About a year ago my boss, a seasoned recruiter and government employee, called a staff meeting. He predicted the tough economic times to come and although he ended the meeting on a hopeful note, he warned us of the oddities we would begin to see in human behavior.
Inevitably, when times get tough, people begin to stress out and consequently, lash out. Working in HR, I’ve been up close and personal with the RIFs and other effects of the budget cuts. I’ve seen the toll it takes on everyone involved and can sympathize with those who have been or will be affected by this economy.
That being said, I’ve seen some ghastly things in this past year. Most of them, in my opinion, are inexcusable and counterproductive. For those of you unfamiliar with the colloquialism, a knee jerk reaction is when you react without thinking everything through. The reaction is usually aggressive and in most times will produce a negative consequence. Some examples are when an email is cc’d to almost everyone in the agency when it’s really no one’s business, threatening legal action just because you’re upset, threatening to quit without notice, etc. I’ve seen a lot more of this in recent times. What I don’t understand is what people believe it will accomplish. For those of us working in the government sector, we know how small the networks can be and lashing out when you’re angry does you no good other than a release of adrenaline. The hardest thing to do when someone pushes your buttons is to not react at all. Although I try hard to respond to my emails in a timely manner, there are also instances where I will wait 24 hours to respond to ensure my frustration has disappeared and my thinking is clear. It delays the process a little bit, but it has saved me a lot of unnecessary inconveniences in the future. I’m wondering, does anyone else have any stories or tactics that have worked for them?