Subject: Accidental brushes at the job
Here’s a strange problem I’ve never run across. About three months ago, I started work in a small office where we’re all crowded together and things are usually quite busy. One older guy always seems to be bumping into or brushing against me. At first I thought nothing of it, but after about the third time, I got suspicious. I get along with everyone and don’t want to mess up a good work environment. So I’m reluctant to tell him to stop it. But I don’t think all these brushes are accidental and I want it to stop. Do you have any suggestions?
Yes, show him what it is like to get “inadvertently” bumped in the head with a “baseball bat.” Make sure you “accidentally” do it every time he “accidentally” brushes against you. Then maybe he will be more cautious next time when he gets too close to you. Actually, what might be a good idea is for you to complain to your boss in his presence about the “size of the office”. You need to state out loud that due to the small amount of room, this man is always bumping into you (or brushing against you). That way you actually go on “record” as letting him know that you are aware of his inadvertent “bumps” without making it seem accusatory (in other words, blame it on the size of the room, but also let him know that you are “aware”). If he has been able to get away with bumping you constantly without YOU saying anything to him, then he is probably also thinking that you are not taking notice of it (or ignoring it). If you complain about the size of the office because of it, then he will have no other choice but to be more careful the next time he is within close vicinity of you. You are right in wanting to stop it without hurting the atmosphere of the office, and if you confront him directly it would be paramount to accusing him of assaulting you (which is probably what he is doing anyway). When you make that kind of accusation against someone, it automatically changes the mood of your work environment. While you should NEVER be victimized in that manner the effects of “putting him in his place” could make the atmosphere VERY uncomfortable for yourself and possibly others. As long as you can find a way to let him “know” that you are “aware” of his incidental “brushes” then that should be enough to curb his behavior. If it still persists after that then you need to alert your superior about it. Maybe it will even help to post this special Phantom Poet message on the bulletin board:
Our office is as small as it could possibly be
My co-worker uses it as an opportunity to “brush” against me
He never apologizes for being so rude
And after each bump he always starts to “protrude”
Well, I’m not that kind of woman, and I think he should know
Only my man can touch me in that way… You got that, bro?
If need be, I can bring him in to teach the lesson to you
With his personal two by four (or four by two)
He will administer a butt whipping that won’t be denied
Then when it comes to office space, you’ll vote to move it ALL outside
I know that sometimes men will be up to their little “tricks”
They try to get themselves a feel, and then their pants they try to fix
Well, ain’t none of that happening here, and I aim to lead by example
I am NOT some type of plate dish where you can try a sample
This is MY body and I aim to keep my assets to myself
So you’d best stay clear of me if you truly value your health
This type of behavior I just will never condone
So behave, and the bumps and bruises you save, just might be your own…
Working my way back to you, babe… The Phantom Poet
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