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As Ben typed out his lengthy response to the director’s email full of demands, his phone lit up on his desk. It was the group chat that was so dangerous he had to keep his message previews turned off.
“yo everyone come over we got a 30 rack, a bottle of Fireball and some pizza for this Champions League game at 2:30”
This was no problem for all of Ben’s degenerate friends working at Gamestop or at the grocery store, but he had a real job with his own office and a salary and an actual career to worry about. This was nothing new for Ben, though. He was the kid who always wanted to be a grown up with the wife, kids, nice house and a Labrador or two.
His friends were a different story. Nothing against them, but Ben just had other dreams in mind. While his buddies were worried about the next big bar crawl or finding some weed, Ben was worried about his next promotion or a networking event. Ben wasn’t an asshole, obviously, and never wanted to lose the bond he had with his friends. These were guys that he was really close with. He didn’t think of them differently, and he often spent all of his time with them.
He texted back a maybe to the group. He would love to join in and drunkenly cheer for PSG and Zlatan with the rest of his friends, but he faced a mountain of shit to do before he could leave his office.
Ben didn’t have a problem with his work/life balance. He had a problem letting go of the glory days. Ben is a superstar, both at the office and at the bar. He can crank out accurate reports all day long and he can shotgun a beer faster than a Bugatti can go 0-60. All the older women at work love his funny stories and his charm, and all the young ladies on Tinder love his big hair and cute dog. His LinkedIn bio could win over any employer, and his Tinder bio gets a right swipe every single time.
When will it all catch up to him? His friends all think he’s just another cubicle warrior that doesn’t give a fuck about his job but his coworkers think he’s a serious guy who probably needs to get out more. When will his double life collapse in front of his eyes? Sooner or later he’s going to run into one of his coworkers out in public when he’s high as a kite, right? Surely one of the girls he ghosted will run into him at a networking event and throw a drink on him in the middle of a joke he’s telling to three successful consultants. One day someone will call him out on his shit.
These are thoughts that run through Ben’s head every single day. He always fears he may accidentally send a drunk text to his boss or miss out on a great night with his buddies because he has to work late. No matter how bad he wants to grow up and leave behind his wild man tendencies, he could never do that to his friends. After all, he was the leader of the group and they always counted on him to be the catalyst. If his friends lost him, they would lose themselves. Maybe one day they would grow up and catch up to him.
He wrapped up his email to the director. “Also, I’ll be headed out a little early today. Not feeling too great. I’ll log on later tonight from home.” He texted the boys “on my way” and left the office three hours early..