Make us your home page

Career Q&A: Perfume has no place in the office

Q: My co-worker's perfume is driving me crazy. Whenever I'm near "Brittany," my eyes water and I start to get a headache. After I talked with human resources, Brittany was moved to a different cubicle, but I still have to walk past her several times a day. I went to HR again, but nothing changed. What should I do?

A: No one should wear perfume to work. Ever. There is no reason to do so, and many people find the smell offensive. For those who are allergic to the ingredients, perfume feels like office air pollution.

Instead of relocating your fragrant colleague, the HR manager should have simply told Brittany to ditch the scents. But because that didn't happen, just be thankful that she is no longer nearby and walk quickly whenever you have to pass her desk.

Weighing career change: stay or go?

Q: I feel as though I'm trapped in the family business. For the past 10 years, I have worked for my father-in-law, "Frank." My brother- and sister-in-law are also employed here. When Frank retires, the three of us are supposed to take over the company.

My fear is that this arrangement will not work out well. For one thing, I'm not sure that three people can actually run a business together. Also, Frank tends to be very controlling and could have a hard time letting go. These issues could adversely affect the company's success.

I left the corporate world to join this family firm, and I sometimes regret that decision. I know I have the potential to do more, but with a wife and three kids to support, changing jobs seems risky. When I once mentioned that possibility, Frank angrily threatened to sabotage my career.

Although I think about this regularly, I can't make up my mind. Should I stay and do my best to help the business succeed? Or should I get up my nerve and quit, hoping that my wife will back me up?

A: If you quit the family business without consulting your wife, you will have a whole new set of problems. Your career choice affects her in many ways, so don't make this decision unilaterally. Instead, the two of you must carefully weigh the pros and cons.

As you ponder your options, try to imagine your desired future five years down the road. What kind of work would be most fulfilling? What sort of lifestyle do you hope to have? What is most important for your children? See which path seems more likely to lead to your ideal scenario.

Because your father-in-law is something of a bully, either choice will require some careful planning. If you elect to stay, you need a legal agreement describing Frank's eventual transition to retirement and the subsequent partnership with your in-laws. But if you choose to leave, you must prepare for the inevitable family drama.

Even though the decision is difficult, you need to make a conscious choice based on your goals. Don't stay just because leaving is hard, and don't leave just because the family is frustrating.

Career Q&A: Perfume has no place in the office 06/13/14 [Last modified: Friday, June 13, 2014 10:27pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Tribune News Service.

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. 'Road to Nowhere' is back: Next phase of Suncoast Parkway coming


    Despite intense public opposition and dubious traffic projections, the Florida Department of Transportation has announced that construction of the toll road known as "Suncoast 2" is expected to start in early 2018.

    The Suncoast Parkway ends at U.S. 98 just south of Citrus County. For years residents have opposed extending the toll road, a project dubbed the "Suncoast 2" into Citrus County. But state officials recently announced that the Suncoast 2 should start construction in early 2018. [Stephen J. Coddington  |  TIMES]
  2. A sports rout on Wall Street


    NEW YORK — Sporting goods retailers can't shake their losing streak.

  3. Grocery chain Aldi hosting hiring event in Brandon Aug. 24


    BRANDON — German grocery chain Aldi is holding a hiring event for its Brandon store Aug. 24. It is looking to fill store associate, shift manager and manager trainee positions.

  4. Lightning owner Jeff Vinik backs film company pursuing global blockbusters


    TAMPA — Jeff Vinik's latest investment might be coming to a theater near you.

    Jeff Vinik, Tampa Bay Lightning owner, invested in a new movie company looking to appeal to a global audience. | [Times file photo]
  5. Trigaux: Look to new Inc. 5000 rankings for Tampa Bay's future heavyweights


    There's a whole lotta fast-growing private companies here in Tampa Bay. Odds are good you have not heard of most of them.


    Kyle Taylor, CEO and founder of The Penny Hoarder, fills a glass for his employees this past Wednesday as the young St. Petersburg personal advice business celebrates its landing at No. 25 on the 2017 Inc. 5000 list of the fastest growing private companies in the country. Taylor, still in his 20s, wins kudos from executive editor Alexis Grant for keeping the firm's culture innovative. The business ranked No. 32 last year. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times]