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chelle21689's avatar

Work culture to work through lunch break?

Asked by chelle21689 (7413points) November 12th, 2014 from iPhone

I just started a job which is fine but kind of sucks because my trainer left after only one week of training me so I hit the ground running. It’s temp, well anyways I get an hour lunch.

It’s a big company but tiny office of just us 3…was 4 but now 3. These people tend to eat and work while answering phone calls and taking orders throughout break.

I need my break. I don’t want to work through it. I’m allowed to leave but if I stay I feel the need to work while eating because everyone else does it and I don’t want to be seen as lazy. There’s no break room so it’s either sit at my desk and work while eating, eat in my car, or eat and hang out in the coffee shop next door which is what ok doing right now.

I feel bad when I take my breaks even though I’m allowed to. I guess what the people told me is they split their breaks sometimes and leave. Me? I want a straight hour lunch with no breaks. I literally have my brain on fire lol.

Should I just conform to the rest and just work through break?

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7 Answers

stanleybmanly's avatar

The answer (as you know) depends on how much you value the job. It certainly would appear that you and your co-workers aren’t valued at all.

flutherother's avatar

If you have an hour lunch you are entitled to take it and some companies would insist you take it as they don’t want to impair the efficiency of their employees. Check with your boss when you should go. Good communication with your manager is vital in any job.

CWOTUS's avatar

Rules are rules, but culture is what develops around the rules. Obviously, “the rule” at your office is that “you have x minutes for lunch”. But the culture that has grown around that rule is “if we continue to work through part or most of our break, then we can go home earlier”. That seems to work for the others in your office, but not for you.

You are not required to conform to the culture, but it can be difficult to break those cultural norms. So the question for you is, “How much emotional discomfort are you willing to endure to turn the culture to a way that you prefer?”

At my office we have a nominal half-hour lunch, and a lot of people leave at 11:30. I knock off for lunch at 11:30, eat at my desk – pretty quickly, as a rule – and then read in my cubicle until 1 PM. I sit right outside my boss’ office, too, so this isn’t something that I’m hiding; I do it right under his nose.

However, the return to him is that I work later than normal office hours, I do more than he expects from me, and in types of work that he prefers not to have to be involved with, and take a lot off his plate. Sometimes I enjoy the projects that I get involved with – and things that he has never asked or expected from me – for example, “database development” is kind of a hobby of mine, so I do work “for free” on nights and weekends, just because I enjoy it. At least, it might seem “for free” to outsiders, but I enjoy the long break in the middle of the day, and the quiet time in the evening. He quit bitching at me several years ago about “long lunch breaks”, and we get along just fine. It took a while to get to this level of give-and-take, however. (As you may have noticed from time to time – like right now – I have plenty of time for Fluther, too.)

Work the culture, kid. Don’t let it work you.

jca's avatar

I have a good friend who works in a small office, and she comes in late most days but does what your coworkers do, working at her desk answering phones and eating. She will also stay late a lot to catch up, and her boss would be foolish to ride her about her lateness because what the job gets from her is so much more than her being 20 minutes late.

I will usually eat at my desk but just because my job is pretty laid back about working and about going out, so I am lucky to have that situation at this time.

If I were you and I wanted to go out, I would go. Maybe you can turn your co-workers around so they’ll want to do the same. Maybe if the job finds a need for more staffing to cover phones and get work done, they may consider hiring more people. If the people never show the employer that there’s a need for more staffing, more employees will never be hired.

chelle21689's avatar

My boss doesn’t like us working through lunch but is laid back as long as 60 minutes are used but he’s never in the office and is always traveling. So they just do whatever as long as the job is done.

rojo's avatar

I was once in a similar situation and I chose to leave for lunch even if it was just to go to the park and sit on a bench.

jca's avatar

I think mentally and physically it’s good to get away from work for a while, from thinking about work, from hearing about work. I work a 35 hour work week and my feeling is, if you don’t get paid for the hour, you may as well use the hour for something that you choose, not work.

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