I am slated to open an office in a prestigious location with a co-worker coming up in September. I have long had issues with his grooming, yet he seems completely unaware and when I drop slight and, at times, bold hints–he thinks it’s a joke.
I don’t want to make you sick, but it’s everything! This guy is going to meetings with the public and I am HORRIFIED.
He is a walking dork: the same haircut with all the same cowlicks from when he was 5, long hair (with attachments) coming from his nose and ears, clothes that do not fit (pants too short and too old), chapped lips and hands, and spittle always at the corner of his lips.
I will not work with him in another environment. How on EARTH can I get him to give himself a makeover? Between his approach and appearance, I am horrified. Too bad the big boss does not take this as seriously as I do. Please help!!! (Cornelius, North Carolina)
Present pop society may be obsessed about men making the effort to look better, but it’s not a crime for someone to choose to be a slob.
Some companies have a dress code, particularly for employees who interact with the public and represent the style of that firm. It’s very difficult for an employer to technically single out one employee and call him out on the coals for looking like a dork. A boss can suggest that the employee spends more attention to his or her grooming, but face it, once a pig, always a pig: this guy most likely joined the company looking no different than he does today and remains at his job because he performs well.
You don’t want to seem like a pest, but you can politely suggest some image counseling for ALL employees to match the level of elegance that your new office portrays as a suggestion to your boss. Provide some local cost-efficient ways to see the project through and solid reasons for having the company undergo this effort and what the difference can make to the marketplace. If your boss says no way, leave the idea alone.
Spend your efforts making the most of what you’ve got on all levels- professional, personal, and physical. If this guy continues to make you nauseous and embarrassed, start looking for another job where you feel totally at ease to perform as well as you can without the burden of working alongside of a slob.
— March 30, 2004