Bad breath boss

Dear Michelle

I have a great job – but there is just one problem. My boss is a close talker and his breath is terrible. I don’t mean coffee breath or pizza for lunch but all day long just plain bad. I don’t want to hurt his feelings but it is really unpleasant. In all other regards he is an excellent boss and mentor. I thought I might leave a bottle of mouthwash on his desk as a gentle hint or leave him an anonymous note. But I really don’t know how to proceed. What should I do?

Holding my breath

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Teacher’s dilemma

Dear Michelle

I have just started teaching college students and I thought it was important to make my expectations very clear at the outset. I explained that it was my policy to set a deadline for assignments and that I would not give extensions. Late or missed assignments would receive a zero grade. When asked if there could ever be exceptions I said that it was possible but to not rely on it. If bad things happened letting me know as early as possible was the best way to find a resolution. No one assignment was  worth more that 5% of the overall grade. I told them that the best way to deal with a hard deadline was to get the work done as early as possible.

Several weeks into the course one of my best (and one of my favourite) students came to my office to tell me she had missed the deadline because – and she proceeded to tell me a story that I had no reason to disbelieve and that would understandably result in her missing the deadline. She asked for an extension. Having to make a decision on the fly I told her that there was no harm in asking. I thanked her for explaining what had happened but that my policy was clear and she would receive zero.

But now I wonder if I did the right thing?


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