The Loss of the Lunch Hour
I recently heard a special on NPR regarding a problem I experienced when I was working at Boeing, the loss of the lunch hour. One study reported in this NPR special, that only one in five employees take an actual lunch break. As I look back over my career at Boeing I am not sure exactly when I stopped taking a lunch break. I just know that it started slowly and then just became an habit. By the time I retired, it was commonplace for the vast majority of the folks working in our area to eat their lunch at their desk while they continued to work. There was an “unwritten expectation” that you were available to respond to anyone that might come up to you at your desk during lunch hour. I knew that this was probably not good for me but I continued my “bad habit” as I thought it was more important to work through lunch so I can get more done in the time I had at work.
This NPR radio special raised my consciousness on how important a mid day rest from work is for everyone. I regret now that I did not develop this “good habit” when I was working at Boeing. As I mentioned in a previous blog post about the value of letting our mind wander, our brains need time to rest and operate in the diffuse mode. It is in this diffuse mode that are mind begins making connections on the focused activity of the mind. It is in this mode you learn at a deep and creative level. Looking back now at my job as a first line manager, I realize how important it was for me to have set a good example and taken a lunch break. I should have done a better job of encouraging more of my team members to get up and take a lunch.
The Camino Walk was one “long lunch break” in a lot of ways for Terri and I. It was the very best thing we did for ourselves we see now. It was just the “rest” I needed and has really allowed me to see more clearly how important taking time to rest is in our lives.
“There is more to life than merely increasing its speed” (Gandhi)
I say it is time we “take back our lunch hour”!
P.S. Here is a link to the NPR special – The End of the Lunch Hour
Here is a link to the Lunch Manifesto referenced in this NPR Special – Lunch Manifesto