Be Nice…

 

Years ago I was a supervisor of a small IT Help Desk team.  On the team was a fellow we’ll call Jim.  Jim had a habit of getting on the phone with his wife and just chewing on her in a way that made the rest of us uncomfortable.  He didn’t really cuss at her about stuff she did, it was actually about things others did, but it still was a bit awkward.  Often he could be heard saying things like, “They said what?!?!  No!  You tell those f—ers that I said no!  No, I don’t care.  Listen to me!  Those people are a******s!  Tell ’em what I said!”

One day I jokingly told Jim “Wow, you sure give it to your wife.  What does she think of that?”  He responded that he didn’t really care.

Finally one day he was just going to work on her over the phone about something.  One of my team members said, “Ken, you gotta say something to him, I can’t handle it when he talks to his wife like that.”  I said, “You’re right, I’ll talk to him and be very direct.”

So after Jim got off the phone, I took him aside and said, “Look, Jim, it’s none of my business how you and your wife get on, but you can’t talk to her that way in the office.  If you are going to talk to her that way, take your cell phone and go out to your car.  Nobody wants to hear it.”

Jim said, “Oh that wasn’t my wife, it was my mother.”

Jim was laid off not too long after for budget reasons.  I ran into his wife years later and asked how he was doing.  She said, “I don’t know.  We got divorced.”  Big surprise.

I don’t really understand people like Jim.  There’s a time and a place I guess for getting worked up, but I think being kind to people yields better results.  Just sayin’!

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There are 16 comments.

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  1. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    And, if you’re angry all the time, how are people supposed to know when/if you really mean it?

    • #1
  2. Chowderhead Coolidge
    Chowderhead
    @Podunk

    Thanks Spin. Good timing. I totally agree. And there IS a limit to tolerating the Jim’s.

    • #2
  3. OldPhil Coolidge
    OldPhil
    @OldPhil

    kedavis (View Comment):

    And, if you’re angry all the time, how are people supposed to know when/if you really mean it?

    In maybe 15 years as a supervisor, I only got visibly angry at an employee maybe two times (the same one both times). Both times after it was over, two secretaries came in my office and asked if I was OK. And the employee came back and apologized.

    • #3
  4. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy Weivoda
    @RandyWeivoda

    Jim would have gotten along well with my dad, who nearly melted phone lines with his anger.

    • #4
  5. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy Weivoda
    @RandyWeivoda

    Jim would have gotten along well with my dad, who nearly melted phone lines with his anger.

    • #5
  6. Mark Camp Member
    Mark Camp
    @MarkCamp

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):

    Jim would have gotten along well with my dad, who nearly melted phone lines with his anger.

    You can say that again!

    • #6
  7. Mark Camp Member
    Mark Camp
    @MarkCamp

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):

    Jim would have gotten along well with my dad, who nearly melted phone lines with his anger.

    You can say that again!

    • #7
  8. Spin Coolidge
    Spin
    @Spin

    Mark Camp (View Comment):

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):

    Jim would have gotten along well with my dad, who nearly melted phone lines with his anger.

    You can say that again!

    Is there an echo…?

    • #8
  9. Full Size Tabby Member
    Full Size Tabby
    @FullSizeTabby

    kedavis (View Comment):

    And, if you’re angry all the time, how are people supposed to know when/if you really mean it?

    In my first full time job (law firm, more than 40 years ago) one of the firm partners was constantly yelling at various staff members. As the newbie I wouldn’t dare. So one time when my project kept getting de-prioritized by the staff, I did get mildly upset. The staff immediately snapped to attention because I had never gotten upset with them before, and they knew they were dealing with an unusual event. 

    • #9
  10. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    Admiral Ernest King’s daughter once said of him, “Daddy’s the most even-tempered man I have ever known. He’s always furious.”

    • #10
  11. OccupantCDN Coolidge
    OccupantCDN
    @OccupantCDN

    I think its a good thing that I didnt get married or have a family as a young man. On the one hand I regret that, as a look at my empty retirement years, but I also dont think I was a very good person then and lots of people may have regrets had I ignored my doubts and dived into something…

    I really didnt have a good role model for family life, my parents have stayed together miserably married for nearly 60 years…

    • #11
  12. Spin Coolidge
    Spin
    @Spin

    OccupantCDN (View Comment):

    I think its a good thing that I didnt get married or have a family as a young man. On the one hand I regret that, as a look at my empty retirement years, but I also dont think I was a very good person then and lots of people may have regrets had I ignored my doubts and dived into something…

    I really didnt have a good role model for family life, my parents have stayed together miserably married for nearly 60 years…

    I’m not going to contradict you and say that it’s not a good thing.  It’s your life and you know it best.  But it wouldn’t have been a bad thing.  I spent the first 10 or 12 years of my married life being a total jerk.  Because I had to work out things in my own life that were caused by lack of good role models, same as you.  And that means that my relationship with my oldest son isn’t the best, but with my youngest son is a lot better.  This is the saltiness of life that makes us really valuable in our retired life.  You have so much to offer the people around you in terms of wisdom.  

    • #12
  13. EJHill Staff
    EJHill
    @EJHill

    Remember when we built little sound-proof isolation booths for people to talk on the telephone in public?

    • #13
  14. Spin Coolidge
    Spin
    @Spin

    EJHill (View Comment):

    Remember when we built little sound-proof isolation booths for people to talk on the telephone in public?

    I thought those were for superheroes to change clothes in?

    • #14
  15. Muleskinner, Weasel Wrangler Member
    Muleskinner, Weasel Wrangler
    @Muleskinner

    I think I would have preferred Jim to one of the former strippers-turned bookkeepers I used to supervise. Besides the way-TMI I got when she called in sick, other staff would drop by my office to complain that they were unable to work because her perfume was overpowering, or the graphic descriptions of the symptoms of her sons’ latest STDs. When I tried to explain to her why she should talk to her Doctor’s offices in private, she defended herself by taking the position that such things were the most natural things in the world.

    • #15
  16. Spin Coolidge
    Spin
    @Spin

    Muleskinner, Weasel Wrangler (View Comment):

    I think I would have preferred Jim to one of the former strippers-turned bookkeepers I used to supervise. Besides the way-TMI I got when she called in sick, other staff would drop by my office to complain that they were unable to work because her perfume was overpowering, or the graphic descriptions of the symptoms of her sons’ latest STDs. When I tried to explain to her why she should talk to her Doctor’s offices in private, she defended herself by taking the position that such things were the most natural things in the world.

    I’ll take “None of the Above” for $100, Alex!  

    • #16
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