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  • #2153460

    Lunch? Who has time for it?


    by captbilly1eye ·

    The old adage; “There never seems to be enough hours in the day” sometimes feels like the curse that can’t be exorcised from IT or Tech Support. With good time management skills, you can increase efficiency and reduce the stress caused by being overloaded. But, no matter how good you are at planning, scheduling and delegating, there are too many times when you feel pulled in too many directions.
    The good side of being wanted and valuable may be job security, but the down side is you may find yourself unable to catch a breath and ultimately stressed-out.

    I don’t know about you, but I find if I don’t allow myself to take a pause now and then, my patience erodes Big Time.
    I insist that I can take a one hour break mid-day and I take that lunch break outside of the building. I even turn off my phone. That way, no one can interrupt for a perceived emergency. There are others available who can handle things in the interim. This is my way to re-energize, collect thoughts and maintain sanity. …or maybe I’m just being selfish.

    My previous employer would only allow 30 minutes for lunch and made no allowances for any other breaks during the day. As far as they were concerned, when you were on-site, you were on the clock and therefore expected to be producing. …this even though I was a salaried employee. I have to say, that was one of the major reasons I left that company.

    What do you think? Do you take a break during the day? How do you spend it? Is it important? Vital?

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  • Author
    • #2792170


      by w2ktechman ·

      In reply to Lunch? Who has time for it?

      Or I might just go off on someone…..

      I actually eat at my desk often, and even with food in my mouth people come up to me and start with “sorry to interrupt your lunch” for a perceived emergency.
      then they just continue.
      However, I do take smoke breaks often enough, else I get stressed.
      Coming up on a 3 day meeting though — ughh.
      No idea how I’ll survive it….

      If you read a story this week about a maniac that killed 20,000 people trying to get out of a meeting for a smoke, think Aha! Scummy :^0

    • #2792158

      In insist on it now

      by oz_media ·

      In reply to Lunch? Who has time for it?

      First of all its law, so the company can’t say boo. I used to work endlessly day in day out, and hated it. When my health started to suffer, was losing weight, pale and gaunt looking, dizzy spells and just plain old feeling like crap, I started to realize NOBODY is worth my health, well other than family and those I would donate my heart to while still living.

      I worked for an employer where I started early and left late, salaried and not compensated but it was by choice and I didn’t want anything for my extra time.

      The first time I was late, they threatened to dock pay, so I threw some provincial law at them and told them to piss off.
      After that I took lunch from 12:00-1:00 everyday without fail. I wouldn’t give them a minute of my time for free.

      I found that not only did it break up the day, but I got just as much done by being fresher in the afternoon than when I simply droned on and on all day.

      Now, even with a great deal, I take my lunch everyday and make it a good one. I always get out of the office, drive somewhere nice that’s still close by (the river, a view of the mountains, the marina etc) and meet with a friend to bitch about the day for an hour.

      I get back to work refreshed and the day is a lot easier and seems shorter, plus I am fatter and much more content looking these days.
      Gotta start running with the horses on the weekend I think.
      When managing people I force them to go for lunch, NOTHING at ANY company is so implortant it can’t wait an hour while someone takes care of themselves.

      • #2792017

        Finally, something we agree on.

        by captbilly1eye ·

        In reply to In insist on it now

        Having a full hour break is mandatory in my book.

        I say that after dealing with a half hour lunch for two years when I first started in the computer biz. That wasn’t even enough time to go anywhere outside the building to eat. By the time I’d place an order, it was just about time to leave. Ridiculous!

        Lately, I’ll admit, sometimes all it takes is going out to the car, turning on the radio, havin’ a few smokes, and catching a few Zs. A short nap is often the attitude adjuster needed to cope with the remainder of the day.

        • #2791982

          Takes Some Time to Get Used to An Hour

          by cupcake ·

          In reply to Finally, something we agree on.

          Just started at a new company and my new boss insists
          that everyone take their full hour. Never been anywhere
          where that’s happened and at first don’t know what to do
          with time.

          Like CaptBilly, I have found the amazing invigoration of a
          power nap! Go out to my car, put on “rain” noise, close my
          eyes and 20 minutes later refreshed and ready to take on
          the rest of the day. Only about once a week though…
          other days, there is studying (learning German at a local
          college) and then of course, I am back to back with a
          shopping center (can’t resist those bargains!).

          But the hour break is totally required now… and much

        • #2791971

          Learnt my lesson as well..

          by shellbot ·

          In reply to Finally, something we agree on.

          I hardly ever took lunch..untill 2 years ago. Enjoyed my job, was busier than heck, and well..ate a sambo while I worked..I didn’t mind so much though.
          Until the day I needed to go at 4pm for a Dr appointment. Emailed my boss, told her I was going early and would see her the next day. Two days later got an email to go see her. She pointed out on my time sheet that I had not docked myself for the hour I had left early. I pointed out that I had been in 20 mins early that day, and as usual had had no lunch break so, I figured it was about even stephen.
          Lets just say from that day on I arrived at 9am sharp, took exactly 1 hr lunch, and left at 5pm sharp.
          My work output decreased dramatically due to not going in early, not going home late and not working through lunch. The best was when she needed some reports ASAP at 12.55 one day..told her “sorry, I’m on lunch, they won’t be done will after 2pm”.

        • #2791964

          Dumb clock watching managers

          by jdclyde ·

          In reply to Learnt my lesson as well..

          They don’t realize the double edged sword that the time clock can be.

          If you are a dick about the time I come in, I am a dick about the time I leave.

          The pathetic ones always see when someone comes in late, but seem to not notice when someone is working late. Funny how that works, huh?

          It is mostly the people that have worked their way up from the hourly grind that are the worst for this.

          I flex my time so I can make my boys events. If I have to leave two hours early, I will come in an hour early, two days in a row, or stay after a different day.

        • #2791951

          Hear ya on dat!

          by captbilly1eye ·

          In reply to Dumb clock watching managers

          My first position outside of the car biz was a tech support J.O.B. at a company that lived and died by time sheet print-outs.

          After being there for a year or so, I was called in for a review. At which time I was reprimanded for being 2 to 3 minutes late logging back in on three occasions. No one bothered to check when those ‘infractions’ occurred and now I was being told that if it happened again, I may be let go. As it turned out, all of them happened at the end of my lunch break. It was common knowledge that I spent my lunches at my desk working on client projects. Occasionally, being wrapped up in them, I lost track of time and punched back in a little late. The fact that I was always 30 to 40 minutes early coming in and typically the last one to leave didn’t carry any weight.

          Needless to say, that practice of relying solely on reports, hastened my departure to greener pastures. ….and probably influenced by decision to insist on an hour away from my desk uninterrupted.

        • #2791936

          When you find out how you are evaluated

          by jdclyde ·

          In reply to Hear ya on dat!

          it is easy to show what they want to see.

          What you ran into was a company that allowed a bean counter to run the place. Looks great on paper, for a while. But they they drive the company into the ground and can’t understand why.

      • #2791962

        What I was surprised to just find out, it might NOT be the law

        by jdclyde ·

        In reply to In insist on it now

        There is nothing in the Federal law giving breaks, so it is a state by state issue.

        Many states have no such law, leaving it up to you and the employer to fight it out. I linked to it in my response to jck, but don’t have it open anymore.

      • #2791887

        I would hate having an hour

        by tink! ·

        In reply to In insist on it now

        especially if they made me stop everything and eat!

        For years now I’ve eaten lunch at my desk. Years ago when I was younger I often didn’t eat lunch at all. I don’t take clear breaks or lunches. However, my jobs have allowed me the freedom to take a quick break from work and do other things (like TR 🙂 ) whenever I want. Plus my days are shorter than the average 8-hour+ worker. My longest days are 7.5 hours. (Again, it’s the small company flexibility and the unoffical IT dept that makes this possible.) [i]hey what’s the punctuation rule for ending a sentence with parentheses?[/i]

        Therefore I’d be at a loss of what to do during a full 1/2 hour, let alone an hour break! 🙂

        • #2799050


          by nicknielsen ·

          In reply to I would hate having an hour

          Your choice is correct. If the entire sentence is enclosed by parentheses, they also enclose the punctuation. If parentheses only enclose part of a sentence, the punctuation falls outside the parentheses.

    • #2792155

      Lunch? Que es, lunch?

      by boxfiddler ·

      In reply to Lunch? Who has time for it?

      The things that smack me upside my head when opening the browser to TR!

      I work mostly from home (my Web-based teaching job). My best daily break is to the garden. Some weeding, or sitting at the patio table with the binoculars watching the birds and the butterflies. And keeping an eye on the &%*#!@ next door yard nazi neighbor. Or that evening glass of wine on the porch as the storms roll through (actually the coolest).

      My other jobs? No break. My newest? I’m already pulling my hair out. 😀 When I get home, guess what? To the patio.

      Throughout the evening, and into the wee hours, while grading, or writing tests, I pop in and out of TR. (Whoda guessed.) Relieves the frustration of going over and over and over and over… the same mistake/s from the same students no matter how much time and instruction I have given them.

      Breaks are vital. They allow a bit of time through the often frustrating day to just ‘chill’ for a few.

      Life is short, and to spend it in frustration over job cr@p is a waste of it.

      • #2792010

        OK… I’ll admit it

        by captbilly1eye ·

        In reply to Lunch? Que es, lunch?

        I created this post for you, Boxie. ‘Cause lately there haven’t been that many decent topics and TR’s #1 poster has been reduced to little more than monitoring spammers, bumping the three Tigger threads, and policing Friday Nite Music. 🙂


        & Yes! You are right! Life IS too short.
        Sorry I didn’t participate in Friday Nite Music this time around. I will next time, I promise!

        • #2791891

          Did miss your excellent input

          by boxfiddler ·

          In reply to OK… I’ll admit it

          to Friday Nite Music.

          :0 You don’t really look like that, do you? Doesn’t go at all with your voice.

          I like reading the tech stuff – kind of a duh, that’s what I was originally here for. But fun [i]is[/i] in the off-topic stuff.

          Thanks Capt.

        • #2794322

          Something else just for you, Boxie….

          by captbilly1eye ·

          In reply to Did miss your excellent input

          Tuesday Afternoon Music:


          even if you’ve seen it before, it’s still funny.

        • #2800468

          I hadn’t seen that before. :D

          by boxfiddler ·

          In reply to Something else just for you, Boxie….

          I like it. Big warm fuzzy secret heart. That is rich. B-)

      • #2792000

        Just checkin’…

        by captbilly1eye ·

        In reply to Lunch? Que es, lunch?

        …takes awhile to load the animation & sound.

    • #2792021

      I do.

      by charliespencer ·

      In reply to Lunch? Who has time for it?

      Every day, and out of the building at least once a week. Most of the time I eat it at my desk, reading TR, NASCAR web pages, or a trade publication. If there’s a hot task I may be working on, but I’m paying more attention to what I’m eating than what I’m doing.

      • #2792012

        TR during lunch?

        by captbilly1eye ·

        In reply to I do.

        Naw… I do that during regular work hours.
        I refer to it as ‘Research Time’.

        I stopped doing the desk lunch thing back in the car biz. As a service manager, I could never eat in peace unless I got away. Do you at least have a door you can close? … one that you can put a sign on that sez;
        [b]”If it ain’t life threatening, go away before I make it so!”[/b]

        • #2792004


          by w2ktechman ·

          In reply to TR during lunch?

          Well, I dont have a door — and even when I have signs posted stating that I am busy and only come with ER’s — they interrupt me anyway.

          I was on a con call waving people off and they were trying to tell me their problem. Sign was up, I was waving them of, I had to stop to tell 2 people to go away and send me an email, when I was done I would get to them.
          BOTH ISSUES were trivial and could have waited!

    • #2792006

      What about when working from home?

      by rpip ·

      In reply to Lunch? Who has time for it?

      I have no trouble most days walking out of the building for a lunch hour when working at the office. However, on those rare occasions when I get to work from home, I find myself more self-conscious about how I spend my time. Even when going downstairs to make a PB&J, the phone is still glued to the hip just in case the boss needs ‘one more thing right now’.

      • #2792002

        You should treat working at home

        by w2ktechman ·

        In reply to What about when working from home?

        Exactly as you would working in the office!

        I work from home sometimes, and that is how I try to make it work. The only difference is physical location.

    • #2791987

      I am suppose to have an hour for lunch

      by jdclyde ·

      In reply to Lunch? Who has time for it?

      No one makes me take it, nor do they make me NOT take it.

      If I am on the road, I will work through my lunch so I can finish up and get back on the road for home sooner.

      If there is not something critical going on, I will close my office door and relax. Sometimes do TR, sometimes try to meditate, sometimes take a nap.

      • #2791975

        Consider yourself lucky

        by jck ·

        In reply to I am suppose to have an hour for lunch

        If I get here at 7am…and I work til 5:30pm…and my boss walks in my office at 12:30pm as I am getting ready to go to lunch and says “Let’s look at somethign and keeps me here for 3 hours…

        I don’t get to leave early because I already have overtime. I am expected to stay until 5pm at the very least, even if they keep me through lunch.

        I’d love to know if that is illegal. I know they can’t endanger your health or property by keeping you at work. But if your employer comes in and forces you to stay through lunch and almost til the end of day, is that workplace abuse?

        I am too nice to play the hypoglycemia card. I could if I wanted to, but I try to be a contributor. Probably why I get run over by my boss all the time.

        • #2791966

          No law for Florida

          by jdclyde ·

          In reply to Consider yourself lucky

          Lunch, Break, and Hour Laws You Should Know

          [b]Lunch requirements[/b]

          Under federal law, your employer does not have to provide lunch or coffee breaks. Also, your employer does not have to pay you for lunch breaks that you are given.

          However, your state might have mandatory meal breaks. The requirements vary, but many employees are guaranteed a 30 minute meal period per shift. To qualify, your shift will generally need to be 6 hours, and maybe even 8 hours long.

          These states require meal periods: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Washington, and West Virginia.


          From what I have found, Florida has NO laws about breaks or lunch periods. Guess you need to start taking lunch at 11:30am, huh? 😀

          That, or start eating a peanutbutter and honey sandwich for lunch while your boss is “helping you”. Another good idea is keep a bunch of “maryjanes” on hand. nothing like a nice sticky/chewy candy while you are trying to have a conversation, huh? B-)

        • #2794396

          a lot that’s wrong with Florida

          by jck ·

          In reply to No law for Florida

          Florida is a “right to work” state, meaning…you or your employer can terminate employment…with or without notice…and with or without cause.

          What’s wrong with that?

          When you go for a new job, employers call to get reference from former employers. Employment check, they call it.

          An employee is not allowed to call former employees from the same position and ask “Would you work for this employer again?”.

          Damned unfair.

          Oh BTW…I was offered that new job today.

          I’m waiting for the offer letter. 🙂

        • #2791899

          “Let’s look at somethign and keeps me here for 3 hours…

          by ceespace ·

          In reply to Consider yourself lucky

          Yes that happens to me too – sort of…

          I work from home and usually have a two hour
          lunch break (to do emergency shopping etc),
          the one that usually catches me is when I am
          cooking tea in the evening and the phone
          rings or I get a skype call from a client and
          that’s tea burnt in the oven – guaranteed.
          It is like magic (I must check for the webcam
          in the kitchen – there must be some way they

        • #2794386

          tea in the oven?

          by jdclyde ·

          In reply to “Let’s look at somethign and keeps me here for 3 hours…

          Tell me more please…. B-)

          I admit to being a total novice to the world of Tea, and always look to learn more.

        • #2794369

          NITS(tm) explanation

          by neilb@uk ·

          In reply to tea in the oven?

          Tea is what some of us Brits call our evening meal.

          Some groups of people – depends primarily on social class and location – use “lunch” for midday meal and “dinner” for an evening meal and others use “dinner” for midday and “tea” for evening meal.

          Coming home from school – “What’s for tea, Mum?” – is how I was brought up.

          Now? I’m a bilingual classless citizen and will eat anything, whatever you care to call it. Twice if I can get it.


        • #2794359

          oh, you have GOT to be kidding me!

          by jdclyde ·

          In reply to NITS(tm) explanation

          if you call dinner tea, then what do you call tea???? :0

        • #2794353

          Context is everything

          by neilb@uk ·

          In reply to oh, you have GOT to be kidding me!

          WE understand.

          So, I sit down to my tea and I just might have some tea with it. What’s the problem? Some people have dinner in the middle of the day and supper rather than tea. If you use “dinner” for a formal evening meal and “supper” for a more informal family meal, you’re probably an upper-class toff.

          It’s all part of the unique English social classes.

          If you call it “tea”, and eat it early evening, you’re working class or of working class origin. If you personalise the meal, “I have to go home for [b]my[/b] tea”, you are probably northern working class.

          I know my place.


        • #2794349

          High Tea

          by jamesrl ·

          In reply to oh, you have GOT to be kidding me!

          If you wanna learn, my girls would be glad to accompany your boys to “High Tea” down at one of the downtown Toronto hotels that serve it. Thats the place for crustless sandwhiches, sweets and “buttered scones” etc. as well as very nice tea.

          Now my mom’s mom followed the custom of having the main meal of the day at noon, and the last meal of the day was more like an English “Tea” – soup and sandwhiches etc.

          It was also often like that down on the farm during harvest season – the workers expected a big meal at noon from the farmer’s wife, and then would take off at the end of the day to get home.

          I had a real shock when I went to visit my mom’s brother’s family. He married someone born in Holland, and much to my horror, they skipped lunch altogether. The first day I was really suprised and barely made it through.


        • #2794348

          I spy with my little eye…..

          by jdclyde ·

          In reply to oh, you have GOT to be kidding me!

        • #2794343

          Dang it, now I got started…..

          by jdclyde ·

          In reply to oh, you have GOT to be kidding me!

          Cleese and some computer history for you….

        • #2800498

          yep tea

          by ceespace ·

          In reply to tea in the oven?

          or dinner

          last night it was fish and chips – scorched heavily despite turning the oven off when the skype call started

        • #2800464


          by jdclyde ·

          In reply to yep tea

          You need to learn to say, “please hold”…… ;\

          The more you do it, the easier it gets… 😀

    • #2791954

      My hours are

      by cmiller5400 ·

      In reply to Lunch? Who has time for it?

      My Hours are 8am-5pm. I have an hour lunch, and (2) 15 minute breaks, one in the am and one in the pm. I admit that most of the time I don’t take the full break, but I always take my hour lunch. I work for a great employer that actually seems to care about the general well being of it’s employee’s.

      It is mandatory that you take at least a FULL week off each year unless you have extremely extenuating circumstances. The rest of the vacation time can be used as you see fit. It also generally does not carry over because they want you to actually take the time that you have earned that year.

    • #2791946


      by jamesrl ·

      In reply to Lunch? Who has time for it?

      My employer offers the choice – take 30 minute lunch and leave after 8 hours total, or take an hour and leave after 8.5 hours.

      I chose the latter, I don’t chose on behalf of my teammates, they pick what works for them.

      We often play cards at lunch, and I get to spend time with people in other departments. It comes in handy when you need to ask favours or work with someone, if you have a social history.

      My boss, who lives and works the other side of the country, takes a quick lunch break when he can, as short as 15 minutes, and sometimes its in between meetings. He has never once mentioned my difference in style – he doesn’t care as long as the work gets done, and he appreciates the fact I have relationships with others to maintain.

      I also try to get out of the office and walk around a bit, to say hello to all of my team every day. I also have a standing coffee break with someone on another team, others are welcome to join.

      I do think its both healthier and more productive to take an actual break.


    • #2791935

      45 minutes…

      by the ‘g-man.’ ·

      In reply to Lunch? Who has time for it?

      alone away from everybody, every day.

      Have done so for years and am better for it!

    • #2791895

      Frequent breaks

      by gsg ·

      In reply to Lunch? Who has time for it?

      I’m lucky. As long as we meet our goals, we don’t have someone standing over us with a stop watch and a stick.

      I take breaks frequently. Generally, 5 minutes every hour or so. Usually, they are no more than stopping what I’m doing, standing up, stretching, and doing some neck exercises. If I don’t, then I end up with muscle spasms, and I do NOT want to go to physical therapy again to get the charlie horse out of my neck.

      In fact, I’ve got about half of the department doing that now. We find that we’re more productive, and have fewer headaches. For IT people and others sitting at a computer all day, posture and stretching is very important.

      Other times, we leave our offices and have “hall meetings”. We’ve solved more problems with impromptu hall meetings while stretching our legs than we have by sitting at our desks and worrying at the problem like a dog with a bone.

      • #2794367


        by skrying ·

        In reply to Frequent breaks

        What’s a lunch break?

        • #2794338

          Lunch is…

          by gsg ·

          In reply to Lunch

          Sitting at my desk, eating and surfing the net. Yes, I know that everyone says that you shouldn’t eat at your desk, but I only get 30 minutes lunch, and if I eat in our cafeteria, then I maybe get one or two bites in before I have everyone and their brother asking me to fix stuff. Several of us have tried the, “I’m at lunch, and you should really call the help desk.” But people don’t do that, then call admin and complain that we aren’t being responsive, or they get mad that we won’t stop eating to help. It’s just easier to eat at our desks. After all, nothing says that we have to answer our email right away, and we can always send our phones to voice mail.

    • #2794357

      I get an hour and I take it all

      by neilb@uk ·

      In reply to Lunch? Who has time for it?

      Every day, rain or shine, I get myself out of the building and walk around town for a couple of miles. My favourite walk is a three and a half mile round trip down the south bank of the River Thames, across one of the bridges, reverse direction up the north side and back across. That takes all of my lunch break.

      I wouldn’t stop that now for anything other than major problems.


      • #2794342

        I take my full hour each day

        by maecuff ·

        In reply to I get an hour and I take it all

        Sometimes a few minutes longer. Okay, most days it’s a few minutes longer. I get in early, though, so it works out.

        I’m lucky enough to live close to home, so I go home for lunch. It’s become a ritual for my older son and I to hang out at our koi pond and look at the fish during my lunch hour.

    • #2799048

      I take my hour every day

      by nicknielsen ·

      In reply to Lunch? Who has time for it?

      When I have a place to plug in the laptop, I’m on TR and checking the news.

      (Yes, I know it has a battery, but it’s six years old and will drain the battery in 45 minutes with the wireless card inserted. A replacement battery costs almost $100 at Batteries Plus and corporate won’t let me expense it because my six-year-old laptop will be replaced before the end of the year.)

    • #2798921

      Lunch hour is my hour.

      by mark.silvia ·

      In reply to Lunch? Who has time for it?

      I generally handle this by setting ground rules and often I eat off site or close my office door. During that time I only respond to emergencies. I generally take my lunch at the least busiest time of the day where most people are out to lunch anyways to minimize the likelihood of being interrupted. When someone, usually the self-absorbed type who think the world work around them, asks me to do something that is non-emergency; I politely tell them I am eating lunch and will gladly help them when I’m through.

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