I attended a forum on cultural leadership about “Building Trust” a couple of weeks ago, and some speakers mentioned that “lunch is important”. They are of course saying this in a management context that lunches help communications, with external parties and internal colleagues. This is perhaps only a different version of “a dinner lubricates business.”
I know I attribute unusual, even ridiculous, importance to lunch. To me, lunch is the highlight of a working day. I once quitted a job partly (only partly) because the office was so inconveniently located near Tai Lin Pai Road (not even on that main road) where none of the restaurants in the vicinity offered decent lunches.
Lunch is when I get business done. For that matter I prefer working lunches to working dinners, but unfortunately my present job requires me to attend lengthier (and more elaborate) working dinners than any other previous jobs, but that’s another story.
Lunch is also when I meet up with my friends. We all now have plenty of commitments after work, to accompany family and loved ones, to attend events, to study (thanks to that idea so-called lifelong learning), and lunch seems a better time for gathering and networking. When my office was so conveniently located in Admiralty (as opposed to Tai Lin Pai Road), I quite often meet up with old and new friends during lunches, and I also enjoyed great company of my colleagues for lunch too.
Back then, when I don’t have any lunch appointments, since I enjoyed flexible lunch hour I sometimes go to a small restaurant on Sun Street in Wan Chai after 2 p.m. to enjoy some moments of tranquility. Last month, more than a year since I left that area, I organized a semi-business lunch there and find the place still enjoyable. So I was really shocked to find out that the restaurant closed down after two weeks!
Now I work in Quarry Bay and back to a fixed lunch hour, only to find out that every single restaurant in the vicinity is so crowded, and many of them don’t allow booking in advance. Moreover, many of my colleagues are fans of homemade lunch boxes or takeaway, but I really need to stay out of the office to breathe. We already have enough time in the stuffy office.
Fortunately, I live just 15 minutes by bus from where I work. If I don’t have any lunch appointments, I would rather go home and cook myself a bowl of noodles and sit back and relax on my sofa for even just literally a few minutes, instead of squeezing into a small crowded restaurant and share the table with some strangers. I know that sounds luxurious as well as a bit ridiculous, but lunch is important.