Toxic atmosphere at work – how to avoid this?

While i was walking at lunch pause, i got compliment. Secretary from my workplace said to me that i have awesome stockings. Few days before my other colleague said to me that my skirt is cool. Today i meet alive with colleague who is my e-mail business contact, we cooperate in some project but we never introduce each other. She says, it was my pleasure.

Small things as professional kindness and courtesy are necessary to make working atmosphere better. We are humans, not robots, and it is not the same when you work in heat , toxic atmosphere or when you can communicate at normal level.

Sometimes, workplace is a jungle. I was working with Smoker, Pervert and Numb woman. I wrote this nicknames because this reveals all about their personality. It was hard time for me.

Smoker is a woman. She would kill for cigarette and we had lot of conflict about her smoking in office. I was choking in her smoke, and i was constantly complaining to stop with this. She bought electronic cigarette but only for few days, later was all as before. The only solution was that we sit in separate rooms.

Pervert is a man. His stories about size of my bra and my “fucking ” body were so unpleasant to me. He was sometimes drunk and it makes story even worse.

Numb woman is my present office mate. We did not talk about a year. She is as snake, just watching and waiting her opportunity to do something sneaky.


Now, what we can do to make working atmosphere less toxic?

Share your meal with colleague. 

Make some compliments about hair , clothes or anything else.

Ask advice about your work. This cuddles ego.

Walk on lunch break with your colleague to share some stories.

Borrow things as lipstick and perfume. If you go on business meeting sometimes you have no makeup and this small things can help you.

Borrow tampon during period. Yes, it happened to me at work, i got period and my colleague give me tampon.

Tell colleague if you don’t feel well. Someone has pill or chocolate, or he will bring you coffee.

Don’t gossip. Stories are spreading fast at workplace. If gossip is your hobby, be aware that you will be subject too.

Try to be fair when you share room with colleague. If you yell, laugh loud or talk on phone loud and your colleague has important task, you are selfish. 

Deal with colleague about air condition, heat or open or closed windows. This small things can cause big confrontations. Someone is sweating, someone is getting cold so habits and needs are different.

Don’t dig at  your colleague’s computer. Respect privacy.

If your colleague is not married, or other sexual orientation than yours, don’t be an asshole. Be tolerant.

Workplace might be jungle and tigers are ready to tear you. You can show tolerance, but also you will be sometimes forced to show teeth.

If you did all to make peace, and nothing’s work, make report to bosses and ethic departments.  Some cases are pure mobbing and it is another story.





Love birds at workplace


Love doesn’t pick time and place. You can fall in love everywhere and anytime. People will tell the funniest stories about how they met and where they fall in love. Love is blind because romantic arrows will hit you in unpleasant time or in inappropriate place. 

One of places which is not recommended as love oasis is workplace. Don’t shit where you eat, it could be related to this. Melinda fall in love in his boss and even worse, she shared office with him. He was married and she felt as schoolgirl at first date. She was blushing every time when he gave her compliment, and her behavior was so clumsy. So she forgot to do calls to some important people, her files were messy and nobody was fascinated with her. They never realize relation, even sparks were visible. Her boss said that they work together and that is against rules. Some private companies will even have internal law about love relation between colleagues. It will be forbidden, for the sake of business. It is understandable, because workplace is not zoo, that two people can jump around and pinch each other whenever they like. They would look as monkeys.

Let’s see some side effect when you realize relation at workplace.

Boredom. If you spend time with your soulmate at work and then out of work, this is big potential for conflicts. 

Jealousy. Every other woman at work is possible threat to your relation, you can see this with different eyes. If he involved with you, why he could not flirt with others too?

Bad results. Your relation could be as roller coaster, full of ups and downs. Work will suffer and it will affect to your business success.

Gossips. You will not care what others think, but if you get promotion, people will not say that you deserve that. They will say that your skills in bed are amazing and that your boss promoted you because of this.

In extreme cases, you can be fired . You may have conflict with your lover and if he is able to do vengeance, when you break up, he will use this as reason against you. Two flies with one hit, you will lose him and job. 

Relation at work are not rarity. Stressful atmosphere will bring sparks and people become horny. 

When two colleagues are too close, when they have common language which is understandable only to them, you can bet on affair. Body language is also good proof. They hug each other too often and they exchange too much tenderness. 

Everyone knew when Josephine fall in love in new man at work. Craig was so charming and they were all the time together, their lunch pause was extended only for them. Everyone who wanted to join to them had feeling that he is disturbing to love birds. Soon they declared their relation, but Josephine got new business offer. They dealt that it will be better to separate their job from romance.

Imagine scene when you spend hot night with your colleague from work. Next morning you are coming at work and he is waiting in office with cup of coffee in his hand. Sounds perfect? Then, you wish to cuddle with him in office chair, but phone is ringing or nervous clients are behind your door. You are going to toilet, and he grabs your butt, while someone is looking at you. Maybe is cool at first sight, but later it will be unpleasant for both. If you disagree about project with him, he will not get your ideas serious. He will ask you did you like what he did to you last night or you wish to try something different. 

It is different when you start common business with your partner. Then you know each other very well because you share life with him. But, if you meet man of your life at work, that is situation where you hold rose with thorn. Squeeze it too tight and you will bleed.

Frozen in time machine


Life is going on, and things are changing. What was forbidden now is allowed, what was popular now is turn off and ridiculous. People who want to fit in trends, must be flexible. You will know you are getting old if you start to judge something what is valuable nowadays.

If you are not updating your mind, you are time passenger who stuck in time machine. You are frozen inside and out. Imagine woman who wear the same coat 20 ages because she wants to spare money. Maybe practical but it will look like someone found her frozen in mountain before 20 ages.

It is very important to learn new skills. 


You can’t get a job nowdays if you don’t know nothing about computers.

You are not be desirable match for new partners if you judge life style nowdays, especially if you prefer younger partners.

People will laugh to you because you refuse to accept changes.

Tea and Jack live in new building, but neighbors are mostly old people. Tea wear goth style, she has most of the time black makeup , she is pretty but somehow scary for old women. But Tea is always nice and kind. Until the day old woman offended her in front of elevator.


You girl, you look like someone who broke the law. I should report you and your boyfriend because of loud music, and in this purse for sure you have pills and drugs.

– Oh please woman get back into age of inquisition and hire witch hunters.


I believe that some old people hard accept changes. Maybe they are scared, they feel less important or they simply refuse to accept that old days gone. Women beauty is different, preferences are different and if you cannot accept this you will be an intruder.

An opposite, Thomas is so cool professor in high school. He has over 50 ages, but he knows all about computers, cell phones  and 3 D projections so his students like to discuss with him. He is an authority, because he can approach more closer to young people, he is informed about their world. How can you even expect that people listen to you if you don’t know nothing about them? Thomas updated his mind and he really enjoy in classroom.

If you cannot learn new things, your mind must be lazy or stubborn. You will be as elephant in shopping in some situations. Avoid this for own sake, if not for anybody else. 

Remember Giordano Bruno, Columbo or Nostradamus who were forward their times. Always is better to explore new ideas than to stuck in time machine.

Hide your dirty secrets



Human instincts are as wild animals, without control they will cause damage and danger. Sometimes words are faster than minds, and acts are faster than words. People who have power to control their basic instincts are masters of their life.

What happens with the lowest human instincts? 

What makes us different from animals? Your weakness is your slave, but if you let it out, it will be your master. 

You might be beautiful, smart, rich and successful person, but if you can’t control what is inside of you, all your life can be ruined in one moment. Simply, when you press one button, your life will explode in tiny pieces.

Margot was social worker, a woman full of compassion and ambitious. She had excellent results with her clients, they were children with problems in behavior. Everyone at workplace liked Margot, but she had secret. She was drinking during the work time. She was hiding this on very smart ways, with smell of perfume and gums, but one day she was in rush and cleaner lady found bottle in her garbage box. It was bottle of Absolute vodka. That cleaner lady had son with problems in school, he was reported as violent kid and Margot worked on his case. She made his profile and she was successful in her attempts to gain his trust. But when others discovered bottle, they were searching her wardrobe. They found alcohol in other places and Margot got nickname Bartender. She lost job after report.


We are humans, fragile creatures, covered with secrets, but some of us are more weak than others. 

When we lose control over our vices, they are masters of our life. Other people, who are less successful are the ones who will wait for our mistakes. It is really odd when that pretty woman get caught in wardrobe in flagranti with her old boss, he was only in panties, and she had red bra. Secretary and her boss caught in scandal, how nice subject for gossips in lunch break. Everyone will have something to say on this topic, and those who dislike grumpy boss and bimbo secretary will be the loudest. They got chance to spit on them.

If we are examples for others, we must show why we are examples. Policeman can’t gamble during his work. Priest can’t talk vulgar in front of his believers. Lawyer can’t be corrupted. How many times we read stories about drunk footballers, even they should have healthy life? As human, nobody is untouchable from addictions and vices. It depends how much self control will person use.

In this life nothing is for granted. You want to live beautiful life, but you will pay price for this. You can’t have everything, and if you want to play double roles, you must be master of silence. Hide and bury your dirty secrets that nobody can’t dig this out. We sin differently, but winners are those who hide the best their dirty secrets.

Party time in the office


If you have job, you will spend at least 40 hours a week with your business partners. You did not choose people who are your office roommates but you must share part of your life with them. That can be really annoying, because you never know what kind of person you can get to cooperate at work.

When you are lucky, your roommate will be quiet, focused at work and she or he will not poke nose at your private life unless you don’t want to share your privacy. Sometimes, you can get real monster in your office, and you must be ready for cold war.

The worst office monsters:

smoker who want to choke you with cigarettes, even smoking is forbidden in office

– woman who is barking on the phone whole day , with voice as crow

– parrot roommate, person who will copy your ideas and represent this as own

– snitch, he or she can report you to main boss if you get late at work or with deadlines

– person who is spreading rumors about you to ruin your reputation

– the host who will gathering all people from work in your office room, they will drink coffee and disturb you in every part of the day

– D.J. who can’t live without noisy music , your office will be radio station

Now you can imagine that someone gets idea about party with that kind of persons, out of your working time. Come on people, it is Christmas or New year, let’s make small office party and let’s be together at private, because we are working together and we like each other so much.

My ex boss had an awful habit, to make small parties for her birthday in her room. She gathered about 20 people from our department, we were sitting around her desk and she wanted to make us smile. Her stories were during the war, as Albert in “Only fools and horses.” 

Something like that:

Do you remember the file we solved and fat woman who did not want to accept your solution? She called us every day until security did not throw her out.

So, after work or in work break, let’s talk about work again. We must smile. Why don’t you smile? After my ex boss finished her story, all were smiling, it was sour and artificial smile because people wanted to please her wishes. In that time i loved my watch so i waited moment to get out, that nobody notice. Suddenly toilet was my best friend because it was reason that i can left this room without too much explanation. Even my clients became my favorite people in compare to boring boss.

If we live in democracy, why we don’t have choice to avoid such gathering? Freedom of rights, thoughts, expressions, all this is only written on paper. The truth is , democracy at work doesn’t exist in right sense. We have choice between worse and the worst.


What will happen if you say no to office parties?

boss will deny your promotion

– you can get harder task or work overtime

– people will gossip you

– you can get bad mark in the end of your business year

When someone is on business top, that is an opportunity to spread power in the way that person wants

Let’s have party but on mine way. I am the boss and i will tell you when you need to smile, when you will dance and what kind of music is good. Why you are so anti social person, so quiet, numb or dumb? You need to be happy because you have job and all this wonderful people around you. If you are not happy, we can find your replacement very soon.

Sexual harassment at workplace



Your workplace should be safe zone, covered with respect and dignity. It doesn’t matter are you cleaner, waiter, lawyer or manager, basic human values should be untouchable. In the case when your honor is damaged, and when your respect is under question mark, you are victim of mobbing. One of the worst form of mobbing is sexual harassment. When your boss or colleagues try to humiliate you as sexual object, your worth is in danger and it is time to press red alarm button.

In Croatia, 50% women are abused at work. Every fifth woman will report this , and 30% will be silent. Last year ombudsman had 420 accusations which content was sexual harassment at work. 

What you can do in this case? 

1. report sexual harassment in your firm, so you will be in procedure of intermediation

2. if it doesn’t work, you can go to court, with accusation, and if your abuser is your boss, you can  go to court immediately

3. also, you can report abuse to some association, to protect your rights and get legal advice

In Croatian Labor law are rules about protection of worker’s dignity and honor. Also, Law on prevention of discrimination has rules how to protect gender rights, because abusing women at work is also attack on their basic human rights and humiliation of female gender.

At first sight, all is clear, but abusers at work are not stupid and they know to cover their intentions. 


They will have next arguments:

I am just joking.

This woman tried to seduce me with her short skirt or decolletage, she has too strong makeup and looks like whore.

That woman is lazy, she doesn’t do nothing.

She understood me wrong, i am not such kind of man.

Why women are sustained to report abusers at work?

Financial reasons, they are afraid not to lose job.

They are afraid of revenge, if they lose job, they will get bad recommendations.

Fear, that abuser can hurt them physically, or that their husbands will not understand.

Slow procedures at court, and too soft punishments.

Accord Criminal law in Croatia, abuser at work will get money penalty or prison for a 2 years and this kind of accusation must be private. That is in theory, and in practice many violent employees will avoid punishment because their victims will give up or they will afraid to report them.

How does it look like, and what should be sexual harassment at work, we can see from this example.

Branka works in civil service as secretary. Her computer is very slow and she invited guy from IT service to fix it and upload some antivirus programs. Saša, official man from IT service, few times invited Branka to drink coffee with him, but she is married and she rejected him. Saša said to her that they should meet after work, and she said no again. Then Saša start to massage her shoulders, because she was tense, as he noticed, and she pushed him. Next days Branka had crumbles on her skirt, because she ate sandwich. Saša touched her between legs to clean crumbles from bread, and she slapped him. He slapped her and she reported him to Union. Also he used dirty words as whore, slut and bitch , to describe Branka. She had many troubles to prove his bad behavior, but woman at Union supported her and they are still in process. Meanwhile, Saša is not working there anymore, because he was reported by one more woman , as sexual abuser.

Everything has time and place. 

We can flirt in cafe bar, pub or club, we can joke even at work, but when behavior cross limits of decency, this is step into dark zone. Women at work are not prostitutes and if they don’t accept that you touch them and talk dirty with them, you should respect this, no matter how they look, what they wear and if they excite you, as man. 

Men has two choices: you will respect your pretty colleague or you will act as total moron and risk to be reported and even you can get kick out from your comfortable workplace. So next time you will not be confused is this office or striptease bar.

Who stinks at offices?


Bad breath, unpleasant smell, stench are enemies of every person. Everyone decide about own habits, but if you work with such people, your life could be nightmare in the cloud of smell. It is easy to warn your roommate to wash teeth or change clothes, but if you are in this situation, would you choose to be open and honest or to suffer in silence because you don’t want to hurt him?

This happened in one of offices at Ministry of defense in Croatia. Darko got new office mate, old woman Barbara, 55 years old. She has never worked in civil service and she needs money until her retirement. First, Darko was fascinated because she was busy bee, ready to solve every file and to clean closet from old documents. She helped him with clients, because he was really busy. After a month Darko noticed bad smell in his office, and his colleagues smiled every time when he was with them at lunch pause. 

– Why you smile?

– Darko, did you wash your laundry? Or you forgot to wash teeth or hair? Something stinks buddy.

Darko realized that his colleague Barbara left track of bad smell in his office. Then he remembered how Barbara talked about her big farm with horses and cows. She was proud on her animals at village farm, because she cared for them after work, despite she was tired. They were her pets, as she used to talk. Darko felt very unpleasant, and other people started to tease him that he will die from smell soon if he will not do something. He tried to talk about this on kind way, as in generally “i really love to be clean, and my favorite perfume is Axe” but Barbara did not get the point. Darko opened windows but what will be during winter, when all will be closed? Still he is thinking how to ask boss of department to move in another room.

Not all employees are lucky as Barbara. She may do what she wants without worry for other opinions, but in private firms situations are different. 

For example, this boss in Serbian firm Telegroup had official order for his employees, to wash themselves because, as he said “i don’t want to puke or faint every time when i talk with somebody.”

Some people will say, why to be rude with others and why to hurt their feelings. 

Few questions:

1. Isn’t it rude to make unpleasant conditions for others, if you smell bad?

2. You are minority if you refuse to do something to solve this problem, so do you have right to abuse others?

3. What would you do if someone else do the same thing to you?


Source of bad smell can also be kind of sickness, bad breath or alcohol, but whatever is it, you are the one who must solve this problem , not others.

If such people were firing, do they have right to complain ? We can also sue for impossible conditions at work, so that story would be endless.