Right Working Romantic Related Learning Friendly Healthy Legal Inspirational Unfiltered

Some Coworkers Suck, But This One Really Blows

, , , , , , , , | Working | August 22, 2023

I sacked someone for blowing his nose. To this day I still feel a bit bad about this, though to some extent it was accidental.

I was the manager of the Assembly division of a small business that produced something very seasonal. I don’t want to say what because it was very niche, so let’s just say it was deckchairs.

For most of the year, most of the staff would make the parts for the “deckchairs”. Come the busy season, almost all the staff would be reassigned to my division to assemble deckchairs at high speed. I would supervise and do tons of paperwork.

One person assigned to me was assisting with the paperwork, so he sat at my bank of desks. Once or twice an hour, he would whip his hankie out and blow his nose. This was not normal nose-blowing but very loud and very prolonged blasts. I was quite startled the first time but didn’t say anything. After a few more times, I lightheartedly said to him, smiling as I did, “Must be some dust in the air.” He just looked at me blankly as if he had no idea why I’d said that.

After another day of this, I was starting to get very annoyed. You see, it would completely put me off my stride, and I would be unable to function for a few minutes. I would forget where I was in my paperwork, and I’d take a few minutes to recover. It used to totally drive me up the wall, and I’d be quite stressed at the end of the day. I recognise now that I have misophonia (hypersensitivity to certain sounds), but in those days (the 1970s and 1980s), one was not meant to admit to such things.

I tried various things: privately asking him if he had a medical condition, asking him if he could go to the toilets if he needed to blow his nose, etc., but he seemed to be baffled about my enquiries, apparently unaware it could be a problem.

However, I had noticed that a female staff member sometimes made a face when the noise machine started up, so I asked her if the blasts were getting on her nerves, and she said yes. I went to management and told them I no longer wanted the nose-blaster in Assembly because he was disrupting our work. He was reassigned back to Engineering, but a few weeks later, I discovered he’d been let go. I was told they couldn’t find work for him to do in Engineering.

I then realised that I had the de facto power to sack someone by simply having someone reassigned back to Engineering. However, after this, I only once more sacked someone in this way, though rather more justified, but that’s another story.

Question of the Week

Tell us your most amazing work-related story!

I have a story to share!