Compared to your cubicle, a bathroom stall is amazing. With no work emails, no droning coworker anecdotes, and no overbearing supervision, it’s the ideal place at the office to relax, refresh Twitter, and occasionally sob quietly. Ripe with freedom and pantsless-ness, these intermissions can be the best part of the workday.
Inevitably, these glorious and needed respites from bureaucratic bullshittery will lengthen over your time at a company and, sadly, coworkers will begin to meddle. Like The Scorpion and the Frog, it’s just in their nature. Asking a coworker to not interfere would be like asking a fish not to swim or a hipster not to brunch. Your justification now becomes the game.
Even if your company’s filled with puritanical, non-confrontational pacifists, it does not hurt to be prepared should your bi-hourly “excursions” ever be questioned. Rehearsal is critical (1) in making any coerced self-disclosure seem authentic. Speak how you would to a doctor, objectively divulging the gritty details about exactly how and why you often frequent Dump Town.
Unashamed of themselves and jealous of the poophole loophole you’re exploiting to avoid work, a simple explanation might not be enough for some embittered, prying coworkers. In this event you may need to ratchet up the disgustingness factor (2). Gradually pepper more adjectives into your narrative. Start with simple, mild descriptors like “tough” or “nasty” before progressing into more complex ones like “egg-infused,” “butt loaf,” or “BP Oil Spill-esque.”
Everyone has a disgustingness threshold. Strive to push them over theirs and to a scarring, traumatic point in which they’ll be no longer able to use, or even walk by, the bathroom without immediately picturing you, in pain, with a torrent of post-consumer tacos flooding out of your dumper.
The gross tactic may not work on everyone. Some, like myself, have been desensitized by years of always clicking through Internet links. Here, simply start wielding the company’s ethics and values to cater to you habits (3). A thinly veiled threat can work; you know, something like, “I thought a company that embraced every square in the diversity quilt wouldn’t object to an employee with a non-traditional lifestyle; we don’t discriminate against the obese taking longer to climb stairs so why should we chastise an employee who elects to be extra-thorough in the bathroom?” or “I’m sorry that I’m different; ever since my, *sob*, accident I’ve had to be careful to only poop after I’ve removed my shirt and tie.” In this country obsessed with political correctness inclusion tactic can be manipulated into awesomeness.
Should they persist, state that you’ve been diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (4). Sure, it was a self-diagnosis from a non-medical professional based off secondhand information relayed to you from a friend who once read something on WebMD, but you can omit that clarification. After this illness admission, act embarrassed and start liberally using the term “hostile work environment” (5). Explain that it’s a struggle for you to be regular and that your bathroom trips are the equivalent of a surprise full-body workout when they happen, complete with muscle cramps and copious sweating. Most supervisors will back off at this point. In this age of lawyers, every company harbors fears surrounding potential lawsuits.
Lastly, always keep a reversal in your back pocket (6). Throw the situation back on the whistleblower if you’re ever feeling stuck. You may be the one who spends over an hour a day in the bathroom because of your lifestyle, but they’re the weird one who’s monitoring his or her coworker’s bathroom habits instead of doing their actual work.
[Image via ShutterStock]
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