Company Seats at Sporting Events
Expectation: After years of paying to sit in the nosebleeds, you will finally be able to watch your favorite sports team from the front row or the comfort of a luxury suite. Your seats for the game will be a substantial upgrade and they will be paid for by someone else, which sounds like a pretty sweet deal. You’ll be tossing back drinks and cheering your team to victory in the company of bankers, lawyers, CEOs and perhaps a few celebrities.
Reality: Yes, you probably will have better seats. However, that’s where the fun stops. If you are at the game with clients and/or superiors from your own office, prepare to spend the entire evening on your toes. Odds are you weren’t invited along because your boss felt like treating you to a night out. You are either there to help them bring in new business or to keep existing clients happy. At no point during the game will actually watching the game be your top priority. Cheering and yelling will likely be frowned upon and you should probably cut yourself off after a sociable, but responsible, two drinks. Your job is to make polite small talk with the clients and avoid embarrassing yourself. You will probably be under more pressure than the athletes you are watching… athletes who are making millions of dollars.
Employee Lounge/Nap Room
Expectation: Your new workspace is a big step up from the college library. Whenever work gets too stressful you can take a load off on the couch and watch some TV in your company’s cushy employee lounge. Didn’t get enough sleep last night? No problem! There is a quiet room at the back of the office where drowsy employees can take a nap. Never again will you have to worry about being tired at work, you will be able to relax and recharge your batteries whenever you need to.
Reality: Eventually you will discover the sinister intention behind the cozy lounge. Your company isn’t telling you that they appreciate the work you do and want you to be comfortable. They are telling you that they expect you to work long hours, sometimes through the entire night. After you realize this, you will see the lounge and nap room as less of a perk and more of a practical necessity. Your attitude will abruptly change from “It’s sure nice of them to give us a place to relax” to “This is the absolute the least they could do”. It it usually unwise to take advantage of this “perk” unless you are currently in the midst of an all-nighter. Try taking a nap at the office during daylight hours and I can guarantee you that your days are numbered.
Expectation: After (at least) four years of financing your own caffeine addiction to maintain some level of alertness in college, your ship has finally come in. The days of spending your own hard-earned (or borrowed) money on coffee are over. Every morning you will be greeted by the aroma of the world’s finest beans being brewed in the latest, state-of-the-art coffee machine as you step into your office. Just say the word and the barista that your company hired to work mornings will bring whatever hot beverage you desire.
Reality: Office coffee is the worst. You will rarely, if ever, encounter a freshly made pot of coffee when you enter the break room. If you are lucky, your office has recently purchased a Keurig machine. However, you still aren’t out of the woods yet. Prepare yourself for the passive-aggressive game of chicken that occurs when the only K-cups left are generic brand decaf. No one will volunteer to pick up new cups right away. This task is usually delegated by default, whoever has the first breakdown as a result of not having any real coffee loses. You will also have to contend with the disgusting mess that inevitably surrounds every office coffee machine. After a week or two of not being cleaned, this area of the break room will resemble the aftermath of a Category 5 Hurricane. For reasons that you cannot comprehend, your company has hired several social media consultants, but still hasn’t hired a cleaning service.
Health Club/Fitness Membership
Expectation: You just landed your dream job and now you’ll be able to start this new chapter of your life in amazing shape. Sure, you might not be getting paid much, but the on-premises fitness center will do wonders for your health…and that’s priceless. As an added bonus, you will get to spend time with your coworkers in an informal, recreational environment.
Reality: Although the fitness center is located a stone’s throw away from your desk, you will have absolutely no time to use it. You will realize that it is incredibly difficult for any employee (let alone the new guy or gal) to get away from their desk for an hour or so in the middle of the day. Using the gym before or after work isn’t likely to happen either. Most mornings you will be tempted to sleep in, most evenings you will be wiped and want to go home immediately. Even if you are able to squeeze in the occasional trip to the fitness centre, you won’t want to exercise in the presence of your coworkers. You’re better off not knowing about the high-pitched grunts that Randy from IT lets out when he lifts weights or the unfortunate consequences of your receptionist’s Hyperhidrosis after 10 minutes on the treadmill. You will eventually realize that working out in the company of complete strangers is the way to go.