62% of Americans eat lunch at their desk.

I was one of them.

And I DID feel sad.

And isolated.

Pause for Ebenezer flashback moment to boy alone at school and cry into hankie…

I did try to ask office mates to lunch and grew tired of “not today”. Rejection. Waaa! In 20 years, I got 3 group “yeses” that I recall.

What the hell is wrong with our culture?

Lunch at work is one of them (mass commuting is another). We work ourselves into the ground and don’t socialise so that we can “get home” to Netflix? My last employer did have a brilliant, socially-engineered  lunchroom where we would congregate on a single floor (all microwaves and fridges were there). So that was something.

In Houston, the 3rd largest city in the US, there is a traffic “window” where I could get 12 miles to home in 45 minutes, “contraflow” before 5:30 and after 7:00pm. The poor sods having to commute to the western burbs were entombed in metal and asphalt for 2 hours anytime after 3pm. This traffic is SO BAD that it was featured on CBS news special segment.

Skipping lunch meant I could leave at 5, but then meant missing out on socialising. If I took my 45 minute break, I would be there well past the cleaning crew and stay until 7. And I still had working out and laundry to do.

Finding this blog brought back bittersweet memories of the lack of office lunches. I had forgotten about this pathetic plight.

I often dreamt of what lunchtime would be like in Italy. Two hours, with wine, making strong connections but not getting a whole lot done, perhaps.


At one location, going out to lunch was easy- lots of restaurants nearby and 2 work brothers with whom I would often go to lunch. It made the 1/4 of a cubicle office bearable. Our office policy then was that we could have a beer or wine with lunch. That was quite fun and I made some amazing maps in my mind. I felt relaxed and energized- ready to tackle the afternoon. My shy self even chatted up workmates!

And I felt that I belonged.

But once we moved to the big new location, it was difficult, the beer policy got nixed and my 2 brothers left for other companies 😦

Hearing about my husband’s work days and lunch with office mates makes me live a bit vicariously. They are always going to lunch and he has a strong team and relationships because if it.

If I have learned anything, it’s that lunch is part of business, of building a strong team. And getting away from the desk and office is energizing.

So what if you’re trying to get out of debt?

Suggest an inexpensive place or maybe even eat before you go and just order a soup or salad.

But go.

Laundry can wait.

That’s what I would do differently today 🙂

How about you?

Are you stuck in the 62% or have you found a way to make lunchtime great?


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