July 30, 2014

I don’t recommend lunch & learns

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Lunch Time by X Night

I’ll probably incur the wrath of quite a few consultants and HR organizers out there, but I have to state my case.  I simply hate the practice of “Lunch and Learn” sessions.

My objection is simple:  Lunch time is my time.  When it is lunch time, I like to read, surf the web, play games on my smart phone, take a walk, run an errand, or shoot the bull with my friends.  I even like to eat while doing these things, too.

What I absolutely don’t want to do during lunch is talk about work.  Since I don’t even like to talk about work on what is my time then I definitely don’t want to sit in yet another meeting just for work’s sake during my time.  If the subject is so important, then we can certainly find time during the work day to gather around and discuss it.  Otherwise, it’s just another example of how horribly disorganized things are, not to mention condescending.

No one was able to manage and organize the workday such that these informative, developmental sessions could be held on company time.  That, in itself, is a problem.  Then, to conduct training sessions that, while not mandatory on paper, carry a significant stigma for not attending and require the attendees to bring their own food, even though you’re taking away their personal time – well, that’s just plain rude.

I think we’d all be a lot better off if the practice of lunch and learn’s was done away with, and replaced by the practice of Lunch, then Learn.  Give me my 30 minutes to myself where I can recharge and reflect on the morning’s activities, and I’ll be much more ready, focused and insightful when you want to discuss the topic at hand afterwards.

I’m confident that I’m not alone on this one.

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  • Matt Wrye

    You aren’t alone. I enjoy reading and walking during my lunch time. Great call out.

    • http://myflexiblepencil.com David M. Kasprzak

      Thanks, Matt. The practice seems to violate either a personal or professional barrier for many people, and it also does not take into account the needs of introverts, who are at their best when given a chance to recharge.

      Look for a follow up post next week that will dive into those aspects a little bit deeper.

  • Pingback: Follow up: Why Lunch & Learn is not for everyone

  • Boricua

    I do absolutely agree. The lunch hour is unpaid time that belongs to the employee to do whatever it feels like doing throughout its duration. It is a shame that some employees, while trying to impress their bosses, do schedule that hour for a meeting. It is even more shameful that the employer allows it and encourages it. It does show lack of organizational skills, lack of respect for the employee, and, as you mention, it does become a mandatory (voluntary) affair. If you do not attend you are branded a non “team player”. This is just another example of corporate slavery, ie: forcing you to work without compensation.