Thinking back on the nearly four years since I started with my current company, lunch has had its ups and downs. I could come up with a blog episode for each “phase” of lunch I went through. Here are some of the more memorable lunches or phases, most likely in chronological order:
- For one of my first lunches, my boss and one of the groups that worked for her invited me to join them. I was the last in line and as I bought my tray of food, I looked up at the round table where they were sitting: it was jam-packed. “We can make room for you,” one of the guys said, shuffling in his chair until a 6-inch gap appeared. “Um, that’s okay,” I replied and sat down by one of our DBA’s, Tony. I didn’t understand why the crowded table all looked at me like I had committed social suicide. It was the most interesting lunch I’d ever eaten as I was treated to a history of databases and then invited to go for a ride with Tony on his motorcycle. I declined and returned to my desk to file things.
- When you’re on a roll, you just keep going, even if it’s a mundane task like filing.*One day, I was on one of those roles filing employee paperwork and went to lunch around 1:30 pm. This was HOURS after the other IT geeks because they get really hungry around 11:00 am. I have since adjusted to THEIR schedule. But on that day, I ate my lunch all by myself at 1:30 and I was okay with that. We’re not in high school anymore so nobody makes fun of you for eating alone.
- Janet and I decided to go to Gateway for lunch and do some shopping. It was a gorgeous day, Janet drove, we shopped, we ran to the “healthy” food court to grab something quick and head back as we had been gone for over an hour. We got back to the office, and both ran to our cubes. Looks like I’ll be staying a little late to make up for that. And then Janet’s boss came over and told me that she was putting me in the “house of shame.” My boss didn’t get mad at me because she figured I’d already been put in that house. Janet was in it, too. I still get reminded of that “mistake” every now and then.
- Eventually, I took all of my lunches with the Clinical Systems group, which I also took a position with for a time. We ate at a round table, it was jam-packed, and we got a natural high by cramming as many people at it as we could. In the IT world, it’s the little things like this that you think are funny. I know-it’s sad.
- One day our boss sat us down in a staff meeting and told us that we had to clock out for lunches since we were hourly employees. We boycotted. Our boss didn’t care; it was the company policy, not hers. We were boycotting our own lunches, not hers. She had a good point. So we ate at our desks, reading emails. Eventually, a few of us started a bet that whomever forgot to bring their lunch from home would owe everybody else lunch at Market Street. Nobody ever lost the bet. Instead, we all saved money by bringing in our PB&Js.
- I took a new position with a different group and I was SALARIED. We actually took lunch on most days and even left for lunch many times. We would pile into people’s cars and head to Subway, Costa Vida, or Mad Greek. I enjoyed lunches except for when the conversation started to get political. I prefer not to talk politics with people who attack personally for having a different point of view.
- Apparently, I got on somebody’s bad side. I don’t get asked to go to lunch anymore. Today, I drove, by myself, to Wendy’s. I ate, by myself, in the parking lot behind Red Robin. I drove back to work and found a close spot where I parked and took a short nap, by myself.**
- I have a coworker who used to complain to me whenever the guys didn’t invite her to lunch. Back then, they always invited me and I told her when I went so she could come, too, even if she was bugged about it. Today, they invite her, but not me. She never says anything to me. Hmm.
*Back in the day, I had to start at the absolute bottom of the totem pole as the department’s secretary. Thankfully, that only lasted about 5 months. I could never buy my own place on that pay. Now, I make the mediocre bucks.
**I’m fine taking lunches by myself because that means I can use my break for a nap. I would never want to take naps with coworkers.