I’m back to touch on our first lunch-n-learn, and one of my favorite topics: food.
Wednesday was our first lunch-n-learn and it was all about networking, being a better coworker, and creating a positive, and productive work environment. We were lucky enough to have Diana Wolgemuth of Dale Carnegie come and teach us about creating a better work environment, and being a friendlier, better coworker. Having a work place you feel comfortable going to everyday improves your work, and makes work more enjoyable. This reminds me of a question I try to ask at every job interview; “What is lunchtime like?” I love food, so lunch is a very important time of day for me. This is also a variation on directly asking about work atmosphere, which I believe is an easier question to dodge. Lunch is an interesting time at a company. Employees are not required to be present, but it is often too short and too difficult to leave. This limbo creates an interesting dilemma that, in my opinion, says a lot about a company.
There are popular mottoes and sayings people use to describe one’s character, such as, “dance like no one is watching.” Well, I believe a company can be judged similarly. “What do employees do when they are not forced to be at work?” Lunchtime is a great judge of this. Do the employees leave and go hide in their cars, or get food by themselves? Do individual departments stay together? Is the lunchroom a free and jolly place, where everyone is welcome at any table? This certainly doesn’t guarantee a quality workplace, and some people enjoy their solitude and alone time to refresh and recharge before the second half of their day, but it can help you to see whether it’s an atmosphere that you want to be a part of. Plus, wasn’t lunch everyone’s favorite period in high school? I know it was mine. You don’t have to think or be in class; you can just hang with friends and relax.
Today marks my 8th day working at Indium Corporation. I have already had the pleasure to go out to lunch with coworkers twice, and another two times we had group lunches for the internship program. On days that lunch was not provided in one way or another, I sat with several of the other interns in the lunchroom, getting to know them better, and becoming friendlier. At my prior job, lunch became me-time. Time for me to read, or play on my phone. It wasn’t a bad work environment and I was close with several coworkers, but spending the rest of the day with them was enough. Lunch became my own time. From my short time here at Indium Corporation, I don’t see that happening.
Lunch is obviously not the overarching, final decider of whether the atmosphere of a workplace is good, but it’s a great factor to know. I know I would rather work somewhere where lunch is a fun, relaxing time with friends. I am not from the Clinton/Utica area, and I have already had several suggestions of food stops, but if you have a favorite place, let me know, maybe we can grab lunch sometime.