My new job has a lot of perks. It’s been a strange but nice thing to get used to. I had never worked somewhere prior to this firm where I felt like there were perks aside from receiving my paycheck on time, which some of my previous jobs didn’t even have that perk. But my firm is quite different. It promotes a very pleasant working environment and makes a very conscious effort to let the employees know their work is appreciated. When they took us to the White Sox/Cubs game on June 30 and followed it up with a four-day Independence Day weekend, I considered myself one of the luckiest girls in the world.
It’s not always the big gestures though. A lot of the time it’s the small ones. And I have found one of the smallest ways the firm shows its appreciation on a continual basis is with food. My motto with food has always been “I never turn down free food (and sometimes go back for seconds).” However, I may have to amend this given my firms’ affinity for edible treats.
Take yesterday, for instance - a perfect example. I didn’t pack a lunch for work that day because I knew we were having our paralegal luncheon. All us paralegals get together once a month to talk about our cases and any issues we are having, and of course there’s food - loads of it. The menu that day consisted of salad, pulled pork sandwiches, BBQ chicken, ribs, baked beans, potato salad, cornbread and, for dessert, bread pudding and brownies with the requisite toppings. (There were only two things on that list which were not on my plate.)
But before I even made it to lunch, there were cupcakes on the 51st floor in celebration of an attorneys’ birthday. I had a vanilla one. Immediately following our luncheon, I headed with a coworker to the Sears Tower to a card store. I was feeling very full and decided I was most definitely going to come crashing down at my usual 3 p.m. time from a food coma. To curb this, I got a grande coffee with half and half from Starbucks.
After lunch, I was walking back to my desk after scanning a deposition and some exhibits when I spotted a basket on a secretary’s desks. I sensed it had food and sure enough it was a basket of sweets with a note that said “From the Building.” I snatched up two tangerine gummy bears. Yummy, but not at all necessary. To add to this, I had been popping strawberry flavored vitamin C lozenges all day to try and ward off an impending cold.
I felt like a slug by the time I got home.
Yesterday would not have been all too bad if it weren’t a regular occurrence. I would say at least one day a week there are random treats sitting in the café from this or that meeting. Or sometimes the firm in appreciation will have breakfast catered in. I also belong to the firm’s breakfast club, which means every Friday someone takes a turn brining in a delicious assortment of pastries. Plus, whenever you work past 7 p.m., the firm provides a free cab ride home and a free dinner.
While this is all terrible on my waistline, it’s excellent on my check book. I get at minimum four free meals a month. Factor in a few late nights and random snacks in the café and I’m saving at least $15 a month on food. That’s about $200 by the end of the year.
I see where this all is going though. With the holidays just around the corner (I HATE typing that), I imagine enough food sitting around the firm that I could wander the halls grazing all day. If I continue with my current my motto of “I never turn down free food” I might not be able to continue my job after the first of the year because I won’t be able to fit in the elevator to get up to my floor. And lord knows by then I won’t be in any kind of shape to walk up 50 flights of stairs. As a result, my lesson today has been to modify my motto from “I never turn down free food” to “Just Say No”… sometimes. I can’t quit cold turkey. Yum… turkey.