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Bizarre Coffee Break Rituals A Part Of Office Life

Ah, the much vaunted coffee break. What would an office or a job be without it? Many unions actually have a mandated break written into their agreements and even the sternest boss usually allows employees to duck out for a 10-minute java respite at least once a day.

Most of us just relax a bit or think about what’s awaiting us when we come back, while others gossip about those who didn’t take the chance to get away from it all. It’s believed giving staff those few precious moments off is actually good for business, even though no real work gets done, because they come back refreshed and better able to do their jobs – at least until the caffeine spike wears off.

But not everyone is satisfied to just drink a cup of joe while contemplating their life. A new survey shows there are other things you can do during your coffee break – although why you’d want to do any of these things may just distract you further from the tasks at hand.

Careerbuilder.com, an online employment agency, surveyed more than 5,600 full time workers and found almost half take at least one such mini-vacation a day, while 32 per cent go more often. It asked them about the most unusual activity they engaged in during that brief time off, then listed the strangest responses. Among the vitally important tasks written in that java script:

One worker staged a burping contest – although they really should have used a soft drink to make it work better. A second respondent recalled doing a fast re-enactment of the “Rocky Horror Picture Show”, which in 10 minutes likely involved doing the time warp again.

And then there’s the woman who admits to running a race wearing a wedding dress. Perhaps she’s now related to the guy who proposed marriage during his break – and then went back to work.

All of which may be completely explicable. But these certainly aren’t. One employee talked about using his spare time to shrink wrap a co-worker’s new car. Hopefully, he was working in the plastics industry. Another confesses to going outside to chase a weasel. And no, he wasn’t referring to a colleague.

And you can only take a wild guess at the motive of the guy who stepped out for a moment to walk a new-born turkey around the building. Let’s just hope it wasn’t near Thanksgiving.

But of all the activities that take place around this daily ritual, there’s one that speaks volumes. Fifteen per cent admit they use their coffee break to search for another job, with banking and finance workers the leaders in that category, followed by those who toil in the health care profession. They’re obviously more willing to put off the job breaks, so they can slam on their career brakes.

The survey doesn’t say how many actually found work that way. But you can be sure wherever they land, they’ll be getting used to a new boss, new co-workers – and taking a coffee break when they get there. After all, somebody’s got to chase those weasels.

The history of the coffee break