A reader writes:
I am writing to you in a state of extreme mortification. I, a full-fledged adult, wet my pants at work. What makes this worse is that this is a brand new job that I absolutely love, but now I’m thinking about just quitting and never showing my face there ever again.
For context: I am a woman who had several medical procedures last year that left me with some minor bathroom issues. I’m working on these things with my doctor, and I’ve never had a problem, until today.
I work at the front desk in a pretty small office. I was super busy and rushing around all day and I didn’t have much time to myself. Towards the end of my shift, I finally got to sit down, started responding to some emails, and well, without much warning, the floodgates opened, so to speak. I sat in shock for a few seconds. All I could even think to do was quickly pack up, hold my backpack and jacket awkwardly over my backside, shove my chair under my desk, and book it out of there. Since it was the end of my shift anyway, I just went home to change and cry.
I don’t think anyone actually noticed (they were all in their offices and very busy), but I can’t stop thinking what if someone actually did see? How do I show my face at work tomorrow? How do I explain to someone why I’m scrubbing down my office chair? Blame it on spilled coffee? Just never go to work again?
I’m not sure how much actual advice you can give me, but I would appreciate anything you and your readers have to say. I feel so awful and embarrassed.
I swear to you that I am saying this because I believe it and not because I’m trying to make you feel better: I doubt that anyone noticed.
It doesn’t sound like anyone was around when it happened — you were sitting at your desk, and it sounds like you got yourself out of there really fast.
And really, if anyone did notice your pants being wet, they’d most likely assume you spilled something or sat in something. After all, isn’t that what you’d default to thinking if you noticed someone with wet pants? People tend to think, “Oh no, she sat in something — that sucks!” not “Oh, she wet her pants.”
The same thing goes for your chair — if someone sees you cleaning it, the most likely assumption is going to be that you spilled something. People spill things at work all the time! Wiping down a chair is not going to be connected in most people’s minds with bladder accidents, I promise.
Plus, if anyone asks about it (which I doubt they will), you are entirely allowed to make up a cover story about what you spilled and even joke about it.
Truly, it is HIGHLY UNLIKELY that anyone knows about this. The best thing you can do here is erase it from your mind and go on as if it never happened, because I put large sums of money on the likelihood that no one in your office has any idea.