20 things you’ll only understand if you work in an office

Everything from the office food thief to the dreaded printer queue…

if you work in an office

Everything from the office food thief to the dreaded printer queue…

Office life is something a lot of us can bond over.

Sure, each office experience varies depending on the people, place and position in your company.

There are, however, a few constants – aspects of office life that no matter the office or job in question, will always stay the same.

You will never be able to slyly make yourself a cup of tea without taking down everyone’s orders, you will always feel awkward when the person who sits next to you emails you instead of talking, and nothing will prepare you for that sinking feeling when you spot a work colleague on your commute.

That’s right, we’re talking about the awkward office moments that the cool hipster types who enjoy working remotely from artisan cafes will never understand.

Here are 20 things you’ll only understand if you work in an office…

if you work in an office

1. When 5.30pm passes by but no one has left so you have to wait so you’re not the first person to leave The waiting game can take hours.

2. Signing birthday cards daily but having no idea who the person actually is ‘Happy Birthday Karen, whoever you are.’

3. When people cotton on to the fact that you’re making a cup of tea and suddenly you’re taking about 40 drink orders ‘Oh, are you on your way to the kitchen?’ ‘No, no I’m not.’

if you work in an office

4. When someone uses your mug and it feels like ultimate betrayal Now you understand why people love to send passive aggressive post-it notes.

5. When the person ahead of you in the printer queue accidentally prints off 300 pages from Google And so you stare passive aggressively at the back of their head the whole time and then tell everyone in the office.

6. That dreaded feeling when one person in the office gets ill And the infection spreads around the whole office quicker than you can say Norovirus.

if you work in an office

7. That moment when your food goes missing from the fridge There’s a food thief in every office and they ALWAYS have great taste in food – AKA your food.

8. When someone tucks into a particularly smelly desk lunch and the passive aggressive emails start circulating It’s always fish and they’re always eating near you. OK fine, sometimes it is you.

9. When you put on a ‘fashion forward’ outfit to try it out at the office and NO ONE comments on it So you vow never to wear it again.

if you work in an office

10. When you run into one of your colleagues in the lift And despite speaking easily on a daily basis, getting very stressed being in a lift together and making overly forced conversation.

11. Getting a friend request from one of your co-workers on Facebook And feeling sheer panic as you quickly untag three years of photos before accepting.

12. Muting your phone and activating your out of office email because you just need five minutes of quiet And then forgetting to re-activate it and having to call IT support.

if you work in an office

13. That moment when the lie you told on your CV gets taken seriously in a board meeting in front of everyone ‘Sure, I can translate this document into Swedish. I am fluent after all.’

14. Getting used to having people email you a question when they’re sitting right next to you And then enduring the awkward wait as they read your response…while sitting next to you.

15. Having an office crush – just for the sake of it And finding them a hundred times more attractive than you usually would, just because it’s in the office environment and makes the day go quicker.

if you work in an office

16. Having the awkward run in with your boss in the loo And making the most embarrassing small talk ever – it’s nearly always about the weather.

17. Getting confused on work emails and accidentally sending an angry rant to the wrong person ‘Oh sorry – I was talking about a different Abigail Preston’

18. Bonding heavily with everyone the morning after the office Christmas party Someone has always embarrassed themselves, and as long as it’s not you, it’s a great bonding experience. If it is you, it's time to call in sick.

19. The dreaded day when Valentine’s Day arrives and everyone brings their presents to work Watching colleagues come in with new engagement rings, flowers and chocolates, hoping they don’t ask you what your plans are for the evening – a chick flick and a family pack of Mars bars.

20. Discovering that friendships are thicker than blood in offices Your office wife’s enemy becomes your enemy by default

Jenny Proudfoot
Features Editor

Jenny Proudfoot is an award-winning journalist, specialising in lifestyle, culture, entertainment, international development and politics. She has worked at Marie Claire UK for seven years, rising from intern to Features Editor and is now the most published Marie Claire writer of all time. She was made a 30 under 30 award-winner last year and named a rising star in journalism by the Professional Publishers Association.