Friday, April 9, 2010

"Taking lunch"

I've spoken about my work on here and will likely continue to do so. Most times it goes well. I get my work done, chat with the office assistant who shares some of my "disgruntles," work with dogs, etc. All is good except for the occasional tiffs that my boss and I have.

These tiffs are not major, mostly a difference in opinion. Last week, she was worried that I was not getting a full work week in, so she wanted me to come in earlier. Fine, that really wasn't a problem. Getting 40 or more hours/week is not difficult, although I really do dislike getting home after 6 PM or 7 PM, or having to go back to the office after 3 PM when I finish exercising one of our client's dogs 5x/week. I'd much rather work my 8 hours and then go home afterwards since that specific time period is awful for me. I am always tired and really don't feel very functional. But oh well, that's just how it goes most days.

Our latest tiff has been with scheduling. My boss is insistent that after 4 hours, you take a break. I know it IS federal law, but she is always afraid that some dude from the Labor Law force will come in and check to make sure this happens. This could of course happen, but it is highly doubtful unless your work has been red flagged from complaint by someone. I could be wrong, but this is just my thinking.

I find this break thing difficult, because honestly I'd rather take a break after 6 hours. The other thing that has been hard for me is "taking lunch." I know ultimately this is a normal thing to do, but I've never taken well to it. Lunch has never been a big thing for me and just got worse with development of the ED back in high school which was when I realized if I skipped lunch, I could get so much more work done. In college, I never did lunch period if you count getting a coffee or reading the newspaper as "taking lunch."

At my last job, though it was technically lunchtime, the kennel was closed, and I had a 3 hour window to do whatever I wanted. Most times, this was when I ran a lot of errand, went online, ate five gazillion animal crackers, took a nap, etc. I no longer have this luxury, so my "lunch" is approximately 1 hr 15 min. which consists of a 30-40 min. time drive round trip to go home and let the dogs out. This doesn't even seem like a break to me, and I'm only with my dogs maybe a max of 25-30 minutes. I think I might feel differently if I did not have to do the drive back and forth, but I do not have anyone to let out the dogs during the day.

During this time, I do stuff like washing the dishes, a few chores, etc., but the whole "lunch" thing never flies. I wind up grabbing a clif/luna bar or eating a yogurt which is more than I used to in college. I realize this is not exactly a lunch, and yeah, I could make all the excuses with not having time, etc. Honestly, it's just I don't make a true effort at it. I have a hard time justifying that when I've been sitting on my ass for the previous 4 hours working on PowerPoints to have something substantial. I understand how this is very flawed thinking, but I'm just having trouble with this schedule thing. I also find I do the same thing at conferences and wind up finding stuff to do or just twiddling my thumbs, waiting for time to be up.

My boss feels like she needs to know when I'm going to be at the office, but before all it mattered was that I got my work done which I do. The building isn't open yet, so it doesn't seem like a big deal. I'm literally just working on the PowerPoints which I can do from home and exercising a few dogs. I also feel like the one day where my day is different--don't go and exercise dogs, I should be able to take my lunch later, and she seems to have issues with this. This client whose dogs I exercise will also call at the last minute wanting us to come over, pick up her dogs from the groomer, etc. when it was agreed that we do not go over that day due to their grooming and bitchiness. The saying "no" thing seems hard, and on that specific day, I plan my day differently specifically because I do not have to exercise those dogs. (They are nice little dogs but reactive to many things, so it is a constant battle at management while at their home.)

I think part of the way I'm feeling too is that my boss has made me out to be her "king pin" as she says, but yet, doesn't give the trust I think she should. Last week, she decided to put time sheets on my computer which I find rather annoying if I'm on a salary pay. And actually, it makes me a little OCDish with the numbers.

Anyway, I know there will be growing pains as everyone adjusts to their new roles and schedules, but it's causing me some distress which was not the point of this job.

How do people deal with "taking breaks" and "lunches?" Are these times coveted or annoying or necessary?


Kim said...

How interesting! I really cherish my lunch break, and I always have. I think part of it is that I used to consider meal times very sacred. I had them on a pedestal. So I was very rigid about having a specific time to eat my food. Now, I'm way less rigid, but I still look forward to the break in the day. Then again, I have a desk job, which is a bit different. I like to get out in the sun and read while I eat, or just sit in my car and listen to music for a bit. Sometimes I use my break to call friends/family. I think it's different for everyone. Lots of people I know plow right through lunch break.

Telstaar said...

I never used to take lunch breaks (or other breaks) as I'd rather work 8 hours straight and then have 30 minutes to leave early etc... but these days I try to have my 30 minutes lunch break during the day somewhere because I need to stop and I figure its good to get in a routine. But like you, i'd prefer my lunch breaks later rather than earlier... for me, there is less of a hurdle to finish off the working day...otherwise if I have it too early, it feels like the day drags too much.

Still, I am not having to go back and let dogs have play time etc so its easier for me to work around my own schedule. Also, I'm very autonomous in my job which helps, I basically come and go as I please most of the time.

*hugs* I do hope things with your boss can sort out soon as you both work through these differences of opinion. xo

Kristina said...

Such an interesting post!
I think that one of the MAIN reasons that I like my job and where I am "at" right now is that I have a pretty flexible schedule. Not on all days (I was at school from 7:00-4:00 today), but there are times when I need to leave early or come in late, and if my class schedule permits it, then I do not feel one iota of guilt.
I also don't have people micro-managing me or my time (that is a HUGE HUGE HUGE issue for me!!!!).
Breaks and lunch really depend - there are days when I know that I won't have lunch at a 'standard' time because I teach four classes back-to-back and then I have a lunch meeting during those classes. So, I make sure I'm well fueled earlier in the day and then I eat around 2:30.
One thing I HATE (probably a relic from eating disorder days) is being really rushed to eat.

I hope that you can be open with your boss - although I also know that it can be really hard to address certain issues at/with work.
Good luck!

Tiptoe said...

Thanks for your feedback. It looks like it varies quite a bit. I think I'd enjoy "lunch" more if I wasm' feeling so rushed and didn't have to drive back and forth.

This week has been better, and I know these are all just issues that need to be ironed out.