One of my co-workers is a total slob. Her desk is next to mine. I can ignore (barely) the pile of papers and general filing chaos that is in full view on the desktop. The problem is the food wrappers that she stashes in her drawers, sometimes complete with some tidbits of leftover food. I swear I can smell it but my boss said he did not notice any off odors. (He checked after I talked to him about the mess.). My boss said he talked to my co-worker about cleaning up her act, but I have not noticed any improvement. How can I convince him to do something? Should I point out that the trash is going to attract vermin?
“Pointing things out” is for wimps. Don’t be a wimp — be proactive.
Instead of “pointing out” that your slob of a colleague is going to attract vermin, get a live rat and move it into her desk one weekend. Not only will you get to enjoy the scream when your co-worker discovers it the following Monday, but you will absolutely convince management that she needs to clean up her act now and forevermore.
— Evil Skippy
P.S. Ants would be less dramatic but probably effective.
Don’t hide rats. It is mean to the rat and also will create a whole new nightmare for you if you hide it and then it goes missing instead of being found.
OK, OK — it is almost April 1st. Hide rubber rats. Say it is a “joke”. You still get the screaming and you also get several witnesses to the trashy condition when they come running to see what the screaming is all about.
I was going to veto that idea — but I kind of like it.
Bottom line: There should not be trash in desk drawers – whether or not it reeks. It’s an issue of hygiene and productivity. (It’s also productivity because if your co-worker is unexpectedly absent, no one is going to be able to find anything at the mini-dump.)
Instead of investing in fake vermin, talk to your boss again. Butter him up a bit – thank him for checking things out when you last talked to him. Then tell him the problem is continuing, but you’ve realized the odor is mainly noticeable when your co-worker has the desk drawers open. (Be sure to say “desk drawers” and not “her drawers”. You don’t want to imply that she is an exhibitionist.) Ask him to check inside the drawers (desk drawers). If he still does nothing, wait for you co-worker to be absent and then slip on a pair of rubber gloves and clear out the trash yourself. It’s not fair to have to clean up her mess, but your only options otherwise are to (a) live with the periodic smell if management does not share your view that this is a problem or (b) file a safety complaint with your local government inspectors. Unless this problem is truly and terribly serious, however, escalating this to a formal safety complaint would backfire and make you look like a hyper-compulsive weirdo. Don’t take that step until the effects of the mess honestly impair your ability to do your job.
Readers – what would you do?
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