I often can not believe what I see and hear. I decided to share:
It started with “You are on my shit list!’ and it went down hill from there. That is the state of human interaction these days. I got to witness a co-worker verbally worked over. Multiple times he attempted to provide a solution to the woman’s problem only to be talked over. Literally, he endured a five-minute barrage. None of this getting her closer to resolution, in fact she was stopping herself from getting to her goal.
It didn’t matter because it is no longer enough to complain. It is standard procedure to abuse those who are perceived to be at fault. Actual culpability does not matter. Yelling, swearing and a general nastiness does. Civility is an outdated concept for many. Understand that I am working for an organization that is thought to be the unemployment office, it is not. This coupled with the fact that people receiving unemployment are stressed; expiring benefits, slow job creation, and intense competition for the jobs that are available, have created a pressure cooker environment.
The woman’s verbal barrage included the statement that there was no food in the house for her child. After the problem was resolved, the woman picked-up her cell calling someone and telling them to be at her home to accept the FedEx delivery of a new iPhone. Well at least she can show junior a picture of a hamburger. The issue was legitimate, her behavior was not.
Today, while greeting someone, his response sent an alcohol infused wave my way. This guy and his pal were doing some major drinking from the back of the bar before their arrival. They were to meet with a company to apply for a job. The online application asked for ‘First Name’, ‘Last Name’ and ‘Nick Name’. In the nick name field my tipsy friend entered, ‘you asshole’. This on a job application! Luckily he never completed the form so it was never submitted.
The incident with ‘Mister Butts’ proved comic relief to what has become a very stressful situation. We have staff at our reception desk enduring seemingly unending abuse. I arrive early everyday with other folks to facilitate the unemployment line for the claims taker(s) outstationed in our office.. We begin at 8:00. We have been filled for the day by 8:03. if I am lucky we get to 8:30. I stand at the elevator giving people the ‘good news’. It can get quite nasty.
This week we’ve had two instances of verbal confrontation between people who made it in before we reached the daily quota. As we move closer to Christmas pressure will mount. Adding to the mix is that those people on extended unemployment benefits will be cut off on December 29th. Of course congress could approve an extension, but they would have to get their act together (highly unlikely). I do know I feel the stress. I am really tired of getting harassed for an organization I don’t work for and a situation I can’t do anything about. I am not alone.
I tell myself if something physical breaks out I will become a spectator, knowing full well that if my co-workers are threatened I would be all in. Understand this has been building since August 2009. Seeing people have emotional breakdowns, hearing they have nothing to eat, no money for heating oil or losing their home, car, health insurance or spouse. These emotions are what’s behind our unemployment rate. It makes me wonder how close we are to the breaking point.