Assumption vs. Inquiry

What happens at work when one co-worker makes an assumption about another’s bathroom habits?

Non-work-related distraction scenarios are common at work. When handled professionally, they are non-issues. When not handled well, they can escalate into full-blown festuches costing your organization time, productivity, engagement, and money. Examples of these types of issues are exposed tattoos, the smoky coat rack, and today’s scenario, “the office bidet”.

A couple employees in a professional office setting asked the CEO if he would be willing to get a bidet for the co-ed office restroom. He obliged. Within the first couple weeks of the new benefit, one of the employees made an assumption that a VP in the organization was either being exceptionally careless or maybe even deliberately urinating on the toilet in an act of defiance vs. the bidet. She decided to send an email directly to the VPee in question…

“I didn’t have time to stop in and speak with you today, however, I did want to bring up an issue in the restroom. There have been a couple of times I’ve gone into the restroom after you and there was urine all over the toilet seat and on the floor right in front of the toilet bowl. Today, I sat in urine. Very unsatisfactory and awfully gross. Please be mindful that women also use this restroom as I wouldn’t want this to happen to others.”

The VP is caught with his pants down upon receiving this email. He wants to give a quick reaction, but exhibits some level of emotional intelligence (self regulation) to formulate a better response. The VP sends an email to the CEO that says, “I want to call her a liar, but how do I even respond to this?”

The CEO decides to take a crack at it and examine the toilet in question. What he found was not urine, but a leaky bidet…video here…

There are several lessons learned; #1. When you assume, you may make an ass in front of you and me. #2. It’s usually better to inquire with someone directly vs sending an email. #3. If you have never tried a bidet, it’s a game-changer, but be sure to test the new bidet for leaks.

Feel free to add your own lessons learned and bathroom puns in the comments below.