Thursday, August 1, 2013

Violence in the Work Place

My children cannot play together without one causing another injury during the course of, say, an hour.  They’ll be sitting there, playing Legos, when one will inexplicably hurl a Lego at the other’s face.  The injured party becomes shocked, betrayed, and out for revenge.  Understandably.  I’m fortunate to have really good friends who don’t accidentally push me down the stairs round in their hurry to get by me.  My kids are not so lucky.  Thankfully, children do will grow out of this compulsive behavior. Otherwise, workplace scenarios like this would be commonplace: 

A corner office.  Mr. Kemp, the boss, is doing something busy and important when his employee, Kurt, bursts through his door.  Highly agitated, Kurt is clutching his right eye and breathing heavily.

Kemp:  Kurt!  What happened?

Kurt:  Brad just punched me!  Hard!  In the face!

Kemp:  Oh no.  Please, sit down!  Sit down.  Let’s have a look.

Kurt:  I don’t want to sit down!  I am very, very upset!

Kemp:  Naturally, naturally.  What happened?

Kurt:  We were just talking about the game last night.  He was getting all excited and he started swinging his arms around and then he punched me in the face!

Kemp:  Yes, but did he do it on purpose?

Kurt:  Does it matter?  He may have broken my nose.  I think I’m bleeding.  Am I bleeding?  I need a bandaid!

Kemp walks to the door and peers out.

Kemp: Brad!  Brad!  I see you, Brad.  Stop hiding behind your cubicle and get over here right now.

Brad walks into the office, his head hanging.

Kemp:  Brad.  Did you punch Kurt in the face?

Brad:  I didn’t mean to.  It was an accident.

Kemp: You know you have to be more careful when you’re talking to people.  Use your words, not your body.

Brad:  Yes sir.  It won’t happen again.  I’m so, so sorry Kurt.

Kemp:  Well, Kurt, it sounds like it was an accident. 

Kurt:  Just like it was an accident when he karate-chopped Katie last week?

Kemp:  As I recall, Katie said some not very nice things to Brad.

Brad:  She called me a poopy head.

Kurt:  But you can’t just go around kicking people!  Mr. Kemp, you need to DO something!

Kemp:  And what would you have me do?

Kurt:  FIRE HIM!

Kemp:  That seems a little drastic, Kurt. I think you should calm down.  Have a seat.  Let’s get some ice for your eye. 

Brad:  I’m really, really sorry Kurt.

Kemp:  Thanks, Brad.  That was a good job telling Kurt you’re sorry.  It takes courage to do that.  You can go back to your desk now.

Kurt:  What?  That’s it? 

Kemp:  Kurt, I’m a little disappointed in you.  Brad feels very badly about the way he acted.  You should have forgiven him.

Kurt:  I can hardly open my eye!  I should not have to tolerate this kind of violence in the workplace!

Kemp:  Hey.  I know what would make you feel better.  (Kemp walks over to a jar on his desk.)  Here.  Have some Skittles.

Kurt:  Skittles?  Really?

Kemp:  Yeah, buddy!  Just for you!  And I’ll tell you what.  You can have Skittles after lunch, too.

Kurt:  I like Skittles.

Kemp:  I know you do.  Feeling better?

Kurt:  Yeah, I guess so.

Kemp:  Think you can go back to work?

Kurt:  Yeah. Yeah I think I can.

Kemp:  Good.  Good.  Let’s give Brad some space today, okay?

Kurt:  Oh, we’re going play squash after work. 

Kemp:  Okay.  Just be careful.

Kurt:  I will, boss.  I will.

I am sure Ben and Caleb, especially Ben, will behave better than this when they are adults.  And if not, may they have a boss who is understanding, and who stocks up on Skittles.