They won't ask, so don't tell

by SixFigureStart | October 06, 2009

  • My Vault
The Pink Slipped Patently Obvious News Desk brings you this report via amNY.com: Employees are less likely to tell someone in a position in power that they're in for potential embarrassment! (Ummm….really?) In a recent CareerBuilder poll of 4,400 workers, only 34% said they'd tell a superior he has a stain on his clothes (versus 51% for a person at the same status level). That disparity was remarkably consistent, even for more serious transgressions of hygiene and decorum. If the target suffers from bad breath, only 13% would tell a higher-level coworker "You need a breath mint" (versus 33%); for "You have food in your teeth/on your face," it's 49% against 66%; if someone needs to be told "You need a shower," the figures are 11% versus 28%. (The CB post, which considers a few more fun situations, is much more entertaining than the stripped-down-and-serious treatment on amNY.)

Despite the wealth of data collected, analysts still don't know whether reluctance to tell managers and VPs of a faux pas-in-the-making results from a) the fear of possible repercussions or b) their willingness to let someone in charge look like an idiot among his or her peers, providing humorous fodder for happy hour discussions to come.

--Posted by Todd Obolsky, Vault Staff Writer

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