The professional world can be tricky to navigate.  As I begin to build my reputation in the business world, I am learning a lot about networking and the dos and don’ts of business etiquette.

Today I attended my first professional luncheon hosted by a local accounting firm.  Because I had an hour between class and the luncheon, I ate a small lunch (homemade black bean burritos) before the luncheon began.  The luncheon went well and few noticed I wasn’t eating.  I have some tips for those who may be attending professional luncheons in the future.

1.  Don’t assume. I assumed that the luncheon would be a buffet and I, luckily, was right.  Had I been wrong…. well, I’m not sure what I would have done honestly.  When in doubt, e-mail the organizer of the event and ask about the menu.  You do not need to state that you are vegan, just that you have some questions.  You might be able to skip the meal and eat before or after the event, or bring your own food.

Once you find out what kind of menu (plated vs. buffet, what food is served, who is doing the catering) you can decide what next to do.  If you need to eat at the event and are not able to bring your own food, contacting the catering company or the restaurant is the next step.  Contacting the restaurant or caterer directly also cuts out the middle man and provides you with more accurate information.  The event organizer may not know every ingredient of every dish and does not likely have the ability to get you a meal that fits your requirements.

2.  Be careful of what you say. Don’t tell people you are lactose intolerant when you are not just to avoid dairy, but it is ok to say you are not hungry (even though you may be) when someone asks why you are not eating.  It is also ok to change the subject if people start questioning you about what you are eating if you are not comfortable discussing your diet.  You may run into individuals who take jokes too far or who may make rude comments about your choices.  Remember to rise above the comments and tell them that you are not ok with what they have said but you can discuss it later.

3.  Above all, relax and have fun. I know it can be difficult to watch others eat meat and deal with comments and looks, but enjoy the luncheon for what it is: a chance to network, possibly learn something new, and a break from your regular work routine.

If you have any tips for dealing with professional events leave a comment!

Cassie

My Transition

As I mentioned in my first post,  I am still new to veganism.  My journey has been a rewarding one so far and one that I intend to continue on for the rest of my life.

Until this year (and more specifically, the past several months),  I was never into animal rights.  To the old me, it seemed like a contradiction.  Animals aren’t supposed to have rights!  They are animals!  I hunted small game with my dad and his friends and while I didn’t have a problem actually killing the animal, I was never able to skin it.  Nor was I ever able to chop up the animal into parts.  I left those jobs to my father.

In high school I had a friend who was a vegetarian (she is no longer vegetarian).  She was vegetarian because she was not comfortable eating a dead body.  To her, the life of a cow and a fish was equal to that of a human.  I disagreed with her reasoning then but her just being vegetarian was enough to plant a seed in my brain.

Then, almost three years after I graduated high school, I decided to give up all meat, poultry, and fish for Lent.  My original intention was to be vegetarian only for the duration of Lent.  But as Lent progressed I began doing more research into vegetarianism.  I started looking at vegetarian blogs and even joined a vegetarian forum.   I began to educate myself on the treatment of livestock and after a lot of thinking and praying, I realized I was no longer comfortable eating meat.  I realized that the practice of eating meat was not line in with my other beliefs.  So after Easter Sunday I announced that I was going to remain a vegetarian.

Then, over the summer, I began to look into the treatment of dairy cows and laying hens.  I began doing research on animal testing and what happens to the animals that are used for leather and wool and other products we use everyday.  And I realized that I wanted nothing to do with any of it.

But I was still hesitant to make the change I knew I needed to: go vegan.  And then I watched the film “Earthlings”.  And seeing how we treated animals, instead of reading about it, made the decision to become vegan the easiest thing to do.

I had my “last meal” as a non-vegan on August 22, 2010.  August 23, 2010 was the first day of my veganism.

My Philosophy

I believe that all life is sacred.  I believe that my life is not worth more than the life of any other living being.  I believe that it is wrong to exploit animals and use them as tools to get what you want.  I believe that we can all live together peacefully.

Welcome to my blog, “A Considerate Life”. A Considerate Life is about living as a vegan in a very non-vegan city.  It is about learning to navigate grocery stores, restaurant menus, and social events.  It is about shattering stereotypes of vegans and veganism and providing support to others in similar situations.

I am new to veganism and still learning. I don’t believe it is possible to be 100% cruelty-free in our world.  There are animal ingredients in nearly everything and many products are still required to be tested on animals.  I hope that some day this will change, but until then it is about living as cruelty-free as I can and learning to adapt as I go.  I make mistakes and I am willing to admit as much.  And when I do make a mistake, I learn from it and will move on.

I am not “just” a vegan. Veganism is a huge part of my life but it is only a part of my life.  I am a sister, a daughter, a student, a cook, and an optimist.  I believe in the good of people.  I like puzzles and organizing things and decorating.  I am a sucker for books and kitchen equipment.  I have big dreams but I doubt myself and sell myself short sometimes.

It is my goal to get you to think and start a discussion.  I want everyone to feel comfortable to reply with what they think, even if it disagreeing with what I posted.  We can’t learn if we aren’t challenged.

Cassie

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