The Office Survival Guide

The first office job I had was in Australia for a software company, and things were pretty casual around there. Most days I showed up straight from a dawn patrol session at Currumbin, and was still wearing my boardshorts with a t-shirt and Havis. Wearing a collared golf or polo shirt was getting dressed up. Wearing a button down shirt meant you were crazy. Things at my current job  are a little different, and in the past year and half of being a "real guy," I've learned a lot about what it takes to be prepared in the office.

When I first started at my current company, I was the go-to guy for events. Some weeks, I was going to an event almost every single night and had some early-morning breakfast events thrown in there as well. The life of an awards ceremony-attendee was glamorous, but also taxing. To stay my sharpest, I started keeping a kit at work.

It included:

A complete change of clothes

I don't mean just a spare shirt here - I mean a entire outfit. When you've been at a breakfast at 6am, had meetings all day, and then had to go out for dinner that night you'll be glad that you had a clean white shirt to change into. Keeping a sports coat or suit jacket around is always a good idea, because you'll want to look your best if you get called into a last-minute meeting. Same goes for having an extra tie or two around the office.

Even if you don't think you'll need a more formal outfit for going out for dinner or to an important meeting, its still a good idea to keep a change at the office. A few weeks ago I was having lunch with a friend when she spilled her coffee all over the front of my shirt and pants. Had I not been prepared, it would have been a long afternoon.


When I was teaching English in Japan, I realized that all of the teachers at the Junior High School I worked at brushed their teeth after lunch. So did all of the kids, and after a few days of feeling like a dirty foreigner I too started bringing my toothbrush to work. To the delight of my dentist, this is a habit I've kept up. I also keep deodorant (both a stick of my preferred brand Speed Stick and a can of spray-on Axe for when I need that extra effect); a razor and shaving cream; and hair gel.


One of the things that my dad taught me is that you should always carry a bit of cash. You never know when you'll forget your lunch, have to pay for a taxi or want to buy a cute girl a drink. Even in this day and age, not everyone takes debit or credit cards (and bank machines are always broken when you need them), so its always a good idea to have a little bit of money hidden at your desk for when you need it.

This might all sound like overkill, but it is way better to have this stuff and never need to use it than to not have it and wish you did.

What goes in your office kit?