How many of you have ever worked in an office? Now out of those people, how many have worked in a Head office of some sort? If you work for a large company there is probably some sort of cafeteria, and if the company is “employee centered” this cafeteria might even be half decent.
Take for example my former life as a Sales Manager for a very large electronics retailer. Their Canadian Corporate Headquarters (CHQ) is located here in Vancouver. Their cafeteria had everything from soup and sandwiches to a sushi bar, made to order pasta bar, Starbucks coffee, steak, chicken, salads. You name it, it was there. I looked forward to the days when we had meetings at CHQ, not so much for the meetings but for the food. Maybe that explains why I’m not there any more? It wasn’t the most amazing I’ve ever had but it was good and it was cheap, nothing over $10.
Every now and then in the current wrench turning portion of my life I get the opportunity to visit these giant ant farms and fix the things that people who work there take for granted, like not having to take the stairs to the eighteenth floor. This week is one of those times and the food at this particular building is better than most.
Do I miss the days of corporate life? The days of being in charge and having a great team of people to work with, being a role model and clawing my way to the top? Sometimes I do, but then I remember the hours I worked and my days off being spent glued to my Blackberry. Somehow it was enjoyable at the time, it must have been the people I worked with.
Being a very proud new dad has made me realize that life is too short to be consumed by your job. I already regret every second I am away from my daughter. Work is a means to an end, and that end is providing a life for my family where they want for nothing but still appreciate what it means to work for what you have.
So today when I head down to the giant corporate cafeteria for lunch I will enjoy the food and marvel at what some people think passes for business attire, the whole time knowing that I have it so much better than all of them. After all the reason companies pour so much money into their CHQ’s is to make the hours seem more bearable. They can’t fool me anymore, the real world is where I have found true happiness.