Reflections on The 9-5 Life Once the College Hangover Has Fully Subsided

I wrote this a couple years ago (wow this blog is getting old!) and I want to post an update about what life is like about 2 or 3 years after college. I think, in general, it gets better. Here is what, for me, has developed since.

1. Life gets a lot easier as more and more of your friends start working 9-5. You start to realize that having a full-time job right after college wasn’t necessarily “sacrificing your youth” (well, maybe a little bit) but an inevitability that you happened to get a head start on. This means that by now you have a healthy 401k while the people you so envied for hanging out at the beach all the time are now looking for jobs so they can get health insurance and finally deal with that torturous toothache. Join me, friends.

2. You stay fatter. While college is an era of beer pitchers and late night pizza, you also do a lot of walking and have spare hours between classes when you can hang out at the gym. Desk life involves sitting for 9-straight hours, escaping for lunches with the occasional bloody mary, and tons and tons of free pies and snacks that people bring to work and pressure you to enjoy. Okay, if you insist, I’ll eat one of your mom’s lemon bars. Lemon bars are fattening dude. People start talking about joining Weight Watchers, and instead of receiving ridicule (like in college), people support them and bring them kale chips.

3. Dating gets a lot less torturous. In college, dating is easy as hell because, as a friend put it, the subtext is “let’s take shots and then get naked!” (Not that it ever went down that way for me … hi mom!) But with that mentality comes things like “text message breakups,” people who say things like, “I’m just in a selfish place in life right now” and the feeling that your ‘relationship’ might end along with the semester of Italian 1002. Post-college, people start coupling for realsies and stable relationships begin to bloom around you for the first time. College games like flirting with the opposite sex to make a significant other jealous start to reveal themselves as really bad strategies. Everyone’s happy!

4. As more friends advance in their functional relationships, you discover that weddings have the potential to suck away at entire weekends, and more and more are on the horizon. Stop falling in love friends! JK. You start to develop things called “bachelorette party friends,” who are people that you don’t know that well but talked about dicks with drunkenly and have thus gained the ability to interrupt their conversations to bring them a tequila shot if you should ever see them again.

5. People start dying and getting brain tumors and you start to very much realize your mortality. You do things like buy vitamin supplements and take them every day while making a 2-year plan to get down to the USDA recommendation for how much a woman should drink per week. (1 glass of wine per night, ladees)

6. Nonetheless, the party continues to rage on, just on weekends, and then melts into brunch. Do college kids do brunch? It seems like a crutch of adult life that people take as compensation for being wiped out from conference calls M-F. You grow self-conscious about your brunch habits as it seems a detestably “gen Y” thing to talk about on the Internet …

7. The money thing gets better. You learn to keep digital lists of bills and actually pay them on time. A 9-5 offers gifts beyond a salary, like the occasional free Ikea furniture that the office no longer needs. As you realize you have the same size TV that made you, 2-years-ago, suspect that your older friend was rich, you realize you should not complain about money to your younger friends.

8. You keep learning. Little in college can rival the amount of learning you have to do for a job (other than an internship). As you are forced to study things beyond what naturally interests you, you start to worry about the people in grad school literally making themselves depressed getting in arguments about french ontological theory. You start to forget that language you studied but at least have the money to buy some iPhone apps to help you remember it in your spare time.

9. As you take vacations and enjoy PTO days, you realize your spare time isn’t as minimal as you thought when you first started working 9-5. The occasional super late night at work, along with hearing your co-workers talk about their kids, makes you feel grateful for the long stretch of time that is your evening.

-Becky Lang