Make or Break Your Career Over Lunch
Steve Berman | AdminSecret
You’d think it would be easy. At lunchtime you get hungry, so you grab some food and go on with your workday. However, lunch at work is rarely that simple. What you eat, where you eat and whom you eat with are all things your coworkers are paying attention to.
This doesn’t mean every lunch has to be a pressure-packed situation, but remember that one misstep can mean the difference between enjoying a beneficial bonding (or networking) experience and becoming the office outcast. Pay attention to these potential problem areas and learn how to handle lunch like a pro.
Who to Eat With?
Some people feel lost without someone else to eat lunch with, and some people would rather make lunch a solo affair. Both people have a place in today’s workplace, but it’s best not to be inflexible. Getting upset at a regular lunch partner for making other plans will make you look immature or clingy. On the other hand, turning down every invitation from coworkers to go out for a quick bite could possibly lead to a reputation as unfriendly or stuck up.
Group situations can be even trickier. You may accidentally leave someone out of your lunch group, or feel rejected when others plan an outing without you.
So what’s the key to handling these social dilemmas? Take the emotion out of it. After all, it’s just a meal that you’ll repeat again the next day, and every other one after that.
Where to Eat?
Again, tread lightly. If it’s a special event and everyone already agreed to go to a certain place for lunch, it’s best to grin and bear it. Don’t ditch everyone just because you couldn’t face the day without your favorite soup from the corner deli.
Most of the time, however, you should be able to eat wherever you want. If you have a lunch pal who never wants to compromise on where to go (or worse, wants to go to the same place day after day), you should politely let them know that you’d like to change things up. If they don’t agree, maybe it’s time to choose a new lunch buddy!