Name-dropping can annoy, get foot in door
Q: I get very nauseous (sometimes headaches) around the smells of chocolate and some perfumes. I’ve shared this with colleagues near my cubicle and while they might remember in the moment, in a matter of days someone will be back again with a chocolate bar or with a heavily scented perfume. Do I have a case to complain to management? I feel it’s my right to be comfortable at work too.
A: Michelle, I certainly think you’ve got a case for management. You are having health problems to the scents of chocolate and perfume and at the end of the day, these will impact your performance on the job as you’ll likely have to make several washroom and/or “fresh air” breaks distracting you from your work. Frankly, I’d suggest requesting a referral for an allergy screening from your physician. It’s one thing to mention to management that you’ve got a personal distaste for something in the office, but when you are able to provide them with medical documentation, that’s an added support to your case. Many offices have adopted a no perfume practice for this very fact. Whether it be fellow colleagues or clients/customers, many experiencing allergies to intense scents and reactions have reported migraines, congestion, a heightened body temperature, abdominal pains and skin irritations among the list of adverse reactions.
You are right, Michelle. It’s you’re right to be comfortable at work so if your colleagues aren’t listening, getting the support of your manager is crucial.
Q: I have a friend who always seems to know the “in person” to know. We could be at a business event or at a social gathering she always seems to name-drop, even at times when there’s no need to. Maybe it’s networking but I think it’s arrogant. What do you think?
A: It is worth sharing this with your friend and assuming you’ve got a strong, non-competitive relationship, her first response should not be to assume that you are jealous of her. Simple name-dropping, especially outside of a networking context or to an audience that shows no interest in what you are saying or who you are talking about and therefore aren’t able to contribute themselves can be rather arrogant. It’s important to always ask ourselves: Am I talking simply to hear the sound of my voice or is it because I’ve got something valuable to contribute?
Name-dropping does have its place, though. Sometimes simply indicating that you know person X can place you three steps higher than the next person to snag that meeting or that interview with person Y. It’s not always fair but often times our affiliation with a person or membership can give us breaks we don’t deserve.
Jill Andrew — CYW, BA, BA (Hons.), BEd. Please include your full name, address and telephone number when e-mailing. All letters are subject to publication.
Jill’s tip of the week:
Whether it be for a job interview or a meeting with a superior officer, always be polite and engaging with their assistants. Many times these assistants act as ‘unsuspecting’ screeners of your behaviour, conversations, your ‘first impression’ upon walking into the office. Appearing abrupt or even snobby with them surely won’t get you closer to the top.