Beware the Soup Martyrs

Next time you’re in the lunch room, see if you can spot someone who does the following:

  1. They sit down to eat for 10 minutes.
  2. While they’re sitting, they only talk about work.
  3. The only thing they eat is a tiny bowl of soup (with an optional side-salad consisting of three leafs of lettuce).

Congratulations!  You’ve identified a Level I Soup Martyr.  

These keeners who deliberately forsake solid food so they can get back to work as soon as possible just BUG ME.  Oooh, aren’t they SO BUSY and SO INDISPENSABLE?  Don’t you wish you were more like them? 

Gee, maybe the rest of us lazy slobs should also gulp down our food, instead of selfishly eating tuna fish and (gasp)  using up the ENTIRE 45-minute lunch break.

But that’s only a Level I Soup Martyr.   At least these guys will make an appearance at lunch and pretend to socialize.  The Level II Soup Martyr, on the other hand, won’t even take the lousy 10-minute break.  They’ll bring their meal back to their office and catch up on work-related reading.

My God, that’s just SAD.  

While they’re at it, why dont’ they wear a hair shirt and start flagellating themselves in public? 

A Soup Martyr can be anyone, but (big surprise) they’re usually senior managers who are graduates of the Chip Implant Academy.   Poor souls, they’ve been “assimilated” into believing Uncle Big Brother is more important than basic bodily functions like eating.  (Sleeping is next to go, followed by family life.)

But at least the Level I and Level II martyrs are only affecting themselves.  They’re relatively harmless.   Who you REALLY have to watch out for are the Level III Soup Martyrs.  

These individuals have achieved the highest level of Meal Martyrdom.   They have attained a Zen-like state where they are able to fore-go the midday meal altogether, and can work on nothing but fumes and feelings of Action-Oriented Proactivitiy.  What makes Level III’s dangerous is they assume everyone else can (and shall ) be able to match their standards of workaholism.    

For example, I was once at a meeting that (I kid you not) went non-stop from 9:30 AM to 1:30 PM.   There was no coffee served, no food brought in, and no pee breaks were called.  

Everyone just sat at around the table, afraid to leave, while Mr. Marquis de Sade soldiered on, covering each of the several hundred items on the agenda.  Meanwhile, people to my left and right were dropping like flies.  (I think one person ended up on the floor in a fetal position, sobbing).  

Worst.  Meeting.   Ever.  

Towards the end, I was so delirious from lack of hunger, that I had visions of getting on the table and throwing my feces around the room, just like an enraged, stressed-out Chimp would.    (AEEECK! AEEECK! AEEECK! )   

(Fortunately the meeting ended and it didnt’ have to come to that.) 

THAAAAANK YOU, Mr. Soup Martyr!    

Moral of the story is, if you ever feel you’re too busy to eat, and you want to cut your lunch break short, watch out!  You don’t ever want to become one of THEM.  

The good news, though, is there’s a simple cure.  Next time you feel like over-working, just order a Super-Deluxe Double Cardiac Burger with fries and gravy.   By the time you’re finished eating, you’ll be ready for a nap at your desk, and all feelings of Soup Martyrdom will have vanished. 

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9 Comments on “Beware the Soup Martyrs”

  1. Ellen Says:

    Holy Shit Friar! I am cracking up! The chimp poop flying everywhere! AAAAhHHH!
    Thank you for making my day! Nothing like a good belly laugh.

    I have worked with the dreaded level III types before. Man, this guy was EVIL. See, and I was so naive back then to think people in the environmental field were all enlightened kind, soft loving, tree-hugger kinda types. Not this guy. He was an ex airforce arrogant prick pilot. Could there be anything worse? Truly, I think he was a sociopath because he didn’t have feelings and had these lstone cold little eyes. He probably still has them.

  2. I confess – I used to eat at my desk a lot, but I had good reasons. First, I was too broke to buy lunch so I brought it. Second, the cafeteria was a ten minute walk away in the huge gargantuan office complex. Third, by skipping my lunch break, I got to leave half an hour earlier, which mean I could either stay and get some overtime, or go home and get some writing done. Believe me, at the job I’m talking about, I was little miss social butterfly (once I got in my comfort zone, which only took about nine months). Forgive me for being desk-bound during the noon meal? Please? Please?

  3. Friar Says:

    @ Ellen. HAHAHAHAH! I laughed out loud at “prick pilot”. Never heard that one before! Love that expression! I’m going to adopt it and start using it as my own.

    Actually, the prick pilot who ran the long meeting I described also had stone cold eyes. Mabye he’s related to your prick pilot.

    @Melissa. Awww…dont’ worry. All is forgiven. Actually, you don’t qualify as a martyr if you work extra in order to take time off later or get extra compensation. (I should have added that). I really only have an issue with the Level III meal-skippers who force it on the rest of us.

    As for walking a long way to eat. I hear ya. I park on company property and it’s a KILOMETER to my office (That has to be a record). It’s at least 10 minutes to walk to the cafeteria. (And for safety reasons, we’re not allowed any food at our desk).

  4. Crystal Says:

    Howdy Friar…just popped over from Brett’s 6Weeks because of the “Hire Olaf the ThunderFuck as a consultant” line…had to see who writes that kind of thing.

    And so now I’m laughing even harder (which I didn’t think possible) because of the poor darling in the meeting-induced fetal position and the “prick pilot”, but I’m also horrified to find I’m a Level II Soup Martyr—even though I work from home for myself 😛

    Like I told Kelly from MCE the other day, bad habits die hard. Three years out of the cube and I’ve slipped right back to workaholicitis. Thanks for putting a funny face on it so I can at least laugh at my patheticism 🙂

  5. Friar Says:

    Hi Crystal

    Thanks for dropping by!

    Well, don’t be too hard on yourself. As a Level II Soup Martyr, you’re only affecting yourself.

    Fortunately you can break the cycle by sitting down and having a hearty meal. Maybe (just this once), treat yourself to some unhealthy take-out food that you shouldn’t be eating. (The Friar gives you permission. 🙂 )

  6. Brett Legree Says:


    It’s okay to be a Level II soup martyr if you’re working for yourself! Or if you’re doing it so you can leave early, as Melissa said above.

    Now, cutting out lunch or not eating so that someone *else* makes money…

    Like the guy in the office beside me. Classic Level II all the way. Eats the same instant soup – same flavour – each day. Boils the water at 11:05, takes it back to his office.

  7. Friar Says:


    Yes, I should have qualified that. It’s not martyrdom if you’re doing it in order that you can slack off later. Or if you’re working for yourself.

    There are probably sub-catergories.

    There is also the soup martyr apprentice-wanna-bee. Who skips meals and announces it to everyone so the boss is impressed.

    There is also the Chair Martyr. People who chose to stand for 2 hour meetings when there aren’t enough chairs to go around.

  8. […] my recent post about the Soup Martyrs , I’d like to describe another variation of self-imposed martyrdom in the workplace.   […]

  9. […] Don’t forget the Soup Martyrs and Standing-Room […]

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