You may not realise it, but when you open up that battered old tupperware at your desk each day, your co-workers and, more importantly, your manager, may well be judging you on its humble contents. Does that simple cheese and pickle sandwich shout out your originality? Does that banana communicate your drive and determination? No, well, perhaps you should craft your lunch break as you would your CV: then all around you will know you for the brilliant employee you truly are.
Here are a few employability-skill lunches for you to consider:
- The “I am a great communicator” lunch
For employees who want to show that they can express their ideas clearly and confidently in speech, this packed lunch needs to be one that can be consumed with as little drooling, noodle-dangling or crumb-spraying as possible: maybe a simple sandwich and some easy-peeler citrus fruits. Perhaps a little preparation of a packed-lunch back-story for you to tell your colleagues as you munch. But remember with this one: no talking with your mouth full.
- The “I work well in a team” lunch
For all great team members or team leaders, this is the lunch you can use to unite your co-workers over some shared treats. Not strictly speaking a lunch exclusively for the lunch-owner, this lunch-pack will have plenty of additional goodies for sharing around the group; some mini-doughnuts or a few punnets of strawberries. Warning: do ensure that you are fully aware of any food allergies within your team and that all food is properly cooked. It is not good to poison your colleagues!
- The “I have global skills” lunch
Be it a foil-wrapped Mexican burrito or cold Italian pizza, Chinese or Indian take-away, this lunch demonstrates an appreciation of other cultures – well, of their food at least. This lunch may also communicate your high stress tolerance if you can also include some highly spiced foreign dishes. Remember, however, only do this if you know you are able to maintain effective performance under pressure, particularly where that is the pressure of biting into a red bonnet chilli or lamb vindaloo.
Note: if this lunch is particularly pungent, it could demonstrate a lack of respect for your colleagues. Be ready to demonstrate your interpersonal sensitivity when countering their complaints.
- The “I have computing skills” lunch
This one isn’t so much about eating the lunch, as communicating your lunch to the world through all your social networks – Instagram those instant oats, Tweet that chicken, Facebook grandma’s fairy cakes. No-one cares about your lunch, naturally, but see how impressed your boss is with your daily blogs and social networking. Although on reflection, social networking is best limited to business topics during business hours.
- The “I understand commercial realities” lunch
Of course you understand that it makes better economic sense for you to make your lunch at home, but then that might make it less viable for the company to maintain that expensive snack vending machine in the corner…and it is SO convenient. Time is money and all that. What is wrong with a slightly stale ready-made wrap and packet of crisps, anyway?
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