From: [email protected]
Subject: Gentle Reminder About Appropriate Company Internet Usage, Which Does Not Include Creating an Audition Reel for the Bachelor
As you know, we discussed the upcoming internet audit at last month’s all-staff meeting. Last quarter, The People Company failed to meet a single benchmark goal for the 12th quarter in a row. As a team, our fearless leaders compiled a list of actionable steps to ensure this upcoming quarter is a great one—or at the very least, removes us from some highly undesirable Business Insider lists. The first step was our recent internet audit, which, once again, you were all informed about in the mandatory company-wide Internet Use Check-in meeting. It took place both in-person and over Zoom, and we ordered in from that ramen place that you all seemed to enjoy during the cohesiveness seminar.
For the sake of transparency, management explained that the audit’s goal was two-fold. Firstly, they wanted to drill down and evaluate internet usage concerning productivity — perhaps even trimming the fat on projects that take up unnecessary time and resources. The secondary goal was to give you, our outstanding, all-star staff members, a chance to reevaluate how you’re spending time during the workday. Once again, this audit should have been very much on your radar this past month.
As we dive into the audit’s findings, we will simultaneously review The People Company’s best practices for internet use. These guidelines are meant to ensure productive and safe internet use during working hours — they’re intended to help you be your best self, creating synergy in an environment that thrives off of teamwork. That being said, we will not be disclosing personal details about specific employees. Instead, we will discuss particular findings concerning our best practices — the same best practices that are printed on your mouse pads, which the team leaders so kindly had custom-made for last year’s holiday gift.
Spending company time on non-business activities is not an acceptable use of the internet. We’re all human, and we all have lives outside of work. The People Company understands and gives its employees generous leeway to check in on the occasional non-work-related activity using the company network. However, this does not include hosting virtual speed dating events for fans of Veronica Mars during business hours. Nor does it involve watching 17 hours of YouTube videos detailing the life and death of Princess Diana over two weeks.
The internet may not be used for personal profit during working hours. The People Company prides itself on paying better than more than 37% of its industry competitors. There is simply no reason to seek out additional means of income using the company’s network. To clarify, this means that actively managing an online store called “The Vaped Crusader” during business hours is unacceptable. Additionally, actively applying for new jobs while at work will not be tolerated moving forward — and to whom it may concern when using the phrase “please free me from this hellscape,” the word “hellscape” is not two separate words.
Network users are not permitted to make purchases unrelated to work. It is not acceptable to purchase things for personal use during working hours, including jacuzzis. Websites such as “ReadyJetGo.org” or “TheG-Spa.net” are not to be used on company time and have now been blocked.
Representing The People Company online without explicit permission to do so is not allowed. Filming an entire audition reel for The Bachelor while wearing your company shirt, for example, does not align with our core values. On a very related note, “Hottest Ass in Finance” never has been, nor will it ever be, an actual title within The People Company — we’ll touch more on this during our sexual harassment seminar next week. Additionally, promising free products to women on Twitter in exchange for photographs of their feet is also very much against company policy.
*Key Takeaway*: The internet guidelines are meant to help each staff member be a team player, using their time at work for work-related activities. I’m honestly so freaking exhausted at this point, though I know none of you even read these emails. Do you even understand how depressing it is to know that everyone in the office rolls their eyes when I hit send? That most of my day is spent actively making you dislike me? It sucks. I like Veronica Mars too, but did any of you even bother to ask? No. You only worry about yourselves. At this rate, we’ll be bankrupt in the next two years anyway, so I hope you all have a backup plan. Figure it out on company time. Who cares.
Image: Liliya Rodnikova /Stocksy.com
From: [email protected]
To: [email protected]
Subject: URGENT! PLEASE READ – BACK TO OFFICE DETAILS
We know you have eagerly been awaiting news of our return to the office—whether because you’ve been slowly losing your grip on reality and your house plant moonlights as your therapist, or because you’ve been waiting for direction on when to buy your return flight back from Florida. Either way, after months of vague holding patterns, we finally have updates to share (and you’re probably not going to like them)!
Unfortunately for the introverts and those of you who live in outer boroughs because we don’t pay you enough to afford to live in Manhattan, we do in fact need you back in the office as soon as humanly possible—even though we fully recognize that the company has not suffered in any way as a result of everyone working from home for the past year and a half. In fact, business is better than ever! Turns out, without the din of different departments yelling at each other from across the office, the lingering smell of microwaved fish, and the incessant clacking of fingers on keyboards, distractions are down, and concentration and productivity are way up!
Still, we need you back. Mostly because we already paid for a 12-year lease. Those Herman Miller ergonomic chairs aren’t going to pay for themselves! (Except we already paid for them using all the money we saved from the mass layoffs—so, in a sense, they did pay for themselves.)
Our first day back will be the Friday before Labor Day! We, of course, want to be reasonable with our expectations, which is why you will only be expected to be present 4.5 days per week from here on out.
We know this is a big adjustment, but don’t worry, to ease you into the transition, we will be providing lunch for your first day! We will be ordering salads from We Only Do Salads, Nothing Else*. Please inform Community Manager Nicole, on copy, of your order by no later than tomorrow, 12pm ET.
*$10 maximum value. 2 toppings** allowed—including protein.
**dressing counts as a topping.
In more exciting news, we are thrilled to announce that, thanks to the additional funds freed up in the budget, we are proud to offer snacks! FREE plain Lay’s potato chips*** will be available Monday-Friday****
***the unruffled kind.
****while supplies last.
We know you’re probably wondering if masks are required, and to be completely candid: we’re still wondering that, too. We will be closely monitoring the mayor’s office, the department of health, the CDC, and Dr. Fauci’s facial expressions in press conferences for more information. But plan on wearing a mask indoors at all times, even at your desk. Safety first!
As a reminder, our office dress code is professional-business-chic. Bottoms are required. Our official company policy is to not have an official company policy on whether or not bras are required, but if you have to ask, they’re probably required for you.
We can’t wait to see everyone back in the office!
Person You Will Not See Step Foot Into A Physical Office Until 2022
Image: Ani Dimi / Stocksy.com
Acts of kindness in this world come too few and far between, which is why I was pleasantly taken aback by your immense generosity this afternoon. As our Zoom meeting came to a close, with the agenda points covered and attendees not knowing what else to do but fill the remaining time with side tangents, you ended the meeting two minutes early, announcing you were giving us all our time back.
First, let me just say how much I value those extra two minutes. There’s so much I could do with this newfound time, I’m almost overwhelmed at the options. It’s like I have a new lease on life! I could listen to about half a song. I could go pee—I probably need to go pee, my bladder has felt like it’s been pressing into my abdomen for the last hour of this meeting. I could briefly disappear into the abyss of my own thoughts. I could watch exactly two full-length TikToks. In fact, I may spend so much time trying to decide what to do with these newly discovered minutes that I end up getting nothing accomplished at all! Ah, the freedom of it.
Although, if I may just offer a bit of constructive criticism—a little role reversal, if you will. Where was this energy when setting up a touch-base for a touch-base? One for which I received no less than six different invites within a 10-minute span, the timing of the meeting shifting in 5-minute increments before I could begrudgingly hit “yes”? I probably spent a good one out of my two now-refunded minutes wrapping my head around, wait, what is the purpose of this meeting? and then digging through my inbox to locate the most up-to-date calendar invitation.
I won’t bother stating the obvious that this touch-base could have been an email chain, but will point out some areas in which I would have really enjoyed my time back more: the 10 minutes in the beginning of the meeting that was dedicated to small-talk (yes, I hope everyone’s doing well, I would love to hear about the trash can your dog got into some other time, preferably with alcohol involved); the 5 minutes Jennifer spent derailing the meeting to discuss her own work stress (please see a therapist); the 7.3 minutes after we all thought the meeting had successfully wrapped up, which Jennifer then spent throwing out her own ideas for the very iniatives we had just finalized (Jennifer, were you even listening?? We are past that!).
I’d be remiss to not consider the fact that your remark was simply a joke. If that’s the case, let me just say that it was the absolute funniest thing I’ve ever heard in my life, and your sense of humor is unparalleled. Have you ever thought of trying out for SNL? Yes, I seriously mean that! On a totally unrelated note, I’d like to chat about a raise…
But in all seriousness, two minutes are two minutes, and time is the one resource (aside from oil, natural gas, and nuclear energy) that we cannot get back once it’s been spent. So I simply have no choice but to say, from the bottom of my heart and my to-do list: thank you.
Now, I’m off to my next meeting. Crap, I really should have peed.
Forever Grateful Employee.
When I first got the email about returning to my office in July, I was overwhelmed with emotion, both negative and positive.
Let’s backtrack a bit. I am a twentysomething living in NYC. I’ve stayed here throughout the entire pandemic thus far. I stay inside, I wash my hands, I wear my mask, I respect other people’s space, and I do my part to keep myself and those around me safe. In other words, I’m not an a**hole.
So, that being said, when I found out I was headed back to the office on the first day of phase 3 (July 6, to be exact), I was kind of shook. COVID had (has) made me quite an anxious person over time, and this felt like my worst fear coming to life. Public transportation? Sitting in an office with 50 other people I could not control? WEARING JEANS AGAIN? A lot of scary stuff here.
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On the contrary, sitting in my apartment day in and day out had also been quite an unhealthy habit. I made every excuse not to go outside, washing my hair became a task, and I had literally become one with the couch. Going to work meant I’d have an excuse to focus a bit more again on self-care and to get up and do something.
Here I am almost two months later, and I am here to spill what it’s actually like to be back in an office in the midst of a pandemic.
I take one subway and one bus to get to work. The first day I went all out and prepared for battle in the form of a mask, gloves, paper towels to hold the handles on public transportation (yes, even while wearing gloves), and a big bottle of hand sanitizer in my bag. The subway was fairly quiet, with some essential workers, and some others in suits who looked as nervous as I did. The bus was even quieter. Quieter as in, I was the only human on the bus and therefore it was a straight shot to work, with no stops in between. As time has gone on, the subway has gotten a bit more crowded, but the bus remains empty. Public transportation overall hasn’t been scary, but when someone gets on the subway without a mask (which is obviously against the rules but nothing I can do much about), my stomach still drops.
When you arrive at my office, the first thing you must do is have your temperature taken. Of course, if you have a fever, you will be sent home immediately. Upon entering the building there is a mask, glove, and hand sanitizer station. They are also set up throughout the office building. Most people wear cloth masks, but should you have a paper mask on and want a fresh one, it is available. The little things, ya know?
The elevators are limited to four people per ride (which I think is pretty standard across NYC now), but typically I opt to ride solo even though that means waiting longer for an elevator. We have an open floor plan in our office, with rows of tables as desks. As you can imagine, we are limited to one person per row, so there is forced social distancing in place. In some ways, it’s so distant that it’s lonely. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss the luxury of being able to turn and chat with someone next to me.
During the workday, in fact, there is little to no human communication at all. Despite being in office, meetings are held via Zoom to avoid any large groups. If you’re reading this and thinking “sO wHy ArE yOu BaCk In An OfFiCe”, the answer is… unclear.
In terms of further safety precautions, while a mask is not required when sitting at our desks, it’s encouraged. You can bet my paranoid lil self has one on all day. All community snacks have been taken away (sad), so has the coffee machine (sadder!!!). Safety > coffee, obviously, but I know you all feel me on the heartbreak there.
We also can’t leave for lunch. Once you’re in the building, you are in for the day until you go home. This one hurts the most simply because I take my lunch hour seriously, but again, I get it. I did reach out to the few friends I have who are also back in the office, and they have similar limitations. On the bright side, I’ve saved money by packing my lunch daily, something I didn’t know I was even capable of! (Only half-kidding).
The best (and most important) safety precaution/perk of the office is weekly COVID testing. Once a week we are required to take both a COVID and antibody test. A team sets up right in the common area, and we have to walk a maximum of one flight of stairs to get there. As someone who lives with a roommate, this is a huge relief for not only myself but for him as well. Given the fact that he is working from home and did not sign up to be put at risk, the fact that I can come home and show him a negative result each week puts us both at ease. And even better, the antibody test has only a 15-minute turnaround time, the COVID test only a 24-hour turnaround time, so we don’t have to wait long for our results.
Being back in an office has forced me to make small but important changes. I set my alarm for 8am now (instead of 8:59am). I wake up and actually have to CHOOSE an outfit (remember that???). I style my hair. I wear makeup. I use time management skills to give myself a work-life balance. All of the things that gently slipped from my mind during my four-month quarantine period. It’s had a huge impact on my mental health, and a good one at that.
While the world is still gloomy AF, and the news cycle hasn’t gotten any better, at least leaving the house daily has provided a healthy (and easy) change I didn’t know I needed. Despite the fact that I have essentially left one room where I work alone to head to another room where I work alone, there has been something very refreshing about the act of getting outside and doing something daily.
Since I started going back into the office, I’ve been valuing my weekends and nights in a new way. Aside from sleeping, I’ve also used my downtime to capitalize on more *important* hobbies (like binging Selling Sunset, obviously).
So, in all seriousness, being back in the office isn’t so bad. It feels good to get back into a routine, and even if I am still questioning “the point” of putting myself at risk to travel to work and be in an office with others, I do believe there was some method to the madness.
Images: Marina Andrejchenko / Shutterstock; whenshappyhr / Instagram; Giphy (2)
Your first job is like your first boyfriend in that you truly think he’s perfect, but then again, you have nothing to compare him to, so you may not even know you’re with a total loser until after you’ve broken up. When my college boyfriend of two years broke up with me, I reached a whole new level of devastated that I didn’t even realize was humanly possible. How could this person who wept in front of me when his grandmother died, surprised me in my hometown for my birthday, and paid for all of my Chipotle burritos (with every add-on you could think of) not want to be with me forever? Fast-forward like six months, and that time and distance made me realize both how wrong we were for each other and how much he f*cking sucked as a person. After him, I took note of all the things I did and didn’t want in my next boyfriend. It really was the year of realizing stuff. Just call me Kylie Jenner.
Leaving your first job should feel the same way. Even if you loved it, you should still walk away with a sense of what you want and don’t want in your next position. I, for instance, loved what I was doing at my first job so much that I didn’t even care about having to live in the trap house that was my apartment, which was the only place I could afford on my laughably small salary. I was an editor at a ~luxury~ magazine and it made me feel like Miranda motherf*ckin Priestly (minus all the power, money, and ability to own a home) because I got invited to every party, media dinner, and opening you can imagine. I also got free facials, clothes, trips, etc., so you can imagine that walking away from “the good life,” as Kanye says, may have been a little tough.
However, what ultimately made me want to leave was the fact that I didn’t see much opportunity to climb the editorial ladder and tbh I didn’t want to stay in the South forever. So after I left, I had the time and distance I needed to realize that my first job was f*cked up in more ways than one. Knowing that and knowing why helped me find my next job (also at a magazine), which I actually love. No matter what industry your first job out of college is in, these are the key takeaways you should walk away with after leaving.
1. Respect For The Product
I obviously don’t mean this literally since not all companies produce something, but it’s really important that you respect, understand, and appreciate what the company does. After I left my Job From Hell, I flipped through a few of the previous issues and noticed that we only covered sh*tty companies/people who paid an embarrassing amount of money for full-page ads. At the end of the day, I couldn’t really stand behind what I wrote.
Doing something you love is the most important thing because, let’s face it, we spend all of our time at our jobs and you may as well enjoy your many hours
locked working in a giant freezer office doing something you give actually sh*t about.
2. How (Not) To Interact With Your Manager
If this is your first job, chances are you have a manager and, believe it or not, there are a few not-so-chill ways to interact with them! At my first job, my editor and I were pretty close in age and she happened to be really cool, so naturally we became friends. As fun as it was working with my friend, it was also pretty f*cking awkward when she had to reprimand me for doing something wrong. Like, are we still going out for drinks later or are we in a fight because you fully yelled at me just now?
Having a friendly rapport with your manager is great, but I’d be careful about being legit friends with them. It just confuses the hierarchy and can ultimately ruin your friendship, which in turn will make going to work suck. Keep a respectable distance between you two so that you can f*ck around a little at work, but it won’t be totally uncomfortable if and when sh*t hits the fan.
3. How To Stand Up For Yourself
When you’re in an entry level position, you may feel like you’re working for your grandparents because everyone is constantly reminding you that you’re young and don’t know how to do anything. As much as I didn’t want to be the annoying millennial who was offended by everything, in some instances, you can and should stand up for yourself.
The terrible, horrible, no good, very bad world in which we live, sexual harassment is generally the first thing that comes to mind when I hear the phrases “entry level employee” and “stand up for yourself,” and you definitely should. But there are plenty of low-level offenses we forget about and shouldn’t let slide. Like, when you’re working on a project and put 97% of your effort into it and then your sh*thead co-worker swoops in and spends a lousy five minutes doing the last 3% then turns the project in as if she did the whole damn thing. Nope!
Obviously, pick your battles wisely, but if something is going down that’s legitimately making you upset, don’t just bend over and take it. If you let these shenanigans go on for too long, you’re basically telling your coworkers that it’s totally cool if they f*ck with you forever. Is it? Is it cool?
4. Negotiating Is Allowed
I happened to be an intern at the company that ended up hiring me, so when my future editor pulled me into a conference room and offered me the position by writing my “salary” on a sticky note and asked if that’s okay with me, I should have said, “No, it’s not!” First of all, never accept a job on the spot; always take a few days to think about it and negotiate benefits and salary. The fact that the number was tragically low wasn’t even the problem; I just didn’t think to try to negotiate because I
’m dumb I had no sense of what a competitive salary in that industry even was. Go on Glassdoor to read other employees’ reviews on the company and to see salaries to get an idea of whether or not you’re being lowballed.
Generally, companies welcome negotiations. That doesn’t always mean they will accept your final offer, but they will rarely just slap a number on the table and refuse to entertain any discussions. Don’t be afraid to whip out your flea market negotiating skills, people.
5. Have A Career Development Plan
Look, I think five-year-plans are stupid. Sorry, but not really. Life is too unpredictable for a multi-year plan. Here’s why: My five-year-plan involved staying in the South forever because #job, #friends, #boyfriend, but then my dad got cancer, so I moved to New York to be closer to home, and my five-year-plan imploded. Having a career development plan, however, is really smart. When you’re a college senior getting job offers, you’re usually so excited about getting paid that you don’t even think about what’s next because no more frat parties and pregamed dinners—sounds good enough for now! But knowing where you want to be professionally in the future can help you make better decisions in the future—especially because nothing looks sketchier on a resume than a slew of random jobs that have nothing to do with each other.
Instead of soul-searching for four months in your childhood bedroom because you just quit your first job and don’t know what you want to do now, start thinking about that when you begin feeling like you want to leave your current job.
At the end of the day, it’s easy to wish you had done things differently after you already did them wrong, so take this as an opportunity to learn so that every job you get after your first sh*tty one, is a good one.
Images: Giphy (5)
Work, life and balance? The memes say we can only pick two, and even that’s hard to maintain at times. Like, going to work, having a social life, being caught up on every TV show, going to class at Barry’s, and being mentally sane? As Cher Horowitz from Clueless once said, “As if!” Not so fast. Even though “having it all” might be something of a myth, because you can’t have what you want all the time without some sacrifice, you can still find some semblance of it through proper work-life balance. Samantha Ettus, writer for Forbes and bestselling author of five books, has tips on how to actually do it.
So, WTF Is Work-Life Balance?
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Ettus describes work-life balance by explaining, “We talk about a scale, and for a scale to be in balance, you have to spend equal time at work and equal time at home. And if you have a thriving career, you’re failing at that. So, you have no healthy framework for how to think about it.” Most of us can’t imagine spending equal time at home as we do at work—I mean, how would we make money, right? Wouldn’t we get fired for like, not checking our work email constantly?? In short, no, you don’t have to be in work mode all the time. You’ll have to work at it, but you can work on improving your work-life balance.
How Can You Actually Find Work-Life Balance?
ate six slices of pizza for dinner. Feel like I finally accomplished something good in my life
— chey ♡ joong ? (@jngluvr) July 29, 2019
So now we’re left wondering, how to achieve this elusive balance between work and life. Ettus says, “the most successful people are those who play in 7 slices of their lives. And that’s what leads to fulfillment. It’s not just doing two things really well, it’s being part of 7 different areas.” She explains, “Those areas are your health, your career, your family, your relationship (or your quest to find one), your friends, your hobbies, and your community.” The only slices I’ve thought about making time for in my life are those in the form of pizza, so these seem quite daunting. But it doesn’t have to be. Ettus advises, “it doesn’t mean that you have to spend equal time in each of those slices, it just means that they should all exist in some way even if they’re a sliver today. Just having them there helps you manage your life better.”
How To Slice It
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Ettus says, “I think if you look at the seven slices and you have a commitment to make a goal for each of those slices, it really helps. So if you look at the friend slice and you’re like, ‘wow I haven’t actually seen my good friends in a month,’ that’s gonna change the way you look at what’s important: to have dinner with a friend every single week or to call a good friend on the way to work or whatever it is.” Making goals is necessary in order to achieve them, which seems kind of obvious but still needs to be said. You have to take a realistic look at your life to assess what needs to change, and then implement those changes. Ettus also says, “Similarly, if you look at that slice in your life, and say, ‘I want to be in a relationship but I haven’t gone on a date in six months,’ that’s not good.” She jokes, “Like, he or she is not gonna fall on your windshield on your way to work—you have to go find them. So, a lot of it is just being intentional about those slices and being intentional about being a part of all of those.”
How Do You Actually Balance Work And Life?
I just wanna know what genius turned leftovers into “meal prep”
— IT’S KENNIE NOT THE DUMPLING BAO BABY (@KennieJD) July 26, 2019
Just like anything important in your life, Ettus says, “a lot of it is preparation. Things will happen unexpectedly every day. So, for example, I am a big believer in the night before. The night before you want to pick out your outfits so you’re not having a wardrobe crisis the next day. The night before you want to pack your bags. So I always stick a Premier Protein Shake in my bag just so I’m gonna make a healthy choice when I’m having a really crazy morning the next day.” Remember when we used to do this in middle school? You’d lay out your outfit the night before school and your lunch would be packed and ready to go in the fridge? Why did we stop? Ettus says, “no matter what, you’re probably going to wake up and something unexpected is going to happen. A meeting canceled, or someone is sick or something happens, there’s a work crisis, something you didn’t anticipate. So the more prepared you are, the easier it is to deal with that kind of bump in the road.” There are always emergencies (no matter how big or small) that can crop up, but you can’t let that derail your entire day.
Why Are We Suddenly Struggling To Maintain Work-Life Balance?
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Ettus surmises, “I think that it used to be that we could rely on our companies to give us work-life balance because we had a 9 to 5 schedule and that was it. And today, if you left work at 5 o’clock and didn’t check your email until the morning, your industry might’ve changed or you might’ve been fired.” Yikes. Ettus suggests, “instead it’s up to us to create our own boundaries, and if you’re waiting for other people to create those boundaries for you, you’re never gonna live a happy life.”
Can You Have It All?
Ever since the days of High School Musical 3, we’ve been taught to always “Want It All.” But is that really doable? Ettus says, “The way it’s always presented in the media is you can’t have it all: you can’t have a great career and a great home life. And I completely disagree with that. I think it’s just about setting boundaries. I’ve worked with thousands of women at this point, and the happiest and most fulfilled are those who maintained a career in some way, throughout all the stages of their life.” So, yes, she does think it’s possible to have a career, have a family, and be able to juggle the two. Just refer to those slices and make sure you’re divvying things up in a way that brings you fulfillment.
Be Present And Eliminate Guilt
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So how do you actually get the balance part? It all comes down to guilt, Ettus says. Guilt can disrupt your sense of fulfillment at work and at home. She says, “At the end of the day, when you are focused and doing the best you can wherever you are, it eliminates a lot of the guilt. So if you know you’re at work, you’re totally present, you’re giving it 100%, you’re not gonna go home and then feel guilty that you didn’t do a good job. If you’re at home and you’re totally engaged with your family or your friends or your boyfriend or whatever it is, you’re not feeling guilty because you know you gave them the best of yourself. So part of it is just giving the best wherever you are and that eliminates a lot of the guilt.”
Taking a break from technology is another way to be more present. Ettus says, “One of the things that’s really important is to have two to three hours that are tech free every day, whether you’re reading a book, doing sudoku, whatever it is. Even just the presence of the phone on the table takes away the meaningful conversation. When there’s a phone on the table, the conversation is less deep because people always fear an interruption. It just gives you that anxiety.” So if one of your friends gets mad at you for not answering her, just explain to her that you and your phone were on a break!
Good Vibes Only
It’s written on every gas station T-shirt, but for good reason. Ettus says, “You want to spend time around positive people, and the people that are really genuinely happy for you when things are going well in your life. And there’s a lot of people that kind of gather around us when things aren’t going well but then when things are going well, they’re sort of envious.” She adds, “I’m also a big believer in that the grass is not greener. If you envy someone else’s relationship, or their body, or their money, or something like that, there’s always some other story that you don’t know. Every single person struggles with something, so you’re much better off just trying to figure out how to live your best life given what you have, not envying other people’s lives.” Lastly, she insists, “It’s just better not to think about other people, and think about how you can live the best life you can.”
Ettus believes that a lot of times when people are unhappy at work, they blame their job first and foremost and look for a new job right away, instead of evaluating what other areas of their lives they are neglecting. So, if you think you need a new gig, maybe try taking a look at your seven slices first and examining if your work-life balance is to blame for your unhappiness.
Samantha Ettus is a national bestselling author of five books, and the founder and CEO of Park Place Payments, a payment processing company focused on women’s financial independence. Since earning her undergraduate and MBA degrees from Harvard, Sam has devoted her career to advancing and supporting women in the pursuit of their dreams. Sam’s most recent book is The Pie Life: A Guilt-Free Recipe for Success and Satisfaction. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and three children.
Images: Instagram/whenshappyhr (3), girlwithnojob (3), Twitter/jngluvr, KennieJD
Late 20s culture is many things: your friends all getting married when you can’t even get a second date, your idea of cooking beginning and ending with boiling water to make pasta, and wondering at what age you officially have to start making your own doctors appointments. But probably the biggest aspect of late 20s culture is being stressed. Stressed about dating, stressed about work, stressed about the fact that our planet might be beyond repair and we may all die very soon in the real-life incarnation of 28 Days Later. And it’s no wonder we’re all stressed about work: college tuition has more than doubled since the 1980s, leaving many millennials saddled with debt ($17,126 per graduate who took out loans) that nearly half say wasn’t worth it. On top of that, millennials are underemployed, comprising 52% of hourly low-wage employees (yet about 61% attended college). More than half of millennials have a side hustle. Given all that information, it’s safe to say that we as a generation spend a lot of time thinking (worrying) about employment and money. So it should be no surprised that “burnout”, a syndrome that results from chronic workplace stress, is not only an official term, but now an actual medical condition, according to the World Health Organization.
Late 20s culture is calling yourself an alcoholic who will never find love, but getting low-key offended when people tag you in memes about binge drinking and being alone forever
— sarafcarter (@sarafcarter) May 9, 2019
Do you feel that? That’s probably a weight getting lifted off your shoulders now that there’s an actual term for the crushing pressure you’ve been feeling for years. Or maybe that’s just me.
So, first of all, the fact that the WHO classified burnout as a real medical condition is a pretty big deal. Many look to the WHO for guidance, and since they included burnout in their latest handbook for recognized medical conditions (called the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health), it gives legitimacy to people who experience burnout. Think of it this way: the next time I cry to my dad about being overworked at my job
(when really I’m just having a bad Adderall comedown), and he tells me that I need to do something to manage my stress, I can be like, “look, I have an actual medical condition and it’s not just stress”.
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In other words, if you are actually experiencing burn-out, it’s important that the actual condition is recognized by the WHO so people don’t dismiss you as just being “stressed” or “tired” or “on your period”. Because, first of all, burnout only refers to the concept in the occupational context, so like, going on too many dates and being tired of searching for a romantic partner doesn’t qualify as burnout in the medical sense. It also has three qualifications to meet the definition:
1) Feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion,
2) Increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job, or
3) Reduced professional efficacy
Cool, so I am like, 99% positive that I suffer from burnout right now. Or at least, that I have definitely suffered from it in the past (I go through those symptoms in waves). So the question is: What do I (or you, since you are reading this article) do about it?
In short, nothing really, right now. In theory, you could go to the doctor and get diagnosed with burnout (ruling out other similarly manifesting conditions, such as adjustment disorder, anxiety, or depression, The Cut notes). But then what? Can I use that to request extended time off, like would it qualify under short-term disability coverage? Can I get a Xanax prescription for it? (Kidding.)
Of course, burnout being classified as a medical condition by the WHO is a good thing, especially since, as the last two symptoms imply, it is bad for employers as well as employees. That might be the only way to get employers to actually care—to make it clear that overworking their employees can affect their own bottom line. It remains to be seen just what the impact will be of burnout being recognized as a medical condition, but, much like Instagram removing like counts, it’s better than nothing, and fixing our overly demanding corporate culture has to start somewhere.
Do you ever put a bullshit task on your to-do list just so you can feel like you accomplished something? Like “empty out trash folder” is not an accomplishment but it’s where I’m at today
— Betches (@betchesluvthis) March 15, 2019
Images: sarafcarter, betchesluvthis / Twitter; whenshappyhr / Instagram
Writing emails at work is probably one of those things you do every day without even thinking about it. Yet, if you’ve ever had a coworker say something embarrassing on an accidental “reply all”, you can quickly be reminded that the everyday act of emailing can quickly end your career.
Professional emails can be serious business. As much as you might want to fill your email with gifs, memes, and anything that reminds your office that yes, you are a millennial, having a job also means to need to show some sort of resemblance of professionalism. (If only your coworkers saw what you are planning on wearing to Coachella.)
Now, all office cultures are certainly different. I still believe that as a whole, if us boss betches want to be taken seriously (which we do, and we should be), we NEED to stay professional at work. I’m not saying don’t get a little loosey-goosey at your company’s holiday party. Go to town. Do some karaoke with your CEO at a happy hour. I support you.
But all in all, we should follow some basic rules to work emails. Here are five things you should never put in a professional email.
I have a problem where I abbreviate literally everything in my life. Just ask my boyfriend. He can hardly understand what I’m saying.
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At work, limit those amazing abbreviations that keep your hands from getting carpal tunnel to a minimum. Your boss probably isn’t writing you notes that say, “SOS, TBH I need HH”, so you shouldn’t either. Write for the job you want, not the job you have, amiright!?
2. Sh*t Tons of Exclamation Points
I’ll be totally honest, my text messages to my friends look like I am yelling at all times. I use more exclamation points and emojis than I can count. What can I say, I am an excitable person.
But at work, keep your exclamations to a minimum. It comes off junior and unprofessional. It may seem totally foreign to literally put a period at the end of a sentence (because if we texted, “Okay.” everyone would think we were pissed), but it’s the reality. If you do want to put an exclamation point in an email, because it’s something REALLY exciting, put one. Just one.
3. Long-Winded Explanations
I heard the best piece of advice: pretend every email you write is being read on a phone. So fit your content into what someone could read in the screen of their phone.
If you have a lot to say, try holding a meeting. I know the idea of face-to-face communication is probably a horrifying suggestion at this point in our tech-savvy world, but do it. It’ll make a huge difference. You’ll lose any opportunity for miscommunication and probably get more done.
Look, I love a little office gossip as much as the next person, but if you are going to talk sh*t at work…KEEP IT OUT OF WRITING. Even a ping.
I’m going to tell you a little secret. Most companies (not all, but a lot) will track your keystrokes. If you are using a work computer, they probably know all of the crap you are saying. So if you are complaining, writing an email (even to a friend) with something you wouldn’t want your boss to read—don’t do it. Go get a drink and tell your friends all your juicy news then.
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There’s also the reply-all issue. Have you ever gotten an email about you, to you? I have. It f*cking sucks. But it’s also unprofessional AF. Make your life easier and keep the gossip out of anything that can be read later on. You’ll thank me later.
Similar to gossip, your work email is not the place to complain to your boss, bitch about your job to your friend, or talk about how overworked you are. Remember that whole reply-all thing? Or the little keystroke monitoring? If you are in a company email, the company PROBABLY has access to your email. Don’t put yourself at risk just because you are dying to complain.
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Although emails are something we are probably doing day in and day out, take these tips into consideration next time you are emailing at work. And if you don’t believe me, just look at how your boss emails. Or your CEO. I want you all to be in their position one day, so stay profesh in emails, K?!