Who out there was an Ally McBeal fan? Do you remember their unisex bathroom? How weird was THAT?
Maybe it’s progressive or hip or mature. (Or sumpin’, as my daughter is STILL saying.) But I think it’s just . . . icky. And awkward. Extremely awkward.
Because sometimes you need to do bathroom business alone. Am I right? Okay, of course I’m right. You know what I’m talking about.
I’ve worked in several different offices over the years, and in addition to the office’s proximity to conveniences like a gas station and post office, the bathroom situation is also a huge determining factor in just how much I like any particular office.
Bathroom Situation #1
In my first “real” job, a handicapped bathroom – full walls and door, total privacy – was located just across the hall from the regular women’s three-stall restroom. Now that was handy.
Except for the time my co-worker was walking up to the door right as I was exiting. I guess it’s true what the book says, but still. Awkward!
Bathroom Situation #2 (No pun intended. Don’t be gross.)
At my next job, my office was located in the third floor of an old building that also housed a movie theater. My office had shiny, noisy concrete floors, and the bathroom walls didn’t go all the way to the vaulted ceilings. So, pretty much everything that took place in the bathroom – from gossip and crying to flossing and flushing – echoed throughout one side of the office.
I was so thankful when my co-workers told me about the second-floor bathroom – and even better, the hidden, first-floor bathroom. Luckily, the building’s first floor held not just the theater but also lots of hallways, twists and turns, and nooks and crannies. And an old, isolated, slightly scary bathroom.
Sure, it may not have always had soap, and you may have always wondered who you would run into back in that dark corner of the building. But isolated can be a good thing when you need your privacy.
So that was handy, too . . . until the day that the toilet wouldn’t flush. I still feel bad about that. (Because, really, there’s no telling when that situation was discovered. I know. Let’s move on.)
Bathroom Situation #3
In my current job, my office is located in an old farmhouse that was also previously a restaurant. We have a few random hallways, nooks and crannies here, too – but at least they’re well-lit.
For the first year and a half, I sat just outside the second floor handicapped bathroom. It’s a big room, so it’s roomy, you know? But it’s also an acoustical nightmare and echoes every sound like nobody’s business. Except what goes on in there becomes everybody’s business.
Seriously. That was NOT pleasant. I was so glad to move into another, out-of-bathroom-earshot desk!
Have you ever had a bathroom situation at the office?
This post will be linked to Works for Me Wednesday, because a good bathroom situation at the office works for me! And for more on bathroom situations, check out The Secret Bathroom at Church from Stuff Christians Like.
Bathroom image by cote.
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At one of my previous jobs, the bathroom was right in the break room or right next to it (at a different location that I worked at half the time). Hated that! They only nice thing was that because they were large clinics, you could often find an excuse to wander to another part of the clinic to find a more secluded bathroom. Whew!
Finding an alternative bathroom is a MUST! :)
At my last job, we there was one big room where we all sat. One giant office space with individual desks. It was supposed to be good for team building or some crap. The ONLY bathroom was right off the group office space. The door opened right into that space. NO privacy. Everyone knew what everyone else was up to. Not a good time.
Bummer on two counts – open work space AND one bathroom!
This post made me laugh more than once! :)
The only bathroom situation I can recall at work happened when I accidentally dropped my access badge into the toilet at the exact moment it was flushing! How embarrassing! I hoped that it would just flow easily into the sewage system, and then I could go to HR and report that I’d “lost” my badge. But no. Of course my badge had to clog up the toilet and proceed to cause an overflow, which meant I had to ‘fess up and admit to what I’d done. Even though it was an accident, it was still embarrassing to be “the girl who flushed her badge”.
Oh my gosh, Chrissy, your comment cracked me up! I’m sorry to laugh at your expense, but it’s just so … FUNNY!!!
Wow, I admire your, er, openness, Mary… I don’t know about any bathroom situations I’ve had, but I’m deathly afraid (ok, exaggerating slightly) of toilets overflowing. Does that fit in here? Because it means I prefer adequately-flushing toilets in the workplace. :)
I think it fits in. And yes, I am known for my openness, right? ;)
At my last job, I had one co-worker who would go into the bathroom for HOURS. I hated it when I crossed paths with her in there.
She would actually bring reading material.
And then read it to me.
I don’t know if she would recognize my shoes, or that was just her friendly way of reading the headlines to any passerby. I was tempted to slip some FiberCon onto her desk more than once. Seriously, eat a vegetable, lady!
Deb, that is WEIRD. So weird!!!
That’s hilarious!! I worked as a receptionist at a heating and air conditioning company. There were about 3 female to about 15+ guys, and ONE bathroom. There was an office with all our desks, then a “shop” in the center. The ONE bathroom was between the two with two doors, one opening to the shop the other to the office, and people would actually use that to go between the two, unless of course the bathroom was occupied. I hated it! No privacy whatsoever!!
15+ guys and a bathroom – NOT a good scenario!
I was situated just a few feet from the office bathroom…both a good and bad scenario. Good: not a far walk for me. Bad: Had to deal with the after effects of someone else’s bathroom experience. Not pleasant. I kept air fresher on hand or would light a candle if things got desparate for me.
Exactly. When I sat by the bathroom, there was one lady who was in there in a BAD way every single day. Ewwww!
On my personal blog I have celebrated the fact that while I often have to use the closest bathroom to my office (which has four stalls) there is one stall that I seem to be one of a very few people who choose to use it (no idea why…it works just fine). Maybe it’s because it is not the first or second stall you come to and not the fourth large handicapped one. Anyway, it’s always nice to go into a semi-public women’s restroom and find the lid lifted giving me the assurance my my rear is the first on that seat since cleaning (or at least since someone threw up?). It’s the little things in life, right?
It IS the little things. A lid up in the lady’s room is a SCORE!
LOL! Oh, girl, you’ve got me laughing so hard I’ve got tears in my eyes!
Sometimes when I’m in my own bathroom at home I pause for a moment and think, “Thank God, I’m not in the tiny closet bathroom with the bi-fold door in the teacher’s lounge of the school I used to student teach at, and Thank God, I’m not in the giant, one-toilet bathroom of my old office with the six inch crack at the bottom of the door”!
I’m still laughing. This was a hoot! :-)
Oh, those sound like BAD bathrooms. REAL bad!!!
LOL! I have worked from home for over 20 years, so the bathroom situation is pretty good! My only problem is that my teenagers refuse to share a bathrrom with my toddler, so I sometimes have to wait in line to get inthe master bathrroom. Or use the toddler’s bathroom…
Teenagers…toddlers…they’re kind of the same, aren’t they? :)
Oh that was hilarious! I never really thought about it, but using the “kiddie” bathrooms when I subbed at a middle school was REALLY awkward because the stall doors only went up half way for security reasons I guess. It was bad.
Yes, I can see how that would be awkward!!!
I love your post…so many elements ring a bell with me. Also my 3 year old daughter says or something a lot lately too. I didn’t realize I said it so much and she just picked it up. Now I’m really aware when I say it!
They are little sponges/parrots, aren’t they?!
Oh yes…in a 2 person stall (well, not 2 in a stall together, but a bathroom that had 2 stalls) and a woman in our office who was quite big and who didn’t typically have strange body odor…well she had bad body odor down…well, you know, and you wouldn’t want to see her feet come in the stall next to you. EVER. Ick.
Whoa. That is BAD.
My strangest workplace bathroom situation was when I was working in an office one summer in college and living off-campus. I had received a postcard from the university mailroom telling me a package had come to my campus address (because my mom forgot to use my summer address) and I needed to pick it up, so I did that at lunch break. Then I set the box on the bathroom counter while using the bathroom on my way back from lunch. Ten minutes later, the PA system announced to the entire office, “Uh, Becca, you left your package in the bathroom! [giggle]”
A woman who had been working in that same office abruptly quit and sued the company, claiming that the odor of the bathroom had caused her miscarriage. The really odd thing about that was that nobody else working there had ever noticed the bathroom having any persistent odor!
Funny about your PACKAGE, but totally weird about the woman who sued!!!
I loved Ally McBeal! Even though the unisex bathroom played an integral role in the show, I always thought it was so strange.
The only bathroom situation that comes to mind is when I worked at a Christian bookstore. There was no private bathroom for employees so we had to use the same bathroom as customers. This could create some interesting situations and often customers would ask where something was located, etc. while we’d be washing our hands- or worse, while we were in the stall. Awkward! However, one of the best customer-related stories from that job could have used a bathroom. A customer pooped in her pants in the middle of the store…and it apparently oozed out. And she just left without saying anything to anyone! A co-worker was an unfortunate witness and also had to clean up the mess. It still makes me laugh!
Gross! Yes, I’d call your co-worker’s situation (witnessing it AND cleaning it up?) VERY unfortunate!!!
Our office held the executive conference room and “executive bathroom,” which was one spacious room, in a hallway to nowhere, so it was effectively behind two closed doors, which was nice. But, there was no other reason to go that way, so everyone knew where you were headed if you walked in that first hallway door. For a period of time, my cube was all alone, directly across from the door, where every morning I would witness my boss walk in with a newspaper and emerge 20 minutes later. (note to self – walk down the hall to the hallway bathroom in the mornings). My location made me the de facto bathroom monitor, rather than knocking on the door, they would just ask me if anyone was in there. I never included that part of my job responsibilities on a resume.
Well, yeah. You don’t want any prospective employers to consider ADDING that to your job description!
I sit right outside of the bathroom. We have four in our office. One is for the president (its very nice and roomy and decorated), there is a pair on the first floor (outside of my office), there is a single toilet room (with the most privacy) down the hall and another pair upstairs.
The good news is the pair bathrooms are separated. So, girls only have to deal with girls. The bad news is my office location. Girls are much more discreet when needing to go to the bathroom. It literally makes me feel sick when I see a guy walk into the bathroom outside my office and fold up a newspaper and stick it under his arm, just like he’s at home!! Seriously?? And then, the entire time they are in there, I can only think about whats going on. It is very distracting. In fact, I had to move my desk so I wasn’t directly looking out into the hall. :)
Oh. Yuck. That is a real bummer. :(
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