What is this feeling around my waist?

That sensation you're feeling is pants. After an extended weekend of comfort and joy, you'll need to rebuild your khaki shape. It will take two or three days for you to conform back, so expect discomfort or light rashing until any memory of your natural disposition wears off.

Is there a crushing sadness that seems to consume every bit of my existence?

Absolutely! In your line of work it only takes a schedule shift of one day to cause an existential panic. More than likely, the broken rhythm has accidentally allowed you to glimpse into the massive gap between your own happiness and the labor that consumes the majority of your waking hours. You are probably thinking something like "I should follow my dreams," or "I think unemployment would be a wonderful alternative to this hollow existence I call life," or "this really freaking sucks!" These feelings are normal and temporary! Soon your desire and ambition will be fully replaced with menial tasks due Friday. By next week you'll only notice the pumped-in white noise.

Who are these strangers? Why do they keep smiling?

These are your coworkers. At best they are recognizing the same mistakes in their life as you find in yours, and are thus attempting to smile through their own self-loathing. At worst they are drowning in a delusion where they think they are succeeding, and will actively attempt to humiliate you for miniscule gains. They can do no damage beyond what you do to yourself every day you walk through these doors. Feel free to hate these coworkers or treat them with the detached kindness of a hospice nurse. Or you can ignore them entirely. But no matter what you cannot escape their forced conversation or beige Kohl's dress shirts.

How does time function within this building?

While it might seem as though minutes last longer, it's important to remember that time has not changed. Instead your feelings have simply reversed! Over the extended weekend, you were having fun and hardly glanced at the time once. Now, at work, you are pretty much just staring at the clock with little to no mental activity. This results in 1) a realization that you only have so much time on this earth and here you are using Windows XP and a chair that might cause scoliosis. 2) the current hypothesis that yes time can come to a complete standstill but only if you are miserable.

The coworkers are looking at me and I don't know why. What can I do to make them stop?

More than likely, you said or did something that is considered unbecoming in the workplace environment. Here is a handy list of common errors. Did you mention goals that were not defined by your employer? Did you eat pizza roles for lunch? Did you cry or show any "weak/feminine" emotions? Did you just spill the piping hot contents of a pizza roll on your shirt? Did you happen to be a nationality/race/gender/class/age other than Upper-Middle Class White American Male between the ages of 32 - 55? Did you suck on the shirt fabric until you got all the pizza roll grease out? Did you mention the drinking of alcohol before 11am? Did you mention anything other than pure profit? Did you point out a coworker's use of a tired meme? Did you unbuckle your pants and fall asleep at your desk after finishing your pizza roles? Did you do something fun? Participating in any of these activities will seem foreign to those around you. Your best option is to laugh it off and say that it was a joke. If that fails, you will simply be forever labeled a weirdo, and will spend the rest of your career as the office pariah.

Do I have to be here?

Yes. Of all the options in your life, you have chosen to be here. You have done this to yourself. Luckily, if you play your cards right, you can use one of your few vacation days and enjoy another extended three day weekend for Flag Day. Enjoy!

– Ian "Salmon Season" Golding (@iggolding)

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