I need some advice from my remodeling brethren. I had the bright idea to try and recruit a co-op student from the local vocational school. I thought “I’ll find someone who WANTS to remodel, not someone who doesn’t have any options. Plus, I’ll be able to train them my way, from the ground up, to either run a crew or be a dependable sub…”. It seemed like a stroke of genius…
The kid shows up on a Thursday. Overweight, which was a bit surprising, but no big deal. What struck me most was the ODOR. (I could smell him before I shook his hand…) Since he had school in the morning, I assumed he had gym or some other physical activity. No big deal I thought.
He wanted Friday off, to go on a field trip, so I didn’t see him until the next Monday. He arrived before I did at the job site, and even though his mom dropped him off, I knew he was there because I could smell him. Bad odor again!
We’re not talking just regular BO, that you can smell when someone works hard all day, and lifts their arm….he’s got Peanut’s character PigPen smell going on. When he leaves the room, it smells for at least fifteen minutes after he leaves.
So, I put up with the stench, sort of like working in a bathroom where someone’s taken the dump of their life, or like working in a giant’s armpit! This goes on for the next three days, and I’m still thinking that it’s because he has a physical class in the morning. He informs me that Friday he’s off school, and he can come in early. This I think will vindicate him, as I expect him not to smell since he doesn’t have a reason too.
Friday comes, and he still stinks! I put up with it….
Saturday is my day to try and catch up on jobs that are done for friends, or when I’m behind. Since my help isn’t there, I engage the wife of my client in a conversation regarding my predicament. When I bring it up, my client IMMEDIATELY acknowledges the bad smell! He hadn’t said anything because he didn’t want to hurt the kid’s or my feelings!
This morning I called the vocational school. Apparently, they knew about it the whole time! (Can you see those teachers sitting around trying to find a job placement for this kid? Seeing that I didn’t meet him in person, they must have loved laying him on me!) The counselor has spoken to the kid’s mom, and she apparently does his laundry twice a week to no avail. He says he’ll speak with the kid. (In the kid’s defense, although slow and a bit clumsy, he is eager to learn, and a nice person. That’s most of my dilemma….if he were an a$$, I would have fired him Monday.)
The kid comes to work today and asks me why I didn’t just ask him directly. I tell him I didn’t want to hurt his feelings, and secondly, I didn’t know if it was a medical issue or a hygenic issue. He informs me he’s has the problem since he was 7. Nothing helps. Ten minutes after a shower, he smells again. I feel terrible for the kid. (Having grown up with acne, I know what low self esteem feels like, and how cruel kid’s can be.)
We worked all day on an empty house tearing out a sub floor. He smelled progressively worse throughout the day. In other words, it’s not going to get any better.
What are my options? Any ideas? The kid says he’s been to a doctor, but the medication to treat the odor gives him a rash.
What would you do? He sprays tons of deodorant on, but it just barely masks it. It smells almost worse, since the flowering deodorant smell grabs you from ten feet away, and then the BO slams when you get closer.
I feel terrible for the kid, but I’m running a business and I can’t alienate high-end clients with a trainees bad odor.