The Working World: Expectations vs. Reality

Recently, my coworker and I were talking about our expectations vs. reality when it came to our first jobs out of college. We quickly realized that we shared an unrealistic view of what the working world would be like, partially due to TV shows and movies that depict jobs in an inaccurate manner. Off the top of my head, here are just a few examples that personally fueled my dream that work would consist of a montage of scenes along the lines of: Myself, stylishly outfitted in designer clothing with a perfect blowout, stepping out of a cab in stiletto heels, rushing into a skyscraper corporate building and making it just in time for the big meeting, where we would brainstorm a brilliant idea that would save the company. Afterwards, my similarly stylish coworkers and I would sip on lattes and gossip about our latest dating adventures, while preparing to attend fabulous post-work events for free.

Wake up call…this isn’t a Hollywood script we’re living. Work is more along the lines of the monotonous scenes from Office Space or even The Office, minus the hilariousness and ongoing pranks. (If your office has prank wars, I want in.)

Anyway, here are the examples that I promised before going off on my tangent:

Sex and the City
This hit show, although no longer on the air, is still a favorite of women everywhere (myself included). However, the characters’ “careers” are laughable at best. Miranda is a lawyer who complains about long hours, so why don’t we ever see her at the office or in action in the courtroom? Samantha gives all PR pros a bad name by seemingly sleeping with almost all of her clients. Charlotte quits the art gallery to…glaze pottery? And don’t get me started on Carrie. Her. research. is. having. sex.

The Wedding Planner
If you love cake tastings, floral arrangements and bridezillas, this is the career for you. If all goes horribly wrong with the actual event planning, you can always steal the groom!

Knocked Up
Wait wait, so having a one night stand that results in pregnancy isn’t a life ruiner? You can still be a successful host on E! without telling your bosses that you’re pregnant until it’s painfully obvious? Score.

Mad Men
Obviously this is a period piece, so all of the smoking/drinking/sexing in the office might actually be accurate for the era the show is trying to portray. However, something tells me that the advertising industry is no where near this level of debauchery today. Beware, young marketing majors with visions of booze dancing in your heads.

How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days
One of the biggest culprits behind my unrealistic work expectations. Kate Hudson makes working for a magazine look like a breeze. A whirlwind of friends, freebies, dates, and work-sponsored parties with glamorous gowns and men in tuxedos. This is not real life, but for some reason I absolutely thought it was.

Friends
Still in love with this series, but it left me thinking that a majority of my twenties would be spent hanging out in either a coffee shop or in my giant apartment, not in my cubicle.

Greys Anatomy
I refuse to believe doctors and nurses are hooking up in supply closets during break time. Can anyone who actually works in a hospital confirm this?!

Those are just a few that stand out in my mind. Which TV shows/movies gave you false hope when it came to adjusting to your first (or current) job?

4 Comments
  1. I have not only thought that Friends should be my real life, but I have voiced complaints about it… to my boyfriend, best friend, and sister. I have literally said to them – why is it that everyone on Friends has such a nice life? I mean, why can’t we all live right across from each other in these huge apartments, and have time to hang out for hours on a daily basis??

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