Ken The Grump fancies himself an observer. A person who notices and notes behaviors of people around him, especially patterns in groups of people. Things that most people don’t notice, or when you point it out to them they say, “Oh yeah, now that you mention it…”
Either that, or, “I don’t do that!!!”
Our theme today is inconsistencies, or double-standards, or hypocrisies, in break time at work. Please note that Ken makes it a personal policy to not talk about work or his employer on social media. This is unwise. So also note that these two things are commend everywhere, and in no way apply narrowly to my current employer or any past employers. How’s that for a disclaimer? So let’s jump in…
Coffee is the life blood of corporate America. Ken does not drink coffee, and he perceives his lack of inclusion in “the coffee clique” thwarts him in his career. Ken is not trendy enough. Many office don’t like it when you take too long (in their minds) of a break. A coffee drinker can wander to the kitchen, pour a pot of coffee, even make a new pot if necessary (they love you when you do that, seriously), shoot some BS for a few minutes, then mosey back to their desk, and everything is fine.
A non-coffee drinker, on the other hand, does not have this luxury. If Ken wants to get a some water or a soda, Ken better get in, get his drink, and get back to his desk. How dare Ken want to heat a snack in the microwave on company time… even though that time is the same as the coffee ritual. Unfortunately, non-coffee drinkers are not a protected class, so we get the short end of the stick.
This one is not as prevalent in today’s world as it was 30 years ago, but it still exists. You want a cigarette, sure go ahead and do your thing. See ya in a bit. Anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes.
You the non-smokers wants a break?!? Don’t be so selfish. Get back to work.
I will give a specific real-life example: When Ken was in the Army in basic training in 1982, we’d pretty much everyday be outside doing various things and training. About three to four times a day smokers would get a smoke break. Non-smokers got no break. Non-smokers were expected to keep working. I am not kidding and I am not exaggerating.
Ken is always one to work the edges of the system, so Ken came up with a solution. Ken… the non-smoking Ken, mind you… bought cigarettes. When smoke breaks came up, Ken would take a break, light a cigarette, and sit there relaxing while the cigarette burned down by itself. Ken got his breaks!
Then there’s the time where, during one of these smoke breaks in a forested area, one guy fell asleep. A bunch of other guys covered him in pine needles. Then a drill sergeant came over and woke him up… rather harshly. But that’s a different story for another time. Ken did not partake, but did sit against a tree and watched and laughed.
In conclusion: is it really that bad to give everybody the same consideration for breaks?