a supervisor scolded me for having a chilly sore on my face — Ask a Supervisor

A reader writes:

Is it unprofessional to go to work with energetic chilly sores in your face? I often get them and have by no means thought-about it to be a giant deal till just lately when somebody at work commented on it.

Final week I had a chilly sore in the course of my decrease lip. It wasn’t very massive — I’ve had worse ones and gone to work and no person ever mentioned something. However this time an older girl who works on my ground pulled me apart and advised me off for coming to work “in such an unprofessional state.” She had essentially the most disgusted look on her face and it made me really feel horrible. This girl is new to our office and never somebody I work carefully with. And regardless that she is a supervisor, she isn’t my supervisor and subsequently has no actual authority over me. However there may be an expectation the place I work that junior employees (like me) will present respect to extra senior employees (like her) and “comply with any affordable requests or directions.”

On the time I used to be so shocked by her remark that I didn’t know learn how to reply, so I simply form of mumbled a half-hearted apology and rushed off to the lavatory the place I cried somewhat bit, largely as a result of she caught me so off-guard and her perspective made me really feel so soiled and ashamed.

Later that week, at my common catch-up with my supervisor, I discussed the incident to her. She replied that the opposite supervisor had spoken to her about my unprofessional habits however hadn’t given her any particulars. My supervisor was sort about it and mentioned that I’m usually tremendous skilled and a tough employee, however didn’t actually give me a straight reply about whether or not I did something mistaken.

My greatest pal at work thinks this girl is only a busy physique and I ought to ignore her. However my dad, whose opinion I respect, form of agreed with this girl’s opinion. He mentioned I ought to have finished extra to cowl up the chilly sore in case a buyer, and so forth. noticed it and was offended (word I work in an workplace and my “prospects” are all inside employees). Did I do one thing mistaken?


Somebody did one thing mistaken right here, however that particular person isn’t you.

Was your coworker actually suggesting that you need to keep dwelling from work when you’ve a chilly sore? Is your employer cool with you utilizing sick time for that — or would you must use trip days? And the way lengthy would possibly it’s for? In principle you possibly can find yourself utilizing all of your annual trip time on a chilly sore. Is your boss on-board with you lacking, say, per week of labor with little warning as a result of somebody thinks your face is unfit to be seen in public?

What about different cuts and sores? When you have a scrape in your hand, must you take sick go away? What a few large pimple? A bruise?

I think your coworker associates chilly sores with herpes and thinks that makes them shameful or soiled not directly — prefer it’s akin to leaving condoms scattered in your desk or exhibiting as much as work lined in hickeys.

Not solely is she mistaken (for what it’s value, almost half the U.S. inhabitants has the virus that may trigger oral chilly sores, however that’s a crappy mind-set anyway), it’s none of her enterprise. She’s not your supervisor. She had zero standing to drag you apart and scold you. What she did was impolite, overstepping, mean-spirited. However she was off-base, too.

And you realize, it’s one to factor to catch a glimpse of a colleague and suppose, “Oooh, I’d cowl that with make-up if that have been me.” A bit of judgy, however no matter. However what occurred in her head that made her suppose it was one thing she might upbraid you about? The psychological course of that took her from “oh look, a chilly sore” to “I ought to method somebody barely know and scold her for it” is mysterious certainly. (And I’m getting very unhealthy vibes about how she should relate to individuals she does know, significantly if she has any form of energy over them.)

But additionally, what’s up together with your supervisor? This random colleague approached her to complain about your “unprofessional” habits however wouldn’t give any particulars and your boss … accepted that? Didn’t push again or inform her she was off-base? Or perhaps she did — however then why isn’t she supplying you with a straight reply if you requested in the event you’d finished something mistaken? I suppose it’s attainable that she is aware of you didn’t, however seems like she will be able to’t brazenly criticize the opposite supervisor to you.

You didn’t do something mistaken. However I’d be awfully tempted to seek the advice of with somebody who does particular results make-up and learn to give your self an ever-changing procession of open sores and wounds throughout any uncovered space of your physique to any extent further.

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