Thursday, May 20, 2010

Do you want lunch with that?

I have a half-hour lunch break at my current job. I'm accustomed to an hour. I've always had an hour break at every job I've had, until this one. A one hour lunch period to break up a grueling and inhuman 8 hour shift in to two more manageable 4 hour chunks makes the day easier to deal with. Where I work, however, there has to be a certain number of people on the job at all times, those with the same shift have staggered lunch breaks, which meant not so long ago I took my lunch after only two hours on the job (some kind of a labor violation I think) so that makes the break we do have even less useful for reducing the stress of the day.

When I got hired, during the interview, the manager of my department mentioned the half hour policy and said she advised I bring my own lunch to work like she did, because by the time you went anywhere for lunch, even for take-out, by the time you got back your break would be over. While this is true, because there are no really close eating places near our office, many still get in their cars and rush up to the food court a few blocks away. I do it myself from time to time, but most often join the many others who plastic bag it (it used to be brown bag it, but nowadays all you see in the break-room refrigerators are plastic Walmart and supermarket bags) or bring frozen dinners and keep them in the freezers.

What I wonder is why they don't give us a full hour. It doesn't cost the company more money, because lunch is off the clock, we don't get paid for that time. Does anyone out there reading this know why a company would prefer half hour lunches for employees instead of hour long breaks? What's the logic behind it?

Sometimes I skip eating and take a walk. There is a hill around the corner that leads to an industrial park, and it takes about 20 minutes or so to walk the loop that takes you back to our building. I wish I had an hour, because then I could take my walk and eat lunch, or read or whatever. As it is I have to choose between various lunch time options, and be constantly looking at my watch to make sure I'm back in time (don't want to make the slave masters bosses mad).

Yesterday I was almost going to take my walk, but hunger overruled, so I got in my car, and, even though I'm trying to lose weight, I headed for the nearest McDonalds. When I got up there I felt a little guilty however, then looked over at the Quiznos across the way. The five dollar large sub deal sign persuaded me to go there instead. Inside a long line greeted me, but I ignored my watch, determined to get a foot-long turkey and cheddar and enjoy weight-loss sandwich bliss at my desk when I got back. That's how I justified a big sandwich, the Jared syndrome.

Surprisingly, it only took about five minutes to get through the line and be walking back to my car with my hot little sandwich in hand.

When I was back at my station, I gulped it down in under four minutes. I didn't want to be seen eating on company time.


  1. Because companies like to fuck with us, and they can get away with it because we're chumps who think we can do nothing about it.

  2. I actually prefer the shorter lunch. I don't want to be there any longer than I have to be.

    LAtely, my work instituted a 6am start time. I've been thinking about filing attempted murder charges against them.

  3. 6am? I once worked a shift for almost two years that started at 5am.

    I actually prefer the shorter lunch.

    So do some people where I work, for the reason you state, but come on, you don't have to spend that time at work, you can go somewhere (I used to drive down to Target and browse) or escape into a good book, or just take a nap (try taking a nap on a half-hour break).

    To me the hour lunch relieves the stress of work, and is well worth the extra half-hour you spend waiting to go home.


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