With thousands of business books published annually, it would seem that just about every workplace-related topic has been thoroughly exhausted–many times over–by the armies of experts who churn out these things. Not so. For there’s a workplace activity that few dare to speak about but millions engage in every day: Going to the bathroom at work.
Now, thank goodness, two Brits (but of course) have ridden to the rescue: How to Poo at Work is a soon-to-be-published guide on how to avoid flushing one’s career away through inadvertant breaches of bathroom etiquette. Seriously, this is an actual book, to be published this December by the Penguin Group, complete with charts, diagrams and bullet points. Topics covered include what to do if you’re on your way (urgently) to the restroom and your boss stops you in the hallway to engage in a long-winded discussion about his dog or family, the importance of avoiding eye contact in the restroom, how to deal with the fact that the bathroom is immediately adjacent to the office gossip’s desk, etc.
The book (whose authors are “Mats” and “Enzo” and who, according to the press release, “live and poop in France”) is clearly humorous, but there’s practical career advice lurking within as well. After all, who hasn’t had to excuse themselves in the midst of an important presentation to attend to some necessary bodily function? Does your company’s intranet have an advice section on topics such as this? I’m guessing not! Think of all the talent in your organization desparately straining to find advice on, say, what to do when they discover their stall is out of toilet paper … looking them in the eye, handing them a copy of How to Poo at Work and muttering “You’ll thank me later” just may land HR in that coveted seat at the table … or not.