DEAR MISS MANNERS: My boss asked me and three co-workers to meet her at a different work location at noon to do some testing on new software. We were to stay there for the remainder of the workday, joining a group of people who had already been there for several hours.
When we arrived at noon, our boss was out getting lunch for everyone in the room -- everyone except the four of us, that is. When she got back at about 12:15, lunches were distributed and everyone ate in front of us. Our boss didn’t ask us if we had already eaten, nor did we mention lunch or lack thereof.
Granted, we were never promised lunch, but wouldn’t basic manners dictate that we should have been offered lunch, considering the time of day that we were asked to arrive? Or am I wrong to feel slighted?
GENTLE READER: With the growing number of ways in which even well-meaning bosses can insult employees while providing lunch, Miss Manners would have thought they would have long since followed the example of zookeepers.
This is not as simple as posting signs not to feed the employees. Like feeding time at the zoo -- when the animals are expected to work through their meals -- the boss should provide the food.
Both sides will have to be reasonable about agreeing when a schedule precludes a normal meal break, taking into consideration such things as local custom, the length of the workday, health and safety, and advance notice of the schedule. That said, few employees object to a boss who errs on the side of extra provisioning. Having offered lunch to the other employees, your boss should have made the same offer to you, which you would then be free to accept or turn down.