The one oasis in my working day is lunch break. Its sacred, I’d even say it’s a golden rule to peel myself away from a rather too pre-occupyingly full mailbox, go into another room, sit down, eat something hot and read through some of the more amusing, thought changing and instructive professional and recreational social media sites on-line.
It’s all good reading and invariably comes from people you can relate you to and not some politically or socially orientated source with a bone to pick. Several pearls of wisdom recently caught my attention that merit sharing: 1) Taking time for lunch 2) the benefits (or not) of siestas, 3) being receptive to new business opportunities, of course without arousing too much attention from your immediate professional entourage in the process, 4) Respecting Bloggers (this one struck a chord) and 5) … Hugh Laurie on Twitter!
Let’s talk a bit about the first point, Lunch. I started this blog by saying how lunch is an oasis and that it’s sacred etc, etc… but if there’s one thing my time in France taught me it’s that taking a real break for lunch is a fundamental rule of well-being*. Eating a sandwich in front of a work computer does not, in any way, constitute lunch or a break, nor is it even beneficial, especially not when you spend the next thirty minutes hiccuping from indigestion as often happens to a colleague of mine. No, if “Lunch” and “Break” are spoken in the same breath it’s for a very good reason. One article I read explained that it’s supposed to recharge the batteries to keep you going until the evening. Yep! It works for me so it must be true. One company I contract worked for previously even made it a work ethic to take at least forty-five minutes lunch away from the desk.
* … to quote JRR Tolkien “If more people valued food and drink the world would be a merrier place”
As far as siestas or naps go in some Mediterranean countries it’s always been an accepted fact that a siesta is good for the well-being and again I agree. There’s nothing better than a short nap to give a bank holiday afternoon that something special… it’s called quality time! True, countries where siestas are traditional invariably have summer temperatures averaging 40 Celsius, people sit down to dinner at 10 in the evening and prime time TV starts around midnight. Quite the contrary to most Northern European countries where you’d think the main objective was to get the day over and done with as fast as possible!
…and then along comes some Anglo-Saxon medical study claiming that naps may not that good for the metabolism! You can almost hear the Latin and Gallic accented cries of consternation! Seriously though, with all these contradicting studies and statistics you have to admit it can get a bit confusing. It’s like one study telling us that carrots are good for the eyesight and then another one saying it’s all bull! One thing is for sure and that is that the inhabitants of at least one Mediterranean country, I’m thinking of Spain but the same applies to Greece, must be shaking their collective heads at the moment wondering what ever happened to old way of life. But even they have to admit that with an unemployment rate of ±25% for 2014 and a rising regional separatist movement, lead by one of the more dynamic and productive regions, something is going to have to change.
Apparently several sociological changes are being mulled over in Madrid to combat the current conjuncture and kick-start the economy. One is the changing of the time zone back to what it was before Franco decided to align the Spanish time to Germany’s in the 1940s. Another measure would be a re-thinking of their TV habits and starting the prime time programmes earlier, e.g. around 9 PM, as in most European countries and finally, possibly the most radical measure being considered, would be the shortening of the Lunch/Siesta break. Slippery ground and thin ice you’d say even though the Catalonians are already there, an obligation, to be in line with their Trans-Pyrenean neighbours. Whatever your standpoint Europe is inexorably moving towards completing an alignment of standards, if not yet mores… Is there any one country capable on resisting the Brussels steamroller? Give you a hint. They drive on the left!
Before wrapping up and skipping the bit about new business opportunities, neutralizing the Fraudster Syndrome (!?) and going beyond the comfort zone etc, I read a small post one lunchtime by a blogger called Nancy Friedman (@hip2housewife). There are loads of posts around on how to write blogs, some interesting, some less, but this one appealed to me mainly because it got one big point across: Respect me and you respect yourself! In a blogging context? Powerful! It also got another message across. Blogging is mainstream communication, be it mini, macro or whatever kind of blogging, so don’t think of blogging as a fad that will disappear any day soon… Nancy’s article also warned against labels such as patronizing or presumptuous, whatever the context, good work Nancy, doubly so if you have to work to a timeframe others impose. Me, I’m happy if I can publish a blog a month… for the moment, but there you go my comfort zone’s getting smaller!
I’ve left the best pearl for the last. Hugh Laurie of Dr House and Black Adder fame on Twitter. With all the “Miley Cyrus”, me and my navel type verbiage flying around the web (although some of it’s actually valid business communication) when Jeremy Clarkson (of Top Gear fame!?) re-tweeted one of Hugh Laurie’s Tweets it caught my eye. What was Hugh Laurie doing on Twitter? Well I suppose the same as Clarkson! He’s using Twitter to comment on some of the things that catch his eye. I do love agitators, especially those who deftly fringe the Troll. People like Laurie and Clarkson, with nothing particular to tout or sell, add a bit of colour to the media, and what if some toes are stepped on in the process?