I am so f-ing sick of snow. I’m sick of cleaning it off of my car, hearing about it on the news, talking about it with my parents, watching my poor wife shovel it, sarcastically joking about it on Facebook, and hearing all the comments from my coworkers: “We never had this kinda crazy weather until you moved to town…ha ha ha!”
“Ha ha ha…f#@K YOU!”
It’s not funny to me anymore. Judging by a few recent episodes, I think snow, and the whole winter season is starting to affect my mood. I need to check out some info on this Seasonal Affective Disorder I’ve been reading about.
I am generally of kind nature and gentle spirit. I love to be social. If you have read TLMC with any kind of regularity, you know that the love of my family, an occasional micro-brew, and the company of pretty ladies are pretty much all I need in life. I’m a happy guy. That’s how I roll…in the spring, summer, and the fall.
But it’s winter. My kind nature and my gentle spirit must be residing someplace warm.
Human Resources and I had a discussion last week, I’m sharing with you the correspondence, but I’m changing the names to protect…I don’t know … somebody.
From The Desk of Sherry Painintheass (I think she’s Greek)
Human Resource Department, ACME Enterprises
Dear Mr. Large Man (I’ll go ahead and use my real name because you guys know it’s me)
The HR department is alarmed to have received a third complaint in as many weeks regarding your aggressive behavior towards your fellow employees. We have one complaint of an irrational outburst when you were simply asked if you wanted to join a group for lunch. We have also received a complaint about use of vulgar language and aggressive posture when you were asked about an upcoming trip to Fargo, ND. And finally, it has been reported that on Wednesday January 26th, when you were asked if you wanted to buy some Girl Scout cookies during our 9:00 Coffee Break, your reply was, “How about I just choke you instead.” The woman filed a formal complaint with our department, and feels that she is entitled to compensation as a result of your threat.
The woman you offered to choke is the 77-year-old founder of the Girl Scout troop in this town. She is a widow and has been raising money for the Girl Scouts and other charities for over 60 years.
Can you offer any explanation for these incidents and your aggressive behavior? The HR Department would like you to respond to this correspondence, in writing, and in person by the end of tomorrow’s business day. In other words, bring yourself and a written response to my office tomorrow.
I’m sending this letter in advance of our meeting so that you may have time to digest the reality of what truly occurred. I’m sure once you understand my intentions; we’ll be able to put these issues behind us.
In my defense, I didn’t realize that the Girl Scout cookie woman was in her mid to late seventies. I had her figured for about 64 or 65, had I known her real age, I probably would have handled that situation differently. It needs to be noted however that extreme, high pressure sales tactics were being used on me – at my place of work. I’m not 100% sure there weren’t even a few laws broken on her part. But that’s hindsight, I will forgive her, and I’m going to have to learn to forgive myself for that one. We can just call that a “wash”.
As far as the other “Incidents”, as you call them, are concerned…let’s just chalk them up to an aggressive leadership style. You call them “incidents”; I prefer to call them “teaching moments”. I am surprised that I have to come to the HR dungeon to defend what most companies applaud – I was simply helping a few coworkers in their professional journey.
I’ll address each of these teaching moments (or acts of leadership – whichever you choose to call them after you read this) individually.
On Friday, January 14th, it was snowing at a rate of about 2” per hour, and the outdoor temps were in the single digits. I was cheerfully sending out email, talking with customers on the phone, performing my regular revenue generating duties, when the guys came in and asked me to join them for lunch.
Now let’s be honest; I don’t want to mention names, and I’m certainly no Ken doll myself, but “you know who”, and his “buddy” should probably be bringing salads to work anyway. The starchy, sodium charged, fat laden foods that are available in an “out to lunch” scenario are not helping these guys (or our insurance underwriters for that matter) at all. AND…it was f-ing snowing and 7 F-ING degrees outside. So when I said, “IT’S F-ING SNOWING! YOU FAT Fs! LEAVE ME THE F ALONE!” I was merely concerned for their health and safety. Frankly, I’m a little hurt that I feel like I have to defend this management style. I’m an animated leader. In most corporate cultures, that’s a respected trait. So perhaps you should take a look at yourself on this one.
On Thursday January 20th, I remember it was heavily snowing that day as well, one of the chronic complainers from Mergers and Acquisitions…or as the rest of the company likes to call them, “the B team”, entered my office (without the customary knock on the door jam I might add) and said while sporting that cheerful smile of his, “Dude, I hear you’re going to Fargo on Monday. You excited?”
Sherry, I realize that this guy is young. I also understand that his cat has been missing for a few days, and his life all around isn’t that great right now; no girlfriend (suddenly), and limited future prospects. These factors are exactly why I reached out to help him. Asking stupid questions never looks good. Do we want him out on the dating scene, or Heaven forbid – in a business environment, asking people if they are “excited” about traveling into the Arctic Circle in January?
Let me explain something: Nobody is excited to go to Fargo in January, even people who live in Fargo…even people who bank in Fargo…even if you just won the Fargo F-ing lottery, and you had to collect it in person and it was 200 million dollars…if you won it in January, you would wait until June to go get it – that’s how much it SUCKS to be in Fargo in January.
Sure, I could have just ignored the kid, smiled and said “Absolutely!”, and sent him on his ignorant little way. But would he have learned anything? I remember being excited about the opportunity to teach and guide this young man, but I don’t really remember exactly what I said. Perhaps if he wrote it down in his communication to you, you could share it with me in our meeting. I may want to save the thought for other opportunities as they arise.
In closing, I guess I have to call a “My bad!” for offering to choke the antagonistic cookie lady. Lesson learned. As far as the other two episodes are concerned, I think this was a clear case of people not understanding my motives, and my desire to help, to lead, and to teach. I realize that none of these people actually report to me, but that’s what made these unselfish gestures so beautiful.
I will simply offer a sincere, you’re welcome.
I hope this satisfies the points of your letter. Based on this new information, I am fine with canceling this afternoon’s meeting. I hold no ill will toward you, the employees involved, or the HR department.
The Large Man
AND…her response to my response:
From The Desk of Sherry Painintheass
Human Resource Department, ACME Enterprises
Dear Mr. Large Man
Our meeting will take place as scheduled.
Thanks for reading.
The Large Man