Why Eating Alone At Your Desk Can Kill You…Professionally.
As often is the case, many young upstarts throw themselves into their new jobs with wild abandon. They work late and come in early. The raise their hands for crappy assignments (like fire marshal or baby shower party coordinator) and sit as close to power as is permitted during key meetings. What many also do is make a habit of eating at their desks. Above and beyond this will be their undoing.
Women especially pack lunches and eat at their desk, often muting their conference calls in order that the last bite of a pretzel or chip go undetected.
But I beg of you to put down your smelly tuna fish sandwich for good and get up and away from your office for lunch. The key reasons you must do this are the following:
Out of sight out of mind; often the first to be let go are those who work remotely and don’t have face time with their leadership or colleagues. Hiding in your cubicle lumps you into this same category as the faceless, nameless people who work from home. By eating at your desk you are squandering the advantage of face time.
If you aren’t out and about mingling with your peers and people from other departments you are most certainly not going to be in the know. Information does not always travel as you would expect, sometimes it’s that person in procurement who knows first about the development of a new department, perhaps one that you would like to be part of. So, get out there and hobnob.
If you are cramming food down your gullet in your cubicle how will anyone know about all of the exciting work that you’ve done! You must be out and about selling yourself and your accomplishments to anyone that will listen. If you expect your boss to sell your accomplishments, then friend, you aren’t as smart as I thought you were. Often times, managers are too busy selling themselves to worry about their minions, I know it ain’t right, but it’s true.
If you are hiding in your cubicle during the one hour that your boss’s peers are free, WHAT ARE YOU THINKING!!! If you didn’t know this, your boss’s peers are the ones who decide whether or not you get a promotion. You see, most companies have this thing called a calibration session where they all sit around and talk about the little people. It is during this session that they decided who gets a promotion and who doesn’t. If they have no idea who you are (because they’ve never seen you in the cafeteria) it won’t matter that you’ve saved the company millions with your new concept, you will be passed over in favor of that brown-nosing cad with whom they are familiar.
Finally, how can you profess to be a team player when by all appearances you eat like a lone wolf? The herd likes to travel in packs. So take lunch with your fellow co-workers. Blow off some steam talking about how clueless your boss is or gossip about the upcoming reorganization. If you do, you will strengthen your relationships and that’s always a bonus.
So, put down that sandwich and get with the program, the one that will lead you closer to the success that you are working so hard to attain, but don’t do it alone at your desk for crying out loud! Now get out there, beyond the cubicle wall and leave your mark. Invest in your career during lunch time. At any rate, it beats eating tuna fish sandwiches.
Brandon Kelly is the author of “Why Women Are Their Own Worst Enemies!”Ajani Publishing. @BrandonNKelly, www.whywomenare.com, firstname.lastname@example.org