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Embarrassing Moments at Work: How to Recover

Embarrassing Moments at Work: How to Recover

Robert DiGiacomo | HotJobs

What about office romance?

Discretion also works if you date a coworker, but sometimes it’s impossible to keep such interactions private.

For example, Gigi’s coworkers at a Seattle ad agency knew all about her relationship with a fellow employee because it was a very social office. After their breakup, they continued to hang out with the group.

“As long as you’re not working for that person, and it’s not interfering with work, it’s nobody’s business,” Pachter says.

Prepare for wardrobe malfunctions

Perhaps nothing can be as mortifying as getting a stain on your shirt just before a big meeting, or realizing your zipper was down when you bumped into the big boss in the hallway.

Krystn, a fundraiser for a nonprofit organization in Philadelphia, still remembers the start of her first job for the wrong reason. The fabric on her “professional” blouse didn’t breathe and she was nervous — a bad combination when being introduced to colleagues.

“I had huge sweat stains, and was trying to shake people’s hands without moving my arms—and they could see,” she recalls.

To avoid these types of scenarios, keep a spare jacket, stain remover, and sewing kit on hand if you can.

Otherwise, you have the choice of acting like the problem’s not there—or acknowledging the elephant on your shirt by making a joke.

“If you can have a good line, it will usually break the ice and then people can ignore it,” Pachter says.

One the flip side, if you notice a colleague has one too many buttons undone or an unzipped fly, say something.

“You have to be upfront and discreetly say the fly is undone,” Pachter says. “If you can save someone embarrassment, please do.”

This article was originally published on

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