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Monday, December 04, 2023

Starting a new internship: A guide to lunch etiquette at work

Maybe this is just me, but when I’m starting a new job or internship, I think about where and what I’ll be having for lunch. Will there be other interns? Will a coworker invite me to lunch? Can I order in or should I take a bagged lunch? Here’s a guide to where (and what) you should expect for lunch.

Ordering in

Ordering in is probably the trickiest. You don’t want to order something that will fill your workplace with its scent when you unlid to-go containers. If there’s a cafeteria or a break room of some kind, I say go for it. Keep in mind delivery time and cost, and offer to order for neighboring coworkers, which helps keep the cost down.

Going out with coworkers and/or supervisors

This is obvious, but be friendly with other interns or coworkers. Networking can be incredibly beneficial in the long run, and what besides food makes networking easier?

Jordan Fine, UF student and front end developer for Gather, a start-up based in Atlanta, will go out with other interns to grab a quick lunch.

“When I usually go get food, I go with another intern to pick up to-go somewhere and we bring it back to our office,” Fine, 20, said. “The intern and I usually use apps like Foursquare and Scout Mob to help find places we want to go out to eat on the cheap.”

Occasionally, he says, the company will go out as a group to a local restaurant. Regardless of where you go, keep an eye on the time.

Pre-made meals at grocery stores

Florida has Publix, Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s, so this is probably an option if you’re working in Florida. All three have great options for to-go lunches, including Publix subs; Whole Foods pizza, macaroni and cheese and customizable salads; and Trader Joe’s frozen meals.

Brown-baggin’ it

First rule of taking lunch to work: do not bring tuna. If you’re reheating leftovers or eating food (like a salad) that needs utensils, remember utensils and napkins. If you’re making a sandwich, consider what may or may not get soggy. By separating tomato slices, cheese and other garnishes, you’re actually saving lunch. Spreading a thin layer of butter between bread and filling creates a seal, preventing soggy bread.

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Convenient snacks include granola bars, iced coffee, mixed nuts and ready-to-eat fruit.

At the end of the day, if you’ve accomplished what you needed to accomplish, brought mints with you to work and not taken a two-hour lunch, you’ve probably had a successful day.

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