Things I Have Learned About the Corporate World

Well, this is it. The last day of Holly as an OfficePerson for the foreseeable future. For those of you who don’t know, I’ve worked in Big Pharma for 2.5 years, but now I am leaving. I have learned a lot of things in my time as a bonefide OfficePerson, and I am here today to share a few of them.

Sitting at a desk all day is The Worst

I’ll admit, this is more of a Holly Thing than an Everyone Thing. I’ve never really been someone who can sit still all day. Luckily my company has the option to get stand-up desks, and I requested one as soon as I could.

Kind of like this, only more triangular

It’s fantastic, but I soon realized that my antsy-ness came more from being trapped in one room all day. Anyone follow CGP Grey on YouTube? Go watch his latest, it might shed some light on why OfficePeople tend to be a bit miserable. This experience has made me realize that I need to be active during my days, in more way than one.

9hr work days are The Worst

This one is really a corollary to the one above. Being trapped in a room, at a desk, at a computer for 9hrs is basically torture. I took to walking laps around the building outside in nice weather, but that’s barely a balm for the mind-numbing effects of the beige walls and white ceilings.

Being surrounded by people you like can make a sucky job bearable

On the flip side, a palatable job can quickly turn miserable if you don’t have the kind of people-contact you want. Enjoy working alone in a cube? Excellent! Hate it and want work buddies? You’re going to hate your day-today even if the work you are doing is interesting. I’ve long heard internet people say that it is their goal to work on cool things with cool people, and I can confirm that goal is mine as well.

Gender bias is still alive and well

Blah blah blah tech company blah blah blah gender gap. Let’s be honest–progress has been made. The worst of the stereotypical nonsense I heard out loud were from people talking about marriages and children. But still, it made me very aware of the generational gap between myself and the majority of my coworkers, as well as disheartened to realize that jokes about women and homosexuality are still accepted in (this) office culture.

Mid-level manager is a thankless job

(but I think I could be a manager.)

Email battles are hilarious

(but also sort of awful)

In all seriousness–soft skills matter. For my science-inclined readers: it’s the technical stuff that will get you in the door, but the people skills that will keep you there. The corporate world is not structured in such a way that the Iron Mans and Sherlocks and other snotty man-children could in anyway climb the ladder (regardless of gender). Learning to recognize passive-aggression in emails is a valuable skill, but don’t turn around and use it back.

That’s about it, people of the internet. Thank to BigPharma for paying the bills. Stay tuned for lots of travel, moving, and a grand new adventure.

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