“reign in blood”

Since: May 09

Wilmington, IL

#1 Mar 24, 2014
DEAR AMY: I work in an office of five women, one being the boss. We are all in our late 30s early 40s. We work for a small company. The HR department is the CEO's son.

One girl has worked here for five years, and since day one she has had it in for me.

She is "scent sensitive" and has a medical letter saying that she cannot be around scents. We have made the office scent free, but every couple of months she complains with a written letter to the boss that I (and only I), must have worn too much perfume to work because she has a headache.

She has moved cubicles so she does not have to deal with anyone (the UPS man, etc.). She sits way in the back of the office by herself. She does not talk to anyone unless spoken to and has no social skills.

The whole office is afraid of her because they fear a lawsuit. For instance, she blamed my "chemistry" when I had to talk to her about work last Friday at 3 p.m. because she said she got a headache from lotion I used at 5 a.m.(at home). When she complains only about me, I feel bullied.

Changing jobs is not an option because frankly everything is perfect except for her (we all agree). Do you think I am being bullied? What should I do?-- My Office Problem

DEAR PROBLEM: The most effective way to deal with this is not to assume you are being bullied, but to perhaps let someone higher up the chain in your company draw an accurate conclusion based on knowledge of your co-worker's and your behavior.

It is obvious that you two have bad chemistry, but so far her response is to basically report you, and your response is to express your frustration to others.

You should minimize any physical contact with her by communicating through phone or email. Be respectful and professional. Document any of her behavior that you feel is aggressive toward you.

The next time this flares up, you should seek a meeting with the same person at your office who receives her complaints and reports. Be low key: "I want you to know that I have done everything possible to minimize friction with my co-worker, and yet I feel singled out when she has symptoms."

DEAR AMY: Why do we spend the first six years trying to convince our children that the world revolves around them and the next 12 years trying to convince them that it doesn't?

My wife and I always preached planning for the future, setting goals and working toward them, being mature enough to delay gratification, etc.

Then, this year, I came down with a serious illness that forced me to confront my own mortality. All of the advice meant to comfort someone in my situation centered around living in the moment, not looking too far ahead and viewing each day as a gift.

The world can be a strange place. Throw a little of your wisdom my way and explain a couple of the ironies of life to me, will you?-- Russ

DEAR RUSS: The world can in fact be a strange place. Human wisdom is not much of a match for life's ironies.

My wisdom on how to cope best through extremely challenging times boils down to one word: balance.

I hope you are able to let some of that gratification you delayed over the years envelope you now. The secret gift of illness is how it can teach us to recognize and appreciate small moments of grace. I hope you experience these moments in abundance.

DEAR AMY: "Upset Mom" sought guidance about how to deal with her son, who was being bullied.

You and the expert you quoted said she was "projecting." If a bigger kid pushed my kid, I would call the police. That's violent -- and wrong.-- Disappointed Reader

DEAR DISAPPOINTED: Helping your child have confidence and teaching him strategies to cope with aggression will be more useful, long term, than involving the police to deal with a schoolyard bully. But I do agree that this is a potentially serious situation.

“reign in blood”

Since: May 09

Chicago, IL

#2 Mar 24, 2014
3- Call the police, hope they arrest you for wasting their time. Cops have no interest getting involved in playground bullying

“A Programmer is not in IT!”

Since: Feb 09

Neda, stay with me! Charlie

#3 Mar 24, 2014
1 I think you should cut off all contact with her completly. Never be alone with her, so she can never definitively say "Who" caused her imaginary problem.

2 If your looking for wisdom from lamy, your cup will remain dry.

3 Your a nutball lady.
not a ghost

San Antonio, TX

#4 Mar 24, 2014
I'm disappointed. Can I have a Jeanne Fleming and Leo Schwartz
"Money Manners" letter instead to mentally much on?
Cass

Salem, OR

#5 Mar 24, 2014
LW1 - Amy has reading comprehension issues. It's a small company, and the "scent sensitive" person has complained about the LW since day 1. The people "up the chain" already know what is going on, and everybody is afraid that the sensitive one will file a discrimination lawsuit. The LW could threaten the same for harassment. She's been taking it "low key" for 5 years and is fed up. I doubt the sensitive lady would win a lawsuit against anyone for their choice of hygiene and skin care products.

LW2 - "Why do we spend the first six years trying to convince our children that the world revolves around them and the next 12 years trying to convince them that it doesn't?"

I don't know. Why DO you? I don't.

LW3 - You are nuts. Really, really, really nuts. Police do not respond to calls about playground scuffles about who gets to push around the truck, and who gets to go on the swing first. They also don't respond to middle schoolers giving each other wedgies.

“An Apple a day”

Since: Jun 08

nil carborundum illegitemi

#6 Mar 24, 2014
1. Stay away from this coworker. Quit whining.

2. What is the point of this letter.

3. Another whiner!

“The two baby belly, please!”

Since: Sep 09

Evanston IL

#7 Mar 24, 2014
LW1: I would follow RACE's advice: never be alone with her, never go in her cube, conduct all business via email or phone, no matter what.

And my passive-aggressive self would also get a haz-mat suit and put it on if I had to deal with her in person.

LW2: What the f*ck are you talking about?

LW3: Oh boy, I bet your kid is an insufferable brat.
Pippa

Hancock, NY

#8 Mar 24, 2014
1: I agree that you should keep all contact with this woman via phone, email, instant messaging. If she asks why, simply tell her the truth - that since it appears that even when you aren't aware of using any scent she still seems to be allergic to your own personal scent or some scent you are not aware of wearing and you wish to help her. Whether it's an allergy as some call it or simply an extreme sensitivity, it could be possible that using a lotion at 5 am may still cause her problems hours later. Many products we use without even thinking that they have a scent do have scents. So if the woman has been complaining for 5 years about your "scent," maybe there is something you're using that you aren't aware of. Laundry detergents/fabric softeners, hair products and other products often have scents added and I bet there are many items that have no scent-free alternatives. Ask your other co-workers to what extent they've changed the products they purchase in order to protect this woman. You may be surprised. But possibly this woman simply doesn't like you and IS making it all up. In that case, keeping yourself physically out of her "realm" should protect you. She can't complain if you are no where near.

2: Only God knows everything and we poor humans can only do the best we can which obviously is no where near perfect. If you've been focused on the future, you can still be focused on the future. But I advise using all those gifts people have given you over the years that you've kept for your old age. If you don't use them, your kids are going to think you didn't like them when they clean out your home after you die. You can still look toward the future but don't forget to live the life you have today.

3: Call the police? Maybe. It depends on the situation and whether the school personnel have handled it properly. If a child is regularly tormented by a particular student or group of students and it doesn't stop, you may have to go further than the teacher and principal. You might need the advice of a lawyer. If your kid is beaten up off school grounds and you're quite certain your child didn't initiate the attack, then definitely call the police. It's what you'd do if someone attacked you wouldn't you? It's what we did when our handicapped son was beaten up while walking home from school one day. There was at least one store owner who witnessed the teenager attack my son and he called us to let us know. In that case calling the police was the only recourse we had because the attack had not occurred on school property.
cheluzal

Plant City, FL

#9 Mar 24, 2014
1: What the eff!? I am sensitive with the nose of a hound but this is bordering on [lock her up or get a friggin home-based job, whackjob].
Although I will say having people afraid of a lawsuit from me sounds peachy...how can I get that level of fear at my job, lol?
I work with older, larger women and this tall, skinny, young white girl gets NO considerations! Maybe I need a dr's note...lol...

Seriously, I would start filing letter complaints against HER. If she says she smells you and yoou've put nothing on, that is harrassment. CYA
blunt advice

Brooklyn, NY

#10 Mar 24, 2014
1. So....you work in a company with 5 women and 1 man who is the owners son. This lady is a relative, family friend, or is banging sonny boy in hr.
cheluzal

Plant City, FL

#11 Mar 24, 2014
Cass wrote:
LW2 - "Why do we spend the first six years trying to convince our children that the world revolves around them and the next 12 years trying to convince them that it doesn't?"
I don't know. Why DO you? I don't.
Me either.
I get them at 13-14 and it's a reality shock that whining or asking the same answered questions repeatedly doesn't badger me to change the answer. My no is no.
Life is tough; get a helmet.
These little kids need to stop being coddles and entitled; it's just not working out too well, methinks.

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