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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