The Thursday Special

Last Week’s Scenarios

Scenario #1

Someone at work has suddenly exploded ….

Solution:  Stay out of the fray; take a break; leave the immediate area.

Scenario #2

Someone at work walks into your workspace and starts to yell at you.

Solution: Stand up, hands at sides.  Do not look panicked.  Do not say anything of a defensive nature (such as “I did no such thing.”).  Instead, say “I’d be upset if someone did that to me.” (This validates their anger)  Then ask a series of open-ended questions such as “How did you make the decision that I would do something like that to you?”  


Scenario #3

Six months ago, Charlie Simmons was fired for poor performance.  Today he appears in the office with a hunting rifle and a face full of rage.

Solution:  If you can exit the immediate area without Charlie seeing you, do so.  If not, get out of Charlie’s line of sight. Get down on the floor or behind a desk.  Above all, do not try to engage him in any way.

Scenario #4

Christine Jacobs has more energy than any ten people on the staff.

Solution: Ask the boss to change your working space to a location far way from Christine’s cubicle.  You might also talk to Human Resources about the situation explaining that Christine’s behavior is scaring you.  (Do not say that Christine is on drugs because, unless you have actually seen her take cocaine, it is just rumor.  What you can say is that her recent out-of-control behavior is creating a threatening work environment for you.)

This Week’s Scenarios

In the following situations, first identify the passive aggressive solution. Then select the solution that you believe will best resolve the situation.

Scenario #1

A co-worker is very upset at something you did.  She is yelling at you, using abusive and threatening language. Your best strategy for dealing with this is:

●Listen patiently; say nothing; then walk away

●Match her loudness and intensity as you ask, “How would you like to

resolve this?”

●Apologize profusely and tell her you’re just a dufus.

●Put your fingers in your ears and stick your tongue out at her.

●Tell her to shut the hell up and stop behaving like a child!

Scenario #2

Joseph Gardner sits right beside you at work. He is a middle aged widower who wears the same suit and shirt to the office every day.  The man however reeks of body odor.  It is making you sick. Your best strategy for dealing with this is:

●Ask  the boss to relocate your work space.

●Speak to Joseph about the benefits of regular bathing and changing of clothes.

●Suggest that Joseph see a doctor about his body odor; maybe he has a medical problem.

●Take a grease pencil and write on the mirror in the men’s room, “Joseph, you stink”.

●Leave a care package of deodorant, men’s cologne, breath freshener and soap on his desk.

Scenario #3

You have a co-worker who consistently interrupts you. Whether you are talking privately to him, speaking to another person or making a presentation, he interrupts. When this person is around, it is impossible for you to complete a sentence. Your best strategy for dealing with this is:

  • Don’t speak when he’s in the vicinity
  • Write an anonymous note saying that his interrupting behavior is angering the entire staff and makes him look unprofessional. Leave the note on his desk.
  • At the next meeting when he interrupts, in front of everyone, shout, “Why don’t you put a sock in it Harry.”
  • Start interrupting him whenever he speaks.
  • E-mail a request for a one-on-one meeting to discuss this issue. Come to the

meeting with a sign that says You’re Interrupting Again which you can

hold up whenever he tries to interrupt you.

Scenario #4

You and Peter Folsom were assigned to work together on a project, splitting the workload equally.  Peter is a smoker; you are not.  Peter takes a 20 minute smoking break once every hour.  This results in you doing most of the work. You have asked Pete to limit his smoking to the legitimate lunch and coffee breaks. Pete tells you he cannot do that because he is addicted to cigarettes. Furious, you ask the boss for help in resolving the problem.  The boss doesn’t want to be bothered with your personal problems and tells you to resolve the problem yourself. Your best strategy for dealing with this is:

●Hide Pete’s cigarettes.

●Whenever Pete goes for a smoking break, stop working until he returns.

●Offer to pay for a month’s supply of Nicorette gum.

●Tell Pete that you have it on good authority that he is being considered for a big promotion but his smoking is   going to ruin his chances.

●File a hostile work environment discrimination suit with human resources.

● Inform Pete that you are being forced into doing most of the work because of his frequent smoking breaks and you want him to assume more of the workload.

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  • orgudantelornekleri  On May 14, 2011 at 5:00 pm

    I’m not sure where you’re getting your info, but great topic. I need to spend some time learning much more or understanding more. Thanks for fantastic info I was looking for this information for my mission.

    • deannerosenberg  On May 17, 2011 at 2:44 pm

      Thank you for the feedback. All my information is the result of psychology courses, books on psychology and 35 years of working with people whose problems in daily life had become almost unmanageable.

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