Keep On Rockin’ In The Real World: Does College Compare To The Corporate World?

College diploma in hand (the shaky one from five tours of duty and daily doses of economically viable beer and vodka so rotgut a homeless Russian would scoff at it), you smile like you won the Powerball lottery, and for good reason: congratulations, you’re free. Then it hits you a few months (or hours) later. What am I free from? Well, I’ll tell you. Happiness.

You see, as human beings, we tend to tire of a routine — any routine. Chances are, unless you’re getting a daily, oily rubdown from super models (or for the ladies, Lyle Lovett) on a pristine beach somewhere in the South Pacific, while guzzling Dom Perignon and lighting your Cuban cigars with the $100 bills you made from the tireless toil of the working class, you tend to get a little bored. Maybe that’s just me.

After the best years of your life recklessly bumping uglies and alternating the occasional class time with bouts of binge drinking and trips to the slammer for MIPs or throwing pots of moldy ramen noodles from fourth-story windows, you’re suddenly faced with a strange sensation. Is this just not as fun to me anymore? Was this just a phase in my life? Yes. Yes, it was, and sadly it’s come to an end. Enter “the real world.”

Have no fear, though. The over-worked, under-paid, under-appreciated life that is the entry-level (and even middle-management), card-carrying American worker’s dream arrives, and the elements of it really share a lot with college. At least, it’s a lot like being in a fraternity/sorority. Think about the following, and if you’re still in school, see what you have to look forward to! If you’re already “out there” and “living it up,” here’s your paddle, pledge pin and case of Natural Light. Hey, you’ve earned it. You’re moving up in the world. Cheers!

Hazing:

When you embark in your new, college-provided career (or job at Best Buy), you’re the fresh face and accordingly have a fresh bulls-eye on your stupid work attire, stupid. Colleagues are already more miserable and jaded than you are have to survive by the time-honored practice of hazing, much as fraternities and sororities do. Your new friends will get by on testing your character with pointless assignments, meaningless tasks, behind-your-back rumors, etc. Wasn’t freshman year fun?

Alas, though, through hazing or because of the aforementioned blah-blah-blah tasks, you get 20 winks instead of 40 after graduation. Pass the No-Doz (TM).

But, you should be used to this after college, right? Right, except that instead of throwing your roommate’s air-raid siren alarm clock into the toilet and cozily sleeping through a spirited session of Calculus, you get to drag your happy ass up, throw on your stupid work attire and rev up the Hyundai to make it to the grind on time. Don’t be late. Oh, and don’t forget to spray on some Axe.

Crappy Food:

If you’re “fortunate” enough to have a cafeteria at your office, um, OK. Bon apetit. It’s typically the same fare served in your fraternity/sorority house. What, you say, you liked your fraternity/sorority house’s food? Stop reading, then, and go back to school. Immediately. If you don’t have a cafeteria, pray to God/Allah/Buddha/Jimi Hendrix that you have good restaurant options nearby. If not, you might as well still be in school, subsisting on ramen noodles, Taco Bell, leftover Papa John’s or your supply of Lunchables that you got because they were on sale for being as old as you are. Isn’t the 9-5 great? Hurry on your lunch break, though. You only have one hour. Again, don’t be late, and this time, don’t forget the Mentos. That hot intern was checking you out yesterday.

Easy Action:

We’ll skip this one. While taking home a co-worker after rounds of Jager Bombs at Bennigan’s Happy Hour is easy action, I’m pretty sure the similarities to fraternity/sorority life nookie end there.

Recreational Drug Use:

Much like major league baseball players hide their steroid use from the press, The Post-Graduate Worker can’t (or at least shouldn’t?) openly toke it up or do Bolivian marching powder bumps off the dashboard in the parking lot for fear of being caught. What happens if you get caught with a pyrex bowl full of fresh Northern Lights at the house? You get swarmed with friends wanting to partake. In “the real world,” you also get swarmed by people hip to your keen sense of quality weed. They’re not friends, though, they’re cops. How much is my bail again? And where’s that phone call? I need to order a pizza.

Binge Drinking:

In college, we drank all the time because we could. What fun would a mixer be if you weren’t pissing on someone’s sofa at the end of the night? This element, more than the others, stays the same after you grajeeate. The difference now, though, weekend warrior, is that you drink like an Army veteran to escape your own battle scars — namely, the constant whirring, beeping and ringing of faxes, e-mail alerts and that F amp;*%ING PHONE. Will you people PLEASE quit calling me for TWO MINUTES so I can get some work done? Anyway…

The late-night keg fests give way to the almighty six-to-whenever Happy Hour, or if you’re too broke as many plebeians are at this rung in the corporate ladder, perhaps retreat to your shoddy abode with a fifth of Old Charter and some Vicodins you swiped from your step-mom’s stash in the medicine cabinet. Tough day at the office? Forget about it. Literally. You’ll still have the urges to get plastered and relive the glory days, struggling somewhat in vain to stave off the receding hairline/cottage cheese thighs and other age gremlins, but it’s not the same as you remembered it. Off to bed before midnight now, though, Gizmo, ’cause tomorrow’s another big day.

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