There are certain factors you look for in a job: salary, benefits, commute, and the office’s environment are a few of them. Even in the most rewarding jobs, you need a few things to keep you entertained and mostly happy during the day. You can assume that even the most stringent boss knows his employees aren’t diligently working every second of the day. Here are some things you should either consider or try to get away with at your dull, postgrad office.
1. Instant Messenger
Instant messenger recently made a resurgence to greatness after a brief hiatus following middle school. Facebook chat, AIM, Gchat, whatever your friends are using–it’s all up for grabs. It’s great for interoffice communication, because why go to your friend’s desk to ask who the hot mom who kicks ass in “The Long Kiss Goodnight” is (Geena Davis, by the way) when you can just IM him and hear back immediately? Plus, all of your other friends who work in other soul-sucking office jobs will have it, too. You can gossip about your friend’s crumbling marriage because she tied the knot too early all day instead of finishing the stupid Excel spreadsheet your boss forgot he even told you to do. It’s all of the fun stuff about IMing in middle school, except now everyone actually has sex and you’re getting paid to talk about it.
This is a touchy subject, because I know some of you have more restrictions than others. In fact, I know several people who have Reddit, Twitter, and all porn sites blocked at work. That’s a fascist regime, folks. A good rule of thumb is to avoid porn anyway, because even if there’s no blocking software installed, there’s definitely a way to monitor your activity. If you’re going to get in trouble for something, let it be for binge watching “Cheers” and not for your weird sexual proclivities. In my opinion, work is like school. Just like most professors don’t give a rat’s ass how much class you miss as long as you make the grades, a boss knows to look the other way when it comes to certain rule breaking if all your work is tidy and on time. Figure out how to streamline your daily process, get all your work done before lunch, and then come back from Chipotle full of beefy goodness prepared to rest your food-weary eyes on Tony Shalhoub puttering his OCD ass around San Francisco for the rest of the day.
3. A Sports Person
Everyone in your office has something to say about the sports world. Someone may suddenly become a 49ers fan through a dubious family connection, or claim that the Yankees have a World Series shot this year now that Robinson Cano is healthy, in spite of the fact that 1) Cano was never injured 2) Cano is no longer a Yankee and 3) The Yankees will be lucky to get 80 wins this year. Is it so much to ask that at least one person have a good overall knowledge of what’s going on in all sports, and maybe an in depth insight into one? It doesn’t even have to be the NBA, which is my bread and butter. If there isn’t a single person in the whole building who doesn’t have a decent working knowledge of WAR, TS%, and the current state of LeBron’s receding hairline, then I’m out.
You need to know that Russell Wilson is a talented system quarterback who will get paid like a superstar in two years, and you need to know that the Seahawks have until then to win Super Bowls, because they won’t be able to afford their defensive studs afterward. You also have to be able to give the counterargument about how much the NFL’s salary cap is expected to increase in the next decade, due to TV rights and deals. Basically I need to you to be able to make arguments on both sides of an utterly unimportant debate, and I need you to to hate Skip Bayless and Stephen A.’s bullshit, political volume echo chamber as much as I do.
4. Several Decent Lunch Places
This can literally be the deciding factor in how much you will enjoy your new job. I know a lot of people pack their own lunches, but the food that is easy to pack gets boring fast, and I have sworn to never be that guy with the seven Tupperwares who must mix and heat them in a particular order. I’m an asshole, not a sociopath. One solid restaurant with a variety of options is the baseline. Don’t undervalue the cookie cutter, corporate bar and grill types. You are not better than Applebee’s. Say it with me. I. Am. Not. Better. Than. Applebee’s. It has every type of food you could want, and it changes up its menu often enough that you can bring new dishes into your culinary bullpen.
Your second level is a good, hole in the wall, family-owned place. It can be anything from greasy Americana to Thai to a Mexican joint with hand-tossed tortillas. Any place with an owner who’s in the building on any given day has a great shot at being a go-to. Your third tier is a nearby strip mall with multiple eateries inside. None of them have to be stellar, but again, variety trumps quality when it comes to workday lunching.
Lastly, just make sure there’s a bar nearby that has tables and good whiskey for you and your coworkers to go to after a particularly infuriating day. Sometimes you’ll need alcohol sooner than your commute will allow. Don’t worry, your girlfriend can pick you up.
5. A Full Set Of Candy Crush Lives
This applies to whatever your pay-for-play app du jour is–Bubble Witch, Clash of the Clans, Pet Rescue, Angry Birds, NBA Live ‘97. Okay fine, that last one is just a personal fantasy of mine. Anyway, the point is, app makers know they can make a lot more money by charging within a free game rather than making you pay up front. It’s the “first taste is always free” method that the morally upright street corner citizens of major urban areas developed in the ‘80s. The only winning move is not to play–a theory also developed in the ‘80s.
But for the sake of argument, let’s say you’re an idiot and you’re already addicted. You need to either get everyone else in the office addicted to the game so they can help you get your fix (like the devils who make these games want you to) or you can figure out the hacks. Change your phone’s clock so your lives reset, play through a bunch of levels with unlimited lives, save your progress with your Facebook account, delete the game, change your clock back to automatically set, and then re-download the game and log in. It’s the sad, cubicle version of being a dangerous vigilante. You’re welcome.