LET’S FACE IT GUYS
Every time you take a swig of your Peruvian pour over to wash down that cheesy egg biscuit breakfast, you are feeding millions of hitchhiking germs living in between your crooked teeth. Those germs eat your leftovers and shit all through your mouth, probably because they hate you.
Their fecal donations become even worse while you’re sleeping. Yet, you use the same toothbrush to clean your teeth week after week after week (give or take a week). But, don’t worry. Everything else you clean yourself with is just as disgusting. If you flush the toilet without closing the lid, your whole bathroom will be covered in a fine mist of whatever you put in there. That’s why my bathroom is covered in grape Kool-Aid.
When you’re working in close quarters, such as in an office, spaceship, or prison cell, you are bound to run into someone who hates deodorant or doesn’t know about toothpaste. Most of the time, these folks mean well and simply do not realize their pungent odor. It’s tough to smell yourself unless you really try hard, in which case what the hell are you doing?
As a manager, you can guarantee that your employees will let you know when someone commits an olfactory violation. It’s important to address the situation with the culprit as asap as possible before the gossipers fire up the blab engine and hurt some stinky schmuck’s feelings.
Unfortunately, there are no magic words to hypnotize someone into becoming a showering chicken. Personally, I just increase the level of insensitivity with each infraction from a repeat offender. Smell what I’m saying? It’s like so:
1ST INFRACTION: THE “DON’T WANNA HURT YOUR POOR WITTLE FEEWINGS” APPROACH
Confronting a stank-ass for the first time is awkward because you are revealing to them that they smell bad and everyone knows it but them. This can make a highly confident person not-so-confident, and can turn a timid little feller into a socially destroyed baby fetus. Suppose you’re starting out with your own business and you’ll find yourself surrounded with new young workers…Want to smell it all?
Knowing this, it is best to discuss the situation in a private, one-on-one setting, and remain non-accusatory. If it’s an armpit problem, instead of “Why won’t you bathe!?”, you should just explain that there have been some complaints of a strong odor coming from around their workspace, and ask if they have any food at their desk, if they had sprayed any perfume, or perhaps they are wearing a new cologne. Anyone who’s not completely oblivious to the world around them should get the hint.
If it’s their breath that smells like an armpit, it’s a bit tougher to throw hints at them. Most of the time, fart breath is caused by either cheesy oniony foods or good ol’ American tar sticks. Either way, I’d suggest just telling them to follow up lunchtime with a pack of Wrigley’s and a bottle of Binaca. Isn’t this something when you just try to get your AdWords campaign on track?
2ND INFRACTION: THE “DIDN’T WE TALK ABOUT THIS?” APPROACH
Weeks pass by and, out of the blue, your employee decides to kick off their sweaty shoes and eat a pound of corn chips. Everyone around them complains, so you feel the need to step up and kick them in the solar plexus. Since you’re not quite ready to get fired, you decide to pull them aside again instead. This time, there’s no dancing around the subject. In fact, there’s no dancing at all because dancing is stupid. Dancing should only ever happen at weddings, and weddings should never happen.
The second talk should more or less be “Hey, whatever your name is. I’ve been hearing complaints again. Are you using a different laundry detergent or are you just naturally disgusting?” Well, they won’t tell you everything, right?
If the employee is in a tough situation where they have trouble washing their clothes or cannot afford basic hygiene products, offer to help them out. Or don’t. Your call, but I’d rather spend ten bucks helping them, than to continue listening to other reps whine about it. The smelly bastard should be happy that you are willing to pitch in to improve their well being.
3RD INFRACTION: THE “SERIOUSLY, WHAT THE FUNK?” APPROACH
The third time is definitely not a charm in this case. That unkempt slob either doesn’t care or is doing it on purpose. Check to see if you are working in a barnyard full of farm animals and, if not, it’s time to dish out a harsh dose of embarrassment.
Of course, I’m not saying that you should ever call them out in front of other agents. That’s only acceptable in movies about Wall Street. Speak with them in confidence, but be a straight shooter and explain that they just seriously smell awful. Let them know that you’re still here to help, but either way, they need to get their shit together pronto because it’s distracting others.
In fact, be upfront with them from the beginning. You hear that? Disregard this entire article and just tell them honestly. Awkward situations are made by awkward people. As long as you show them that you genuinely care, they can only be grateful that you have their back.