When I was in my 20s, my fiancé died in a plane crash a few days before marriage. Not long after that, my son died of an undiagnosed, inoperable heart condition. Before these two events, when I called my dad to wish “happy Father’s Day,” I learned my healthy father had died from an unexpected heart attack.
As you might expect, these triple tragedies left me reeling.
The information above is true, but not the next part of this story.
Imagine that I’m your new coworker and you’ve come into my office and asked me for some information you need.
I respond, “I’ll get it to you.”
That’s not good enough for you, so you press me. You raise your voice and say, “I need it now!”
I’m doing my level best to hold it together, but my nerves are frayed. I’ve had enough and I take it out on you. I shriek, “Look, witch, get out of my office!” Hallway passersby hear me and wonder what you’ve done to elicit that reaction.
I realize I need to apologize to you and do so that next day.
You say, “it’s fine.”
As you might suspect, it’s never fine, not after I screamed at you and embarrassed you in front of passersbys.
Despite my triple tragedy, I didn’t shriek or cuss at those I worked with or for. I was also lucky enough that those I worked with knew my story.
But what if they hadn’t?
Would they have cut me slack? Been understanding?
Here’s my point: Many individuals we work with are hanging on their fingernails. They’re helping their kids all day long with schoolwork and then working as hard as they on their “real” jobs, so they don’t lose them.
They’re trying to stay engaged, but have had their pay or hours cut, and have seen their coworkers laid off, and wonder if they need to pull their own resumes together.
They’re worried about finances. About illnesses. Their kids push them to relax COVID protocols, resulting in daily arguments.
They’re cut off from their friends, family and former stress outlets like going to the gym or meeting friends after work for an early dinner.
If they’re business owners, they wonder how they can continue to meet employee pay expectations despite declining revenue.
Just when the end seemed in sight with vaccinations available, they’ve heard the media reports concerning new COVID strains. To top it off, they’re heard that the weather disasters hitting the country may become commonplace due to climate change.
We need to cut each other slack. To understand. And to work together to fix what’s happening.
If you liked this post, I’d love you to add your thoughts. You also might like “Polarization,” https://workplacecoachblog.com/2021/02/6-steps-for-healing-our-polarized-divided-country/ and “Racism,” https://workplacecoachblog.com/2021/02/racism-in-the-workplace/.
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