Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Lunch, The Verb

There are many terrible side-effects of the hourly worker mindset, and I try to remain aware of them as I avoid said perspective. Here's one that recently crystallized for me: the hesitance to grab lunch with a good friend.

The money-grubbing side-effect thinking goes something like this, "I gotta get my 40 in, so if I go to lunch, that's one extra hour I have to stay here, one hour later I get home or one hour sooner I have to come in. Plus, if I'm charging overtime, then its not just the cost of lunch, but the extra money I sacrifice for not working that hour."

That's certainly a fair thought process, but I've met too many people for whom that's the daily routine. I was once of that ilk. What's changed?

After 11 years of working at a company, and as an upside to moving among many different departments, I've amassed a list of people who exist in that happy little Venn diagram intersection of coworker and friend. When you've amassed that group of people, getting away for lunch can become a highlight of the day. You might also see the above logic still holds if you make some implicit statements explicit.

The logic above implies that I'd like to get home sooner for some reason that's preferable to being at work. One of those reasons is time with friends and family. When lunch happens with someone that fits into that dear group of people, then I'm not really sacrificing anything. In fact, I can spend a quality hour or so with that person, and getting together requires less overhead than if we were to coordinate two busy evenings or weekends of kid hustling, yard tending, house projecting, Newfie dump scooping, etc. (my weekend is a rich full tapestry)

Taking that perspective, lunch becomes a great change of pace from a busy work day. An opportunity to catch up with a friend and talk about life, shared joys and challenges. Maybe you talk about work, but you take it to a creative new place not dictated by an agenda. And I can't count the number of times I've figured out a technical dilemma while driving to our destination.

And if that lunch happens to involve a great big burger at Iron Hill, a monster salad from Bacio, or something that makes everyone happy at the Grand Compromise that is the Wegman's luncheteria, so much the better.

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