With the 2nd installment of The Hunger Games opening this week I felt it was important to discuss a different kinda Hunger Games. Working in corporate america, at a publicly traded company, with lots of rules, policies, and politics taught me some things. My biggest takeaway? People behave like wild animals and get indescribably happy/excited over free food. I call this phenomenon…THE CORPORATE HUNGER GAMES!
I’d be sitting at my desk, see I had a new email…and before I had time to check it, the sounds of a nearby stampede. It’s like in Jurassic Park, when the T-Rex is approaching, and the glass of water starts trembling. What’s going on? Is there a fire? “OMG, DID YOU NOT CHECK YOUR EMAIL?!” THERE IS FOOD IN THE BREAK ROOM! WE DON’T KNOW WHAT IT IS OR HOW MUCH THERE IS BUT WE MUST PRESS ON! FOLLOW ME, FOLLOW ME TO FREEDOM.” You can learn a lot about a person by how they act around free food. I’m from the “just go for it” school of thought. Most people kinda linger around the table. “No, I’m not even that hungry, I couldn’t dare eat another sandwich.” But, if they were alone, they’d be 4 sandwiches deep with mustard on their shirt and a case of the meat sweats. Everyone wants the food, and if you make the first move, you get the best leftovers. Don’t be bashful people, live a little!
There were multiple levels of insanity associated with the various levels of leftovers. My company used a lot of outside vendors who would regularly come in for status meetings. For those meetings, standard libations included Jason’s Deli, Panera, Rising Roll, and other local sandwich joints. Leftovers would include a few sandwiches, some potato salad, usually warm from being out all day, and some pickles. Doesn’t sound like much does it? Cue absolute pandemonium. Ever see someone eating warm potato salad with a chopped up pickle and some crushed up potato chips on top…with a GIANT smile on their face? I have, and it’s not a pretty sight. Shame goes out the door when leftovers are around, you do what you gotta do.
A few times a year, “The Board” would come to town. More like “The Bored” am I right or am I right #CheapJoke?We’d receive emails about cleaning up our cubes and to be ready to put our best foot forward. We all really knew what that meant…caterers and lots of leftovers. There was a gentle calm in the air those days, like soldiers getting ready for battle. No one spoke about it, but everyone knew. Today is the day we’re going to eat, and we’re going to eat like kings!! Salmon, roast beef, fancy salads, the works. You didn’t know when it would come, or when you’d need to be ready, but you could cut the tension in the room with a knife. And then, finally, your Outlook inbox dings and you see the email. “There are leftovers in the break room if anyone is hungry.” If anyone is hungry? Of course we’re hungry, are you nuts!? Utter chaos ensues. People calling each other at their desks. HURRY! MEET ME IN THE BREAK ROOM, BE SWIFT!
The board members would usually come for a week or so, so for an entire week, the entire office was on edge. I’ve never seen more people show up to work on time than during those times. The Corporate Hunger Games is a real thing, and I volunteer, I volunteer as tribute!
Be honest, scale of 1-10, how excited do you get when there is free food or leftovers in the break room? Are you excited to see the actual Hunger Games? What are the odds Jennifer Lawrence reads this? Tweet us or hit us up on Facebook with stories from your office.