After watching last night’s repeat of The Office, I decided that some of my clients’ stories this week were more titillating. That’s what she said. (Couldn’t resist.)
The theme of calls that I got this week almost made me feel like I was on the show. I looked for cameras (and Ashton and Howie) more than a few times. It started bright and early Monday morning. At my client’s business office, a supervisor started teasing his subordinate about her weight. He told her that the economy had not gotten in the way of her eating, that there were kids in whole counties that go without that she could feed if she skipped a meal, etc. Michael, is that you?
Tuesday and Wednesday were even better (of course, just from a “I can’t believe this train wreck is happening” perspective). A different client’s regional manager (yes, regional manager) called a lunch meeting to boost morale. He noted that purpose in his email. At the lunch, he began making fun of people. He poked fun at their physical appearances, their ethnicities, and their poor work ethic. He wasn’t random about it; the folks he was joking about were being laid off — that week. Better: His boss was at the lunch. And, he laughed and laughed. Michael? David (but without judgment)?
Then, on Thursday and Friday, the not-so-funny fallout. In both offices (but on different days), things got heated. The husband of the heavy woman came into the office and threatened to kick his wife’s Michael’s butt. Security was called and everything calmed down. Our second Michael was not so lucky; he went to the parking lot to find that his car had been keyed and vandalized in other ways. Wonder who did that?
With all of the news and the bad economic conditions, we’re seeing a huge rise in workplace violence. As a first step, spotting and stopping your Michaels and Dwights is important. They are easy to spot, and they will increase the tension in already tough times. If an employee complains about potential violence or is fearful of the workplace, don’t call your chief of security (Dwight), look at your state’s procedure for injunctions against workplace harassment and follow your internal policy. You don’t want to be the next character on The Office!