Wednesday, April 23, 2014
NO NEED TO YELL!
NO NEED TO YELL!
What is the dynamic that allows some people to act like giant dicks without repercussion, while others who are gentle and compassionate sometimes are held to a higher standard?
In the northeast, specifically the New York City area, we have many people who are abrasive, abrupt and seemingly self-centered. I think it is a weather thing. Survival in a cold over-populated climate requires a person to be a bit self-centered.
For instance if you live in a large family in a cold climate, you need to elbow your way to the fireplace for warmth, and fight for seconds at dinner. Gentle compassionate family members go cold and hungry. Other people in this climate understand this and aggressive people are accepted, they are the survivors, gentle, compassionate people are perceived to be weak.
People from warm weather island climates seem to have a gentle compassionate personality, perhaps because instead of racing around and fighting to stay warm, they are used to slowing down and setting a steady pace in order to keep from overheating. Their culture does not need to fight for food; if they are hungry they just pluck fruit from a tree, or pull in a fish from the sea. (Yes, I know this is loaded with ridiculous generalizations, just go with it OK.)
In another lifetime when I was expected earn an income; my place of work was in New York City, the epicenter of aggressive, abrupt, self-centered people. (In actuality, when push comes to shove these people are the salt of the earth and will in fact show compassion, but in ordinary day to day affairs are in general as I describe them.) One of the managers at my office, Frank, was from a warm weather island climate. Frank was extremely competent, but was also easy going, gentle and compassionate. He did not seem to have an angry bone in his body. He never had a bad word to say about anyone.
One day, as part of his supervisory position, he was required to reprimand one of the clerical staff that reported to him. This person made a minor error which cost the company maybe $50. The firm but fair Frank said calmly and in the manner of instruction,
“Mary, you have to be careful when you see this situation, you probably should have asked my advice before you matched this trade. Fortunately this error only cost $50, but it could have been quite significant.”
Keep in mind, a New Yorker manager may have handled it like this,
“Yo Mary, what the fuck, are youse stupid or what? You screw up like this one more time and you’re going to be standing in the unemployment line…capeesh?
And that disciplinary rant would have been accepted without comment.
How did Mary react to Frank’s gentle instruction?
“OK, I get it, you don’t have to yell!”
Frank turned to me somewhat startled and asked,
“Joe, was I yelling?”
I mulled it over for a bit before I responded,
“I gotta say, Frank, for you that was yelling!”