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'Corporate Cornflakes' Skewers Downtown Office Culture

Corporate Cornflakes
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DOWNTOWN — It wasn't until Lori Matesic left the corporate world for business school that she realized how much time she spent thinking about work life outside the office.

Matesic, 31, a recent Chicago transplant from Pittsburgh, didn't think she was the only one. So when she enrolled full-time at DePaul University's Downtown campus and found herself with free time for the first time in years, she decided to launch a blog and web series to showcase the lighter side of cubicle culture.

Things like "how thin the cube walls are, or the fact that we like that it's Friday because it's one-third of our weekly small talk" aren't industry-specific, she says.

"That kind of stuff is just being alive, and in an office," a common interest she hopes to use to connect with Chicago readers.

Matesic hit the ground running. In the span of a few weeks, she bought the domain name "Corporate Cornflakes," doodled mascots "Bowler" and "C.C. Spoony" as logos and took out a series of ads on CTA buses downtown, a direct pipeline to her "target audience: people commuting, people taking public transit to work," she said.

"This isn't for CEOs who are rolling in the millions," Matesic said. "This is for people like me."

Corporate Cornflakes officially launched last week with lighthearted diatribes on personality tests and nepotism. Matesic says she expects to update the blog every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, if not more frequently.

"There will be cartoons, there will be musings, sometimes it'll just be a crapshoot," she said. She also hopes readers will use the site as a forum to swap war stories and work out solutions to workplace problems together.

"People don't want to bring things up at work. I've been there before, I get it," said the insurance brokerage staffer, who will also offer advice in response to reader-submitted conundrums.

Matesic has worn a lot of hats, but this is her first foray into entertainment and comedy. Before entering business school, she studied electrical engineering at Penn State, then got a masters in Library Science at the University of Pittsburgh.

Matesic is backing the project out of pocket, though she hopes that as she builds up readers and contributors, the site may court some advertisers.

"The message is just like, we're all in this together," she said. "It's about the community at large — that's what's gonna make it work, not just me talking."

She hopes readers will make visiting her site part of their morning routines, along with skimming headlines and maybe downing a bowl of cereal.

Spending hours each day in an office unites workers, she said.

"We're all drinking the Kool-Aid, we're all in this together, it's a game," she said of office culture. "We're all getting fed it, and" — like breakfast cereal — "I'm serving it out."