I have mentioned in a few posts that I started a new job this week and I went from working at home to working in an office. This has caused several pretty great changes in my life. I am getting out of the house more, walking more, seeing people more. I have had a great week.
I only worked from home for a year, but I quickly forgot how much food played an important part in office socializing and fun. I found myself having to explain to a whole new crop of people why I cannot eat certain things. The process of doing this was very interesting. My first two days, I was taken out to lunch twice. The first day, my team took me out. That was a great way to meet the people I will be working with and learn a little bit about them.
The restaurant we went to is right next to the office. The restaurant apparently has great sweet potato fries. Everyone delighted in telling me how great the fries were at this place specifically and how great the fries are in general. I certainly participated in the conversation agreeing that sweet potato fries are awesome. I even told them that one place I go with some of my writer’s group friends, an Irish Pub in Clarendon called Ri Ra, changed their sweet potato fries to sweet potater-tots which are so good. I even took a picture of them the first time they served them to me.
This was obviously pre-surgery because even though I do love sweet potato fries, I cannot eat them right now because of the surgery and weight loss.
So, everyone at the table ordered some kind of sandwich with the beloved sweet potato fries except me. I ordered a salad with chicken on it. And because I cannot eat and drink at the same time, I did not order anything to drink. Everyone was surprised. “You’re not even going to try the fries here?”
I had to explain that I could not and then I told them why. I was kind of sad not to be able to eat my favorite fries, but it was fine. I had my salad, of which I ate maybe a third, and spent some time getting to know my new co-workers, which was the real point to the luncheon.
The next day, my new work “buddy” took me out to lunch. My new company pairs all of the new employees with a buddy to help them assimilate. I think that’s kind of nice. Well, me and my buddy went to a Chinese restaurant. I love Chinese food. OK, really I just love food, but I am particularly fond of Chinese food. Some of my favorite Chinese dishes however, are mostly meat. If there is a vegetable, the meat is breaded and deep friend. It’s crazy. I must have protein and vegetables or fruit at every meal and I cannot have any starchy foods yet. So, I end up getting Kung Pao chicken with no peanuts, no rice, and add string beans, please. The people at the restaurant must think I’m nuts and of course my buddy finds my choice of food interesting. There’s another person I have to explain things to.
Then one of the Vice President’s comes to one of our meetings and brings another one of my co-workers Godiva chocolates as a thank you for something. So, now there are yummy chocolates sitting next to my desk all day. Then another person brought in homemade chocolate truffles. Later in the week, another person brought in homemade chocolate chip cookies.
All of this, and it’s only my first week!
Food is an easy way to give people a treat at work, whether you are making cookies for your co-worker, or a manager looking for a way to thank your employees for a good job. I have done it myself. I make my special chicken wings and sauce, or my famous truffles. Food makes people happy. Taking your employees out to a nice restaurant, having a catered luncheon, buying special expensive chocolates are an easy and fun way to show our appreciation and make your employees feel valued. And the employees and/or co-workers love it. But when you have a serious dietary restriction of some kind, it can also be problematic. So many people these days have an intolerance to gluten, allergy to peanut, milk, eggs, etc., vegetarians, vegans, kosher. And now, gastric by-pass patients. What a complicated world we live in.
I have to say, I managed to avoid eating all of the junky food very well. I have no choice. If I eat the candies and the cookies, I will get dumping syndrome and make myself sick. I cannot be doing that. I am glad that I worked from home for a year while I prepared for the surgery and the first few months since the surgery to kind of get used to my new way of eating. It has been a big change and I think for the most part, I have managed quite well. Now I need to learn a new way to navigate all of the goodies that are a huge part of working in an office.