8 Reasons Why Work Is Sometimes Just Like High School

Sometimes your 9-to-5 feels more like North Shore High.

It's funny, isn't it? We grow up, leave high school, go onto college, and then join the ranks of other working professionals, but do some ever really graduate emotionally? After a few years in the real world, it becomes clear that the office where you spend your days is just like the educational institution where you spent your teenage years.

Both your former alma mater and your current place of employment share similar internal architectures in that they have a firm hierarchy, varied and multi-faceted departments, and people attend daily to glean insights to help them move up the ranks. And, with varying personalities working in tandem there's bound to be conflict. Moreover, some companies, like Nasty Gal, have even gone so far as to have corporate policies against high school etiquette, but regardless of how professional the setting or how successful the person, sometimes you're reliving those four years of teen rivalry for what seems like an eternity.

Whether you're dealing with a supervisor on a power trip or cliquey co-workers, the feeling still remains the same. You'll be surprised to find how prevelant the following 8 high school-related instances still are in your daily life:

Routine on Repeat

You show up every morning. It's the same hours, within the same structure, next to the same people all over again, every day. Only now you don't get summers off, you are fully responsible for paying your way, and instead of moving on after four years, you might be at your current place of employment until you, dare we say, retire.

Social Climbing Doesn't End

At school and at work we do the same thing. We aim to associate with the people who make decisions and form alliances with people with power. At school it's climbing the social ladder, at work it's just called the corporate ladder. Same deal.

Cliques Still Exist

It's impossible to miss them no matter where you work. The girls and guys who stick together – they lunch together, have happy hour together, and watch the same funny YouTube videos they share over their own private gChat groups. The biggest difference now is that these can exist across your company's matrix instead of just one grade in school. That means from workers to leaders, even your boss, can be part of a clique. And, sometimes, sadly, these can be mean girls—where their friendships matter more than the company's bottom line. And just like in school, you just need to find a way to live with them.

Suck Ups

Back in high school, these people always appealed to the teachers for good grades. Not much has changed because in the corporate-sphere, these are the same people who brownnose managers and will do almost anything to become a favorite to gain good reviews. The biggest difference? In high school, having a good edge with a teacher could mean the difference between a 92 and a 93; at work, these people can be promoted and eventually earn the corner office—it's called playing the game.

Managers Replace Teachers

Like we learn from our teachers at school, at work our managers become our leaders and instructors. It's the same pattern you have in school too - you have cool ones, funny ones, and totally out of touch ones. Unlike teachers, managers are cyclical and you learn to take the rough with the smooth.

Crushing Continues

We never grow out of having crushes on those who surround us. In fact, many people meet love interests at work. While dating someone at your job can create very sticky situations, having a harmless crush makes it much easier to get out of bed in the morning.

Gossip Governs

This never changes. We all love to talk about other people – what they say, do, and how they behave. We remain endlessly interested in other people no matter what age we are. The water cooler replaces the playground at recess as the gossip ground.

Competition Doesn't Cool Off

Like rival schools and sports teams, in business you have corporate competitors. The good thing is that this builds camaraderie within your company and you aim to beat the external enemies together.

Most prominently, it is the feeling of going to work that is most the same as waking up and going to school. We experience morning stress, the Sunday night blues, and the fun Friday vibe. We still live for holidays. With a few added hours to the week and less vacation – in many ways it is almost identical.


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Photo Credit: via Giphy.com

Susie Moore