TMAU Problems at work

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TMAU Problems at work

Postby Caliban » Thu Aug 12, 2010 4:57 pm

Hi Everyone.
I previously sent this as a private message, but I thought I would share this with everyone. There were times when I felt that I could not have a normal job at all, or would just have to work from home. This is part of the story...

If people are taking the mickey out of you at work, or victimising you, You have my deepest sympathies.
I know what it's like, and this happened to me for years - since before I even knew about the condition.
I would say it got so bad for me that it was a severe case of bullying.
But there are coping strategies for this.
Naturally your company want things to go smoothly, so it would be good to talk to your boss (or their boss, if your direct boss is bullying you) and explain your condition to them.

I was in the situation where I was working for a very well respected software firm for 5 years, and I didn't know what the condition was, but I tried everything, and I was very good at my job, and they could not intimidate me. Even though I knew everyone in the office hated me and was talking about me behind my back. Unfortunately my ignorance about my own condition meant that I had let things go to far. Nowadays, I would be much better armed to deal with it, and that's why my career is much more successful now.

Well, anyway, back then unfortunately my own boss hated me, and so did the Human Resources manager. The public know so little about the condition, they just often think that you have very bad personal hygene - or worse. I remember initially, some of the employees hinting that maybe I should wash regularly - in fact I was taking three baths a day AND going home at lunch time to bathe and change into a complete new set of clothes. In the end, because the situation did not change to their liking, everyone ended up pretty disgusted with me, and thought I deserved any bad treatment that they wanted to dole out. Many of the other employees placed the windows "Gone fishing" desktop background on their computers. One employee had a picture of a comic strip from a magazine called VIZ about Emperor Ming - Stinky Galactic Dictator (the master villain who smelt really terrible). When the smell of fish was really bad, the chap who sat near me who liked his food used to spontaneously call out "Gosh, I could really do with some chips with that". They used to make up and send round jokes about me. Even our regular clients grew to hate me, and complained when I went on site visits.
Then people started quitting their jobs at the office. People where I worked would mutter threats and taunts at me. One person muttered at me "Either you go or I go". She was a key employee of the firm. After a month, she left too. We lost many of our best workers, many to our competitors. The company started not doing so well. I heard people muttering things like "Where would we be now, if HE wasn't here". It was getting ridiculous and I'd had enough. I managed to find another job, and left. Things didn't go too well for a while after that, but that was before I got my diagnosis and found out more about the condition. Since then, and bringing in the coping measures, things have really improved, and also the fact that I am working for a much more understanding firm helps a lot.

Does anyone else have really bad tales to tell about work?

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Joined: Tue Aug 10, 2010 3:15 pm

Re: TMAU Problems at work

Postby magsie » Thu Aug 12, 2010 6:28 pm

Hi Caliban,
Your work stories sound very much like mine, other workers complained about me all the time, & in turn I would complain at the doctors that I was smelly & in danger of losing the job... but doctor couldn't smell anything & thought I was exaggerating things, or as time went on when I continued to consult him in vain to ask for help - he considered me paranoid about other people talking against me!
So I worked very hard compared to the others, often shut myself away in tears at home at night, then had to recover myself to go back there next day.
When new staff were employed the others would tell the new person they diPsliked me becuase I smell... ha ha.!
Because I looked very smart & clean the new person would glance across doubtfully at me, wondering if they were kidding! I was ostracised,bullied and obviously hated by the others. In one place the staff petitioned to try & get me fired.
Started temping in present job in May 2008 & people were soon talking about me being smelly - notorious for it!
Either I can have constant low level smell or more usually big 'stink bombs' that suddenly engulf me and fill the room & smell like rotten meat/rotten fish/ sweat, urine, burning rubber/smoke. Sometimes I will walk into another office & its as if a smell engulfs the room in front of me & it smells like fish or fecal all of a sudden. When I then walk out of the room & visit the toilet... there is no smell!
One day I walked along the corridor & overheard the manager saying to the lady from my temping agency who'd visited that they'd take me on if it wasn't for the smell! Hum.... perhaps she knew I'd overhead her say that because after formal interview in Dec 08 I was taken on permanently.! The other staff would continue to complain about me and when my immediate manager was promoted & we employed a new one questions were asked about why no-one had discussed the odour problem with me.... so they're against me but can't sack someone just because they smell, so they try & pick apart the work I do & put me under criticism and stress.
Anyway since earlier this year I started the low choline diet & have found a vast improvement, in April I paid for my own urine test & got the diagnosis. During a meeting with my immediate manager & brought up the subject of my odour problem & offered a copy of my diagnosis, she refused to agree that there was an odour problem at all & didn't want to look at the diagnosis nor talk about it. Claiming that conversations about odour only ever applied to another girl in the office who has hyper hydrosis.... they complain & hate her too & assume she doesn't use anti-persperant!
With bosses complaints about my 'work' a meeting was to be held with HR about 'competency' so I got the union involved. He said that the information they sent him read like a vendetta & it was all very personal & nothing they wrote about their complaints against me were to do with competency but very personal!
He was shocked that she wouldn't even let me talk in a formal meeting with others present she was shouting me down.! She's on maternity leave right now & I hope she doesn't come back, or that I get some great new job & manage to avoid her.....
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Re: TMAU Problems at work

Postby Caliban » Fri Aug 13, 2010 3:12 pm

Hi Magsie,
Thanks for sharing that.
Yes, it was very wierd at work, people tied themselves in knots with kind of passive agression, because BO is sort of a taboo subject, and they can't discipline you or sack you for smelling bad so they have to find some other way of forcing you out.
And the doctors too can be very unsympathetic, especially since the condition is very little known about. My doctor didn't know about it, and thought that my thoughts about the whole thing were symptomatic of some mental disorder too. The first time I went and explained it to him, he offered to prescribe me a course of anti-depressants. Even when I printed out the TMAU literature from the internet and took it to him again, he said something like "Just because it's on the internet, doesn't mean you've got it" and he gave me the brush-off. It was only after I'd been referred to a local hospital by my psychiatrist that I had the test done and it proved positive.
So sorry to hear it's been hell for you in your job. The number of things you overhear can really mount up and become overwhelming. I too have experienced life as being and endless treadmill where you dread going to work because it's so bad, and just spend the evenings cowering in at home feeling awful.
I hope things go better for you at work.
To cope with the bullying, I would recommend this good little book which really helped me:
Bullying at work: How to confront and overcome it ... 239&sr=8-1

Good luck,
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Joined: Tue Aug 10, 2010 3:15 pm

Re: TMAU Problems at work

Postby kittycat » Sun Aug 22, 2010 11:38 am

Hi Magsie and Caliban

I think no-one else has posted because you've both summed-up most of our experiences perfectly. I struggled with it for 30 years until I got the internet and it was the first thing I looked up. Things have moved on even more since then and the way forward is to educate the public, employers, and healthcare people. Is anyone actively working on that?

Hope you're both well

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Joined: Mon Aug 16, 2010 9:19 pm

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