Ask Alma: My messy co-worker has no home training


Dear Alma,

I work in a small accounting office of 16 people. We sit in cubicles very close to one another and we have more men than women. This is important to share as I explain my situation. I have a problem with one of my co-workers. She’s a very young woman who insists on sitting with her legs wide open. She will turn away from her desk and what seems to be purposely, prop up one leg so you can see under her dress. I know this sounds crazy, but she does. And every time she does it I think, WTH! When we have meetings in the conference room, she puts her feet in her chair and sits so you can look all the way up her dress. I am sick of it! Some of the other employees talk about her behind her back. They even make jokes about it. I know that it’s immature. She’s a mess, what she’s doing is a mess, the stupid jokes are a mess and I’ve had enough. What should I do?


Tired of the mess

Dear Tired of the Mess,

Help me to clarify, are you mad because she’s trying to show her cookies in the office or are you mad that you don’t have enough nerve to do the same? LOL. Nah, I’m just kidding, I can see the steam coming outta your ears. Truthfully I’m clarifying because, sometimes I get mad about an act someone else is doing that irritates me, but when my nitty checks my gritty, I’m really irritated, because I don’t have enough nerve to do the same. With that being said, in your case I’m sticking to door number one, and be grateful along with your mother, that you aren’t looking to “show all you know” in the next staff meeting.

Trust me when I say that you’re not alone in your exasperation of experiencing an unnecessary glance of ones undies. I’ve seen short dresses giving off a light show that would rival a neighborhood 4th of July fireworks display. And I know there’s gotta be a breeze. You’re right. This form of a sometimes dainty display can make for a very uncomfortable situation in the workplace. Here’s my take, you can choose to do one of two things. Either send an anonymous note to Human Resources or grab your big girl glove and pitch it to her straight. The next time she’s spread eagle at her desk, hand her a note (no, not an e-mail) a note that says, “Girl, adjust yourself. I really don’t feel like looking up your dress right now,” LOL. I think a note is appropriate, because you’re one of many in a small office setting. Follow up with a whisper of “Thanks, I hope we’re cool, no worries.” Allow yourself to be super, super casual and not come across demanding. Kind of like you would in the community room of your dorm. With that acknowledgement, you have laid all her cards on the table, now it’s up to her to win, lose or cover up her drawzz. That’s what my mama use to call ‘em.

Alma Gill’s newsroom experience spans more than 25 years, including various roles at USA Today, Newsday and the Washington Post. Email questions to: Follow her on Facebook at “Ask Alma” and Twitter @almaaskalma.

PHOTO CAPTION: Alma Gill says that when it comes to problems in the workplace, either let Human Resources handle them or have an open-dialogue with the offender.