Aggression in the Workplace, Part II

All of the advice from Monday is useless if you see that your adversary is armed.  In such a situation your only goal is to save yourself.  Get out of the line of fire. Get out of the adversary’s line of sight.  (If they cannot see you, they can’t shoot you.)  Do not attempt to engage your adversary in any way.  Try not to show fear by screaming or expressing terror through your body language. If you cannot see a way to quickly exit the scene unnoticed (by the adversary), falling to the floor and lying very still might just save your life.  Don’t try to be a hero. Leave that to others who may be able to approach the adversary from behind. What you want to do is show the adversary physically that he or she faces no threat where you are concerned. Here is another true story:

He was the first in his family to graduate from college. His family was so proud. They were unaware how much he had struggled and how much he hated college. After graduation, he took a job with one of the nation’s largest brokerages as a trainee.  He was gives a guaranteed salary of $600.00 per month for eight months during which time he was being trained to develop his own stable of clients to whom he would be selling stocks, bonds and mutual funds.  At the end of that time period, his salary would be made up entirely of commissions from the products he sold to his clients.

Every day he left for work in a suit and tie carrying a leather briefcase. His family was so proud.  He was going into the city’s financial center to a tall building of glass and granite. He told his family his tiny his cubical was a grand office, that he had a secretary and that he was an important man in the company.  His family was so proud.

This young trainee dutifully attended all the training classes and endured all the one-on-one coaching he received from his boss, the general manager.  However, he found that he hated cold-calling.  In fact, he disliked every aspect of sales. At the end of eight months, the general manager told him he had not made a successful transition from broker-trainee to broker and that he would be let go. The young man begged to be given another chance. He even shed a few tears and promised to work harder at becoming the broker he knew he could be.  The general manager told the young man as kindly as possible that obviously sales were not his forte. He should therefore clean out his desk and leave.

The young man took the news very hard. He asked if he might return the following morning to clean out his desk.  He needed time to adjust to what had happened.

The following morning, he returned.  Observers stated that the young man seemed to be in a trance as he went to his cubicle to clean out his things. Several minutes later he walked to the doorway of the general manager’s office and shot him eight times killing both the general manager and his administrative assistant.  Several employees took him down with a football tackle from behind.  He was still attempting to fire his gun, now empty of bullets, in the direction of his dead boss when they took him down.

It is critical that once the decision to fire someone has been made, management engages a security person to escort the terminated individual out the door immediately.  Moreover, all forms of identification (badges) and keys should be collected by the security person so that the terminated individual no longer has access to the building.  When these precautions are not taken, it can place all employees in danger.

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  • Charity Followell  On May 16, 2011 at 6:23 am

    Hi there, just stumbled on your site from stumbleupon. It is not something I would regularly read, but I liked your perspective on it. Thanx for making an article worth reading!

    • deannerosenberg  On May 17, 2011 at 2:47 pm

      Thank you for the feedback. I do hope that my information makes your life easier when you are faced with difficult situations.

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