Posted by: charityliz | February 3, 2012

Urban Adventure #4: a glimpse into the corporate world

I have a fascination with the “corporate world”–especially the “post modern” corporate world–where cool companies are re-thinking office spaces to be so desirable that the employees want to work harder/longer because they love work so much.  Like all that stuff you hear about how cool it is to work for Google!  I think it sounds awesome and one of these days I just might do the unthinkable for any happy Higher Education professional—I might cross over to the dark side, just to see what it’s like!

In the mean time, however, I will continue my aimless pining for those corporate perks – like super cool office spaces with hip lighting, feng shui furniture, flexible work time, carwashes and laundry service while you work, a cell phone plan, a company car, schwanky holiday parties where I can actually wear that cocktail dress that just sits in my closet, free snacks and quality coffee, free gourmet lunch, a train pass, traveling first class, cushioned budgets, Christmas bonuses, guaranteed annual raises, stock options, a free shuttle from the train station to your company doorstep…the list goes on.  Never mind the fact that their vacation package is probably half of mine, their average work days are definitely longer and more stressful than mine, and their purpose at work seldom seems as philanthropic/meaningful as mine.  Not to mention that the bottom line matters enough to get them fired if they can’t pull their own weight on a quarterly basis (an accountability structure that really has never made much sense in the world of higher education).

Anyways, all this to say, I got to have a little glimpse into one of these super hip corporate companies in the city last week!  My friend recently started working for this company, Atlassian, and was kind enough to humor me with a tour.  This definitely qualifies as an Urban Adventure for me, because I never get the chance to actually see these places up close and personal, despite all my pining!

What did I learn? Atlassian, although little known to common folk like me, is a big deal in the land of cutting edge tech stuff.  It’s so cutting edge that I can’t really describe what exactly they do/make (sheepish grin), except that they make software that helps other companies in their software building process.  But I can tell you with confidence, that their office space in downtown SF is super fly!  Among the things that made me drool during my tour…

  • Game room with all the latest video games (even though I don’t play video games)
  • Synthetic indoor jungle, with hammocks for mid-day snoozes
  • World’s best giant bean bag lounge area – for working or just chillin’
  • Fully stocked kitchen
  • Bike room
  • Option to have standing desks (I love those things!)
  • Sleek, modern furniture
  • Beautiful group meeting spaces with video conferencing
  • Indoor stadium for company meetings
  • And (my favorite)…they have these really cool bike carts for the sole purpose of new employees riding around the office on Friday afternoons to introduce themselves and offer their new co-worker a cold beer.  Isn’t that just the best way to end the week–and clearly an example of outside-the-box fun at work!

Other companies in SF that are top on my list for corporate tour: Xynga, Sephora, Yes to Carrots… and really, anywhere that’s willing to let me sneak a peak!

The added bonus for this particular Urban Adventure was an additional discovery just down the street—a smashingly mod coffee bar, Sightglass. I felt like a Portland hipster the moment I walked through the door (not that I ever aspired to that, but it felt nice at the time).  It’s one of those places where the “plain coffee” costs more than the espresso bar drinks; where only coffee purists would truly appreciate the value in a $3.50 cup of coffee.  I might not be one of “those people”, but I gotta say… it is de-licious coffee, and worth the treat every once in a while!  Besides that, the space is gorgeous—with a cozy loft, lots of seating, a huge coffee roaster just for looks, and beautiful wood interior floor to ceiling–which is what I believe gives it an edge over the uber popular Four Barrel and Ritual coffee shops.  Sightglass is cozy yet spacious, sleek and rugged…and it’s dang good coffee!



  1. Oh, girlie, you’ve come a long way since Yucca Valley!

    • Haha! That’s so true! You’re a city girl now! But old friends like me are here to make sure you never really forget your roots, even if they are planted in the coarse sand of the desert 🙂

      • I assure you…underneath all these urban layers is still a girl who responds well to lots of sunshine, the vastness of the desert horizon, the calm of walking down a long dirt path, the satisfaction of laying on a huge sun-warmed boulder, the unmatched sunsets, and the blanket of stars and even shooting stars that are found there. 🙂 I’m glad I still have a few people in my life that “get” that part of me. 🙂

  2. Better than Four Barrel?! Sacrilege!

  3. We have a friend that keeps trying to recruit us to Google (for a big fat referral fee). It sounds like an awesome workspace and all, but we just don’t wanna trade SLO county. 🙂

  4. if i ever get a job at a fancy company with all those corporate perks (hopefully soon) you’re welcome to come take a tour! =)

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