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Lunch Comes First!

, , , , , | Working | August 16, 2021

In a recent appraisal, I got a bit of a slap on the wrist for not taking my breaks. The company is big on employee welfare and I should follow suit. I admitted I should be following the rules, and I promised to make more of an effort in future. I’ve worked in so many companies that just don’t work like that and I was struggling to adjust.

A few weeks later, I’ve just sat at my desk and opened my lunch. When my desk phone rings, I go to answer it, but I realise that I shouldn’t and proceed to eat my lunch. Minutes later, a coworker storms over to my desk looking angry.

Coworker: “I thought you were there! Why didn’t you answer the phone?”

Me: “Sorry, I was eating. I haven’t long left on my lunch; if you pop it in an email—”

Coworker: “No, this is urgent. We have a major event happening! Tomorrow! You need to answer your phone.”

Me: “Sorry, I’ve been told otherwise.”

Coworker: “I can’t believe this. I’ll be speaking to [My Boss’s Boss].”

He storms away. The old me would have just picked up the phone, done the work, and gotten back to my lunch. But I was specifically told otherwise. I wonder if this is one of those times I should have just helped.

An hour later, I get a call from my boss.

Boss: “I got an earful from [My Boss’s Boss] because you refused to do your job?”

Me: “I was on lunch and I did explain that I would help afterward, but he wasn’t—”

Boss: “Wait, you were on your lunch? Oh, fair enough, then. He forgot to mention that bit. Catch you later.”

A little dumbstruck, I got back to work. The guy from earlier did come back, with an apology and a meek request for help. Of course, I did help.

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