Eating on the Job

I work for several different booking agencies. Many of them have it stated in my contract that eating on the job is strictly prohibited, but its sooo hard to ignore the smell of fresh popcorn, sweet cotton candy, grilled hamburgers and all the yummy sweets parties are known for serving.

Face Painting and Eating

It wasn’t until I was photographed at a party with a mouth full of cookie that I decided to put a nix on eating on the job.

  • It was not hygienic to eat near my paints
  • It was rude to be eating will I am being paid to do a job
  • If I wanted to maintain a professional persona then I needed to be prepared on the job which includes eating before a job or arranging a break time to eat outside my painting vicinity.

I get hired to do long events where I might be standing on my feet for over 6 hours. Bending and lifting kids can not only work up a hunger, but food is a must when you are working at such an intense pace. Whenever I have an event booked for longer than 4 hours I always require a 15 minute break and I pack a light lunch that I can eat during my break. I learned this method the hard way, but to this day my method helps me avoid hunger headaches and ensures I am able to do my best job possible.

Because of my Latin roots and the majority of the parties I attend are hosted by latin people, they are always offering me plates of food and sometimes alcohol. Latin people are notorious for demanding that you eat their food and enjoy it. I explain to the host that I do not eat during my jobs, but they can always pack a plate to go. Most of the time I do not want the food they are offering anyways, but letting them know I will take a plate to go kills 2 birds with one stone so that I don’t offend anyone or have to stop painting to eat.

I also do a lot of events that have lavish catered food and I make sure never to assume I am allowed to eat the food until the event planner invites me. Nothing is ruder than standing in line in  front of invited guests and serving yourself a plate of food. I look at myself and a hired guest, and I would not appreciate someone eating from my party without an invitation to do so.

If you are a hiring agent, I suggest writing some general rules to avoid your performers potentially embarrassing you. Make sure to state that there is no eating on the job and that alcohol on the job is strictly prohibited. If the client requests that you eat, you must wait until your contracted time is over or request a plate to go.

By laying down rules you can avoid losing a gig and setting a standard for professional behavior. Sometimes stating the obvious can mean the difference between a headache and a tip. Communicate everything assume nothing. Words to live by.

Happy Painting!

Heather is the CEO of Silly Farm Supplies, a retailer of face and body art supplies.

5 thoughts

  1. I have this problem. I never have eaten on a job, but its a struggle! There have been jobs where I have sat at the same table for 6 hours+ and havnt had so much as a bathroom break because the lines were non stop and I had no help (or no help that can paint at least) I’ve had to work in a 15 minute break into them now. When you get out of your chair and your knees buckle because they havent been used for hours kinda sucks!

  2. I usually pack a bag full of snacks, and lots of water. I attend mostly outdoor events, the heat makes my appetite disappear, but I know i need to keep a steady flow for energy and to do my best work. So I pack grapes, veggies, peanut butter crackers, etc and I plan to take a small break every 8-10 faces, not only to eat, but to stretch my body as well. I have never had any one that wasn’t willing to wait another 3 minutes so I could hydrate, use the restroom, and stretch.

    1. i suggest no peanut or nut products because you can pass it to someone with a severe allergy… my son is highly allergic and i could just touch him if i just at a cracker and he would have a reaction… just a little reminder

  3. Great point Heather,

    I am confident in saying ALL Artists love, love, love their job. We can get so caught up in our love for what we do, that we ignore the need to eat and take a bathroom break until it’s too late.

    We must keep in mind, to perform at our best we must be at our best. Take a stand and put HEALTH first.

    Top 3 Tips to keep it HEALTHY:

    1. Eat and hydrate to satisfaction at least 45 minutes before your gig.
    2. Empty your bladder and the likes before arriving to your gig.
    3. Stretch your back, hips, knees, legs, arms and neck thoroughly before your gig.

    Until we chat again…Keep it pawsitive,

Leave a Reply