I don’t know much in this bankrupt world (excluding the little kernels of picked-up golden knowledge like don’t download albums off of sites written in Russian and never bring up 9/11 conspiracies at frat parties) but after a solid year of work in a cubicle sarcophagus, I do know that insanity and mania is imminent to those of us who have sealed our fates in front of the drooling maws of computer screens. While there are ways to cope with the side effects of this life, I do believe that a warning is appropriate for the fresh meat of the world of adulthood and alcohol-soaked disappointment.
One morning, you’re going to wake up to your iPhone’s alarm clock and imagine some unspeakable nuclear mushroom cloud coming to sweep you into the arms of eternal sleep. That’s when you’ll know you’ve finally joined the club. But here is how you can amplify this lifestyle: embrace the madness! Make it known that at any moment, you can snap and pull a Michael Douglas in “Falling Down” in the office. I’m not encouraging you to go postal. I’m just telling you to drop hints to spare yourself from the mindless dribble of conversation that comes with office-life. Let’s be honest, do you want to hear about the macaroni necklaces your coworker’s kids made over the weekend or about his or her spouse’s parents’ overcooked Sunday roast?
In an office, silence and isolation guarantees you the opportunity to become a god.
So what can be done? It’s easy. The first thing you can do is just become a total liar and exaggerator. The chances are high that your new coworkers do not know a single thing about you, and this presents a tasty opportunity for you to create an entirely new background. When the coworkers start using code words to talk about their nonchalant, recreational drug use outside of the office–let’s say they refer to certain common items as “pizza”–you can simply reply with something along the lines of, “I mean, yeah, pizza is great, but have you guys ever had calzones?” At first, they may think you’re not picking up on their office jargon, but with a sinister wink and nod of the head (Jack Nicholson style), you’ve started your first office rumor about the possibility of your incompetence.
But you don’t want them all thinking you’re some incognito junkie, so now comes the next step. If you have a cubicle, this is your chance to play decorator. You can start off simple and maybe just hang a picture of your mother, but upside down. With bare walls and a simple upside down photo, you’ve given the office the hint of some weird and twisted Ed Gein-level maternal relation. You could even take it a step or two further, as any of the following print-outs may suit for good red flags: any Cannibal Corpse album cover, a collage of random people’s faces, print-outs of just binary sprawling the entire cubicle walls, 100 photos of your significant other, dog, or cat, 100 photos of your cubicle neighbor’s significant other, dog, or cat, or a single randomly placed photo of Jeff Goldblum somewhere on the cubicle wall with a heart drawn in lipstick around it.
The intention of all of these antics is not to scare the living shit out of people–although that may be inevitable if you’re seriously considering any of my advice–but it’s to guarantee you a solitary existence during your 40+ hours of servitude for the next few decades. Isn’t working fun?
So for some final additions to add to your tarnished office reputation, I’ve compiled a list of metaphorical cherries to add to this melting sundae.
- Name all of your office appliances and have passionate conversations with them at lunchtime. You know, the office vacuum cleaner, Henry, is a bit pretentious but is a good listener and funny nonetheless.
- Blast Norwegian metal at your desk as often as possible, until complaints are made to H.R.
- Wear sandals at all times, especially if formal attire is required.
- If formal attire isn’t required in your office, wear a suit every day.
- Sing in the bathroom, but strictly showtunes.
- Pass wind or belch, and then blame it on the named office appliances.
- Wear a cowboy hat or a beret at all times.
- Or, do what I have done: grow a mustache and demand people start referring to you with a self-appointed nickname that makes absolutely no sense.
A warning to those of you who may be worried about my mental health or about my lack of morale: this post is not to encourage you to lose your mind. This post is a guide to ease the inevitable pains of the transition. Chronic anhedonia will find you in the office, so you must become friends with it. There are major perks to being the office nihilist. I want the best for you, and trust me, when you’re eating lunch in the office kitchen with an entire table to yourself and getting worried glances from coworkers as you lick the peeled lid of your Snack Pack, you’ll thank me.