Do Better, Be Better: Life Advice with S. Tia Brown

January 5, 2012  |  

Dear Tia,

I have a co-worker who is beautiful, friendly and great at her job. There is only one issue: She smells. Our office is set up with lots of cubicles and very few people have private work places. In addition, we often confer to go over details of current projects. The communal nature of our work environment means that we interact with each other often, and people talk. My co-worker has become the butt of many office jokes. She smells when she passes by and we can always tell when she’s been in the ladies’ room. Here’s my dilemma: Do I tell her? I’m sure her odor impacts the way she is perceived by higher ups. In addition, it’s hard sitting through meetings with her present. Plus, I’m tired of all the chatter behind her back. What should I do? — Funky Office Politics

Dear FOP,

Sorry that you’re nostrils are suffering in silence. I find it hard to believe that this woman has no idea that a pungent odor is permeating from her body, which likely means she ok with it or can’t control smell (it may be a medical issue). Since you haven’t indicated that you are friends with this woman, I suggest that you clip your nose and mind your manners. Instead of taking it directly to her, address it with your supervisor. Inform him or her of issue, and ask them to handle in the appropriate way based on the company’s corporate policy.

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