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Aunty B’s Top 10: Office politics

James Thomson /

Dear Aunty B,

I have great trouble liking a guy in my office. For a start, he looks like something out of Harry Potter with yellow teeth and bloodshot eyes, he’s unshaven, he’s got dirty glasses and his trousers hang down over his bottom because of a protruding belly.

He has really annoying habits like trying to belch quietly and NEVER succeeding, and he gets hay fever (especially now) and wipes his nose on his shirtsleeve.

He has a really grating laugh and he whines when he has a problem. And he has this weird kind of wheaty breath that is disgusting. He is also incredibly boring and does absolutely nothing on the weekend except mow his lawn and plant things.

It’s not just me. Everyone tries to avoid him. And now guess what Aunty B? He has been moved to my pod and put on one of our projects.

It gets worse. I have been working on a specific area and he is now in charge of the number crunching and analysis, which means we will be working really closely for the next six months!

Aunty, he grosses me out and puts me off my work because all I can think about is getting away from him. Everyone is feeling really sorry for me but no more so than me!

SG,
NT

Dear SG,

Oh for goodness sakes! Grow up. You don’t have to like someone to work with them. My God. If we paid attention to what people wear or what they talked about at work we would tear out our hair and run howling from our office! That’s what you have a social life for. So we can pick the people we hang out with.

So get this. You don’t have to eat with him, sleep with him or engage in meaningful conversation. You just have to work with him.

So you have two options. First one is to turn into his mother. Take off his glasses and clean them. Whip out a box of tissues and tell him to stop using his sleeve. Give him an anti acid tablet every morning before you even begin work for the belching. Give him drops for his bloodshot eyes and buy him a belt for his trousers. Squeal every time he puts something disgusting into his mouth and explain to him how he can lead a more healthy lifestyle by eating better. Leave a big bowl of mints around and offer them to him throughout the day. Leave out some teeth whitening brochures and ask him out on the weekend so he has something interesting to talk about.

No? I thought not.

So here is what you must do. Nothing. Learn to switch off and be very professional around him. Focus on the job you have to do and how best you can work with him. And you never know. You might find hidden depths or a surprising sense of humor. Though I would leave the mints around. And maybe the tissues…

Be smart,
Your Aunty B

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