DEAR SOMEONE ELSE’S MOM: After our company’s owner switched meds and had to go on a high fiber diet for health reasons, she started having a lot of flatulence.
I know it’s normal and we all pass gas, but this is incredible! Most of us, especially those nearer in age to her try to act like grown-ups and keep our reactions to ourselves. But the youngest members of our staff, especially the young men, have trouble controlling their reactions when our boss lets loose in a meeting or when moving around the building.
Our boss usually has a really good sense of humor, but it’s clear the reactions of the young men bother her. She has told a few of us “old timers” she is painfully aware of her issue and is trying different things to help make both her and everyone around her more comfortable.
As a senior staffer and one of the HR coordinators do you believe I have an obligation to speak with the younger employees to let them know their reaction is not acceptable? --- GAS HAPPENS
DEAR GAS HAPPENS: Undoubtedly there are learned studies on why the human race has long found flatulence funny.
The younger men in your office are simply following their human nature.
That doesn’t mean, though, that they can’t put some effort into controlling their reactions.
I believe you should exercise either of your roles as a more mature adult or HR representative and have a serious and very private word with those you feel are most likely to hurt the feelings of your boss.
It’s your opportunity to make it clear her GI issues are something she has to live with, and acting more like grown-ups would go a long way to avoid offending her and adding to her self-consciousness over something she can’t help.