I have heard hundreds of scary, grim and outrageous workplace anecdotes over the almost three decades that I have been hanging around in offices. These involve humiliating public firings, toxic managers galore and one excitable Alsatian dog.

But the Worst Story Ever begins with nothing more sinister than a lone woman in a business meeting. She is wearing a white linen suit in a boardroom full of men in dark suits. Feeling a rising panic as the meeting ends, Linen Suit Lady backs awkwardly out of the room, knowing she is causing offence to important corporate contacts by not stopping to shake hands or say goodbye. She is rushing because she knows — without even looking — that her period has leaked.

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