- Pretend that you still remember your coworkers' names. They are to be treated like friends even though they are not. Ask questions and imitate listening. Nod head. Smile. Under no circumstance should you acknowledge that you have forgotten who they are, that it only took a week to completely erase them from your memory.
- Pretend that you aren't seriously questioning the career choices that brought you back here. If necessary, turn off emotions and roleplay as a robot programmed for menial labor. There are times to do some soul searching, but it isn't now. Like, sure, it's always great to examine your life, but you can't just walk around with that much regret on your face.
- Pretend that you aren't uncomfortable wearing pants before noon. If you grew accustomed to perpetual loungewear, it is now time to break your bohemian habits. It is time for your attire to cause as much misery as your environment. Suck in, wear a baggy sweater, but do not think you can unbutton your pants and no one will notice. They will.
- Pretend that you had a productive vacation. These people are monsters, and it of upmost importance that you convince them of your superiority. You're smart, clever, adventurous. Do not mention the massive haul of games you picked up in the Steam winter sale. Make it seem as though you have an interesting personal life and that you didn't spend the vast majority of time just staring at a screen. Yes, it will take lying.
- Pretend that you aren't a month behind after a week off. Somehow your job's responsibilities worked double-time over the holiday, and you're just now realizing that you might never catch up. That's what you get for having personal time, so you might as well deal with it. Sure, it'll be deep in February before you manage to see daylight again, but that's the sort of information you bottle up until your heart explodes.
- Pretend that you are a valuable employee. Try not to realize that just yesterday at this time you were asleep/eating/doing something you enjoy. That life is gone until next December. Your new life belongs to your employer, and right now you have one responsibility: to remember what your job is. So just forget about fun or family. It is time to look busy.
- Pretend that you are excited to head in today. You are happy to earn your paycheck and you are totally not resenting how little time off you get. Don't look back at last year and realize that your time on earth is limited. Instead you should settle in and enjoy 2017 in the same habitat you spent 2016: your lumpy office chair. So put on a smile and act like you aren't desperately trying to stay awake.
- Pretend that you aren't dwelling on the fact that you have to repeat all of this tomorrow or the day after tomorrow or the day after that or next week or next month. Winter will end. The snow will melt. The sun will rise, and people will get groovy tanlines.Time is forever moving, but you will be here. At work. Enjoy.
– Ian "Salmon Season" Golding (@iggolding)