Hand-Washing and Your Reputation

by Darius Kazemi on January 15, 2007

in management

Here’s some real workplace dialogue, between myself and a name-changed colleague.

Me: Yeah, I try to avoid inviting [senior manager] John Doe to meetings. He doesn’t really know what’s going on, and he won’t accept responsibility for anything.
Annaximander: Oh yeah? The only thing I know about him is that he never washes his hands when he goes to the restroom.
Me: Wow, I didn’t know that.

If I had a nickel for every time I overheard some workplace gossip about so-and-so who doesn’t wash her hands in the restroom, I’d have like $5 right now. This is a subtler version of the please bathe phenomenon. I’d love to walk up to these non-washing folks and shake them hard and say, “You idiot, do you have any idea how badly you’re hurting your work reputation over something so stupid?”

Obviously these folks don’t care about hygiene. But I bet they care about their reputation at work. And when you’re working at a large company where a decent number of people have yet to work with you (or you’re a new employee at any company), it means that the first impression you make on many people will be in the damned restroom.

So wash up already.

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