Monday, 24 May 2010

To Lunch, or Not to Lunch

Ok, I'm not going to lie: I like my lunch break.

I like being able to have that hour in the middle of the day where I can contemplate life and my surroundings and really assess the state of humanity, and what I am doing on the humble Planet Earth.

I also like meeting up with Daisy and hypothesising what our friend's weddings will be like. 

We do this on a surprisingly regular basis.

But there is also that internal struggle over whether or not I should be frolicking in the streets of London when my "colleagues" are hunched over their desks, eating a sandwich using mouth only, whilst both hands are tied to their computer keyboard.

At the vacuuming - sorry, production - internship, the choice was made for me. I was not there to eat lunch. I was there to fetch lunch for others. It would have been unthinkable to leave the building unless I was returning with 5 bags of M&S food and a packet of Urgent Cigarettes. And no, that's not a brand name.

At the - ehem - online fashion magazine - which I have spoken most delightfully about in the past, most of them seemed to bring food from home. This was helped along by the fact that the office was set in the middle of a concrete desert, so there really was nowhere to go even if I wanted to. In fact, there was nothing said about lunch break until nearly my last day, when they had obviously decided that they want to have a "talk" about me and Other Intern Girl without us hearing. This was because we had dared to speak to one another. We were politely "informed" that lunch break was taken daily between the hours of 12pm and 2pm. It was now 1:30. Hint: leave now so we can talk about you.

But I digress.

On the whole, it seems that those who actually Get Paid are expected to use their payroll hours productively, which largely means grabbing food on the go.

But where does the lowly intern fit in to that picture?

One intern-supervisor positively encouraged me to take a full hour every day. The words "we're not paying you, so the least we can give you is an hour's lunch break" seemed remarkable sentient of her, and I have to say I appreciate her point of view.

If you're slogging it out for the same amount of hours as people with actual jobs, but not being paid for it, what harm is there in taking an hour in which to collect your thoughts and psyche yourself up for the next batch of errands?

But at the same time, should you be attempting to ape a Real Job as much as possible, in the hope that one day they might forget that you're an intern and accidently put you on the payroll?

It's all about appearing inconspicuous, right?

I don't really know where I'm going with this - what do other interns think? To lunch, or not to lunch?

I shall ponder this on my walk to Pret. It's 1 o'clock after all, and I'm starving...

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