Being in an office 9-5 all week, makes Friday a cause for celebration. I have been to many agencies that have some sort of Friday Tradition.
One agency had an office picnic affair where everyone bought in food and we shared it. It was lovely to share and eat together, espescially when most of the week lunch times were skipped, or rushed, eating poised above your keyboard. However, I felt alot of pressure to bring in something really nice, yet I didn't have the money and after presenting my shop bought cake (which cost me a fortune), I realised it was no where near the calibre of what everyone else had bought; homebaked flans and cakes, shop bought produce from the likes of M&S, Paul and an Italian Deli... Rather than making me feel included it made me feel inadequate. I took three-quarters of my cake home and ate it alone. My cake wasn't good enough for them and neither was I.
Another agency were more inclusive with a voucher-fuelled trip to a popular burger chain restaurant in which I felt more included and not too guilty. If I am invited out to eat at lunch, I often ignore the mundane sandwiches in my bag and grab my coat, but if an agency is a little more on the flush side, or my colleagues for the week are used to the finer things in life, then I have to decline.
A friend of mine is always insistent that you should do everything with everyone, so as to be as social as possible and get every opportunity to make friends with your short-term colleagues. I agree in that I always feel more confident and included in an agency where I have gone out for after work drinks or food but with a limited overdraft and placement opportunities dwindling I can not physically reach for my money. I think I have lost hope that these small gestures will eventually get me a job. A few drinks here and there is a small price to pay for an agency to like and appreciate having you around and want you to stay longer, but on the wages they are paying you, you can barely afford to eat at all.
Money troubles leave me with a dilemma everytime I am invited out by an agency and to be honest I base my decision on how nice they are to me and whether or not I actually want to go for a drink with them, rather than whether I think it will get me anywhere or not. After all you don't want to be sat around a table with the creative director you don't like at a placement you hate because after a few drinks, you might tell them what you really think.