Friday Doughnuts and Other Signs I am Officially Corp

friday is doughnut day
I realize that as of late, this blog has become somewhat of a work blog instead of a delicious blog, but I can’t help it. The blog reflects what is happening in my life, and work is my life right now. Work in an office, that is. Don’t think I’ haven’t been working my tiny little ass off this whole time!

Working in an “office” has been extremely jarring to my lifestyle for two reasons (other than spewing doughnuts and not-Greek salads on my front page).

First of all, I have to go to an office, the emphasis on “go.” In case you haven’t been following along in my Delicious Life, “go” has not been a prevailing part of my vocabulary for the last 13 months because I don’t “go” anywhere except cyberspace. My real world has been confined to the 1000 sq. ft. space in the corner of a large, sprawling complex. I wake up, fumble through the mess of dirty clothes on the floor, step over tiny perfect piles of unopened mail through the dining room, and end up in my office, a crumbling antique desk in the corner of my living room. Sometimes I make a quick stop for coffee at the nearby café. I mean, kitchen.

“Go” means I have to commute. I haven’t “commuted” in over a year. For some, 2.2 miles is a grocery trip. For me, 2.2 miles is enough of a commute that I still tune into drive-time on the ones and twos and plan my day around rush hour. There is rush hour traffic on Sawtelle because every Brentwood BMW that is supposed to get on the 405 to get down to the South Bay thinks they have traffic-savvy by taking a backalley secret surface street, Sawtelle. When all of the 405 is on Sawtelle, you’re better off taking the 405.

Because I actually have to go somewhere, which means out in public, which means facing “people,” the live kind, and not the “people” known by a combination of letters, numbers, and buddy icons, I actually have to shower. Like everyday. Do you know how long it takes to shower? It takes me 20 minutes to shower, which is the equivalent of a blog post. It hurts me to think of how much blogtime and water I am wasting when I take a shower.

Second of all, I thought that I left “corp” behind when I quite my country club consulting career to go to business school. Business school, in and of itself is corp2theXtrem(!), but I didn’t learn a single thing, so it doesn’t count. My two jobs after b-school were in so-very-not corporate environments, and I liked that. Sure, they hired me to bring a little MBA-corp-ness to a wildly growing (dis)organization, but I did spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations in a highly creative, design-oriented, non-corp atmosphere.

Now, it is official. I officially work, again, in an “office.”

corporate office breakroom, pneumatic coffee dispensers
no antibiotics for pneumatic
corporate office breakroom, water cooler
water cooler, not filter

Not just an office, but an “office,” which you would think would be a virtual office, or a home office because hugging a word with quotation marks often indicates a pseudorepresentation of a reality, but this is a real, corporate office that I must call an “office” because there are pneumatic coffee dispensers each stickied with generic Post-its that indicate what time the coffee was made (yesterday), and a yellow-tinted LA city water cooler in the breakroom. The fact that there is a breakroom is actually the shrillest signal of corp office on the planet. The signs are everywhere, but let’s move on to doughnuts, because everything is better with doughnuts.

In the corporate world, companies have this things called “building morale.” When numbers are low, expenses high, the future looking grim because “in the red” is not the same as “rosy,” the boardroom makes a call. The phone rings in the HR office. Judging by faint background static and the hollow echoes of pens tapping and blackberries buzzing, it’s speakerphone. The entire board in some plush penthouse boardroom that isn’t really a room at all but a NetMeeting of CXOs from around the globe, seated in their respective wing chairs made from the hides of people they stepped on, gathered in cyberspace.

“Do something to build morale,” the command will come flying down the org chart.

“Give them a bonus. Half days every other Friday. Take them out to a company-sponsored Happy Hour. Have a Hawaiian Shirt Day. Do something to increase productivity. Something. Anything.”

“Have doughnuts on Fridays.”

Perhaps Friday morning doughnuts wasn’t a tradition started as some overpaid HR manager’s grand scheme to build morale, but I wouldn’t be surprised, would you, hmm? Regardless, the Friday morning doughnut tradition is a hallmark of a corporate office and makes me want to write a Memorandum and post it all over the “public areas” of the office asking, “Why do we have doughnuts on Friday? Why not Monday? Why not any other day? My morale is just as low on Tuesday as it is on Friday! In fact, my morale on Friday is the weekly highest because it’s fucking Friday!” And why the hell does it have to be doughnuts, of all things? I’d prefer a burrito. Why can’t we have breakfast burritos on Fridays?

Doughnut-driven emotion is the unfortunate byproduct of business diguised as “corp.” I’m not even done yet, and this is just a part-time job.

corporate office breakroom, vending machine
vending machines are lunch

FMD (TLA’d because Friday Morning Doughnuts is a pronoun) is bad, but there is, in fact, something worse. You may not believe that there is something worse than the hot pink, flimsy cardboard box full of doughnuts from the grocery store because Krispy Kreme is too expensive to build morale, but th
ere is, and it isn’t the vending machine that is often my form of corplunch. What is worse than the FMD?

The HDB, aka the Half Doughnut Bandit.

Someone in the office inevitably takes half a doughnut. Half. Who eats half a doughnut?!?! Apparently, the Half Doughnut Bandit does, but you will never unearth his or her real identity (thus the name “Bandit”) because he or she halves when no one else is in the breakroom. Especially if the Half Doughnut Bandit halves without a knife, leaving a thumbprint dent in the half of the doughnut s/he leaves behind.

corporate office breakroom, half doughnut
half doughnut bandit strikes

Why? Why does the Half Doughnut Bandit exist to eat half a doughnut? Has the Half Doughnut Bandit been dipping too frequently into the front lobby’s candy bowl that she should only take half a doughnut? To save fat and calories and half an hour on the treadmill, does she take half a doughnut? No. Because if she thinks that, she should walk right past the doughnuts and go for a couple of walking laps around the office suite. Besides, half a doughnut lasts a moment on the lips, but I believe 420 calories jiggles 90 minutes on the hips.

Perhaps the Half Doughnut Bandit is trying to be thoughtful by leaving half of a doughnut for the next person who happens to prey upon the pink box. First of all, thoughtfulness doesn’t work when there are whole doughnuts still in the box. Second of all, no one wants to eat the other half of a doughnut because no one eats half of a doughnut!

I don’t think I can stand to look at another doughnut.

Until next Friday.

** a year ago today, the place had no more words **

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

1 meg December 17, 2006 at 8:11 pm

Not just an office, but an “office”? Ooh, that can’t be good.


2 Matt Schantz December 18, 2006 at 4:50 am

I liked this post. Sawtelle sounds about as “secret” to West L.A. morning commuters as Fountain is to fucked-up post-club Hollywood drivers. Stealth mode.

Donuts (I prefer the more pedestrian spelling) are great! I thought they were the new cupcakes?


3 U December 18, 2006 at 7:28 am

Mmmm, half a doughnut… drool


4 Professor Salt December 18, 2006 at 7:52 am

Uhhh, congratulations on your new job?

I say screw their half eaten pink panther donuts. As long as you’re stuck in Sawtelle traffic, stop at Primo’s and get your own damn donut. Their buttermilk bar fresh outta the fryer is a beautiful thing.


5 Craig December 18, 2006 at 6:11 pm

You also have the hccb (half cupcake bandit), the rtbmcwep (refuses to brew more coffee when empty person), the fish cooker (anyone who cooks fish in the office microwave), and finally the half eaten dessert bringer (the person who graces the office with half eaten desserts from home)


6 sarah December 18, 2006 at 6:18 pm

meg: and just an “office,” but a “corporate office.” i mean, does work get any worse than that?!?!

matt schantz: fountain? and all this time i thought i was being clever by taking selma. dammit.

u: u! i knew it was u! u are the HDB!!!

professor: hi :) and i think primo’s is further down than i go. i go as far as olympic and sawtelle. which means, of course, i get other good stuff :) now the question is…what about spudnuts?!?!

craigm: omg. the FC isn’t as bad as the tfs broadcaster (tuna fish sandwich). the strange thing is, i love stuff like fish, tuna sandiwches, and even curry, but when it’s being broadcast from the office break room, i hate it.


7 Erin S. December 18, 2006 at 7:54 pm

what about the “pwltitff”–“person who leaves tupperware in the fridge forever”–until it’s sooooo green and stinky, but then they bitch and moan when someone throws it out. Love those guys.


8 Daily Gluttony December 19, 2006 at 5:14 am

ummmm, yeah.

did you remember to put that TPS report on your post? i’ll go ahead and make sure you get the memo, m’kay?

ahh, corporate office life–dontcha just love it?

hey btw-how did you manage to take those pics w/o being caught?


9 hermz December 19, 2006 at 11:17 pm

I still tune into drive-time on the ones and twos…
So is there actually a radio station that updates on the ones and on the twos? That’s being thorough. Or, were you combining traffic-speak with DJ lingo? “DJ Drive-Time, tearin’ it up on the ones and twos!!!” haha!


10 JJ December 20, 2006 at 12:33 am

Just ran across your blog recently, hope the day job doesn’t interfere to much with your blog posting


11 Chubbypanda December 21, 2006 at 8:56 pm

Whoa. An authorized digicam is a hangin’ offense hereparts. I get a pass ’cause I’m one of them. I second DG. How did you manage to ninja those pics?

– Chubbypanda


12 Freudian Slip December 23, 2006 at 9:24 am

I don’t know about you, but I find donuts absolutely irresistable. Especially when they are free…


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