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To be irritated by work (petty, boring, long - not selling this am I?)

(62 Posts)
catgirl1976 Wed 01-May-13 19:58:04

Yesterday my work announced there would be a brainstorming meeting in the work canteen to get ideas from staff on a new project at 1pm and sandwiches would be provided. All staff were invited to attend.

Before the meeting my HR Officer e-mailed me to say a member of staff had asked if they could still take a lunch if they attended this as they wanted to be involved but had an errand to do in their lunch break. Lunch breaks are unpaid.

I ummed a bit and then let her know as we were providing sandwiches it was one or the other really. I didn't plan on attending the meeting as I had arranged to take a colleague out to lunch at 12pm.

At 1pm the Marketing Manager who was hosting the meeting came and asked me if I would come any way as I am partly involved in the project and she specifically wanted my input. I said 'well, it's a bit awkward as I've just told xx that it's one or the other, but if you need me there I will come up'.

About 10 staff attended the meeting.

Today it transpires about half had gone on lunch, then attended the meeting from 1pm till 1:45. None of them ate any sandwiches as they had already eaten.

Maybe a bit mickey-taking but not the end of the world.

It gets back to the two partners who apparantly have gone batshit angry about it.

They tell the Marketing Manager to e-mail everyone saying they are 'disgusted' yadda yadda. She drafts an e-mail saying the Partners are dissapointed by the situation and although she didn't explicitly tell people it was to be taken as lunch she had thought the provision of sandwiches would have implied this sufficiently.

She is then told by the Senior Partners PA the e-mail isn't good enough (not a severe enough bollocking I think) and this will be dealt with 'a different way'.

I am at a level that it won't really affect me personally and I am unlikely to get a bollocking over it but it just strikes me as petty.

Apparantly the 2 partners have spent the entire day frothing about this.

To me, people are not paid for lunch. If we want them to attend a meeting and contribute the fact it is held at 1pm rather than say 10am or 4pm isn't really an issue. The fact a few grotty sandwiches were on the table doesn't make it less 'work' than any other meeting. People are entitled to a break during the day even if we give them a sandwich.

Mainly, I just think they should have more important things to froth about and the way to deal with this is to either not have lunchtime meetings or make it clear next time in the invite that people are not to take a lunch as well as attend.

I will end up getting involved at some point as HR falls under my remit but I just don't think it's a big enough deal to be such a major issue with frothing at the top level and words like 'disgusted' being thrown about.

It just narks me. AIBU to be irritated by the pettiness and tell them to chill the fuck out (worded a touch differently) or do I just hate it so much I am overly annoyed by nothing at all?

StrangeGlue Wed 01-May-13 20:03:02

That is so ridiculous! The partners have blown a really minor thing totally out of proportion. If you have a strict lunch break thing and people take it and don't get paid they can't expect people to swap that for a meeting.

It's the partners who have made it petty.

How fustrating!

AnxiousNurse Wed 01-May-13 20:03:07

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

catgirl1976 Wed 01-May-13 20:05:28

I am so glad I not being U!

People aren't paid for lunch, so what they were really expecting was for people to give up an hour of their personal time and work for free in exchange for a sandwich or for the love of the company.

They maybe would if they were treated a bit better and not bollocked and told they were 'disgusting' for stuff like this

SauvignonBlanche Wed 01-May-13 20:05:31

A meeting is not a break.

theoriginalandbestrookie Wed 01-May-13 20:06:29

Depends how much the attendees earn .As a rule of thumb if they are higher rate tax payers then skip normal lunch reschedule arrangements for another day and try to enjoy the "free" lunch . If not then i'd say the employers are cheeky.

catgirl1976 Wed 01-May-13 20:10:23

Me and another person who attended are senior and higher paid. It wasn't really an issue for either of us - we are at a level where we often work through lunch and that's just the nature of the job and fine.

The rest of the staff are junior and on about £15 - £20k and it is them I am annoyed for. We bang on about employee engagement and then treat them like their input is only worthwhile if we are getting it for free on unpaid time and call them 'disgusting' angry

theoriginalandbestrookie Wed 01-May-13 20:13:46

Then you are right to be outraged.Sometimes senior people forget they are being handsomely rewarded for extra hours with a big salary . They forget or prefer not to remember that this does not apply to junior staff.

Dozer Wed 01-May-13 20:14:01

The partners sound charming. Am sure they get paid lunches!

Isn't it in breach of working time rules to deny people a break? A work meeting with sandwiches or not is not a lunch break.

catgirl1976 Wed 01-May-13 20:16:20

Yup - they are entitled to a 20 minute break (they get an hour but 20 mins is the law) and IMO a meeting is work, regardless of there being a sandwich present or not.

If a meeting isn't work then most of the Senior Management team haven't done any work for the last 20 years <fume>

HollyBerryBush Wed 01-May-13 20:19:03

OMG @ brainstorming on line one

FFS anyone with a PC grip knows it's now thought showering

Should I go back and read further?

Having read further - sack the lot of them - they clearly have no work ethic or any desire to work in a beneficial way for the company. Free lunch? I'll sit there till kingdom come.

Maat Wed 01-May-13 20:19:55

If meetings are to be planned during lunchtime, then they should give more notice than on the actual day.

Lots of people run errands at lunchtime and they are, by law, entitled to a break.

Llareggub Wed 01-May-13 20:24:46

You weren't very clear with the HR Officer were you?

DoubleLifeIsALifeHalved Wed 01-May-13 20:26:48

Ridiculous... My old boss used to open a bottle of red at 6pm on Fridays and wonder why I didn't not appreciate having to work til 10! Grrrr, brings back memories!

BlancheHunt Wed 01-May-13 20:35:36

Back in the good old days when I earned a good salary I worked all the hours and didn't mind working through lunch. My salary reflected my position and I was more than happy to work extra hours.

Now I earn a pittance and my boss happily books home visits (I work at a solicitors) in my lunch break without even asking me if I am free. Like anyone who works full time there are things that I need to do during my lunch break and bearing in mind that I am not paid during my break I get highly pissed off at the assumption that I love the firm so much that I will just give it up.

So in the case of junior staff YANBU.

Jinsei Wed 01-May-13 20:40:10

llareggub, sounds to me as if she was pretty clear - she told the HR officer that the staff could take a lunchbreak OR go to the meeting. Or have I misunderstood?

OP, yadnbu. The partners are being ridiculous. You're quite right to be angry on behalf of your team.

greenfolder Wed 01-May-13 20:41:38

sounds like the shit phrase "lunch time learning"- ie its really critical training but we thought you would be stupid enough to give up your lunch hour to attend- and heres a sandwich

catgirl1976 Wed 01-May-13 20:43:56


I was very clear with the HR Officer. I said it was lunch or the meeting.

My 'umming' was internal because I knew that would be the party line but disagreed with it.

MoonlightandRoses Wed 01-May-13 20:57:46

YANBU to be irritated. Mind you, if this is the first of the 'lunch meetings' they've held, then maybe ignore the unprofessional personalising of the partners, call a meeting with them and sell what went on as something they need to learn from? (So do the whole ' it's evident from the 1st May meeting that staff are disengaged, if we want to motivate them and really get them focused on the business we need to hold the meeting at xx time instead, but still provide nibbles' type thing).

Maat Wed 01-May-13 21:01:34

Better still, business lunch meetings should be held in a restaurant with complimentary food & free wine flowing to assist the brain storming instead of curled up sandwiches.

That's how to get staff interested grin

catgirl1976 Wed 01-May-13 21:13:17

grin It would engage me smile

Seriously though I like your first point about selling it to the partners as a learning experience.......I think that's a good way for me to handle it.

(And a lot better than the hopefully-just-this-side-of-not-getting-sacked-arsey-sarcasm-loaded-email I was drafting in my head smile

catgirl1976 Wed 01-May-13 21:14:10

Oops sorry.....two different posters

I'm clearly blinded by my own annoyance blush

MoonlightandRoses Wed 01-May-13 21:15:53

Well, at least we begin with the same letter. grin

Maat Wed 01-May-13 21:16:43


WorrySighWorrySigh Wed 01-May-13 21:31:42

Maybe a bit mickey-taking but not the end of the world.

It wasnt mickey-taking. Staff are entitled to a break. Just because the staff canteen was used as a meeting room does not make the meeting a break.

YABU to only be irritated by this. What are these 'different ways' which will be used to punish staff? This sort of work place bullying can be damaging to people's careers. A boss having a temper tantrum and deciding to issue warnings could have far longer impact on his victims than it takes to gather up his toys and put them back in his pram.

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