Eat lunch with your coworkers

Dear new developer,

When I was a new dev, I brought my lunch almost every day. I would take a break from coding, walk out to a small embankment, and sit in the sun. I’d munch on my sandwich and carrots, and enjoy a bit of piece and quite.

What a mistake!

I’m not saying you shouldn’t take time out of your day to integrate what you’ve learned and daydream. That’s fine.

But lunch is a prime opportunity to build interpersonal relationships.

And these matter.

When you want to shift to a different team, but stay in the same company, they matter.

When there’s an emergency and you really need help from a different department, they matter.

When you are looking to help a friend with a different skillset get hired, they matter.

When you have an organization question and can’t find the answer in docs, they matter.

When you have lunch with people, or take part in other low formality interactions, you are building the soft connective tissue of organizations. This contrasts with the muscle (normal work activity) and the bone (written process). Such tissue will help you when you want to get something done that is outside the scope of normal work, but still within the bounds of normal company goals.

It also helps your career. When existing coworkers leave, they often move to other interesting companies that you may want to work for.

Who would you rather work with? The isolate who only talked work and ate lunch apart every day? Or the friendly person who chatted with you at lunch about work topics and personal interests?

More importantly, who would you even know about? Who would be top of mind?

You don’t have to eat lunch with your coworkers every day, but do so a few times a week. It’ll pay dividends in the future.



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