View From The Glen

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Lunch Tramp

Welcome to the Won't You Be My Neighbour series, started by Amy of The Never True Tales. I was introduced to this series by Christine of Coffee and Commutes, so please head over to both those sites to meet some more great people. Today's guest blogger is my friend, Keitha Fisher, aka The Lunch Tramp.

The Lunch Tramp
Denise asked me to be a guest blogger a couple of weeks ago and I jumped right in to say yes. I’m a frequent reader of View From the Glen and I love the normalcy of the kids and the dogs and the after school activities and the husband. Our own normal is canine-free but I like to think I’m doing a not terrible job of balancing the hectic with the wonders of H learning to spell her name and E discovering that if you follow the instructions that come with the legos, you can actually build the thing on the box.

Until quite recently, I had the 50 hour/wk job to add to the hectic pace. At the beginning of last summer, I made the decision after leaving the job I thought I would love but quickly discovered that I loathed, that I would not jump into the next thing. I’d gone from fulfilling but time consuming self-employment to time reasonable but dreadfully boring corporate employment to frenetic time sucking management in just under three years and frankly, I wanted to take some time to figure out if there might not be something to be said for not doing any of those things for a while.

Given that this is a blog posting and not an autobiography, I’ll leave a bit of a blank here (that I will spend a bit of time writing about on my own blog) but suffice to say that taking some time off to volunteer for some of the organizations I’m passionate about and to sit on some of the committees I’d always thought I’d like to contribute to if only I had the time has given me a multitude of opportunities to consider when thinking about my next career move. AND it has given me time to lunch.

Yes, lunch as a verb. I hadn’t given this activity a whole lot of thought until a few weeks ago when I wrote on facebook that I “thought my four lunch dates were all pretty spectacular.”

As you may imagine, this status update caused a bit of a furor. In all, there were 19 comments about this, including but not limited to: 4 people at once or 4 single lunch dates in an afternoon? Either way I may have to judge you as a lunch tramp.

And so, the Lunch Tramp was born. (see business card for details)

While I’d done a fair amount of lunching prior to having the title bestowed to me via facebook, it was not until I’d lived with the title (and designed the business card) that I took the time to actually think about the social ramifications of being a professional lunch enthusiast. There are two schools of thought about this lifestyle choice (okay, there are probably more – but for the purpose of this blog, there are two.) The first, often said with dripping sarcasm is, “Oh, isn’t it nice to be able to drop your kids off at school and have nothing to do all day.”

My response to that is, “Um, yes, it’s sort of awesome.”

The ensuing pause where the sarcastic speaker takes a moment to wonder whether or not I detected the sarcasm is one of those things money can’t buy – and I’m a pretty big fan of those types of things.

The second response, the one that comes from almost everyone who knows me and who realizes that my “radical sabbatical” is hardly the time off others assume it to be is very different. Brevity is not my strong suit so I’ve done my best to pare it down: “Wow! Good for you! I wish I made time for myself to do this kind of thing. You should write a book about how much you’ve learned about yourself and others being the Lunch Tramp!”

Sadly, I have given my status a Lunch Tramp a shelf life. I have made a decision to return to work in the coming months which will clearly put a damper on the lifestyle to which I’ve become accustomed. However, I would be remiss to leave you wondering what there is to learn taking a six month hiatus from “work” for the sake of discovering “work I enjoy” that still pays the bills.

• People who take the time to have lunch with little to no agenda often leave with a smile – which often results in a really cool follow-up email

• Almost everyone will say yes to a lunch date

• Everyone understands when you cancel lunch because you have a sick child at home

• You can meet people you’ve never met before at lunch and laugh until you can’t breathe

• You can meet people who will offer you a job on the spot

• You can meet people who will call you in the coming weeks to offer you a job

• You can inspire other people to take an hour or two for themselves they may not have taken before

• You can be asked to write a fun blog entry for a friend

• If you throw out a lunch invitation to random people you know on a sort-of basis and assemble them together, it can be entertaining to not just those at the table but for pretty much everyone in the listening area

• There are pretty amazing people out there waiting to have lunch with you

Where the future of the Lunch Tramp lies is still undetermined. I’m thinking that regardless of having a real job again soon, the name can live on. Almost everyone I lunch with actually has a job to return to – which means I can and will do the same. That said, this time to just be wherever with whomever has taught me there’s a lot more to people than their jobs, although I gotta be honest with you – if someone said they’d pay me to be the Lunch Tramp full time I’d be all over it!

Thanks, Keitha for your always inspiring words. When she is not guest posting, lunching, or looking after her twins, Keitha does blog occasionally herself. Drop by and say hello.

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