Linda G. Hill

Life in progress

#SoCS – Give me a break!

34 Comments

You know what always pissed me off when I was working in an office? Smokers. They were allowed smoke breaks but because I didn’t smoke, I had to stay at my desk and work. It was unfair! Except in the middle of winter – then I used to laugh at them, outside in the cold, smoking their brains out.

I always said I never started smoking because everyone who did wanted to quit. What was the point of starting? Logical, right? But my parents smoke/d (my mother still does), their best friends smoked – practically everyone I grew up with did. I have asthma from breathing it in all those years ago. Back then they didn’t care if I was in the car, or the house, or where ever they were when they lit up. It wasn’t commonly known how much damage it could do. After I became pregnant for the first time (in 1994), my mother stopped smoking around me. I find now that when I smell smoke it bothers me more than it used to.

And you know what’s weird? If I’m sitting beside a smoker, the smoke always comes to me. If I get up and move to the other side of them, it follows me. I can’t catch a break. Unless I’m nowhere near a smoker of course.

So why did I want to go out and have a smoke break with the smokers? Oh yeah, to get away from my desk.

I’m going for a walk now. I need a break!

SoCS badge 2015

This post is part of this weeks’ Stream of Consciousness Saturday. Click the link to find out how you, too, can join in the fun! https://lindaghill.com/2016/05/20/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-may-2116/

Author: LindaGHill

There's a writer in here, clawing her way out.

34 thoughts on “#SoCS – Give me a break!

  1. Oh, totally! At my work, I have to walk about a quarter mile from the “employee lot” to the building. There are two places where the smokers are allowed to have their breaks, and I usually hold my breath as I traverse those. (like you, I was an asthmatic kid and my mom smoked. In the 70s they still didn’t really know any better. In her defense she did try to do it in only one room of the house and never in the car) The thing at work is, I always see the smokers hanging out smoking near or under the signs that say “no smoking 10ft from building” and there are always more of them on the days when I have just washed my hair. Boo.

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  2. I didn’t grow up in a smoking household, but started smoking as an adult. At first, we were allowed to smoke in our offices (does that tell you how long ago I started smoking?), but even when we could no longer smoke inside, we had to wait for our regular break times to have a smoke. Even as a smoker, though, I tried to always be considerate of others. I’ve been smoke-free for 12 years now.

    As to smoke following you. . .they say smoke follows beauty.

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  3. I don’t think smokers realize how the smell clings to them. We had to throw out some first edition classics because their owner (my cousin) was a chain smoker and we couldn’t get the smell out of them after she died.

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  4. As an aside Linda, I just did a guest post over at Mark Bialczak’s. I would be honored if you had the time to drop by for a read. https://markbialczak.com/2016/05/22/no-violins/comment-page-1/#comment-79841 Thank You.

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  5. I have heard people quit and then complaint that they missed those little pauses… and I guess tea gives me a break – but I also heard that smokers cost employers “money” with all their pauses….
    now I am going to check out Paul’s “waftic” word…. hmmmm

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    • It makes sense that lack of productivity would cause employers to lose money. Problem is, they can’t discriminate. What’s a company to do?

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      • yes – I agree – and the hardest part of moving to virginia was that back in 2003 – they still allowed smoking here – and I had to quit a job because everyone smoked in the office – after only day of being around them I recovered for more than two weeks – never saw anything like it – and then we could not find restaurants to eat out at… I used to be more sensitive to smoke than I am now – and so I really could not sit and dine in a place that had a lot of second hand smoke…. argh – tobacco country here in VA – but finally they changed the law –

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  6. I was always intrigued when they introduced non smoking in public buildings and that you have to be 10 feet from the work place perimeter that my work colleagues who smoked retired to the assistant’s shed and smoked there among his paint tins, fuel drums and a thousand other flammable substances. Thankfully non have gone up in smoke, yet.

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  7. Pingback: Gimme a Break! | The Good, Bad and Ludicrous

  8. If the smoke always heads towards you it means you are “waftic” – a made up word that I found elsewhere that I really like.

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  9. I am a considerate smoker. I don’t smoke at all around non-smokers, I never took extra breaks for a smoke, and I never smoked indoors in restaurants or bars even before it was banned. I prefer to smoke in my own space or far away from others. It is my private vice and I prefer to keep it that way 😀

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  10. When I worked at the law firm is when I became a smoker. Before that, I was a recreational smoker. It was in a private building and at least half of the employees smoked. There was an air filter in the ladies’ lobby and we had MEETINGS in there. Unisex meetings. lol We also had long working lunches with smoking, often in private rooms.
    Since I quit smoking, I can smell it, which is weird. Everyone in my family either smokes or has quit.
    Once when my husband quit, he often complained that in the army, guys got smoke breaks, but it’d be frowned-upon for him to go out and eat an orange or lean on a tree for 5 minutes. Strange. I never worked anywhere that smokers got more breaks than other people.
    My mother says smoke follows beauty, Linda 🙂 Smoke probably doesn’t know you have asthma…

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  11. I used to resent the extra breaks smokers got!😃

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    • willowdot21 – No Judgement! Seriously! But I spent, (after a monthly team meeting where the non-smokers felt they were being treated unfairly… circa 2003/2004) time documenting the following time of my nearest cubicle mates: Time spent in break room at coffee station/vending machine, talking about personal/socializing time (not work related items, by any stretch of imagination and trust me, I can stretch any story to make a case for inter-personal relationships, teamwork, etc… LOL), Time spent cubicle ‘hopping’ to visit while waiting for something, or in between meetings, etc. – and after 3 months (in a temp position!) I felt confident enough to say, “Yes, we are going to the smoker’s area for a break, cuz we need one – we will find all the 1950’s war horses out there that can tell this how this accepted system came about (tell us the history of current reality to meet some previous problem) AND we will get our ‘fix’ and bring our knowledge back into the cubicle to code and fix current problems that don’t repeat past ones – – GRANTED! I had to do a month’s worth of workdays research to identify the WarHorses – AND, there are always lessons to be learned while listening to folks discuss sports games (coaches are generals, players are troops on the field of battle…. 🙂 around the early week water cooler BUT, seriously, EVEN the Smoker’s Area where I went for my Federally Mandated Break that I had to punch out for and not get paid for, became my saving grace for learning/knowledge to get the job done – took me 4 months, but finally got non-smoker co-workers to go outside and walk barefoot in the grass (peaceful) , soak in some sunshine (vitamin D3 input sans supplement – and no, I didn’t know that then – – 🙂 and, except for one, they all said, “Yes! Let’s take a yellow legal pad of paper out, visit, talk with other’s on the team, connect and we will get it done…” (Mea Culpa – tablets for tree/paper saving options weren’t really available, back then, to me, at that time… 🙂 BUT, I hear what you are saying! There were 2 in my section of ‘working’ (out of nearly 46) that Loved Being outdoors, Appreciated the chance to be downwind of considerate smokers, who would move, themselves, if the wind/breeze shifted, BUT who were focused on the job at hand – THE rest in my section? “Hey! How are you? Got a few minutes to kill before next meeting – Did you see last night’s episode of (insert TV series that has nothing, that I can see, to help with current issues…) to which I replied, “Finishing up some coding – ya wanna go walk on the grass and talk here in about 15?” to which, the reply was, “You just want to smoke! Why can’t you just quit that?!? It’s not good for ya, ya know….” – – LOL – – There will always be producers and lazies in the world – Always! Be a Producing Problem Solver and not a Lazy Problem Maker, and sooner or later, you find your flock to fly with – LOL – BUT, I am sorry you worked where smokers got more break time than you did – that’s not fair – afterall – it’s not like we qualify for sick time off/benefits to cure our heroin addiction (not that there’s anything wrong with that…. 🙂

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      • I don’t think I’ve ever worked anywhere where they’d appreciate the workers going outside to discuss work, but then again we were usually working on computers or answering phones. 😛 Thanks for sharing your experience! 😀

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        • Umm…Yeah…I was on a a secured compound with no devices that could record/capture anything without scrutiny before being removed – 🙂 Ahh… another reminder that has been so uppermost in my mind these past two weeks in a variety of venues – it’s a quote from NCIS Los Angeles, I believe – and not exact, but episode where pretend people had a documentary crew following them – and their day – and at the end, one character said, “I’ve learned that Secrets Kill – kill trust, kill relationships, kill hope -” and yes, because I saw it long ago and it’s not important enough to make a YouTube video clip or GoodReads quote on – (close to sentiment) I am remembering my interpretation – BUT – there ARE things that need to kept from exposure to outdoors/uncontrolled areas – there are jobs that need that front of the line personnel – BUT – IMHO, You protect what you need to, including those who man your fort (front desk, greeting, phone) and if you don’t provide open space for them to mingle/learn/intermingle in – well – – ya just shot your own company’s productivity in the foot – But whaddya I know, really? 🙂

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  12. I had the same grip about my direct reports. I wished I could forbid smoke breaks. (Ha I would have been drawn and quartered)

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  13. I would envy them the breaks too. But the smell of smoke when one comes back from a smoking break…that gets me even more.

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  14. I was lucky not to be around smoking all the time, as both my parents weren’t smokers, but I did have a few friends whose parents smoked. I must say, though I hate the smell that hits you as soon as you step out of any public building, I kind of always did enjoy the scent of smoke in a home or on my clothes, after my sister would borrow them to go out with friends who smoked.

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  15. At least they have to go outside. When I started working, you could still smoke in office buildings and restaurants.

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