Why We Should Stop Using the Phrase “In the Real World”

While there are many trite (and incorrectly structured) phrases that people use constantly, i.e. phrases like “It is what it is” and “I could care less,” whereby the first just sounds silly and the latter actually means you care, there is another phrase that I’d like to see stripped from our sentence constructs.

The phrase is this: In the real world…

In the real world, your resume should be polished.

In the real world, you should secure a job you enjoy getting up for in the morning.

In the real world, you’ll be paying more taxes.

I hear people say this constantly. It is most commonly said to those in college or participating in some kind of schooling when pointing to what life will be like after school is over.

My quick quarrel asks you to consider whether or not school is part of the real world. I believe it is. It is quite real, and I can account for it being real because I participate in it every day as a teacher; it is my job in the real world (as opposed to the immitation world I’ve been living in lately). My children and my students would probably agree—they have to get up every morning and attend classes that so far, seem to be incredibly real.

What we should be saying instead is this: In the working world…

In the working world, your resume should be polished.

In the working world, you should secure a job you enjoy getting up for in the morning.

In the working world, you’ll be paying more taxes.

When you break it down, I’m not even sure what the real world is these days.

But I do have a pretty good handle on the working world, and I’m certain you do as well.

I've been blogging at Steph's Scribe since 2011. Professionally, I'm a writer, author, blogger, and a full-time professor at Stevenson University. Personally, I'm married with two children. My hobbies, which I often blog about, are reading, travel, fashion, movies, and sharing funny family stories or life wisdom. Thanks for checking out my blog.


  • Deborah

    The other problem with that phrase is that it’s often used by people who think that school is so much easier than the working world. It’s simply another version of “the grass is greener.” School has some benefits some of the time, but it’s still hard work. And in the working world, there are still some amazing things that happen that make school look like a real drudge. A matter of perspective. Unfortunately, it seems like far too many people think their world is the gold standard for everyone’s world. 🙂

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