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one is the loneliest number that you’ll ever do for lunch November 13, 2008

Posted by That Guy in Observations.
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The first time I ever went out to lunch as a CorporateSpeak employee was with my boss and someone in our sales department. I’d forgotten my lunch, and they had a standing appointment to go to lunch weekly, so I asked if I could join in. It was all right; the food was good, and I go back to that restaurant from time to time.

Over the past several years employed at CS, I’ve gone to lunch with several people — usually my supervisor or one of my departmental co-workers, but also with people from sales, marketing, and even maintenance (now that was an adventure). I’ve done departmental lunches, farewell lunches, “hey, my brother is in town, let’s go out” lunches, and “let’s go eat and complain to each other about how much things suck” lunches.

But the changing economy and the natural Brownian motion of people as they move along their career paths. The IT guy I used to eat lunch with left the company. The marketing person I used to eat lunch with left the company. The sales person I used to eat lunch with left the company. My good friend in sales is almost always too busy — after all, salespeople have to go out and sell things, right?

Going out to lunch means companionship with people you know and have things in common with, and it means carpooling to save a little money on gas and a little wear-and-tear on the environment, and it means only one person has to worry about finding a parking spot when you all get back to the office.

But there are those days when you have no one to go with. Everyone’s busy, or everyone’s left the company, or because of a combination of the two you have no one you either want to go to lunch with or no one to go with. Period. And that’s the worst. Because, really, what can you do at lunch? You can’t work because your work is at your desk. You can’t read because you didn’t bring a book or a magazine. You can’t watch TV unless you want to watch sports — the best quick cheap but not crappy lunch places are sports bars.

It’s either sitting alone in a restaurant, bemoaning your no-friends status, or swinging by a fast-food joint and listening to your arteries harden.

Make friends at work. At the very least you’ll have someone to go to lunch with.

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