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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.


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.

HumptyDumptyBumpty Sat 04-Jan-14 12:31:08


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.

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??

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.

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

Not rude.

Unfriendly and a bit mean perhaps.

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.

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

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

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

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

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!

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

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.

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

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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.

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.

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.

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


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!

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

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!)

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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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