of lockdowns and restrictions, my heart is so happy seeing bands release their upcoming concert dates and indoor sports arenas finally reopening. After graduation, the world will actually be starting to open up, and the timing could not be any better for me.

However, yes, I know I will eventually have to start considering what in the world I want for my future. 

After watching “Grey’s Anatomy,” I was convinced that I would make a great doctor. I don’t get queasy watching their surgeries, and I find the human body so fascinating. Since watching “Criminal Minds,” I have spent countless hours googling how to become a supervisory special agent for the Behavioral Analysis Unit. I love reading people and observing their actions. How could this not be a perfect fit? But, while watching “The Office,” I became convinced that it doesn’t really matter what I’m doing, as long as there’s a Jim Halpert/Pam Beesly relationship in my office — someone to entertain me, flirt with me and keep my banal workday constantly interesting. 

But what happens when — if I finally get a conventional job — it isn’t like “The Office?” What if I find myself like season-one Jim, going through the motions in a position I cannot stand and watching the love of my life frolic about with someone else? I know myself pretty well, and I know I don’t have the patience to stay motivated in a position or with a company that I hate. And I also don’t think I am smooth enough to get out of the friend zone like Jim did, even if that is the way I’m meant to find my soulmate. So what happens if I hate my next job? 

To be transparent, I think this is a big reason why I have not put the time into searching for job openings. I am too scared to look on LinkedIn or Handshake because I know that the pressure will start to sink in. If I start browsing openings, instead of looking for jobs I actually want, I will apply to any open spot, desiring the ability to tell other people that I have a job rather than the job itself. 

I am sure that that is what half of my graduating class has done — gotten a job for the security of saying you have one. It is entirely understandable, and I know that — if I were to open LinkedIn just once — I would also succumb to that line of thought. 

However, I have always liked the positions that I have held throughout my summers. I have worked at the same restaurant since the summer after my first year, working my way from host to a bartender/dining room assistant. I love that job, those people and the various interactions I get to have every single day. So my mentality was, “Why leave?”

Granted, I didn’t have many options otherwise. Like every third year at the University, I spent the large majority of the year applying to internships. I got some responses and interviews, thankfully, but then there was a national pandemic and sh—t hit the fan. So no internship for me, which quite honestly was the least of my worries last year. 

I’m sure that having an internship would’ve helped steer me in a direction — literally any direction. Whether that was towards or away from a specific job, I know that it would’ve been helpful to at least be able to narrow my life down. But that was not my track, apparently. 

Yes, I think it is a bit idealistic of me to think that I will like my first job. My family and friends have comforted my sister when she has complained about her first job right out of college, saying things like, “You never like your first job!” But this does not comfort me one bit. 

I need a Michael Scott, a Stanley and an Andy. I need a ridiculous boss who is willing to make fun of their employees. I need a grumpy old man who does his work but sneaks in a crossword or two during boring meetings. And I need that annoying guy in the office who everyone loves to make fun of.

Since I have been privileged enough to love my summer jobs, I know the value in liking what you do. My time there rarely made my day worse and often made my day much better. I could stay there forever, I think, if I needed to. However, I do think that the competitiveness that this University exudes will eventually get to me. But, for now, I am not breaking my promise to have one last real summer. The pressure might be strong, but my stubbornness is stronger. 

My current thoughts — relish the summer, spend time at the beach with my family, travel to new places with my friends and really look into what I could see myself doing later in life. I am in no rush to start my life in the real world if it is going to consist of me selling out to the pressure of needing a job and ultimately hating it. But, if it’s anything like season-nine Jim Halpert — where I end up with the love of my life, a job I love and coworkers who I consider my family — then sign me up. 

Lucie Drahozal is a Life Columnist at The Cavalier Daily. She can be reached at life@cavalierdaily.com.

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