Professional Lunching

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Image via helloemmalewis on etsy

Lunch has become the bane of my existence.

Why? Why lunch? It’s not that big of a deal.

It is though. A big deal. Lunch in the professional world is a reflection of how much you have your shit together in nonprofessional life. And recently, I’ve been a reckless spender. And with a real salary, and my own health insurance, and upcoming qualification for a 401K plan, it’s time I get my shit fully together. All those ducks in a line/geese in a big capital V. I need to be a grown up, and figure out how to not spend stupid amounts of money during the week on lunch (and snacks and coffee etc). It takes the fun out of spending copious amounts on the weekend.

Professional lunching presents a series of issues. Let’s start with the first one. In an ideal world, you want to be able to order lunch everyday without having a pang of guilt that the $15 for your salad could have gone towards something else. Like your dry cleaning that’s been hanging out down the street for three days. Or the metro pass you are going to have to buy tomorrow. Or the vodka soda you will be drinking at 11:30PM on Friday night. So was it necessary to spend $15 on dressed up spinach? If you had all of the thoughts listed above following the initial purchase, then no it wasn’t.

Soon enough, you will be able to mindlessly toss the $15 everyday. But for now, get it together. Be a big girl. You need to start bringing your lunch to work. Plenty of people do it. No, I’m not pep talking you, I’m pep talking myself. If you couldn’t tell, this issue has consumed quite a few hours in my head as of late.

After all, lunch is important. It’s your juice, your fuel for hours 1 – 6. It’s the peak of the work day. Kind of like how it’s the best part of skiing. (woops. did I just say that?) So you have to have something good. But there are rules.

1. It has to be something filling.

2. I has to be something with nutritional value.

3. It can’t be a homemade salad. I will pick the good things from it, I won’t enjoy it, and then I will be ravenously hungry by about 2:30PM causing me to do something impulsive and rash like a eat a bagel. Which has anti-nutritional value and just looks fatty. I’m not saying I haven’t done it, I have. I always regret it. Bagels are perfect for hungover mornings, but that’s it.

4. It has to have some sort of status. In other words, no PBJs. This friendly concoction is no longer socially acceptable past 8th grade. Bringing it into the work place will make you look unprofessional and poor. Which even when we are, we aren’t. You know what I’m saying?

5. It can’t have an aroma. No matter what the aroma is, it will cause a 30 second (minimum) office scene. “Who’s heating up brussel sprouts?” Ugh.

6. It should require utensils. Sandwiches (for example) require hands, and also tend to fall apart. Both of which are not ideal when you are ‘work eating’. I don’t like touching my food and touching my computer simultaneously. Germs. Ehk.

7. (Personal problem) It can’t have meat. No turkey, no chicken, it all freaks me out unless professionally prepared from somewhere like Market Table (warning, that website has super enthusiastic home page music) or my guilty-yet-delicious turkey burger from this place. I don’t know why this happened, but it did. I love fish, but tuna is rejected by numbers 4 and 5.

8. It can’t make sounds. I made the mistake of breaking into pop chips the other day, I swear all of midtown could hear me crunching.

Obviously I have given this maybe too much a lot of thought.

If I can come up with a new lunch system that saves me x amount of dollars per week and fits all of the above 8 criteria. My ducks will be quacking in sync in a you-better-believe-it-damn-straight line. I’ve been proactive and started the process. First by unleashing all of this lunch concern to my girlfriend next door and getting her opinion. She sympathized. Her best piece of advice: “Kristin just remember, this is the poorest we will ever be. And it’s really not that bad”. So wise. Second by spending some hours on Pinterest and Skinnytaste.com getting vegetarian lunching advice. And third, by making the god awful trip to Trader Joes, and walking home with the groceries. You can’t cab home from Trader Joes, it defeats the purpose of trying to save money. Proud to say I completed all of three of these things by 2PM today. And it’s Sunday. And I went out last night. (Pats back)

Only thing left is the hardest and most serious step of all. Preparing the lunch(es). Plan is to A) get over my hatred of cooking and B) make something that will last two days tonight, and then revisit the issue again on Tuesday. If doing something 21 times makes it a habit, I am really going to try. I will feel great if I can settle this professional lunching debacle.

So I ask. Have any of you ran into this problem? Am I completely over thinking it? Please tell me, what do YOU do in regards to professional lunching?

I hope that some of you sympathize, or at least agree that there is an ediquitte to lunch in the work place.

Seriously grateful that lunch is currently my biggest issue. What a joke.

I’ll take it.
But really, I have to figure this out.
(BAH)
Happy eating.

Xo, Dee

4 comments

  1. It’s like you read my mind on this topic.
    1. Yogurt with cereal and fruit- leaves you starving.
    2. Turkey wrap- too soggy school lunch-esque.
    3. Any form of salad- wilted spinach and 3pm bagel craving.
    4. Bolognese- violates #5 & #7 (and kind of gives heart burn).
    5. Anything that requires tupper ware (which is basically everything) manages to violate #5 and ruin my appetite.

    So here I am on Monday morning confused as to what I spent $100 in groceries on and already thinking about where I can go for lunch today.

  2. Tami sauerwein · · Reply

    I really love reading your blog!!!! Best of luck to you in NYC. I’m jealous of what lies ahead for you…. Wish I had done this in MY youth.

    1. Thank you so much for reading Tami! I’m so glad you enjoy it :) xx

  3. 1) I LOVE YOUR BLOG :)

    2) But I disagree with some of this post… I totally have this problem too. The hardest part is because I found that lunch is a time to bond with coworkers, meet with other people, or even just a time to get out of the office for a bit. For awhile, I let that make me feel better about spending so much. BUT, there was a limit and now I’m so much better about bringing food to work.

    Keep in mind, with my opinion comes my office environment, and everyone has a different office environment. Our kitchen is completely separate from where we all work and so is the dining/lunch table. I can make something in the kitchen and the smell doesn’t leak into the office area, or even the dining area. There’s also almost always music on in our building, so if anyone is eating chips or something loud, we can’t hear it from the dining room.

    At the same time, there are days where it’s busy and we have to eat at our desks so all the above is disregarded and yet… I could care less if it bothers my coworkers :p I agree that bringing something like a pb&j is silly and it’s best advised not to eat anything that will put you into a food coma, but I love food so much that sometimes I’m going to want to eat sandwiches or ethnic food and my coworkers are just going to have to deal! They all do the same as well (because they are all boys) so I guess that helps out my situation. It’s just not something I ever thought about on this level, but it’s probably just because of my particular work environment.

    We also have a lot of room in our refrigerator- so sometimes we’ll all go to trader joes at the beginning of the week and get food to make throughout the week in the office (frozen foods, sandwich stuff, soups, etc.). But, the most common thing I do is bring leftovers from home, which doesn’t always mean you have to cook! If you like to go out to eat AND you want to save money, order food from your favorite restaurant for dinner, specifically a place that is family style. You’ll get at least two meals out of it and it’s something you can actually look forward to for lunch the next day!

    3) Can’t wait to read your next blog post :)

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