Ask Jack: Sweaty Commutes, Bad Breath, and Job of the Week

Ah, the stinky scents of summer. Jack tells you how to cope.

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A perspiring, anonymous AOL Jobs reader writes in:

I recently began utilizing a bike-share program as part of my daily commute. I am loving it, except I arrive at the office hot and sweaty. Either my co-workers are being polite, or they haven't yet noticed that I stink! What can I do about this?

Hey, first of all, congratulations: You're helping the environment and getting exercise. Eh, so you reek a little bit -- it would be a reasonable trade-off if it wasn't unfair to your co-workers. By any chance is there a gym in your workplace (more and more offices seem to have them), or do you belong to one nearby, where you could grab a quick shower? No? Well, at the very least, you can show up for work a little early, bring a fresh shirt with you, towel off in a bathroom stall, re-apply deodorant, and voilà, you'll be nearly, almost, kind of good as new.

And speaking of workplace smells, a scents-itive reader says:

HELP!!! I have a co-worker who is a real good guy but his breath STINKS!! It is really unbearable when I have to talk with him. How can I let him know without hurting his feelings?

This is totally simple: Get a rude person in the office to tell him. Wait, I guess that isn't ideal in the hurt-feelings department. At an old job of mine, someone left a bottle of mouthwash on a co-worker's desk -- crude, perhaps, but effective. Still, I think we can do better. How about a polite, anonymous note? Important: Phrase it in the singular. Saying "WE think" could really make the person paranoid: "Oh god, everybody's talking about me!" So keep your message one-on-one, couch it in genuine positive language (you're a real good person, I love having you as a co-worker, etc.), and... uh... consider lying just a little bit.

Here's what I mean: Maybe say that good ol' anonymous you suffered from a similar problem, and you were so thankful that someone pointed it out, and that you found some easy tips online to deal with your halitosis. It can truly help to know you're not alone in a rough situation. (And then that person will start brushing and flossing at work, and reader Jim from last week will become incredibly annoyed. It is really hard to please everyone.) However you handle this, cut your co-worker some slack. There could be a medical reason that's not so easy to address -- or who knows what the cause might be. Remember, in those face-to-face conversations, you can always "turn the other cheek."

Click here for last week's questions

Do you have a work-related question for Jack? Write it in the comments below (better answers to this week's questions are also welcome!) or tweet it @AOLJobs with the hashtag #AskJack.

Jack's Job of the Week

Sure, those bike-share programs are cool, but how do they know how many bicycles to put in different places? With new jobs like this "rebalancer" position in Chicago, that's how! Hey, that could be a wheelie good job for you -- or if not, search for other great openings on AOL Jobs that are more your (ten) speed.

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Filed under: Career Advice
Jack Silbert

Jack Silbert


Jack Silbert is a humor writer, journalist, children's author, editor, movie reviewer, weekly internet-radio DJ, and frequent master of ceremonies. His writing has appeared in such publications as the New York Times, New York Press, Weird New Jersey, New Jersey Monthly, Nickelodeon, Glamour, Parent and Child and a wide variety of websites including Gawker and Media Darlings. During his lengthy tenure as editor with Scholastic Classroom Magazines, he proudly accepted the AEP's Golden Lamp Award for best periodical, 2009. Jack lives in Hoboken, New Jersey, and is rather fond of independent music, baseball, and sandwiches. Additional humorous ramblings by Jack can be found at

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