21 Irrational Fears You Start Having When You Begin A Full-Time Job

I haven’t started a new job recently, but ever so vividly do I remember what it’s like to be in the pits of both wanting to do well but not look like an over-committed psychopath or, y’know, get your ass fired. You know nothing of the struggle until these (gently exaggerated) 21 things are your day-in-day-out fears for at least three months straight.

1. If you even so much as take more than 15 minutes for a break — either web surfing or otherwise — you’re convinced that your boss knows what you’re up to and is judging you/contemplating your termination for being such a terrible, unethical employee.

2. Every time a higher up wants to “have lunch” or “talk about things” you can only assume you’re being fired, ergo, you must turn to your most trusted co-worker and say: “S/he wants to have lunch… that just means lunch… right?”

3. The same applies for any time they come over to “talk.”

4. You’re underdressed. You’re overdressed. Regardless, everyone at that meeting is judging you for either being overeager or not putting forth enough effort. A significant amount of your time is now dedicated to figuring out what’s “business casual.”

5. That this is the beginning of a slow but steady descent into your 9-5 Corporate American Nightmare and you’ll end up at the same cubicle still not seeing sunlight in 30 years from now.

6. That you’ll always be working in a cubicle.

7. The second you stop checking your email, something will happen that will immediately require your attention and you won’t tend to it and will then be forever known as that lazy, useless employee who’s never quite with it.

8. That you’re already becoming that boring friend who works all the time.

9. Needing to keep every conversation on GChat and “off the record,” even if you’re talking about the most banal, inoffensive things.

10. Gently blurring lines between “friends” and “coworkers” and waiting to be in trouble for it.

11. Every time you have a question about something you feel like you should know but don’t, you crumble into a pit of self-doubt and try desperately to figure it out immediately or at least pretend like you know what you’re doing until someone explains it without you asking.

12. Getting too excited about your paycheck and spending it carelessly only to then be convinced, once again, that you’ll be fired and on the street because you’re broke.

13. Any unseemly bodily functions that happen in excess, or really, at all. Before you’re totally comfortable in your new environment, you kind of want to convince everyone that you’re a robot that doesn’t spend more than 5 minutes in the bathroom — ever.

14. That you should be working over-hours and after-time as a matter of principle, not exception.

15. However your performance is scaled — be it by sales, numbers, test scores, page views, whatever — there exists in you a perpetual fear that it’s not quite good enough, no matter how well you’re actually doing.

16. That you’re going to do something that will make you the one person in the office everyone loves to talk about. (You all know exactly what I’m talking about).

17. If and when you do inevitably get something wrong, no matter how small the mishap, some part of you remains convinced it’s a transgression that your boss will not forget, and for the coming weeks you consider every good thing you do to be “cancelling it out.”

18. While off the clock, you’re always kind of wondering about what you could have possibly forgotten to do before you left. *Picks up phone at the bar, refreshes email again.*

19. Whether or not your direct supervisor’s bad mood is his or her own problem or yours.

20. That you’re not working enough, or working too much.

21. Either finding an office crush and constantly cycling through the reasons why it can never work out, or worse, not finding an office crush and realizing you don’t spend your time anywhere else and therefore will probably never find love. TC Mark

image – The Office

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