Bob Goldman

Now, how can I put this delicately?

You stink!

No, I am not referring to your abilities at your job, though I can understand why you took it that way. When your manager tells you that you stink, it's natural to think it's a comment on your performance at work, not the lack of performance of your deodorant at work.

(As if you'd ever consider soiling your natural, flavorful aroma with a crass commercial product such as deodorant. A splash of Old Spice, maybe. A spritz of Donald Trump for madame, of course. But deodorant? Never.)

If you think it's uncomfortable for you to be told that your pits are toxic, or your breath so acrid it could blister paint, consider how difficult this kind of frank conversation is for your boss.

Managers hate confrontation. They prefer to gather in a secret cabal up on Mahogany Row, scheming your career destruction -- the communication of which they delegate to their lackeys in HR. To actually come face-to-face with a person, or a problem, or a person with a problem is always the last resort of the uber-powerful executive.

If you are wondering how I know so much about office odor management, the answer is EBB Executive Reports.

Since someone as far down the org. chart as you is unlikely to be on the emailing list of this elite organization, allow me to explain that the mission of EBB Executive Reports is to "help time-pressed executives and managers hone and polish critical business skills in under an hour." As a person who, like yourself, enjoys honing and polishing, I quickly clicked to learn more about a "solution-packed, 21-page report, 'Handling Difficult Conversations with Employees.'" (If there's anything I like better than honing and polishing, it's packing solutions. How about you?)

This particular EBB offering definitely confirmed my analysis of the depth of uncertainty and terror that suffuses the executive mind when forced to talk to with a lowly employee. What other reason could there be for shelling out 99 snakeroots for a 21-page report that promises to "eliminate the fear of confronting employees" and provide "keys to delivering hard-hitting messages, without being the 'bad guy?'"

Frankly, I thought bosses loved to be the "bad guy," especially when it comes to collecting keys -- like the key to the washroom, which you have to hand over when security marches you out of the building.

Bob Goldman

Bob Goldman is a business humor writer.

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