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Discussing the boss’s ‘distracting mannerisms’

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Question: “I started a new job about six months ago as an executive assistant to the CEO of a wealth-advisory corporation. I really like my boss; he’s energetic and pleasant. However, he has some habits and mannerisms that are driving me crazy. While I feel that I can talk to him about his use of curse words in conversations with me, I don’t know how to broach the subject of his ‘distracting mannerisms’ of picking at various body parts in my presence. What can I do? It’s literally making me shudder while we talk.”  -- Marilyn, St. Louis


Wow - that is a good one. You say he is energetic (and I will have to take your word for it) but I would have to disagree that he is pleasant if he swears in his conversations with you. What parts of his body does he pick at? His nose? His arm? Private parts? I would say that this behavior is more than distracting it is totally unacceptable in the workplace.

As I see it, you have a few choices -- none of them are easy.

You will have to be straight forward with him and tell him you are extremely uncomfortable with his use of certain words and you are even more uncomfortable watching him pick at himself while he is in your presence. He might have a nervous habit and it could be that he is not conscience of the 'picking'. Even so, he needs to have his attention drawn to it.

If you cannot find the courage to talk to him about this, then your next alternative is to look for another job.

Lastly, if you really need this job and you cannot speak to him about it, then I am afraid you are doomed to watch this display until your nerves become so frazzeled, you will blurt it out an a most inopportune time.

Sorry to be so direct - but that is how you will need to be with him.

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