to have told the new guy to please leave me alone as I'm on lunch?

(88 Posts)
musicboxwoundbyakey Sat 04-Jan-14 00:00:22

So because the weather was so shitty today and most people are still off work (so had no-one to go out with at lunch) I decided to stay in and eat lunch at my desk and read my trashy magazine.

The new guy (who has been here 2 months now so not too new) came up to me and asked me a question about work, I helped him out and then went carried on eating my lunch. 5 minutes later he came back and asked me another question.

Irritated by that point, I did help him but also said look I'm on my lunch break and don't want to deal with work related stuff right now. (It was obvious I was on my lunch, I was eating and reading)

I feel bad but I wasn't the only colleague around and the job I do is customer facing so can have people ranting at you all day so you need a break just to de-stress.

Aibu?

LadyKooKoo Sat 04-Jan-14 00:01:24

Yes. Rude too.

dancingwithmyselfandthecat Sat 04-Jan-14 00:02:58

No, but in my experience you are on a hiding to nothing if you stay at your desk. Is there a common area you could go to?

Financeprincess Sat 04-Jan-14 00:03:18

Oh dear, the poor new bloke!

Be extra nice to him next week.

VoyageDeVerity Sat 04-Jan-14 00:04:25

A bit

musicboxwoundbyakey Sat 04-Jan-14 00:06:37

Be extra nice to him next week.

I did help him with both his questions first.

letsplaynice Sat 04-Jan-14 00:07:49

Yabu because you stayed at your desk and expecting peace it never happens hmm

MrsWolowitzYouAMerryChristmas Sat 04-Jan-14 00:08:02

You were a bit mean and rude.

cees Sat 04-Jan-14 00:08:55

Yanbu

Lunch at desk = asking to be disturbed unfortunately

JumpingJackSprat Sat 04-Jan-14 00:10:10

You should have said the first time sorry I'm on lunch please could you ask someone else. I've been there and now that's what I do with any questions.

musicboxwoundbyakey Sat 04-Jan-14 00:10:35

Yabu because you stayed at your desk and expecting peace it never happens

I suppose, its been a long time since I've done it. Other colleagues have lunch at their desk and I wouldn't ask for their help as lunch break is your own time.

Crikeyblimey Sat 04-Jan-14 00:11:29

I often eat at my desk and either read the paper or the news online.

I will answer questions sometimes but usually tell people I'm on lunch.

What gets me is when people see me eating and reading and ask "oh, are you in lunch?" I want to reply "what have it away"?

You weren't rude - he'll have got over it by now.

MuttonCadet Sat 04-Jan-14 00:11:55

Yes, and very rude, poor bloke.

Crikeyblimey Sat 04-Jan-14 00:12:40

Gave it away - NOT have it away! That's another thread altogether!

ProphetOfDoom Sat 04-Jan-14 00:12:47

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TheArticFunky Sat 04-Jan-14 00:13:38

If you said it very politely you wouldn't be dwelling on it and starting a thread so I would imagine that you were rude and that you are aware that your tone was rude.

musicboxwoundbyakey Sat 04-Jan-14 00:15:11

and very rude

How so?

Genuinely interested.

I helped him out both times he asked and I politely in a friendly tone said that I am on lunch so don't want to deal with work at the moment.

I didn't refuse to help him and then told him to fuck off.

Salmotrutta Sat 04-Jan-14 00:15:37

and I wouldn't ask for their help as lunch break is your own time

But you aren't new are you?

I have started new jobs (in the same career) several times - and every place is different so it's taken more than 2 months to encounter every policy and system.

YABU.

Mikkii Sat 04-Jan-14 00:17:06

I sit in an office so we (2 of us) shut the door when we eat. Having said that, people still knock and come in!

It depends what it is about, I probably mind less than my colleague.

sparklysilversequins Sat 04-Jan-14 00:17:15

I don't think you were rude at all! He was especially after the first time when it was obvious you were having lunch.

stayanotherday Sat 04-Jan-14 00:19:53

Yadnbu. I hate this. You did help him but he shouldn't have asked you. You're entitled to breaks. I had colleagues following me into the staff kitchen and standing over me nagging me about work including the manager. In the end I said no more and went to another part of the building for lunch until they got the message.

BillyBanter Sat 04-Jan-14 00:20:33

He wasn't rude to ask and you weren't rude to ask not to be disturbed.

MuttonCadet Sat 04-Jan-14 00:20:54

Well someone was asking for your help, and you refused look I'm on my lunch break and don't want to deal with work related stuff right now
You said you feel bad, which makes me think that you really feel like you should have been kinder - I agree.
Would have killed you to just help him out because he needed advice, without giving any snidey comments and then eaten your lunch?

MadAsFish Sat 04-Jan-14 00:23:17

I don't see how you were rude at all.

cees Sat 04-Jan-14 00:24:48

Mutton, op helped him both times, she then informed him she was on break. I don't see how she was rude.

MuttonCadet Sat 04-Jan-14 00:24:59

I may well be projecting my own work environment, so apologies.
I eat whilst I work because no-one here has time to take any kind of break. It tends to be 11 hours a day, so 55 hours a week plus homeworking at weekends (no, I'm not a teacher).

stayanotherday Sat 04-Jan-14 00:25:32

Why shouldn't people have uninterrupted lunch breaks? It's your own time and it's the law.

musicboxwoundbyakey Sat 04-Jan-14 00:25:33

Would have killed you to just help him out because he needed advice, without giving any snidey comments and then eaten your lunch

I did help him though. Snidey comments? How was it snide? I said how I genuinely felt.

(I've had a really shit week so not feeling myself so wondered if I had been rude)

musicboxwoundbyakey Sat 04-Jan-14 00:30:01

I have started new jobs (in the same career) several times - and every place is different so it's taken more than 2 months to encounter every policy and system.

I never said I expected him to know everything about the job or that I would never help him. I would help out any colleague no matter how long they had been there.

But as I stated in my OP there were other colleagues around not on lunch and we all work in the same team and so the same job so he could have asked them.

RaspberryRuffle Sat 04-Jan-14 00:31:50

Yanbu. You really do need to take the time to switch off from your work. He could have asked someone else or waited. Maybe he asked you as you are generally more approachable than some of the others. Anyway, he has also learned that he doesn't have to answer work questions in HIS break so he has benefited too!

Salmotrutta Sat 04-Jan-14 00:35:09

All I was trying to point out OP is that it's difficult sometimes being new.

AND - if you want a proper lunch, don't stay at your desk.

I dream of a proper lunch...

I think YABU.
I often get less than 10 minutes of my hour lunch break because I have to deal with work related issues.
I never thought to tell colleagues or children to ask someone else since I'm on my lunch break!

woozlebear Sat 04-Jan-14 00:40:53

Ywdnbu. He should have the courtesy and common sense to ask someone else or wait.

Fucking hate people doing this at my work. My boss will just march right up and say 'when you've finished your lunch can you do blAh blah blah ...' Which invariably takes 5 mins to listen to, requires you to stop eating and note down what she's saying and engage in complex discussion about it.

Or people from other depts come in, hover by your desk while you're eating and trying to ignore them until you're forced to acknowledge them at which point they feign surprise and say 'oh, sorry, are you on your lunch' while clearly meaning 'I don't care if you are, i'm going nowhere'.

I religiously retreat elsewhere with a book, now. And I get the distinct sense that some people think that eating at your desk while surfing the Internet is somehow more dedicated than going somewhere else. Like I'm decadent or something.

Mrswellyboot Sat 04-Jan-14 00:46:34

I am a teacher and often go to my car at lunchtime to avoid this sort of thing. Yadnbu

footballagain Sat 04-Jan-14 00:47:41

Depends what environment you work in.

I used to work in a very busy, high stress office environment. Sitting at your desk eating a sarnie didn't mean no one was allowed to engage with you.

Of course you are entitled to your break. Perhaps it would be best ensured if you took it away from your desk?

TripTrapTripTrapOverTheBridge Sat 04-Jan-14 00:49:42

I think you were rude too.

also,you say you only stayed in reading because there was nobody to go out with.Well,maybe the new guy felt the same and suspected the same of you so thought he'd approach you but only done so with work questions!

Shinyshoes1 Sat 04-Jan-14 00:51:37

Yabu

Shinyshoes1 Sat 04-Jan-14 00:51:51

Yabu

badtime Sat 04-Jan-14 00:58:27

YANBU

You helped him each time he asked, and then let him know you were on lunch. I genuinely do not understand why people think what you did was rude.

He must have known you were on lunch and kept asking you questions anyway. Now, that is rude.

MistressDeeCee Sat 04-Jan-14 01:01:02

On the other hand if you're eating a meal and reading its obvious you were at lunch. This man was clearly able to see that but made a decision to impose on you anyway rather than go to colleagues who weren't on their lunch break.

You do have a right to personal space and time, so what if you were at your desk it doesn't give anybody the right to determine your lunchtime as work time, to suit themself. I wouldnt dream of approaching a colleague eating their lunch for help. I'd apply common sense. No OP you were not being unreasonable and I suspect many would react the way you did, even if they claim they wouldn't. There's actually nothing wrong with being assertive. Nor were you rude, as you answered his queries. Don't worry about what he'll think. He knows your feeling now and you'll all just get on with your work hopefully

I don't think you were rude at all. If your lunchbreak is out of the office you aren't disturbed so to politely point out that you were taking lunch at your desk and similarly expect a break from work isn't rude at all IMO. New or not, unless he is fresh from school/college then new guy can respect a lunch break!

tracypenisbeaker Sat 04-Jan-14 01:11:49

Yanbu. Breaks are... you know, breaks?

Bumply Sat 04-Jan-14 01:14:07

Yanbu
I always eat at my desk rather than the communal area (which isn't large enough for everyone).
I'll answer a quick question, but generally people apologize before they've even finished asking the question when they realise I'm eating and/or surfing on my iPhone.

Bodypopper Sat 04-Jan-14 01:21:46

I am a TA and go out to my car for lunch in the winter or to the play area up the road in the summer. I don't get paid my lunch break but that wouldn't stop kids/teachers/lunch supervisors asking for help.

As a nurse and a cm before I never had lunch breaks as such.

If you want peace move from your desk.

wobblyweebles Sat 04-Jan-14 03:03:49

YANBU.

If someone is clearly eating lunch at their desk I apologise and say I'll come back later, or ask someone else.

It's ok to be clear with someone that you're not available. Better to be clear like you were than help out but be resentful.

DisgraceToTheYChromosome Sat 04-Jan-14 08:07:18

YADNBU

But then I can be prosecuted for engaging in work during my lunch break.

uggmum Sat 04-Jan-14 08:18:59

At work we each have a laminated sign to stick on our monitors which says 'lunch break'

Therefore, everyone knows we are on a lunch break and we don't disturb eachother.

snakeandpygmy Sat 04-Jan-14 08:21:37

I don't think that you were either rude or unreasonable.

A colleague of mine got so fed up with people interrupting her (very obvious) breaks that she made a little flag which says 'At lunch, please come back later' which she sticks to her computer monitor. If anybody approaches her when it's up she just points to it and goes back to her book/lunch/internet surfing. It works surprisingly well.

Personally I always go out in my lunch hour, just to get away from my desk.

MrsCampbellBlack Sat 04-Jan-14 08:21:38

I don't know. I've never worked anywhere really where you had a defined lunch break - most of the time if you're at your desk then you're working.

Perhaps that's why he thought it was ok to ask you questions.

Yamyoid Sat 04-Jan-14 08:25:20

Yanbu and weren't rude.

Grumpla Sat 04-Jan-14 08:27:55

I don't think you were BU. In fact I think you have probably nipped in the bud a classic situation whereby he would ask you more and more questions and lean on you increasingly. Seriously, lunch break or not, you helped him twice already, if he needed to ask you another question so quickly he obviously either failed to listen or hadn't thought about his first two questions carefully enough!

I hate working with people who find it easier to ask question after question (usually in the hope that someone else will step in and take over the task for them) rather than either find a solution independently or at least identify the problem so they can be supported efficiently to do so.

There were other colleagues available, you were helpful and polite up to a point. Don't feel guilty about refusing to be a doormat.

Can't believe anyone thinks you were anything but over-polite.

paynoattentiontothecat Sat 04-Jan-14 09:01:01

I think it was rather rude, sorry OP. That said I'm not sure it was unreasonable, as such.

I do know that when those SAHM vs working debates fire up, one of the things that is always stated is that working people have it easier because they get a proper lunch break and hot drinks of tea! Not where I work, and not anywhere else I've worked either!

Probably shouldn't be that way, but it is.

paynoattentiontothecat Sat 04-Jan-14 09:05:05

I think it was rather rude, sorry OP. That said I'm not sure it was unreasonable, as such.

I do know that when those SAHM vs working debates fire up, one of the things that is always stated is that working people have it easier because they get a proper lunch break and hot drinks of tea! Not where I work, and not anywhere else I've worked either!

Probably shouldn't be that way, but it is.

paynoattentiontothecat Sat 04-Jan-14 09:05:22

Sorry blush

ISeeYouShiverWithAntici Sat 04-Jan-14 09:14:50

I think that starting with the word look was the problem.
I don't know why, but that often comes across as aggressive.
well, apart from when you are asking someone to look at something!

it would have been better to have said
oh, hi x, I am on my lunch break at the moment, I'll come and find you after my break, this weather is miserable isnt it? I much prefer getting away from my desk for lunch.

no matter how nice you tone of voice is, "look" always betrays an irritation or impatience, imo.

BobPatSamandIgglePiggle Sat 04-Jan-14 09:16:35

Yanbu at all! People saying you should have helped then eaten lunch - what if it was a set 30 minutes? Op helps twice = no break to eat as time used up helping!

I'm a teacher - we've had to agree in our office that if someone is eating they don't get disturbed - others field calls from parents / visits from students at the door etc.

Perfectlypurple Sat 04-Jan-14 09:17:38

This is why I never have my lunch break in the office.

louwn Sat 04-Jan-14 09:25:12

Do people really take lunch breaks every single day other than to go and buy a sandwich/pick up dry cleaning/nip to boots? I don't work in a job where people consider lunch - quite normal for things to be scheduled right through the middle of the day and you eat when you have a minute to grab something.

BobPatSamandIgglePiggle Sat 04-Jan-14 09:40:22

Why though louwn? Unions have fought for breaks for employees because people need downtime - especially in stressful jobs. I function much better in the afternoons after a bit of headspace.

paynoattentiontothecat Sat 04-Jan-14 09:46:47

Good post, ISeeYouShiver

SquidTableau Sat 04-Jan-14 09:51:14

YANBU. I used to hate the idea that unless I spent the hour outside in the cold my unpaid lunch became free time for my employers. I found headphones the answer (though I genuinely didn't mind being seen to be unapproachable & antisocial)!

Pipbin Sat 04-Jan-14 09:54:06

YANBU.
But I am shocked at the amount of people here saying that they don't get a lunch break.
I am a teacher and therefore I often get called into meetings or set stuff up over lunch but that is up to me and understood to be part of the job. Also, it's only a couple of hours until the children go home and you have a chance to eat then.
When I worked in retail we took our full hour of lunch unless it was super busy or someone was off sick.
When I worked in an office you could opt for a 1/2 hour, 1 hour or 1 1/2 hour lunch. It all sorted itself out with the time you went home.
One poster said she worked an 11 hour day with no lunch. How are employers getting away with this? I'm sure that you could technically take a break but it would be frowned on.

Anyway YANBU but it rather depends on the tone you used to tell him you were on lunch.

Lovecat Sat 04-Jan-14 09:59:18

Yanbu or rude. He was, by interrupting you at lunch. I worked for many years in a highly pressured environment and we had no lunch facilities - everyone ate at their desks and it was a given that you were not to be bothered while eating. I'm struggling to see how you were rude.

Bunbaker Sat 04-Jan-14 10:04:27

"I hate working with people who find it easier to ask question after question (usually in the hope that someone else will step in and take over the task for them) rather than either find a solution independently or at least identify the problem so they can be supported efficiently to do so."

Some of the stuff I do at work is so complicated it would take me several hours to work out how to do something. If someone can spare 5 minutes to explain the procedure I get a lot more done. Life isn't always that simple.

snakeandpygmy Sat 04-Jan-14 10:05:52

Do people really take lunch breaks every single day other than to go and buy a sandwich/pick up dry cleaning/nip to boots?

I do. What's more, if I notice that any member of my team hasn't taken a break I will tell them to do so. They are entitled to a lunch/rest break and this is for very good reasons.

I went for years with just grabbing a sandwich at my desk before I realised that this was doing nobody any favours and that I was much more productive if I went out and took a brisk 20 minute or so walk. So now I walk to the other end of the High Street (about half a mile) to M&S, buy a sandwich and, depending on the weather, eat it in either the park or back at my desk. If meetings are scheduled for when I normally take lunch I will just go a bit earlier/later.

Having said that I am not militant about it and if there is a real emergency will happily work through.

Potus Sat 04-Jan-14 10:07:03

Is it not really unprofessional to eat at your desk in a customer facing job? What do you do if a customer comes up to you wanting help?

Even if they're speaking to one of your colleagues, doesn't look good if an employee is munching away next to them. Go to thr staff room and get some peace and quiet!

limitedperiodonly Sat 04-Jan-14 10:18:13

It was a missed opportunity for a lesson about priorities for both of you, OP.

Was the new guy's question urgent? If not, you could have asked him to wait.

If it was, then you should have helped.

Only you know whether you're flexible or rigid over your meal-deal and Take A Break time.

Emilycee Sat 04-Jan-14 10:29:32

YANBU. It drives me bonkers at work when its obvious you are on lunch and people still witter on about work. I have a precious half hour just for me to not think about my tedious job so bugger off! (I would never say that however, I now have to leave the building or sit in my car to be truly left alone!)

SuburbanRhonda Sat 04-Jan-14 10:35:14

I know it's the law to have a break, but as a couple of teachers have said on here, in a school you often just can't.

The children are in the playground, where most of the problems occur, and if our head teacher gets to eat all her lunch in one sitting without being called to intervene in a situation, that's cause for celebration!

She didn't even get to eat her school Christmas lunch last term sad

BobPatSamandIgglePiggle Sat 04-Jan-14 10:40:50

Suburban - in schools teachers may not get the full break that unions have fought for but it is really important to take some of it!

AGoodPirate Sat 04-Jan-14 10:51:56

YwNbu!

ShadowFall Sat 04-Jan-14 11:00:33

YANBU. You're entitled to a lunch break.

The new guy should have had the decency to let you eat in peace unless his questions were so urgent that they genuinely couldn't wait for 30 minutes.

lottiegarbanzo Sat 04-Jan-14 11:00:45

Well, you must feel your behaviour, entirely reasonable if done kindly, was unreasonable or seen as such, to post. Why do you feel that?

You're clearly in a workplace where people do habitually take their break, as you usually go out, so different experiences from people who aren't are not all that relevant.

Is there no lunch-room in the building that you can go to? If not, that is the problem.

I've worked in a number of places where people did take lunch breaks. Most had a dedicated room, or used the meeting room and in smaller places everyone went for lunch at once, which was really good.

The one that drove me mad was where there was a culture of eating at desks and, though there was a designated meeting space, the culture of not using it was so strong that it wasn't always kept free and if you dd eat there there'd be no-one to talk to.

What I hated most was the opposite problem to yours; trying to work in an office that turned into a rolling social-space, with added smells, while people took lunch at different times over the course of an hour or more and chattered away. I also missed the social aspect of sitting round a table with people I wouldn't talk to much otherwise.

My advice is to avoid this scenario, for everyone's sake, so, do not eat at your desk. If you need to lobby for a lunch space, do it.

musicboxwoundbyakey Sat 04-Jan-14 11:18:28

Is it not really unprofessional to eat at your desk in a customer facing job? What do you do if a customer comes up to you wanting help?

A customer has never and will never be inside the office. So please don't start with you "you are very unprofessional speech", because I am professional.

And aside from that point we all have an allocated lunch break (ranging from 12-2:30) in our team as we have a weekly rota made up for us. I'm very surprised too that a lot of people on here don't seem to have a lunch break.

Preciousbane Sat 04-Jan-14 11:19:32

I never stayed at my desk when having lunch but people that did would always complain about being interrupted. I always went for a walk.

SuburbanRhonda Sat 04-Jan-14 11:38:44

Bob, you're quite right and she does take some of her lunch break, usually in the afternoon by herself, but at Christmas it would have been nice for her to have eaten lunch with colleagues.

OP, you don't sound unprofessional at all, but I do think lunch at your desk is a bit gross. I share an office space and I just can't bear the smells that waft over during lunchtime.

MrsAMerrick Sat 04-Jan-14 11:55:01

yanbu, but it might be a good idea to explain to new colleague that it is office protocol not to disturb someone when they are clearly having lunch,

imo all the posters who are saying "your fault for eating at your desk" abu.

In my office in this weather there is no other option. We have a tiny staff kitchen with one table and 3 chairs - shared by over 80 staff. There is no other communal space to eat or sit. I bring a packed lunch and my dek is the only place to at it. All my colleages check before asking a question in lunch time, and if one of our colleague s is eating, reading the paper etc then we answer the phone for them so they can get a break.

I like to go for a walk at lunchtime, but need to sit down to eat my lunch (usually something like a bowl of pasta salad, try eating that whilst walking the streets!!). And in this weather I don't do the walk...

Posters who are sniffy about people eating at their desks either work for private companies who have invested in staff rest areas, or are paid enough to eat at a cafe every day. Sadly I work for the local authority and am paid peanuts, so neither option is available to me sad

BobPatSamandIgglePiggle Sat 04-Jan-14 11:56:06

Eh? Eating with colleagues wasn't an option?? She just wanted an uninterrupted break, which she is entitled to and probably isn't paid for.

The fact that it's Christmas is neither here nor there!

Potus Sat 04-Jan-14 11:56:43

Yeah course you are love, course you are..... you sound delightful.

Oldraver Sat 04-Jan-14 12:00:04

You need some very visible headphones even if their not plugged in grin

Jbck Sat 04-Jan-14 12:09:06

YANBU and you don't seem rude to me.

I almost always eat lunch at my desk and generally do answer if someone has a quick question that I don't need to think about, but if it was complex or there were others that could help him whatever I'd have no hesitation telling someone to ask elsewhere.

HesterShaw Sat 04-Jan-14 12:11:33

Not rude.

Unfriendly and a bit mean perhaps.

lottiegarbanzo Sat 04-Jan-14 12:15:30

MrsAMerrick, I've always worked for charities, where we were paid even less than local authority colleagues shock - that has nothing to do with whether a lunch-room was provided! Which is a pertinent issue in this instance.

It's all about the culture of the particular office isn't it, so what is normal and ought to recognised as such by others.

diddl Sat 04-Jan-14 12:19:52

I think the fact that there were others he could have asked means that ywnbu.

I assume he knows that the other staff could have helped ?

Why, why, why would you approach the person eating lunch when there are others to ask??

YANBU.

Lunch time is your time, not company time. Therefore he was BU to ask you to work in your own time. Unless he offered you a consultancy fee/overtime?

Re: eating at your desk is 'asking to be interrupted', the job I am currently on maternity leave from had no staff room/break room/separate area for lunch or breaks. The choices were: eat at desk or pay for lunch out. If you bring a packed lunch, you had no choice but to eat at your desk.
I was constantly interrupted whilst eating, mostly by 'customers' (who are apparently blind and cannot see that sandwich in gob=fuck off and ask someone else), but by colleagues as well. This is a (small) part of why I won't be returning. I wasn't paid for my 'lunch break' so why should I work for free?
Those saying it's fine are mad.

Bunbaker Sat 04-Jan-14 15:03:32

Where I work we have a staff canteen and a "break out" area, so eating at your desk means that you can be approached during your break. If you don't want anyone to talk to you at lunchtime you leave your desk.

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