Get My Laundry Done?
Go back to the main home page to read the long version as this
is a much shorter rendering. Seventeen years ago I was contemplating
working for a big corporation but knew nothing about it. I then
decided to hop on my bicycle and physically visit companies to
see if I'd want to work for them. I wasn't so much interested
in knowing how much money the company made or its product line
but, wanted to find out about its corporate culture. Is there
a company cafeteria? How's the food? Does everyone eat together
or do executives have their own dining rooms? Would I have a
parking space if I drove to work? Would I have to pay or get
on a wait list for a parking spot? Is their public transport
nearby? How far is the headquarters from the city center?
In the United States I visited many companies with their own
corporate campuses. Usually located in the suburbs of a city
these places are somewhat isolated and so offer a variety of
services for employees. Some have on-site barbershops, childcare,
ATM machines, laundry and car wash services and, even chapels.
Is smoking allowed in the workplace? This isn't much of a problem
in the USA as laws have been passed to protect workers in the
workplace. However, it's a vastly different story in Europe where
smokers rule the roost.
What's the workplace like? Is the building rundown or new? Is
it the cubicle set-up or do people share offices? Is there a
formal or informal dress code? Does the CEO have his office on
the top floor, middle floor or bottom floor? What's the surrounding
area like? Is it located in a good neighborhood? Can I walk to
shops or the train station?
Any employee perks like free passes to museums, discounts on
company products or special deals with local retailers? Any onsite
recreational facilities? Shower facilities at work?
I wanted answers to these questions. As I started visiting company
head offices I found out many had their quirks. Clothier Patagonia
(Ventura, California) and Greenpeace (Amsterdam, Netherlands)
serve only vegetarian food in the company cafeteria. La-Z Boy,
Inc (Monroe, Michigan), a maker of reclining chairs, raises pheasants
behind their headquarters -it's a conservation program. Three
companies in London have ghosts in their head offices. Toshiba
(Tokyo, Japan) has a spiffy fitness facility in its 40-story
tower for the 10,000 employees who work there-unfortunately there're
no shower facilities. Soon I found there was another reason to
visit companies: collect corporate trivia or unusual information
about company headquarters.