7 Ways Working a 9-5 is Like Being On a Reality Show

This is the one time I wanna be like Kim---no longer a cast member.

This is the one time I wanna be like Kim (pictured in gold)—no longer a cast member.

So today, I’m pissed and totally over the work drama, so let’s skip the fancy intro and get right to it. Here’s a list of seven ways jobs make their employees feel like they’re on the set of a sleazy reality show, only the lighting isn’t flattering and workers aren’t getting the hit singles, paid club appearances, Christian Louboutins and fresh sew-in weaves in exchange for their troubles.

1. Ain’t nobody f*ckin’ with my clique, clique, clique…: Ahhhh, cliques. The delightful dollop of people who consist of a lumpy, co-dependent, shit-talking mass of conjoined humans. They tend to share a brain, so it’s no wonder they don’t take too kindly to outsiders. They routinely convene about when and what to think, and the unfortunate soul who manages to permeate their wall of nasty judgments and constant gossip regrets it immediately and hopefully has the wherewithal to retreat just as quickly, lest they wish to give up their souls to the devil in exchange for the coveted honor of “fitting in.”

2. Bullies: Quite frankly, I don’t buy into the notion that adults can’t be bullied. Just like they appear on each cycle of Tyra Banks’ “America’s Next Top Model,” a narcissistic, sociopathic bully seems to be a workplace staple. I’ve dealt with my fair share of them, from an alcoholic, racist judge who thought it was cute to unplug my automatic stapler each time she passed my desk, to other co-workers who took more pride in delivering stare-downs and partaking in feverish whispering sessions than they did in actually working. Just like aggressive playground tyrants and reality show jerks, most of the in-office offenders don’t stop unless their targets knock them flat on their asses, whether in the form of an official complaint or a nice-nasty tongue-lashing. (Full disclosure: Both methods have worked for me.  There are other methods, but…nevermind.)

3. Exploitation shrouded in a guise of concern: Much like thirsty reality show producers, employers can do THE MOST insensitive shit without any concern for how it might impact your life, all while taking pleasure in watching you squirm. It’s usually something trifling like sitting you in a room with the woman who secretly married your boyfriend.  Meanwhile, you fight to compose yourself and refrain from going HAM. (Take it from me–jobs don’t like it when you go HAM.)

Last Thursday my manager came to me with a big, stupid grin on his face wanting to discuss something that was supposedly “very exciting.” Turns out I was volunteered for a new position and I got the job all in the same week! And even more exciting, I learned all of this in the span of five minutes. Yayee!!! Only I didn’t sign up for this shit. I listened in disbelief as I learned I would start the new job in two days and I’d have an entirely new work schedule. Any planned time off for the next three weeks was to be rescheduled. The bosses move us around like puzzle pieces, only they don’t care if where they decide to place us is beneficial for us.

4. Smoke & mirrors: The producers of shows like “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” would like you to think that all the women are living the glamorous life. Handsome, rich, faithful husbands? Check. Shopping and drinking and eating with the girls all day instead of working? Check! Bodies that magically resist expansion after all that eating out and drinking? Check! And everything else they want in life? CHECK! But anyone with half a brain knows that what you see is a skewed version of the truth, more like a distant cousin of reality.

Heavy editing paints a picture perfect reality show world where sweating, sleeping and pooping don’t exist. Basically, work is the same way. If I hear one more time about an upcoming transition that will provide us with “opportunities to advance,” I will have a reality TV meltdown of epic proportions. Even though that phrase is often accompanied by a huge (read: fake as shit) smile, empty promises that sound great at the time and an offer to help move you up the corporate ladder, it’s really just code for, “Your ass is about to get a lot more work, so deal.”

5. Overworked & underpaid: Some reality stars may be rolling in the dough, but in my opinion the money they’re paid to look like degenerates on TV just isn’t worth it. Accordingly, the amount my job pays me to work my ass off and put up with bullies, cliques and exploitation just isn’t enough. My patience has grown dangerously thin and I know my days are numbered.

6. Micromanagement: You know how the cast members on shows like “The Real World” have to report every move they make to producers so every potential golden moment can be captured on film? They can’t display certain logos on air or film in certain places. They can’t watch TV or go online and their access to the outside world is restricted. Well, work is like that too. Every move you make is watched, scrutinized and at times, heavily criticized. And as I’m sure tons of reality stars can attest to, perception at work is truth.

7. High Turnover Rate: See the previously referenced “Real Housewives” franchise. The Atlanta installment is in its sixth season. Of the original cast members, only one remains. In the past few months, our office has gained several new employees and lost several as well.

With a lot of hard work, persistence and prayer, I’ll be headed towards the exit next.  If things work out my way, my departure won’t be accompanied by a barrage of co-workers prying my fingers from the office bully’s hair, while I spew foul language and attempt to throw a keyboard with one hand while holding down my skirt with the other. Just in case security cameras are rolling,  I’d prefer to make my onscreen debut with my dignity intact.



4 thoughts on “7 Ways Working a 9-5 is Like Being On a Reality Show”

  1. *dead* Why am I imagining a camera crew following me around work. The gig is definitely a set. Super cool post.

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