As if the holiday season isn’t bad enough, it also brings with it a cascade of engagement announcements, all of which you are extremely, terribly and enthusiastically elated about, of course. These are your friends and family members, after all. You’re happy they have found true love and are getting married. Your turn will come, you tell yourself. It will, seriously. You just know it. So you’re not bothered by the slew of weddings that are filling up your schedule next spring and fall. You’re not bothered at all. Not even by the travel and gift expenses you barely be able to afford.
It’s been a tough few years for everyone. From the unemployed, marginally-employed, underemployed and unhappily employed, office professionals everywhere are worried about one thing and one thing only: money. Most of us have less money than ever, even though we need more of it than ever to feed our families, educate our children and put gas in our cars. So when we consider the value of our jobs, we tend to frame them in terms of money. But this can be a superficial and misleading way to shape one’s career and financial situation.
We’re all familiar with corporate policies. We’re introduced to them during orientation on our first day at work, and become more familiar with the parameters of corporate policy as we inadvertently bump into and even cross the lines on occasion. It may be your short skirt, your brash attitude or those leaning stacks of papers on your desk. Policy is there to ensure all employees are treated the same way and abide by the same set of rules. This approach, however, isn’t always such a great idea, particularly when it comes to individual productivity.
You probably hate networking. The truth is most office professionals hate networking, and this is because most office professionals are nice, genuine people who don’t feel comfortable schmoozing others and laughing at their jokes and complimenting them on their ties all with the hopes of having them put in a good word.
These are tough times for language, and especially for those office professionals who majored in the study of language in one form or another. Whether you majored in Japanese, French poetry or American literature, for years now much of the focus on a candidate’s value has to do with their technical proficiencies.
People like to be invited to things: weddings, baby showers, and yes even holiday parties. The problem with the holiday season, however, is that all of those parties are shoved into a few short weeks, and before we know it those parties are no longer fun events, but obligations that wear on our mental state like a long shopping list on a short credit limit. Somewhere along the way, the holidays stopped being fun for many office professionals, particularly when the holidays interfere with our already overloaded work schedules and pressing social lives.
We all want our lives to mean something, but this prospect can be daunting when we spend the majority of our days at a job we hate or find uninspiring. Naturally, over time, we begin to resent these jobs and find ways of sabotaging our careers by doing stupid things like habitually showing up late, if at all, or performing our responsibilities with no concern for the quality of our work.
You probably came by it honestly. Your colleague told you about Twitter, so you joined. At first you were a little hesitant, but you were soon—like many addicts—swept up into a new world, a world that made you feel special, loved, all fuzzy inside like a sunlit silk shag carpet.
Young office professionals today are having a tough time, just like everyone else. The prevailing mood among many young people, and the general population for that matter, is one of frustration, anxiety and even a sense that they’ve been cheated in one way or another. After all, many who have done what they were told to do have ended up unemployed, marginally employed or working somewhere they never thought they’d work. It’s simply demoralizing, and has led many to a path of apathy where there once was vision and energy.
The stock market is up. Unemployment numbers are, well, troubling but nothing new. Black Friday and Cyber Monday were huge successes. There is that brittle feeling in the air of hope—a hope that things are getting better. It’s been a tough few years for office professionals, and we’ve seen so many ups-and-downs that we're reluctant to say out loud that we think things may be getting better. But we’re a little paranoid for a good reason. It’s been bad out there for a while.