15 Inevitable Awkward Situations That Happen To Everyone Who Works In An Office

1. When You Get Yet Another Email Of Someone’s Vacation Photos

Office-wide emails are usually gross — a funny YouTube video that no one ends up watching — but the worst is when your co-worker went on the most darling trip with their kids and can’t wait to share it with everyone. Looking at someone else having fun is like looking at them eat pizza when you’re on a diet. You don’t want that thing. You just want to smack them for dangling it in front of your face.

2. When You Accidentally Stare At An Attractive Co-Worker

Sometimes you just stare off into space, but others you look at him sitting at the desk across from you, so cute in his button down and bowtie, and you get lost. You’re stuck in Sexy Hypnosis, and you accidentally stare for two seconds. Then twenty seconds. Then two minutes. Then you realize he’s noticed and looking back at you. If so, pretend you had a stroke. At least you’ll finally get to use that sick time.

3. When You Get Trapped In Conversation With That Co-Worker Who Doesn’t Know When To Shut Up

Every office has their Chatty Cathy. I think it might be a quotas thing, where they lose government funding if they don’t hire one person who cannot stop talking to save their life. Deep down, you have a soft spot for this person because they so clearly want everyone to like them — until you can’t get away from the water cooler because they need to talk about Dancing with the Stars or their chronic foot pain. But remember: Be nice. You might be someone else’s Cathy and you don’t even know.

4. When You Have To Show Up Sick Because You Don’t Have Any More PTO

There’s nothing worse than being the person who can’t stop sneezing in the office — with your co-workers continuing to say “Bless You” all day, even though Jesus has already christened your cold 100 bloody times. You can’t leave, because you can’t afford it, but you can’t stay, because no one wants to be near you. People follow you around sanitizing everything and constantly remind you, “Honey, you can just go home.” If only your bills felt the same way.

5. When You Can’t Get The Printer To Work And Then It Magically Works For Someone Else

Remember when you were a kid and you could do this really cool thing until you tried to show someone? Printers and copiers are the opposite of that, evil beasts who will perform for everyone but you. No matter how many times you try, it will say “Loading Error” or some other cryptic Illuminati code. Your co-worker will insist you’re not doing it right, but you’ve seen Paranormal Activity. You know the truth: There be demons.

6. When Someone Else Eats Your Food — And You Know Who Did It (Maybe)

You spent all morning putting together this delicious quinoa salad with ingredients you spent way too much on at Whole Foods, but then that tupperware with your name on it mysteriously vanishes. It had to be someone in this very office, and everyone is a suspect. Was it Linda? Or Paul with the shifty eyes? Or Tina, the weird new girl always lurking near the fridge, just waiting for her moment to strike? Here it’s 24 and you’re Jack Bauer; everyone’s guilty until proven innocent.

7. When You Ask A Co-Worker Out And He Says No

Everyone wants their Jim and Pam office relationship. No one wants to be Jim and That Girl Who Liked Jim But Jim Didn’t Like Back So She Didn’t Even Get To Be In The Show. Rejection is humiliating enough without having to work with them every day afterwards. Just make sure to dress like a million bucks every day afterward and maybe even buy yourself flowers (ala Cher in Clueless). Make him see what he’s missing. Be your own Pam.

8. When You Spill Coffee All Over Your Pants And Have To Work In Them For The Rest Of The Day

Spilling your coffee is bad enough. It’s even worse when you have to work with a giant stain on your thigh for the next six hours, as punishment for the fact that you never grew out of being a klutz. This will never happen when you are wearing black pants you don’t care about, but will always happen when it’s expensive, light-colored and difficult to get out because of the fabric.

9. When You Accidentally Fall Asleep (Just For A Second)

You were up all night preparing that brief (and by that, I mean “getting caught up on Breaking Bad”), and you just can’t focus — or stay awake. You’ve had three cups of coffee. You’re camped out next to the espresso machine. You’re slapping yourself. You’re breathing out alternate nostrils, like Linda told you to. (This allegedly works.) And you still can’t keep your eyes open. Inevitably you will nod off (just for a second) the moment someone important walks by. It’s Murphy’s Law of Exhaustion.

10. When You Accidentally Send An Email To The Entire Company

How does this happen? Is it witchcraft? Mere stupidity? Both? Either way, some important email only meant for you and one other person will end up in every single person’s Inbox — right next to those pictures of Cathy’s cat. (She’s always at it, that Cathy.) You’ll have a moment of embarrassment and then you’ll get over it.

Pro tip: Don’t say anything bad about your boss in an email, because you’ll never know who’ll end up reading it. Keep your shade untraceable.

11. When You Get BCC Attacked

The BCC is the sneaky three-way call of the email world, when another person can be listening in on your conversation without you knowing. It’s like Diet Espionage, when your boss has something so important to say that they can’t help but share it with their supervisor, both of whom are talking about you at this very moment. Real life is a lot like Scandal sometimes.

12. When Your Co-Worker Is Listening To Music Too Loudly And Everyone Can Hear It

You know that guy on the subway who thinks his IPhone is a boombox and wants to share the new Jay-Z song with the rest of the train? Every office has that guy, the one who probably doesn’t know everybody can hear his Lana Del Rey playlist or doesn’t care. He’s drumming at his desk or humming to himself, and you could say something, but it’s like waking a sleepwalker. He’s in his own world, and you dare not disturb.

13. When You Lie About Why Took That Day Off And Your Supervisor Knows But Won’t Say It

You were “sick.” You swear. Couldn’t your boss hear the illness in your plaintive cough, struggling for speech over the phone? You’ve got that thing that’s going around, the Asian flu or that bug from Somalia. Everyone has it these days. It’s all the rage, just non-specific enough that you’ll feel so much better tomorrow. Netflix and binge eating cured you. Your boss knows what’s up, but he won’t say anything, because someday he’ll want to pull the same crap, and he needs an accomplice. A supervisor never forgets.

14. When You Spill Your Food All Over Your Keyboard

There’s no food so delicious that it can’t accidentally be shared with your workstation when you spill it everywhere. Cheetos, hummus, Ben and Jerry’s — it’s all fair game when you’re on deadline and getting sloppy with your eating. The stress eating helps you get through those long work days, because you can only have so much coffee before you start shaking like a Polaroid picture. Don’t worry about a little mess. Just eat it anyway. No one’s watching.

15. When Everyone’s Going Out To Lunch Except You

In life, everyone has that feeling that everyone’s hanging out except for you, but at work, it’s not just a feeling. It’s real, and they’re all hanging out at Chipotle, laughing while eating taco salad. You can’t go because you’re on a budget and you packed your lunch. You want them to take a cardboard cutout of you and feed it delicious Barbacoa, but that’s just weird.

Bonus: When You’re On The Internet Instead Of Working And Your Boss Notices

There are some days where you’re so slammed you don’t know how you could possibly get everything done on time and your eyes feel like they might permanently cross — but then others you’re so bored you can feel your hairline receding. Unfortunately they didn’t give you a handbook about how to be bored at work, and what else are you supposed to do if not for Facebook? Your boss will inevitably come in, clear his throat and say, “Not on our time,” so you go back to counting the tiny holes in the ceiling.

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