Pause: Count to 10 Before Responding (Words We Later Regret)

Subtitle: Professionalism and Such…

We often say things when we are angry that we later regret. That is why I developed a habit of counting or pausing before I respond to someone that’s getting into my nerves. That way I wouldn’t regret anything afterwards.

This is an entry about an incident that happened this morning. About a lateΒ employee (let’s call him Mr. AR) as he got on to defensive mode. Our company has an easygoing vibe and rules are lax. We treat each of our colleagues as our close friends and work position here doesn’t matter much. But I think there is no grounds for it to be used as an excuse for abuse.

This morning, Mr. AR is running late. The manager told me that she notified him last week of today’s early client meeting. She was a tiny bit frustrated with the way our employees currently behave and she spoke generally that she would talk to them about it. Mr. AR finally came to the office. The HR and I asked him why he’s late, the manager is waiting for him as they have an early appointment with the client. He told us that he came from Bulacan (Philippine province, out office is located in Manila) and left there at 6am. So we accepted his answer and brushed it off because that’s how it is here, as I’ve mentioned, we have an easygoing environment.

We did not think much about it up until the manager talked to him and he suddenly got into defensive mode. Saying that why are we angry about him being late and insisting it is not his fault. He kept on saying that he left his house at 6am (our office hours start at 9am and Manila is known for it’s road traffic). These were his exact words:

“Umalis ako sa Bulacan ng 6am. Tapos traffic. Hindi ko naman po siguro kasalanan na nalate ako. Tapos nagagalit kayo.”

We got surprised at his sudden outburst. He became defensive as his tone rises. His anger was directed at me. I have a higher position that him in our department and he’s also talking to our manager. I got shaken up as this is not what I expected from him. I may be his senior in our department, but he is older than me, so he is more experienced and I assumed that he knows how to deal with being late professionally. This made me think that, “Ah, I do not know him after all.”

Before I answer him, I counted in my head and quickly calmed myself. I’m quite introverted (INFP to be exact) this type of anger from anyone shakes me up. I explained that we are just asking him and there’s no need for him to be deffensive about it. He’s the only one who’s voice raised first.

At this point, I don’t think he’s ready to listen to anyone so I just decided to stay silent as he kept on. Maybe he got sensitive due to exhaustion from commuting and dealing with traffic. But still, I think he has to take into consideration his role in our team and his responsibilities and, he should not have taken his frustration out on us.

If I were in his shoes, when I finally come into my senses, I would be embarrassed by my actions. I am employed by a company and it is my duty to come into the office on time. Especially when there’s an important task or client meeting that needed me. We are still members of a company, even though position titles are very blurred here, still my sudden outburst of anger was towards people whose positions are higher than mine.

In conclusion, there are circumstances that would strain our patience and it is pretty much common in workplaces. I think we owe it to ourselves to just breathe and contain our personal feelings first and deal with the matter professionally, this is Plan A. If Plan A did not work, there’s still 25 letters in the alphabet. Find a way to resolve the issue without damaging your reputation.

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8 thoughts on “Pause: Count to 10 Before Responding (Words We Later Regret)

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    1. Yep. A habit I developed because I’ve been through some tricky situations where I let my anger control my mouth. I deeply regret every single word I’ve said.

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  1. I had an employee that was constantly late all the time. I understand that sometimes traffic can get the best of us, but if it is a persistent problem, then they simply need to leave their house even earlier. What was worse about my employee is that he was always disheveled when he arrived and expected to be able to clock in before getting himself ready to work (i.e., putting on his uniform shirt and tucking it in, having his badge on, etc.). I don’t pay people to groom themselves. I pay them to do their job.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I couldn’t agree with you more. I can relate to what you’re saying. Sometimes they get all defensive when we subtly point out what they’re doing wrong. *sigh* I just hope they understand the reason why we’re frustrated with them.

      Liked by 1 person

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