Ask Jack: Toilet Troubles, Workplace Gossip, and Job of the Week

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Businessman sitting on toilet with feet up, writing list on paper
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We begin with the inside poop for this anonymous AOL Jobs reader, writing to us from outside the United States:

Work bathroom etiquette is a minefield. Say you go in a cubicle where there is -- ahem -- poop stuck to the toilet bowl. But there are no other cubicles free so you decide to go in that loo. After all, the poop isn't going to climb up the side of the bowl and get you. So you have a wee and flush and all that, and the poop is still there. But it's not your poop. Then you come out and find that the next person in line is your co-worker. Do you ignore the fact that the bowl of the toilet has poop on it? Or do you say "it wasn't me!" Or what?

You see, I could tell you weren't in the U.S., because here, if you find poop in your "cubicle," it's time to call in the HazMat team. Work restrooms are bizarre and troubling places, and I've heard that men and women are equally guilty: The guy who won't use a urinal next to another man. The woman who won't, ahem, "sit down." The anonymous person who destroys the bowl and doesn't flush or sticks 40 pounds (18.1 kg) of toilet paper in there so it can't flush. It's a real $#*% show in there! Well, when you're forced to use a pre-ruined stall, you have a couple of choices. You can wait it out till the coast is clear. (Women give men grief for bringing in reading materials, but it can come in very handy in this scenario.) Or else, really play up the horror as you exit: "I don't know who was in there before me but MY GOD!!!" Because if you don't, well... read the next question!


Reader Karla says:

My co-workers won't stop gossiping!!! They are relentless. No topic is too small, no person is safe, and they are so mean! How can I make them stop?


Unfortunately, gossip in the workplace is practically unavoidable. It's like I was saying to my great buddy Craig here at AOL the other day -- oh and by the way don't tell anyone but did you hear Craig's girlfriend like totally kicked him out of their apartment? Because he made out with her COUSIN at some party!! What a MORON am I right, hahahaha!!! Wait, what were we talking about? Oh right, gossip. Some workplaces create environments where gossip thrives, due to lack of transparency, bosses encouraging cliques of "favorites," etc., and that is usually outside your control. But as an individual you can fight back by refusing to participate. Try not to come off as a prude; that might just make you a target. But just try to be the more mature person. When gossipy talk begins, simply say, "You know, I'm not really interested in talking behind people's backs. That's not my thing." Or "I don't want people talking about me, so I try not to talk about them." And walk away. You might actually have an influence on those gossip goons.

Click here for last week's questions

Do you have a work-related question for Jack? Write it in the comments below (better answers to this week's questions are also welcome!) or tweet it @AOLJobs with the hashtag #AskJack.

Jack's Job of the Week

Uh-oh. This work toilet is really backed up. Better call a plumber. In fact, we better hire a plumber. Hey, there's also an opening for a plumber in Columbia, South Carolina, and it's listed on AOL Jobs. Whatever your talent, whatever your region, you can likely find a good job here. So why are you sitting around? Do a search at AOL Jobs right now!

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