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Lunch Is Dead

Bob Goldman on

I dare you.

Go up to a co-worker and ask, "Do you want to grab lunch?"

Know what they are going to say?

They're going to say, "No."

It's not personal -- or probably not. You have been pretty difficult to live with ever since management forced you to give up your cozy home office in your bedroom closet, where you could work in your Star Wars pj's while watching reruns of "Love is Blindt" and no one could complain. (It's also not Ozempic, if that's what you're thinking. The prescription appetite killer could be a reason for skipping a meal or six, but no one who works for your company can afford Ozempic.)

The reason people are saying no to grabbing lunch with you is because people are saying no to lunch, period. According to "New Surveys Show Many Workers Aren't Taking a Lunch," a recent article by Jess Cording for Forbes, "workers are 40% more likely to never take a lunch break than they were just a year prior."

Of the 29% of employees who block out time for lunch on their calendars, only 62% actually use that time to ingest calories. Gen Z are the worst of the bunch, with 70% skipping lunch once a week. They use that time, I guess, to listen to Taylor and make friendship bracelets to give to their managers.

There are many explanations behind the flourishing let's-skip-lunch bunch. Some say they're worried they won't have time to finish their work on time. That's not a problem for you, obviously. You never finish your work on time; you just don't worry about it. Those pesky Gen Z'ers worry that their bosses "will judge them for taking a lunch break." This is misguided. Their bosses will judge them for being annoyingly young and overpaid.

The high cost of lunches is another factor. Even those who make their own lunches are concerned about price. Have you checked the rise of Spam futures in the global market? Going out to lunch is even more pricey, though you do get the advantage of watching the waitstaff run themselves ragged for survival wages. Even if the food stinks, what's better than observing the only people on Earth who may have a worse job than you?

Remote workers are not immune to lunch skipping, either, especially when lunch hour conflicts with Zoom calls. Of those surveyed, 83% believe that eating on a video call is bad etiquette. Still, 3 out of 10 do it anyway. This would not apply in your case. Watching you slurp up a bowl of ramen is poetry in motion. It's a streaming must-see that can extend well past lunchtime as your co-workers spend the afternoon watching you pick stray noodles off your shirt front.

Ready to rethink your lunch habits? Here are few thoughts to chew on.

 

No. 1: When it comes to a lunch break, the break may be more important than the lunch.

According to nutrition experts, even a half-hour spent away from work in midday "can help employee engagement and productivity in the afternoon." If true, this could be a problem. A turbocharged you in the afternoon will certainly raise questions, considering you usually have no engagement and zero productivity in the morning.

No. 2: You are what you don't eat.

Order carefully. You will be shocked to learn that a power lunch, such as an Uno deep dish buffalo chicken mac and cheese, could leave you more comatose than productive.

Vegetables are what you need at lunch, breakfast, dinner and snacktime, too. Veggies provide vital nutriments and antioxidants. This is good news and also bad news, since whether it is roasted, toasted, boiled, broiled or baked, broccoli is still broccoli. If you need a good reason to eat lunch, broccoli is it. If you need a good reason to skip lunch, guess what -- it's broccoli, as well!

No. 3: Go international.

A choice from a variety of dishes makes the idea of lunch more attractive. With cuisines from around the world now available on every street corner, you may need to search further for a truly exotic luncheon menu. According to sources, cannibalism is still practiced in some remote areas of the world. I certainly don't recommend it, but the practice not only satisfies protein requirements but also offers an effective way to handle workplace competitors and problem-makers.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but HR people are not only devious and troublesome, but they're also absolutely delicious.

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Bob Goldman was an advertising executive at a Fortune 500 company. He offers a virtual shoulder to cry on at bob@bgplanning.com. To find out more about Bob Goldman and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.


Copyright 2024 Creators Syndicate, Inc.


 

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