This Is One Life After College

You file into a conference room and grab a seat on the outside circle of chairs. Phone in hand, you rest one leg on the other to hide your texting thumbs.

The agenda is laid out. None of it pertains to you.

Jess from New York presents first. She talks about the status of her business that you aren’t involved with. She mentions people in the conference room and they smile smugly. You have never worked with them.

Jared, the developer, goes next. He developed some newfangled way to save a few people in the department a bunch of time. You aren’t one of them because your work isn’t related. He asks very basic questions that everyone can answer but won’t because the fear of being wrong is more powerful than being 99.99 percent sure.

Someone remote goes next. You’ve never met this person. She introduces herself and asks if everyone can see her screen. We can, but nobody answers except the intern, who’s fervently taking notes.

A fidget spinner spins in the back.

Three coworkers sitting on the floor whisper and giggle.

Senior-level employees come in late. They sit in the back with their laptops and type.

Your attempts to look attentive and engaged between texts are met with glares from proximal coworkers. You’re ok with this. Actually, you don’t care.

A group discussion unrelated to your work is maintained by five out of the 30-something people in the room.

There’s only eight minutes left and still a few things to cover. All but one presenter decide to send a follow-up email with their deck for review. The one who presents is rushed because we’re short on time.

As the meeting closes, VPs ask if anyone has questions, concerns, thoughts. Nobody does. The meeting ends and everyone goes back to work that has nothing to do with the meeting.

You go home and tell your partner that you are tired of going to meetings that have nothing to do with you. You pour yourself a stiff drink, stewing over your dependency for job security and your dissatisfaction with not pursuing your dream after college to become a real writer.

You go to bed a little drunk. You try making love to your partner who rejects you because you’re drunk. You stare at the ceiling as your partner starts snoring. Sirens and car horns echo beneath the stars.

“This fucking city,” you say.