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 interact with are hanging on their fingernails. They’re worried about finances. About the Delta variant. About those who won’t vaccinate themselves. If they feel reluctant about the vaccine, about those who treat them as if they’re irrational.
I just watched reality theatre, only it happened in the Anchorage Assembly over mask mandates. People shouting at each. Not listening. Not trying to find common ground.
The common enemy is the virus. But we may need to heal ourselves first.
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/.