Currently I have a very tight deadline job, so we have, so called, "meeting" everyday from start to end of working hour. However, it's almost everyday, suddenly there are some discussion around 11.30am to 1/2 pm that brought by the directors.

Is it proper to ask to go out for lunch? How to politely ask for it?

  • You need to eat. It's not good for your health or your productivity. You can always blame it on blood sugar or something. Alternatively, you can go to lunch whenever they stop their impromptu discussion. "sorry, director pulled me into a meeting that just ended, I'm taking lunch now"
    – Chris E
    Aug 18, 2016 at 16:16
  • 5
    Where in the world are you? In some places, it's illegal to not take a 30min lunch break.
    – nvoigt
    Aug 18, 2016 at 16:22
  • 2
    Do you have a set time for lunch? Why can't you just leave as soon as the meeting is over?
    – Dan
    Aug 18, 2016 at 16:37
  • @nvoigt: I am in Asia :)
    – Lewis
    Aug 18, 2016 at 16:39
  • @others: The meeting lasts until end of work hour. Usually if there is any discussion, we only get lunch after it's ended by directors.
    – Lewis
    Aug 18, 2016 at 16:39

2 Answers 2


Usually when you are trapped in all day meetings, the easiest thing to do is to just ask, "Can we take a lunch break now?" If you have a medical condition that means you can't miss meals, then you could bring that up as well particularly if they seems disinclined to give you a break. If you have a medical condition, then by all means, plan ahead and bring something with you to the meeting.

However, you need to time the questions for most effectiveness. If the Directors are only there for an hour or so, then wait until they are gone. It could be that the normal lunch time is the only time they are available and that is why they are showing up then.

I also try to wait until there is a lull in the discussion or right as we finish one topic and get ready to start the next. When you do it as you change subjects, you can say something like, "I think we might all be able to cover XYZ better (or more effectively or faster even) if we break for lunch first."

I have often found that everyone wants to take the lunch break, but no one wants to be the person who brings up the subject.


"I need to take my lunch now."

That's all. If questioned, repeat. Don't feel the need to explain yourself. Don't apologize. This is no different than having to take a restroom break. Anyone who doesn't get it, and respect your human needs, is someone you don't need to be working for.

  • 1
    HLGEM's strategy is less confrontational and more likely to get positive results. If her method fails, then yours may be appropriate.
    – Eric
    Aug 18, 2016 at 23:16
  • I look at this like the difference between high school and college. In high school, we were required to ASK to go to the restroom. In college, we were told to just leave and return quietly, without all the extra hierarchy mess.
    – Xavier J
    Aug 19, 2016 at 4:47
  • 1
    In both highschool and college, your presence in the classroom is for your benefit, usually as a passive participant. Stepping out may cause you to miss important information, but usually it will impact you. In the workplace, you are there generally as part of a team as a paid, active participant. If you step out, you may be making everyone wait for your return or may be missing important information that later negatively impacts your team or your ability to deliver the value you are being paid to deliver to the company.
    – Eric
    Aug 19, 2016 at 10:33

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