Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Highschool, Workplace ... what's the difference?

Is this an office building or a high school?

Next time you're in the office at work, take a look around and observe the interaction between people. Tell me if it doesn't feel strikingly familiar or like something you experienced before. Not sure what I'm talking about ... then look harder.

If you work in an office, have eyes and ears you should have quickly noticed, shortly after being hired, that it is very similar to high school. The parallels are not very easily missed, but if they have been allow me to point them out:
  • there are cliques of individuals (cool group, brownnosers, rebels)

  • break room, lunch room or cafeteria is divided into these groups

  • jealousy among employees is similar to that of students (girls still bicker over the cute guy)

  • your cubicle is the grown up equivalent to your locker (put up pictures, toys, souvenirs)

  • smokers corner (where the cool kids hang)

  • pizza day is still the highlight of any week

  • meetings are equivalent to assemblies, where you get away from your desk and scope the members of the opposite sex that you don't see on a regular basis

  • morning break is like recess or spare, people huddle and congregate in the cafeteria or hallways until management (principles) pass through, signaling return to your cubicle

  • many people rep their work just as they did their school, but only for as long as they are employees there, if they change companies tomorrow, suddenly that's the best company ever

  • a new employee is like Christmas for the guys or girls depending (like when a new kid transfers to your school)

These are just a few of the similarities that readily come to mind, I'm sure there are countless more. Likely this list has sparked some thoughts in your minds. Don't think for any reason I am pointing these things out as negatives or drawbacks of the workplace, I am simply making observations.

In fact, this realization should make the transition for students to the workplace that much easier, because it should all be very familiar to them.

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