Monday, February 2, 2009

Fun Things To Do During The "Lunch And Learn" A.K.A. Satan's Break Time

I'd like to meet the executive who thought up the lunch and learn, so I could shake his or her hand; shake it, along with the rest of their body, until they are reduced to a loose pinkish-purple jelly in a suit.

It's unfortunate enough that we are already forced to work a nine hour day. It doesn't matter that we get an hour for lunch (although in some cases, we don't even get that). No other job I've worked at required nine hours of my day devoted to it every single day. I've worked at jobs where we worked an eight hour day, and got a half hour removed automatically for our lunch, and I've even worked at jobs where ::GASP:: they paid you for your lunch hour.

Because it's not really an hour for lunch; you need to clear off your desk, lock up your drawers, lock your computer, go out and get to wherever you're going for lunch, wait for them to prepare it, travel to wherever you go to eat your lunch, eat your actual lunch, throw away the garbage, drive back to the branch, wash your hands, unlock your drawers, unlock your computer, etc... you actually only get about 20 solid minutes to sit and really enjoy your meal.

Then someone had a brilliant thought: we bring in a consultant/instructor/motivational-speaker/mouthbreathing-empty-suit to yammer at them, telling them things we should have taught them at training, and give them cold pizza. That way, we can tell them that they are eating lunch, and therefore, not pay them to do something that is a job requirement! So not only are they taking away my right to escape from the pressure of being at work for nine hours, they are taking away my right to choose what I want for lunch and my ability to enjoy eating it. This is why I am sure to not learn anything when I am subjected to a lunch and learn (a.k.a. forced servitude). Go ahead, throw pie charts at my head, bury me in job aids, and drone on endlessly about the "Seven Things Not to Say to a Client Who is Looking to Spill My Blood Over the Current Financial Climate." I'll be the one in the corner drawing a picture of you being drawn and quartered on my yellow legal note pad.

Other fun ways to pass the time on a "Lunch and Learn":

Stare at the speaker and every five seconds, nod once quickly and say "Yuh-huh..."

Make as many anagrams as possible from the speaker's name. Use their title if you get stumped.

Ask the speaker their full name and title before they start, and start and end every subsequent question, comment and answer with it. ("John Farkus, Assistant Director of Product Placement Services, you raise an interesting point, John Farkus, Assistant Director of Product Placement Services.")

Hum as inaudibly as possible while still actually generating sound. When you run out of breath, inhale sharply and quickly, and preferrably only when the speaker looks away. (Works great in teams; when one person speaks, the other should pick up the hum.)

Excuse yourself to use the toilet every six minutes.

Take a sip of water and let it spill over your lip when you lower the cup. Pretend not to notice.

Be really into your lunch. Chew emphatically, roll your eyes in bliss, and moan loudly. Ask repeatedly "is this homemade?"

Settle down for nappy time, resting your weary head comfortably on your arms.

Translate the speech for your fellow listeners in made up sign language. Or Esperanto. Or Klingon.

Whenever the speaker pauses, say "And then what happened?" in wide eyed fascination.

Giggle. Frantically.

If all else fails, a fake faint will usually get the situation resolved, but watch out for thngs you might hit your head on on the way down.

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