Most people of color and women who often represent a minority are aware of hidden and some not-so hidden biases that is prevalent in the workplace based on salaries, promotions, wage increases and treatment from day-to-day. No matter how bad it gets, there is never an excuse for violence in the workplace. A bad working environment doesn’t excuse rage or violence in the home, in theatres, churches or anywhere in civilian life. So what if people had careers that were intentionally destroyed by certain group of mean egotistical individuals accustomed to privileges and entitlements who may smugly flaunt their special privileges to taunt or bully their victims; violence isn’t an answer. The truth is that it happens all of the time, but seldom become news until it is made public by filing a huge lawsuit or the outcome of an horrific aftermath from the sole action of an individual as in the case of August 26 when a professionally trained and frustrated journalist wrote a three page manifesto and last words followed by murder and suicide.
America has a long history of intolerance and the workplace can become a powder keg where the dominant social culture has less tolerance for others i.e.;the opposite sex, race, gender, sexual preference or ethnicity. There is such a condition known as repetitive psychological stress syndrome has possibilities of escalating into an explosive situation if not recognized. The danger of workplace violence increases when matters go unaddressed and ultimately the targets may be innocent parties in retaliation. The August 26, 2015 incident that left three people dead including the gunman and one person seriously injured, there are no winners. There are alternative methods in seeking vindication and retribution other than violence.Alternative Approaches to Snapping
Individuals sometimes are unaware of the causes and triggers for anger. If we can recognize the triggers and use another plans of action rather than seek revenge we can circumvent explosive outcomes that may lead to losing a job or getting arrested. Why not use the antagonistic approach exemplified by Univision reporter Jorge Ramos when he interrupted Donald Trump’s press conference. Ramos’s bombardment of pointed questions was a challenge to Trump’s character and competency to run for president of the United States. Needless to point out that Ramos methodology sent Mr. Trump well over the moon.
We may have visions of carrying out actions like the characters played by Dolly Parton and Lilly Tomlin in the movie 9 to 5, but there are alternatives to snapping like taking out rage with pen and paper. Create a rap about the work place, write a poem and perform open mike, even create a stress relief meditation group at work. You can start an art stress relief group or draw pictures of co-workers or the bullying boss as an over-sized gluttonous gorilla wearing suspender, spats, and a bow tie with a cigar in his mouth (I actually did it hung in my cubicle for months at my last job, which gave me plenty of entertainment). Try joining a writing group tell your story, perhaps submit to a newspaper or as an opt-ed about the issues in the workplace. Your story can help others seek out resolutions in a therapeutic way. Start a meet-up group and call it Jane and John DOEs for Dissed-Off Employees for humor. Have a big piñata filled with suckers and jaw breakers or soft squeezable stress balls for everyone. Arrange a discussion group to allow people to vent confidentially offers a harm-free alternative solution that will help obtain peace of mind. Be sure to have hold harmless agreements and signed disclosures for your attendees.
The reality is that most of us have experienced something in our past that may irritate a nerve when the memory is triggered. Companies across the US certainly can do a better job with providing objective resources to diffuse internal conflict within departments among staffing. The company should utilize multiple conflict resolution resources for workers. Rather than leave it up to individuals to sort out their own issue can be a silent time bomb. More integration of team building activities is recommended that is not all directed towards productivity, but focused on social exchange to build trust and reduce possible xenophobia that may exist in the cultural work environment. An active Ombudsman program who may serve as an excellent resource is recommended to reduce differences and personal conflicts.
Discrimination is epic and to widely unchallenged from age to race and gender. There’s too much room for ambiguities that go on in the workplace and that slip through the cracks that run deeper that the San Andreas fault. But until the cracks are repaired and companies do their part to address internal issues, it is best for individuals to find alternative methods to handle that stress. It is better to just cool out have a coke and a smile. And if your employer is Coke, I hope they pay and treat you with respect and according to merits of your character and not by the curl in your hair or the size of your waist. Just remember that laughter is best for distressing and healing wounds and that success is the sweetest revenge and the best way to the bank.