When you’re young and daydreaming about your future big league career, you probably didn’t imagine it being in cubicle-land, a tiny space in a sea of tiny spaces that you may or may not have to share with a neighbor or three. As you look over your half-wall partition to the nearest window, 25 yards away, you’ll probably think, “this really, really, really, wasn’t what I imagined; in fact, this is an effing nightmare.” Not only that, but you feel as if your contribution to the big corporate machine goes unnoticed and gets lost in the grand scheme of things.
I know companies use cubicles to maximize space, but I also think there are two other reasons. The first is so the bosses can keep an eye on you because they can’t have every employee closing their door pretending to take conference calls (read: taking an afternoon siesta). The second reason is they do it to make you work harder in an attempt to earn a promotion that hopefully will bring with it the coveted office. I like to call this the repression method. I managed to make it three months in this environment before I had to escape. My dreams of the big corporate setup quickly faded as I caught the first bus to small firm-land. Here, I had more personalized space and a looser structure. I’m not sure if I was just being a baby, had different expectations, truly needed a different path, or all of the above. However, with all of the cons, there were some pros of corporate life I gave up, too.
A Large-Scale Health Insurance Plan
Sometimes, I wonder why I personally pay $200 per month for health and dental when I still get a bill in the mail almost every time I go to the doctor. I’d investigate, but anyone who has dealt with Satan himself (insurance companies), knows it’s easier to just shrug your shoulders and say, “beats the shit out of me,” and move on.
Retirement savings? What’s that? Like any of us will ever be able to afford to retire–spend that money now before it gets lost in the next financial collapse! I’m moving this to the “cons” list. Kidding, totally save and invest, and take advantage of that employer contribution. Free money, bitches.
Miscellaneous Perks That Come With Big-Name Entities
– Lower-level seats to the playoff game won in the company lottery? Check.
– Being able to namedrop the well-known CEO that had a three second conversation with you the other day when you managed to bypass his or her secretary in order to personally deliver the quarterly balance sheet. Check.
– Subsidized food at the food court. Check.
– Getting to attend the blowout party thrown for meeting quarterly goals. Here, you can possibly get drunk enough to hit on your crush from another department in person instead of sending a, “Hey so-and-so from X department, thanks for all of your help today; feel free to call me if I can ever help you with anything ;)” email. Check (Although you probably would have just preferred a bonus.)
– A company directory complete with pictures so you knew how attractive said so-and-so was before the first time you emailed him or her (thus spawning your work crush who you’ve never seen in person). Double check because you know you’ve creeped the shit out of that thing looking for potential mates like it’s match.com or something.
Similar to barracks at boot camp, you’re thrown into the pit with all of the others who are fighting the good fight. You might as well make some friends and lean on each other for support in an attempt to make the situation more tolerable. Maybe you’ll even share a few laughs along the way. If you get stuck with a bunch of assholes, see whose ass you need to kiss first to get out of there. Or, sabotage everyone else until you get a group you like.
Being Able To Give Shorter Answers
Someone: “Where do you work?”
You: “That big ass building over there.”
Someone:“Awesome! That’s a great company. What do you do there?”
You: “I work in accounting.”
End of conversation. There’s no, “What do you do?” “Hmm, sounds interesting. Now where is that?” “What exactly do you do again?” (Pulls out hair, chugs drink.)
I didn’t just walk, I ran to the metaphorical bus stop and I haven’t looked back on corporate life since. However, if I mess up now, I can’t blame anyone else, because there are only five other people here who could have messed it up–and everyone knows who really did it. Yet, at the same time, I don’t feel so disposable because those other five people really need me here doing things, even if I do it wrong. Each weekday warrior out there must decide which lifestyle is best suited for him or her. As I sit here in my own personal space in the working world, complete with four walls and a door that shuts, I think I have found mine. Good luck finding yours.