office hours

How to Deal With Post-Summer Office Blues

Photo-Illustration: Colorblind/Getty Images

No matter how many years it’s been since our school days, September arrives with an unavoidable wistfulness. The aisles of every Target are lined with marbled Mead notebooks, the air begins to crisp up, all those bitches are taking Instagrams at apple orchards (despite this trend being OVER!!!), and you may already feel the creeping sadness that will bury you entirely come November or December. Worse still: It’s time to really go back to work. It may still be hot outside, but the next national holiday isn’t until October, and you’ve squandered all of your vacation days to attend six hundred and ninety-two weddings. You shouldn’t even be reading this article but why stop now … you’re in too deep.

There is a special place in hell for jerks who post mournful Facebook statuses and text group chains declaring that “summer is over” on Labor Day, which is not even the second week of September. Any normal astrologer and/or witch would know that in fact, summer is not over until autumn solstice, which this year is on September 22 — so technically you have three more weeks to live it up in your summer body. But you can’t: You are locked inside your office, staring at a computer screen, wondering what happened to your life, directly facing the abyss.

Here are a few suggestions to keep you from toppling over the edge.


Please only do this if you have vacation time and a good relationship with your boss, as I cannot shoulder the guilt that you were fired from your job for reading an office column on the Cut. I simply cannot.


Yeah, yeah, you’re all “very busy” at work and therefore can’t even conceive of stepping away from your desk to grab a meal. Listen to me: The sun is going to start going down at like 3:30 p.m. sooner than you think, and if you don’t start walking outside for lunch while the weather is still good, you likely will not see it again until March. Do you want to be hospitalized for depleted levels of vitamin D? Get up and go outside. Finish this article first, though …


If there’s one thing that everyone loves, it’s when Diane appears out of nowhere to tell you all about her glamorous vacation that she took on Martha’s Vineyard (also known as “The Martha”) this summer. We wish she would talk about it more! Please! Never stop. But deep-seated hatred for Diane aside, her technique really is flawless, because it’s masking her end-of-summer sadness. Even if you didn’t take a vacation this summer, the fundamental principle of bragging is actually just lying. Make up a fake island that you visited and talk about how fresh the papaya was. “Oh I can’t even eat the fruit in New York anymore,” you’ll say. “Not after a week of eating local produce on Captain Jack Sparrow Island.”


A challenge: Can you find one thing that you like about each of your colleagues? Great. Write these things down, store them away in a locked box deep in your desk, and when the going gets tough (say, February), remember warmly that some people are born into wealth and get to live year-round on Captain Jack Sparrow Island, but you have ten colleagues you can say at least one nice thing about. Can’t put a price on that.


If you’ve ever been the patron of a tiki bar, you will be familiar with the tiny little paper parasols that often top drinks. There is not a single law that says you cannot top your coffee with a tiny parasol, for decoration and mirth. Tiny parasol — but for your coffee.


Lord knows that your freezer is filled with tightly Saran Wrapped uncooked hot dogs from a summer’s worth of barbecue overflow. Bring a few to work, heat them up around 3 pm, and offer them around the office as a little snack. For the really industrious worker, grab some printer paper and make cone-shaped bouquets out of a few hot dogs. “Hot dogs hee-yah! Hot dogs hee-yah!” You’re the fun one.


You know those sand-and-rake Zen gardens that all tech entrepreneurs keep on their enormous glass desks? You can recreate one in your own cubicle by ordering up a pallet of sand from Home Depot and dumping it all around you. No need for a rake — but you might want to invest in a Slushie machine to add to the ambiance, you feel me?

7 Ways to Deal With Post-Summer Office Blues