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Change habits for harmonious living

recruitment: jobspot

When my friend Lucy came back from maternity leave, she found that her old office now housed a man. As far as he was concerned, she was the intruder, and he saw no reason to change the habits he had developed in her absence.

These habits included changing out of his cycling clothes in the office each morning, and breakfasting on garlicladen sandwiches. This breaks two cardinal rules of office etiquette:

Do not take your clothes off at work.

Unless you are involved in a romance (in which case, please keep it out of the office), your colleagues do not want to see your underwear, particularly with you inside it.

Office policies on eating vary. Most are more relaxed than Foster's, which bans all eating and drinking at the desk - after all, most of us do not have a chic Fosterian in-house cafe. But eating anything hot or smelly before midday is certainly not on.

Here are some more rules:

do not shave at your desk;

do not spray deodorant through your shirt at your desk;

do not manicure your toenails at your desk.

Yes, I have known people who did all these. And what about Lucy? She rapidly became pregnant again, and doubtless her morning sickness was not eased by those garlic sandwiches. And when she had the baby, she left. So I suppose the message should be: do not do disgusting things at work unless it is a carefully worked out tactic.

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