Imagine you are sitting nicely at your desk minding your own business when all of a sudden your peaceful moment is overwhelmed by a noxious odor coming from your co-worker’s desk. If it’s a repeat offender you probably already knew this would happen since it’s become habitual with said coworker. Even if that’s the case, each time your senses are offended by whatever your coworker’s lunch du jour is, your flight or fight response kicks into overdrive and your urge to flee the area becomes overwhelming.
If you’re following me so far you know I’m talking about that coworker who constantly brings a foul smelling lunch on a regular basis into the office. Whether it’s microwaved fish, curry, day old chinese or (insert your own here) inevitably you’re going to spend your afternoon attempting not to gag on the perfectly acceptable non-odorous lunch you were kind enough to bring in so as not to offend your other co workers.
First of all let’s consider about why on earth someone thinks it is ok to bring in any food to an enclosed area if it has a pungent aroma. It’s always possible that they are completely desensitized to smells. Or perhaps their olfactory gland malfunctions. Sinus infection? Chronic post nasal drip? Or maybe they’re slowly trying to drive you crazy…or get you to quit. All realistic possibilities.
Now we need to talk about what you’re going to do to solve this problem. I’ve got a few ideas. Some crazy and some totally realistic. All apropos for the situation at hand though.
- Buy yourself some anti-nausea meds and white knuckle your way through it.
- Do the opposite and every time your coworker starts to eat, vomit into their trash can while they’re eating. Subtle I know
- Go directly to HR, do not pass go, do not stop to collect…oh wait I digress. Seriously just go to human resources and they’ll probably put out some memo to address the situation. It’s anonymous and underhanded sure but it’ll do the job.
- Bring your own smelly food and eat it right outside of their cube every day. Then leave the leftovers in their trash.
- Purchase air fresheners and stick them all over your coworkers desk. (preferably while they’re not there)
See this is another one of those touchy subjects. You don’t want to start an office war so it’s really impossible to confront them directly without offending them. But if you’re aiming to get written up or fired or you’ve already quit, go for it!