My office recently announced a zero tolerance policy about workplace violence. Today, I was on the receiving end of a very irritating customer call. After the customer hung up, I slammed my telephone receiver back into its cradle with a little too much force. Nothing broke, but it was loud. I’ve never done something like that at work before today. My supervisor counseled me that my behavior violated the workplace violence policy and said if anything like that happens again, I will be disciplined. Don’t you think that’s crazy? What would you have done?
I would have slapped her and told her to watch her back.
— Evil Skippy
Your boss may have gone overboard by characterizing one slammed phone as “violence”, but she was right to counsel you if your behavior disturbed others in the work place. When you get mad at work (or elsewhere), remember Thomas Jefferson’s advice: “When you are angry, count to ten. If you’re really angry, count to one hundred”.
Your boss is not as crazy as the high level manager with whom I used to work. The organization had recently adopted policies and procedures to prevent workplace violence. When I was making a presentation and referred to “Bullet Point Number One”, the manager interrupted me to say that we could no longer use bullet points because “bullet” is a violent word. (Fortunately, she could not read my mind so she did not know all the violent thoughts her comment generated in the ES half of my brain). She told me we had to call them “emphasis points”.
I smiled nicely and finished my talk. The next week, at another presentation, the manager complimented me for remembering to refer to the punctuation as “emphasis points”. What she had not realized was that I had substituted the “emphasis” points’ tiny circles with little bombs complete with lit fuses.
It was immature, but it made me happy.
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