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Advice / Succeeding at Work / Break Room

5 Highlights of My Workday That Would Horrify My 15-Year-Old Self

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“Whoa! OMG! You never told me you did a semester abroad at Hogwarts!” I exclaimed loudly to my co-worker as I looked at her computer, “How did you make that spreadsheet look so pretty, you magician, you?”

“The colors, the formatting, the icons!” I gushed for several minutes more before excitedly walking back to my desk, ready to show my team this awesome new spreadsheet.

Then, as I was seconds away from insisting they remove their earphones and disrupt whatever it was they were doing, I had this thought of, “Thank God my 15-year-old self can’t see me now. She’d be horrified at how excited I am about a spreadsheet.”

And that obviously got me thinking about what else would horrify my teenage self about my life now, specifically my average workday (to dive into my weekend life horrors would be another article entirely, because hello making night cheese a real thing).

1. Creating To-Do Lists

I live for to-do lists. And schedules. And organization.

If you’d asked me my dream job at 15, I’d have said being “The Oprah of Tampa Bay.” If you asked me my dream job now, I’d say being an inventory specialist at The Container Store. I truly love living my life through a series of check boxes.

Oh! And when I check something off one of those check boxes? Well, to quote Belinda Carlisle, “Ooh, baby, do you know what that’s worth? Ooh, heaven is a place on earth.”

Want to Join Me in the Closet Organizer Section? Read This!

2. Reaching Inbox Zero

In addition to inbox zero, having approximately 0 Slack notifications. Which is nuts, because in the ‘00s, I staked my entire reputation on how many open AIM conversations I had going on at any given time.

But now? When I manage to empty out my inbox? Pure bliss.

Want to Also Get to Inbox Nirvana? Read This!

3. Not Knowing an Acronym

Speaking of AIM, I would’ve rather died than admit to my friends that I didn’t know what an acronym meant. In fact, when I couldn’t figure it out, I’d just use it more so no one suspected anything.

“Should we ROTFL this weekend? Seems like that’d be the ROTFL thing to do.”

Now when I don’t know one, I thank my lucky stars my brain hasn’t completely turned into a Jargon Monster.

(And yes, a Jargon Monster is only a little less scary than the person who starts every email with “Happy Monday!”)

Want to Make Sure You’re Not Becoming a Jargon Monster? Read This!

4. Having Things Get Canceled

Is there any relief quite as sweet as the relief you feel when a meeting gets canceled (or after-work plans with a friend, for that matter)?


30 minutes truly does feel longer when you were supposed to be in a meeting.

Compare that to my reaction to my mom telling me I’d have to cancel my plans because she couldn’t drive me to the mall? Well, you know what, actually don’t—not one of my finest moments.

Want to Get Out of More Meetings? Read This!

5. Getting Into Bed by 10:30

On the note of cancelations, getting into bed by 10:30 now also ranks very highly on my list of “things that make me just as content as seeing a pile of golden retriever puppies.”

I’m truly never cockier than when I’m able to pull myself away from the TV and get under the covers before 11 PM hits.

So, it’s crazy to think that it was at 11 PM when my mother would go to sleep and I could really do whatever I wanted in the house. Which, contrary to what popular TV shows usually said, typically involved just sitting in a dark living room, getting deeper and deeper into the internet, pausing only to respond to a friend’s AIM with “ROTFL to you, too!”

Want to Get More Sleep? Read This!

The truth is that this list could go on and on. But rather than continuing to tell you all about my golden years (and golden years in this context is a euphemism for the years when I got braces put on for the second time), I want to hear from you.

What would horrify your 15-year-old self about yourself today? Tell me on Twitter!