Q: A very stupid ask. I was given a black eye last Friday night after a drinking session in a City bar. It's an ugly sight and I managed to take a sickie this week by saying I had the flu.
I've never done this before but I was so embarrassed I didn't know what else to say. It's still looking bad but I can't delay going back into work any longer. I have a pretty respectable office job - how should I explain it away? Or should I just try wearing my girlfriend's make-up?
A: You seem to be determined to make things worse. Somebody thumped you, that's all. It happens. Black eyes eventually fade away - and so do memories. If you'd gone straight back to work, you'd be through the worst of it all by now. Instead, they'll wonder about that week you took off sick.
By all means try the make-up wheeze if you really want to make the worst of it. 'Look: somebody's thumped old Charlie and he's tried to cover it up with Elizabeth Arden!'
Instead, when they ask you what happened, say 'Somebody thumped me.' That's all.
- Jeremy Bullmore is a former creative director and chairman of J Walter Thompson London. His book Another Bad Day at the Office is published by Penguin at £6.99. Address your problem to Jeremy Bullmore at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Regrettably, no correspondence can be entered into.