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My co-worker is obnoxious

I am working with a man 65 years old and I am 50.  This man chews
tobaco and spits all over the place.  He produces at least a quart of juice
a day, drawing nats, slobering on the phone, just causing a real gross
atmosphere.  He doesn't care who he offends. How do you suggest we deal with

Grossed Out

Docpotter's Reply:

What a unique and disgusting problem! If this person is a co-worker, the approach is
different from him being a supervisor.

Meet with him and attempt to negotiate a mutually acceptable solution.  There is a process in a book by Sharon Bower - Asserting Yourself - that is excellent. She was my student in the way back.  It's probably in the library and you don't need to read the entire book.  She'll show you how to prepare a "script" so you are in control and say what you want, without attacking the other person, to maximzine your chances of success.

If that doesn't work.  Research spitting tobacco with your State or Federal health department. It is probably illegal - especially with the slobber on
the phone and the nats. You may be being exposed to "bio-toxic" waste, etc. Then you can take this to the supervisor to discuss a solution. But just don't dump the problem on sup. Have a proposed solution, such as like you being moved to a different space, for example. And be careful about getting on a high horse. Just be cool.  "This is a health problem and is illegal and I'm being exposed to potential disease and bio-hazard."

Remember, this guy has been doing this for decades and he is undoubtedly addicted, so it's not so easy for him to stop and he's probably completely oblivous to how disgusting he actually is.  So
avoid the blame, attack approach. You don't need to change him. Just get this stuff out of your aura, so to speak.

When talking to supervisor - you will benefit from having prepared one of Bower's scripts.

A high risk strategy would be to somehow video tape a few minutes of the experience.  Then if the man were to see himself as others do - this "might" have an impact - tho he's probably beyond caring about others opinions.  But a few photos of the juice container and slobber taken quietly without
fanfair - may be useful in talking to supervisor - and if necessary - let's hope not - filing with your
complaint to Dept of Labor and Health Dept - etc.  Bower tells how to lay out the "consequences" for
not complying with your request. For supervisor - it would be the complaint to authorities - and you'd need this in writing - since it would be illegal for company to retaliate.  This would be last resort.

Request a transfer to different division or job and state this as reason - and include health facts.


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