No Shame in the “Sad Desk Lunch”

“Long live the no-hour-for-lunch-revolution,” wrote the person behind the Sad Desk Lunch tumblr to me in an e-mail. The blog has great photos of what people are eating at their desk for lunch from around the world (you can submit your own photos here). I don’t really agree—take your lunch hour—you deserve a break in your work day! But I also understand what it’s like to work on deadline and that sometimes you don’t have time to take a leisurely lunch, so you have to eat-work at your desk. Yes, everyone at our company does it too—except Edith. Edith never eats at her desk.

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24 Comments / Post A Comment

peanutbutterpie (#1,450)

oh man a lot of those lunches looked great to me!

I’ve been trying to sad desk eat more lately to save money, but I always end up going to to buy a coffee or juice or something, or inventing an errand to run, otherwise I will never leave the office.

KatNotCat (#766)

@Michelle LeBlanc@twitter I eat lunch at my desk 99% of the time, but always take a “lunch break” and leave the office for a walk or to go to the library. I figure if the company gives me time, it’s my right and business to use it. Luckily my office is very flexible anyway, but I think more people should take that attitude as much as possible.

pizza (#599)

@KatNotCat I do the same exact thing. Even with the walk to the library!

Jellybish (#560)

Some of those pictures are truly super sad, but I usually eat at my desk and I don’t feel sad about it. Some days I feel like I have to get out of the office, but since I come in late practically every day I don’t feel like it’s a necessity.

bgprincipessa (#699)

Is it wrong that I’m more sad about the lack of recipes? I can’t just look at (or even eat) something and know what it is, but I can know it looks like I want to make it!

cherrispryte (#19)

There’s a kitchen/break room at my office, and some people eat in there, but I don’t – if it was just my coworker friends there, that’s one thing, but this is a big office full of people I vaguely can’t stand, and I’d much rather spend a half hour perusing the internet than making conversation with people I don’t like. So Desk Lunch it is! (Also, issues with eating in front of other people!)

@cherrispryte “people I vaguely can’t stand” THIS SO MUCH THIS. I put my headphones on and zone out because people here also don’t understand that eating lunch at your desk doesn’t mean etiquette like eating with your mouth closed goes by the wayside.

Megano!@twitter (#1,923)

Tell me more about Edith’s lunch habits! Where does she go!? What does she do!? Do you even know? Is it a massive office mystery (that would be awesome)?

Lily Rowan (#70)

I eat at my lunch, but I am NOT WORKING. Which I try to make clear. (And then pretend like I am working the rest of the time, which, no.)

cmcm (#267)

@Lily Rowan SAME. While I have food on my desk, that is the only time I don’t do the whole QUICK CLOSE ALL THE NON WORK RELATED INTERNET TABS.

ThatJenn (#916)

@Lily Rowan I’ve definitely had people come in, see that I’m eating, apologize about how much they hate it when people interrupt their lunch hours, and then talk to me about work stuff for ten minutes or more. WHYYYY. (Then again, I answer my phone during lunch and sometimes work through the whole hour, so.)

cmcm (#267)

I usually eat at my desk, for the sole purpose of avoiding the awkwardness of going out for lunch with my incredibly low social skilled co-workers.

Dancercise (#94)

What about the Sad Desk Breakfast, of which I am currently partaking?

null (#1,101)

Normally if I miss breakfast I buy a granola bar from the vending machine, but today the frosted mini wheats were calling to me. It was the first time I felt weird about what I was eating at my desk.

EmmaG (#1,023)

Is it strange that I don’t see Desk Breakfast as sad? I have a tendency to see it as: “Hey go-getter! You have foregone wonderful-at-home-mealtime for a fast food breakfast in order to start your day earlier than everyone else!”

Of course, the reality is that I get in maybe 5 minutes earlier and still waste a good part of my first hour on the interweb.

At my job we’re not allowed to eat at our desks. I would probably eat lunch wayyyy more often if we WERE allowed to eat at our desks. Eating in the staff lounge means a severe risk of getting small-talked to death. Sorry, coworkers, I like most of you well enough, but eating time is private time, and if we have to discuss anyone’s apple-picking excursions from last weekend, I might not survive.

editrickster (#279)

@werewolfbarmitzvah Seriously! Who gives a shit about those stupid hippie coworkers/roommates? No, I do not care about your idyllic and twee pastimes. Leave me alone.

At my last job, I flat-out refused to be Sad Desk Luncher. I became the person everyone asked about lunch options. Sister visiting? Bam! Having a Thai craving? Yeah. Seeking the Sandwich-That-Will-Change-Your-Life? Basta. Lunch was truly the highpoint of my day.

Also, because I’m very lazy, I usually have lunch as my main meal, and dinner is some sad hummus & chips or cereal or ice cream affair. Considering that lunch specials can be very reasonably priced, and frankly it can be expensive to cook as a single person, it really wasn’t anymore expensive. (I tried, briefly, packing my lunch and I didn’t really save money).

Nick (#1,548)

I always have lunch at my desk, so I can read The Billfold.

honey cowl (#1,510)

I am a sad desk luncher because no one in our office eats in the lunch room. And if someone does, it’s the CEO, who really has no concept of personal space, meaning I have to spend the whole lunch scooting my chair backward and socializing. Rather than reading my book, which is my strong preference.

Of course, if I worked downtown instead of in the industrial area of Seattle, I would be more likely to go outside and enjoy the sun. But there is not even a bench to sit upon around here. There are no sidewalks. It is not safe for the luncher!

Man, it turns out I have a lot of sad desk lunch feelings, because I’m sitting here fuming, all “FUCK DESK LUNCHES!!!” I used to work out in the country, far from any sources of food, in a mobile office sans microwave, running water, or non-super-smelly-fridge (I kept string cheese in there and even totally wrapped in plastic I was always like ugh when I opened it). I also kept just-add-hot-water soups in my desk but the kind I like are expensive and hard to find. And for the majority of the time I was one of two people in that office — the other was my boss, the company president, who traipsed in and out whenever she felt like it — which meant I was constantly on-call, often had to drive around doing deliveries, and very often didn’t have a chance to even eat my sad desk lunch till 2:30 or 3. Whereupon my brain would fall out in a hypoglycemic haze and I’d drive to the scuzzy roadside deli nearby for a sandwich to eat at my desk like a ravenous wolf who was also on the phone doing six things at once.

That sucked. I mean (as you might guess) the entire job sucked, but never getting a break from my sucky job made it suck even worse.

If I can’t get an actual lunch break — I always spend my breaks outside, where there is air and sun — I’m gonna go fucking nuts.

selenana (#673)

Ugh. My current job is a “can’t-sit-at-this-desk-one-more-fucking-MINUTE” types, so as SOON as that number flips to 1200, I am outta there. Most of the office eats at the desk. But I’m with Beatricks – I’m going to go crazy if I have to stay inside for my unpaid hour.

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