What are you doing for lunch today? Don’t look at me like that! Lunch is a vital meal and a vital break in the day. Yet far too many people shrug and say a sandwich at their desk is about the extent of their lunch. If they’re lucky. No one does lunch anymore. Gordon Gekko – who back in the Eighties declared in the film Wall Street that lunch was for wimps – has a lot to answer for. Few saw this comment for the satire on Yuppy culture that it was intended to be. It was co-written by Oliver Stone after all!
Now few dare take a lunch break. It’s seen as a sign of weakness; lack of commitment to the job. Best way to get dirty looks from your co-workers is to leave your desk at the dot of one o’clock and not return till two. People will tut, look extravagantly at their watches and shake their heads. You’ll feel so uncomfortable you daren’t do it again.
But why not? What’s happened to our working culture that we’re ashamed and embarrassed to take a lunch hour? Yes, AN HOUR! A full hour. With many of us starting work at eight, or earlier, and not daring to finish till gone six what on earth is wrong with taking a full hour’s break in the middle of the day? Gordon Gekko was a fictitious character; not a idol to be worshipped and followed. He was a warning of what could happen to you if you don’t do lunch!
According to a BBC Radio Four programme Lunch is for Wimps, one in five people in the UK never eat lunch. What sort of state is their blood sugar in by the end of the day! You wouldn’t dream of going into work drunk yet not eating has much the same effect on your brain chemistry. The same programme reveals that only one in one hundred people regularly take a full lunch hour. One per cent. Well I am very proud to say that I am part of that one per cent. I DO take lunch. The full hour. I tell clients not to contact me between 1pm and 2pm as I’ll be at lunch. And when I work in client offices, I take my hour and explain that I’m pre-diabetic and I need to eat and have a break at lunchtime to keep my blood sugar levels stable. It’s annoying I feel the need to offer a medical explanation when lunch is our right and it’s often included in working conditions anyway. How often have you been told the hours are nine to five with an hour for lunch? Fiction. Pure fiction. Most people are expected to work from well before nine (on the train, bus or car on the way into work if necessary) and way waaay after five. As for lunch, well if you want to prove how unambitious and uncommitted you are…
People or robots?
Our government and the political parties that wish to replace it all speak of standing up for hardworkingpeople – that isn’t a typo, it’s become one word; much the same as hardworkingfamilies is now one word. The language and message is very clear – you are expected not only to be a hard worker but to be sooooo flaming hard you don’t need lunch. Be the first one into the office, be the last to leave and never ever eat. In fact, be as much like a robot as you possibly can because who wants real humans in the workplace?
The cliche that no one ever lay on their deathbed with but one regret – that they didn’t spend more time in the office – is a cliche because it’s also a truism. Do you want to look back on your life and think, job well done! I never took lunch. I barely left the office. Well done me. Of course you don’t.
Do you want to be truly bold at work and appear dead hard? Go to lunch for an hour every day. Wimps don’t dare do lunch. Don’t be a wimp. Do lunch.