In the uk, the concept of having lunch in terms of a sit down meal is a dying tradition in the workplace.Yes, people will go and meet friends at lunchtime for food and drink but this is not what I mean. The concepts of colleagues stopping work and having food together with each other is a fast declining activity. The pressures of work whether generated by a true over burdening workload or an individual need to measure their importance and wave a flag of ‘ no time for lunch’ as a badge of honour are more and more the norm. Services such as Deliveroo and Uber eats have fuelled the lunch at your desk trend to an all time high.But none of this is good – at one time 70% of us used to meet our future life partners at work…ok some of this from water cooler liaisons, but often from a chat in the staff canteen where Brian from Accounts gets to make small talk with Julie from Dispatch.From a personal space point of view, in an open plan office do you really want fumes from your colleagues Miso soup wafting across your desk. And nothing is more soul destroying (from every aspect) than watching your neighbour splosh through their curried vegetable pot noodle as they flick through Facebook on their phone aimlessly.So what is the alternative? I have just returned from working most of the week in my company’s German HQ, stopping for lunch and going with your colleagues (and visitors) to the staff canteen is the norm not an exception. And not always there, sometimes to a small cafe/restaurant and sometimes to fast food truck/caravan. But akways some unwritten golden rules, we talk to each other, and ideally not on work matters and most definitely no use of phones.Everyone is a winner…social interaction, a true break from work…and actually some nice simple, wholesome food!
When I was an awkward adolescent (and in all honesty probably well into my late teens) I had a bit of a fear of hairdressers.
Not to the extent that people are scared of clowns or authoritarian people in uniform.. but certainly it was an awkwardness that I felt with them.
Nothing to do with them having sharp objects in their hands such a scissors, clippers or razors but actually being a captive in the chair and being engaged in conversation that I could not escape from or really contribute to.
I used to dread the three standard questions…have you been at work today?, are you going out tonight? are you going on holiday this year? As a tongue tied fifteen year old, who in reality struggled to make impressive conversations with female classmates at school, this always seemed too big a mountain to climb. But that was just part of what then our parents would call ‘coming out of our shell’ and the natural development of awkward teenager to mature confident young adult.
I don’t actually remember the change happening but suddenly I found myself only a few years later being happy, confident and chatty in almost any situation and was very outgoing in my late teens and twenties.
In fact, as the years progressed I think the tables are very much turned…and in reality I talk and chat so much and with perhaps too much ease that my family tell me NOT always to engage in conversation at every opportunity !
It seems not every restaurant server, shop assistant, bank teller etc. might want to be engaged with to the extent I (allegedly!) do. The very reason for starting this blog was that my head is full of stories, thoughts, quips and musings to share and the realisation that maybe not everybody wants or has time to listen means another outlet is needed. This way it’s more of an opt-in than people trying to find a way to opt out!
And as for hairdressers, I have a wonderful hairdresser now. Sophie who is a warm, friendly and genuine person and who I know would put even awkward teenage boy clients at ease…….and she has never asked me am I going out tonight, have I been at work today? and am I going on holiday soon?
But always asks, would you like a cup of tea😁