May 14, 2015

"Lunch as a concept is kind of over."

"... No-one really has time anymore."/"I don’t at all [do lunch]. It’s just a waste of…it’s difficult to get out for lunch and I just think it’s not time efficient. It’s a charming cultural phenomenon but I don’t think it’s fully functional in today’s world."

From "Why Did We Lose Our Appetite for Lunch?/Lunch was the meal-time of business leaders and inveterate gossips, and for everyone else a necessary break from the desk. But it’s come to be seen—sadly for us all—as a luxury."

I suspect the answer to the question has to do with women in the workplace — because of the need to get through the day and off to errands and family time and because midday socializing fit the goals of business better when men were lunching with other men. The author of the linked article (at The Daily Beast) seems to assume it's all about how we just all work so darned hard these days. Faster and faster we go.

18 comments:

Bobber Fleck said...

For many the workday has become more "flexible", often in the sense of becoming longer. Working through lunch at your desk or at your job site allows you to leave a bit earlier at the end of the day.

Scott said...

"For a variety of reasons, many of our finest creative minds have foresworn off lunch." [sic]

And apparently writers at The Daily Beast have foresworn literacy.

sinz52 said...

The advent of cell phones and the Internet has reduced the value of having lunch with one's co-workers or friends. Why bother when you can just text them or email them?

Plus, we're now connected to the whole world every waking moment.

A lot of folks now use their smartphones to surf the Internet or peruse their email, while they are sitting on toilets. So even THAT bit of private time is no longer so private.

MadisonMan said...

From the article:

I almost resent having to go out for lunch. I’m too busy

The famous complaint brag.

I normally don't eat lunch. If I eat lunch, I don't eat dinner. During lunch time I'll typically go for a walk.

MadisonMan said...

One nice thing about lunch: It's usually cheaper than dinner.

sydney said...

If I eat lunch, I gain weight.

Tank said...

I still occasionally go out for a business PR type lunch. The two problems are:

1. Almost always eats up a big chunk of the day - 2 to 3 hours.

2. I usually end up have a drink (just one) and, when I do get back to work, I just want to take a nap (combo effect of more food for lunch than usual + drink).

My drink of choice is usually a Manhattan. I can't imagine working after two or three of those (not to mention driving back to the office).

Sebastian said...

"assume it's all about how we just all work so darned hard these days. Faster and faster we go."

Time use studies show that people have more free time than in the 1960s and typically overestimate time spent working (at least at work: of course, many people only work part-time at work).

tim maguire said...

I think the professor has a big chunk of it--now that we are two-income families, all the non-work duties have to be shoehorned in somewhere. Nobody can afford to spend 90 minutes on a social lunch.

amr said...

Or we gossip at work all day on the internet.

Original Mike said...

"Lunch is for wimps."

chickelit said...

If the original purpose of lunch disappears, why not the notion of a lunch hour in the workplace? It will boost productivity!

Gabriel said...

My little son is in day care and I have the short commute. So if I skip lunch I can drop him by off by 7:30 and have him back by 4:30 and still get 8 hours in.

If I have lunch, his pick up time is now 5:30 because traffic got worse.

Carol said...

Eh, men. They really just want to hang with each other, after a certain age. Unless the woman is hot, or can do something for him professionally. Otherwise nothing in common, you know.

So if they don't especially want to lunch with middle aged women, they skip it. Or sneak out with the new salesman.

Coupe said...

I quit going to group lunch. It took a whole six months, but my transgression was noted, and my contract was not renewed.

I'm not bitter about it. I knew there would be consequences, but I didn't know a smoother way to exit the company.

You can get fired, or resign, but these seem so final. I decided to not have my contract renewed.

carrie said...

For a working mother, the rewards of working through the lunch hour so that you can get home at a decent time are great. However, as others have said, it is not always good for your career to do that. Not only are people going to fewer lunches, the two martini lunches are a thing of the past too. When I first started working in the 1980s, there were still a lot of male clients who did the two or three martini lunch, and I haven't been to a lunch like that in years.

EDH said...

As I just noticed Original Mike pointed out...

At one point in the movie "Wall Street" Gordon Gekko declares, "Lunch is for wimps".

Yet later he orders Bud Fox the steak tar tar for lunch.

WTF?

CatherineM said...

It had nothing to do with women and kids at my workplaces in Manhattan. In fact, the moms used lunch for errands because we have to stay until 5pm, but are entitled to a lunch. Us little people have to punch a clock and get paid hourly, so if you take the lunch hour you are entitled to you are not paid for that hour. That's 5 hours I would lose and if I stay late (as I often must) it cuts into my overtime.

My boss on the other hand, my boss LOVES his breakfasts and lunches that has never resulted in any business, but the company pays for them (up to $149 for lunch). His lunches cause him to be out of the office for 2 hours (meal and travel time) and then he will often go to the gym (another hour) then leave at 4pm. He is not paid hourly. Thankfully, his boss gas been noticing.