“The 24/7 workplace features so many e-mails, deadlines, and employees conferencing with colleagues and customers in other time zones that the lunch break may be as threatened as the polar bear.”
Today former London financial journalist Bryan Appleyard was reminiscing about the long business lunch. He wrote of his experiences interviewing finance executives over long, booze-filled lunches that were hardly about work:
“It was a place where a financial editor would be seen emerging from a taxi carrying a glass of wine, where hacks attended corporate lunchtime jollies without ever discovering the name of the company that was providing the hospitality, where an OBE – one bottle each – was normal and an OLE – one litre each – not uncommon.
Once, while supposedly covering accountancy, I lunched with some very senior City figures and the subject never once came up; instead, we discussed life, literature, railways, philosophy, anything but accountancy. Everybody seemed to have quietly agreed that money itself was important but boring. What money did was interesting, as was life, literature etc., but the tedious shuffling of paper was nothing.”
But he goes on to say that those lunches don’t really exist anymore as technology advances have killed leisure time. But he points out, that at least in financial journalism, you actually could learn something from these epic lunches and at the very least, strong connections were made.
“The point about lunch (for its true importance you should get hold of a copy of Frank O’Hara’s Lunch Poems in the exquisite City Lights edition, but that is another matter) is that, if they are long enough and alcoholic enough, you really do learn something (the trick, of course, being to remember it). Truth often emerges over the white port.”
Well, maybe he is just promoting drinking but do you think your lunches with clients or executives are too rushed? Do you think the long lunch should be brought back? Take our poll!
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