Getting Your First Real Job or, Why You Are a Disgusting Slob
Having been lucky enough to land myself a good internship before I even walked hung over onto the silly little stage and took my degree certificate from someone vaguely famous, there were a few things that struck me. I settled into my new workplace, doing marketing gubbins for a recruitment agency. I had real passion for this role. Here I was, in the real world, ready to do business, ready to kick ass and take names and finally be able to afford to buy things that I no longer have time to use. I managed the first few days of dressing Business Casual, whatever that means. I think I nailed it, shirt and trousers, right? Mismatching socks are alright as long as nobody sees them. Clean underwear optional. Upgrade your shaving routine from once a month to once a week. Shower daily.
After three days of office work in high summer, my shirt and trousers were about ready to walk to the office themselves the next day. I had to change. Therein lines my dilemma.
I’ve got one pair of smart business-like trousers. One nice long sleeved shirt that looks smart. A pair of boots that are years old and so smooth on the bottom that I slide around on wooden floors like a greased pig. What else have I got? Nothing. Sure, I have six pairs of jeans, a few t-shirts, some hoodies, plenty of sweatpants for all those hungover days and weeks of university where you had nothing more than 2 or 3 hours of class, and you still complained, but now I’m in the real world and everyone else has nice clothes and while I feel like a high flying, big shot business man, I still look like a student. And not a university one.
I had no problem adopting to corporate culture, training my body to handle forty cups of coffee a day, learning to always be ready to close Facebook at a moment’s notice, and the excellent technique of having twenty tabs open on your browser so you look terribly busy. I’ve fit in nicely, using the skills I learned at university to quickly learn that washing your clothes in the shower, surviving on poverty sandwiches and drinking five nights a week are not skills that readily transfer to the board room.
I’ve adapted and I’ve fitted in, but dammit, the clothes thing just stumps me. I don’t buy clothes. Where do they come from? They somehow just appear in my wardrobe. If I mention I need a pair of shoes or a new belt, it’s there within a few days. I think my girlfriend might be behind that, but I’m not sure. It seems a more likely outcome than supposing the flat might be haunted by an altruistic ghost, but then again, the place is old as hell and makes some seriously strange noises at night.
Where do you even buy shirts? Is a chequered shirt business-like enough? Can I wear jeans that look like trousers? What does dress down Friday mean anyway? Because apparently gym shorts and a hoody are inappropriate. I’m baffled, I’m completely stumped. All that academic research and mastering of the Harvard Referencing System didn’t prepare at all for this. Is my hair too long? How frequently should I replace the tape on my broken glasses? Is my ripped laptop bag causing me to lose respect in meetings?
Does anybody even care half as much as I do?
These kinds of things keep me up at night.