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Diatribe: Mind Your Manners – No Personal Grooming At Work.


Baby Boomers remember that, long ago, gentlemen would stand and remove their hats as ladies entered a room.  They would jump up to hold a chair for a woman at a dinner table.  They would hold a door open for her.  Women would bathe, dress and fix their hair in private.  Children referred to adults as “Sir” and “Ma’am” and they stepped outside to belch or pass gas.  They had manners.

Times have changed.  Far too many people have allowed themselves to become completely uncouth.  Now we see men wearing hats in restaurants, others who “fist bump” rather than shake hands, ladies who spit, boys who pick their noses, little girls dressed like burlesque dancers and women applying mascara in the HOV lane.  Some of the biggest changes have occurred in the workplace.  Since the “Dot-com Bubble” of the late 1990s and early 2000s, business dress has become increasingly casual.  Suits and ties for men and dresses for women quietly disappeared from offices across the country and were replaced by khakis and a sport shirt.  With each passing year, “Casual Friday” has become even more casual.

During this time, it appears that manners have gone the way of panty hose and neckties inasmuch as few people seem to bring them to the office.

Apparently, human resources professionals across the nation are hearing more and more complaints about personal grooming habits.  Clipping ones nails at one’s desk appears to be high on the list of annoyances.  A recent survey of workplace pet peeves released by a temporary staffing firm, found that nearly half of those surveyed are offended when people clip or bite their nails at work.  The survey also found that more than forty percent of people were offended by co-workers who remove their shoes at the office and a majority of participants do not want to see co-workers come to the office in ripped jeans or flip-flops.  (Consider wearing those ugly flip-flops to the beach or the pool and not to the office.)

Sure, it’s tempting to kick off your shoes on a hot day but, not surprisingly, a lack of manners at the office can actually harm your career.  If there’s ever a time for cut-backs or lay-offs, the guy the that clips his toenails at his desk will more often than not be the first person shown to the door.

Are you offended by your co-workers’ personal grooming habits at the office?

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From → Diatribes

  1. Let’s see, you’re there to work and unless you’re a manicurist, don’t trim your nails at your desk.
    Unless you’re a hairstylist, leave your hair alone.
    Or, go to the effing restroom and beautify yourself to your heart’s content.


  2. One guy I used to work with clipped his nails at his desk. That was annoying, but not as creepy as the guy who cleaned out his ears with a pencil eraser.


  3. Carrie permalink

    It comes with the territory for me in my profession, but I do refrain from cutting them in the kitchen area.


  4. I work with a woman who has lately had HORRIBLE personal hygiene. She has been wearing dirty clothes and she smells…well, like someone with HORRIBLE personal hygiene. The women’s room in our department has a handicapped stall with its own sink and last Friday a coworker was in the bathroom and heard the water in this sink running and running, and saw water splashing down on the floor so she peeked under the stall and the smelly woman was in there bathing herself in the sink! At first when I heard this I felt bad because I thought perhaps she had become homeless or something but then today I heard her telling someone that she was going to buy some exotic bird for her daughter. You wouldn’t buy a pet bird if you were homeless, right?? So WHY is she using the handicapped stall in the women’s room as her shower?!?!


    • Wow. This story makes me think of a recent episode of “Hoarders” (a guilty pleasure) that featured a man who hadn’t used the bathroom in his apartment for several years. He used bathrooms at nearby fast-food restaurants, corner markets and at his office to freshen up.

      Sounds to me like your colleague has a big problem at home.


      • Hmmmm…I didn’t think of that! She could very well be a hoarder. Whatever the issue is, she most certainly does have a big problem!


  5. People are way to comfortable in public these days. The fact that people go out in pajama pants and aren’t embarrassed. Cutting your nails/taking your shoes off on an airplane. When did we lose our sense of some things remaining private because others don’t want to see them??


  6. RJC permalink

    Sometimes we have ladies who are giving manicures to themselves at their desk. Yes, their jobs include typing. I wish I could update this blog every time I saw inappropriate dress and activity. (Just for fun)


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