I often don’t eat at work. More often than not, I skip lunch entirely. I have a stickie right by the side of my office door that states “don’t forget food.” The stickie doesn’t really work. I will work and just get through the day without really stopping for a lunch meal. And I am fairly ok with that. But when I am hungry at work, I tend to be really hungry. But even then in those very hungry situations, I adhere to my mantra that “good leaders eat last.” Well, Simon Sinek kind of coined that term, but I have always lived that thought. Literally.
How can you eat when others haven’t? Its just not the way I roll. Over the past decade, whenever there is a staff or workplace event, I wait until the absolute end before I get in line to eat. For some reason I find it rude and kind of tacky to be a leader who gets in the food line first. As a leader, one has to make sure that others are taken care of before chowing down and filling one’s belly (both literally and figurately). Also, as a leader your portion should not be bigger than the others. That is just rude and a gross personality characteristic.
Why am I thinking about good leaders and the eating experience? Because I have seen first-hand leaders go the the front of the line while others are left wondering when it will be there turn. But it’s more than that. Obviously, I’m getting at what leadership entails. It means, at times, sacrificing. It means putting the needs of others before yours. It means looking out for the common good. It means embodying core human values. Even though the movies of the 1980’s declared that “greed is good”, it really isn’t. It’s ugly and wears badly on the skin.
I am reminded of the Seinfeld episode where George Castanza knocks people over while trying to escape a fire.
The characters on that show were not nice and that fire scene encapsulated everything that was wrong with them. And everything that was funny about them, as well. We could all collectively shake our head at George but also laugh because it’s a television character. However, in real life, you won’t laugh. I will always eat last with the hopes of being a role model to my team. Even if thst means I have to microwave my food. See, I hate lukewarm food. It’s how food poisoning can occur. Ive been too many times to the emergency room because of food poisoning. I tend to end up with two to three bags of IV fluid. Its not a pretty site.
Regardlrss, I will eat last. But, I ask that you hurry up in line so that when I eventually get to the front of the line, the food is still hot.