Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Observing the blender effect

Here's how the day went:

One employee comes to me shaking she's so mad at a situation at work. I calm her.

That employee meets with her team behind closed doors, there is yelling, screaming, crying.

Nobody else in the office will go in there.  The office manager will not go in there.  

I go and tell them to knock off the screaming/yelling behaviour and act professional.  (not in those words but that was the gist).  The girl is in tears, almost all of the guys are yelling at her.  

One of the guys yells at me that he will not do what I say, he'll will not calm down and I don't have the right to tell him to calm down.  I ignore him (but he is very aggressive and asshole-ish) I suggest they either calm down or take 15 mins to regroup and if they can't act like professionals then go to their corners and wait til they can talk and not scream.  They calm down mostly. I leave them to hash it out. 

Another girl finds out her actions were the cause of the entire thing.

She talks to me about it at lunch. So I listen to her and try to calm her down. She's pissed but does calm down some.  She leaves. 

Another employee stops by my table and tells me about a project she is working on and then the crying first girl comes out ranting and raving and bitching to me about the girl who did the actions.  I try to calm her down but she's so pissed she wants to vent.  by the time she leaves she's calmer but not calm.

I go back to the office. I hear from the husband, the truck is totaled.  Frame bent and torn.  I also hear that my sons 2 best friends and ex girlfriend where hit by a car while riding their bikes.  Yes, all three of them.  My son was supposed to go with them but couldn't because he had school.  All of them survived but one has 2 fractures in her back, and a broken wrist.  One guy only has bruises on his hip.  The third has road rash all over his body.  No head injuries.  All three very lucky.

One of the guys at work talks to me about the altercation.  He tells me the crying woman tried to leave and one of the guys held the door and told her she was not leaving until they'd hashed it out.  (I think this is possibly illegal or at the very least actionable as a grievance) We agree it was a bad day at work.

My carpooler has been dealing with a middle school problem, her son was threatened and some other 7th grader held a (closed) knife at his throat.  The kid is probably gonna get it.  My carpooler is pissed and cannot believe someone had threatened her kids life.

Like I said, bad day.  It was like turning a blender on without a top, everything blew today. 

I'm not involved with any of the drama at work.  But I know about all of it.  Almost everyone comes to me and tells me things.  I just listen.  I don't tell anyone else what the other person said, I don't want to get involved.  I have no idea why people tell me these things, they just do.  It's probably because I don't get myself in the middle of it, I just listen.  There is something wrong that employees don't have the faith to talk to their bosses (even when I suggest they go to them.)

Oh yeah, and the guy that screamed at me? He apologized to me.  I accepted his apology and he'd better hope he never screams at me like that again.  

You'll notice nobody with any management title got involved.  


Donita Curioso said...

That is fucking nuts. But before I get into that...

Oh my god, I'm so glad (name of son)'s friends are ok. That's a story that could have had a much worse ending. I'm so thankful it didn't.

Now, back to your work situation. It's AMAZING to me that someone didn't speak up and left you to do it. It's amazing to me that someone involved in that meeting didn't do something to stop things from escalating. Seriously, what you told them- to knock off the shit and act professional- is something that should have been obvious to anyone. EVERYONE. You were the only one with the balls to go in there and tell them.

This is known in gossiping circles as "great dirt".

VO said...

Yeah, I talked to the mom of one of the kids and she said her son thought they were unlucky to have been in the accident. Both and the mom and me agreed they were LUCKY to have survived it. Sort of hightlights the difference between youth thinking they are invincible.

It's so weird at work, people get away with all kinds of behaviour because nobody wants to deal with it. It being almost anything having to do with dealing with personalities.