What makes early adulthood so challenging is the number of problems, riddles and questions you’re asked to tackle, and doing so without any of the tools of experience or wisdom. As you progress, like in any job, you may become more equipped to face these challenges more elegantly than perhaps the first time, but that doesn’t help you right now, does it?
For instance, the job market. Quite frankly, nobody prepares you for this shit! Sure, they teach you that money is important, that you need to be enthusiastic and you can google your way through the average job interview. But once you’re in, well, you’re on your own.
Firstly, the hours we are required to work are incredibly difficult to get used to. I remember my first week working full-time, the standard 9-5, and I was utterly exhausted and asked the rest of society “How do you people do this every week for 40+ years!!”
Secondly, nobody tells you that you need to adapt your overall personality to your new environment. In the workplace, you must be friendly, humble, respectful and a team worker. The truth is, deep inside, dearest reader, we’re all selfish, lazy and moody bastards who want nothing to do with other people unless they do your work for you.
Lastly, small talk. Perhaps it is because I grew up in Germany, but I feel that a lot of this empty small talk business is a waste of time. When I walk into your office, or I call you, I obviously have something to ask or say to you; why bother with friendly banter when we are taught that time is money? What is more, you are expected to say something to each co-worker every day, and if you see them twice or three times, you need to say something new!
So at first, I used to throw in the classics:
How was your weekend?
How are the kids?
Did you see that ridiculous email?
That’s a very lovely bag you have there. Where’s that from?
Is it 5 yet!!
But I quickly realised, that is not me. I can’t. I just.. can’t.
But I don’t want to be the anti-social person in the room who talks to nobody or robotically just talks whenever necessary to complete a transaction. Instead, I have simply decided to be talkative, but still be true to myself. And what do I do, dearest reader? I make observations. So nowadays, instead of classics, you’ll hear me say things like these:
-I see you’re wearing flowers today.
-You have a very nice body. Big shoulders. Do you exercise much?
-I noticed you’re vegetarian. What do you eat for protein?
-You look great, you look like you never even had a child!
-Why do you have such a cylinder-shaped container like that for your lunch? Wouldn’t it be easier to have a normal one?
– Apparently, my latest Ultrasound shows that my right ovary is larger than the left. How are yours?
– Do you ever get tired of having tuna for lunch every day? Do you worry about mercury?
So, what’s the result of this? I’m the weird one in the staff room. But it doesn’t matter.
Because I don’t care about your weekend, I’d rather know more about you.