WPV Warning Signs & examples – Part 2
• Work Issues
Is this person having issues with work, of any kind? When I say work issues, I’m talking about specific work duties. Are they having issues remembering what to do or how to do it? Are they shuffling or stumbling through their shift, more so than normal? All of these things and others may indicate that something is wrong. Is it worth mentioning to the boss or someone in a responsible charge position? More than likely, yes.
• Consistent Bullying and Teasing
Bullies get the brunt of the blame in a WPV incident between co-workers. And it is true that somewhere along the line, bullying or teasing, even if it’s good natured, will come into the picture as a trigger point. And usually, bullies their way through life and work, and when they are denied they get angry and possibly go off and could hurt someone.
However, it’s not just the bullies themselves that may perpetrate an incident. If an employee is picked on, teased incessantly, and otherwise abused at work they may turn the tables on their tormentors. One cliché’ that I like (okay love to use is, is a rat trapped in a corner. A wild animal feels trapped and the only way out is too fight their way out. A lot of these incidents are caused by such a reaction in your co-workers.
The one being bullied and teased can always turn the tables on their tormentors – no matter how many there are – a firearm is the great equalizer. However, I have also seen, studied, heard about, and otherwise heard reports about the bullies turning the tables on their victims as well.
And sometimes the revenge doesn’t involve a firearm or any other physical weapon. In 1988 at the Wire Rope Corporation of America in St. Joseph, MO. A teasing victim had had enough. He urinated in the coffee pot of the break room where his tormentors drank their morning brew. They set up a camcorder and taped him urinating into the pot before it was brewed. This was during the time of hysteria over AIDS, HIV, & etc.
Serious mental/Depression stress
This is also a big one to watch out for. And in today’s economy, it’s easier to spot than it was 20 years ago. Whether we are becoming ‘wimpified’ or we don’t have a good support system, we are showing our stress outwardly more and more.
At one time, if we had stress, anywhere in our lives, we kept it quiet. It stayed in the home where the wife, kids, & dog were abused at every opportunity. Rarely, did it spill over into our work lives or at the mall.
It wasn’t unusual for someone not to show stress to anyone, until they were either over it or too depressed and low so you couldn’t avoid noticing it. Now, it’s unusual not to notice if someone is fine!
Money, health, family issues, vehicle problems, foreclosures, and employment worries, all of these things and tons more help us to keep having stress in our lives and some people don’t know how to handle it. And the only way they handle it is to lash out at someone or anyone close to them at home, work, coffee shop, or where ever, like a trapped animal.
Just as with teenagers and SV, this is another red flag in the search for WPV. This one however, goes both ways. It happens from both employees as well as supervisory/managerial staff. And in either event, it’s not a good thing.
It really doesn’t matter whether the excuse is I forgot or they’re off duty. If excuses are becoming common, then it is raising a problem that needs to be addressed.
An example of supervisory excuses is that a friend of mine was at work and waiting for her relief to show up and she had another friend of mine carpooling with her. The 2nd friend went outside to wait until the other was off duty. While the friend was sitting outside, the supervisor came by and told the 1st friend that ‘Didn’t anyone tell you that your relief isn’t here and is running an hour late?’ It was said in a condescending manner to her.
After a few minutes the supervisor walks out and see’s the 2nd friend sitting there. She tells the employee that she’s sorry about it and continues walking to her car. The 2nd employee and the supervisor live 2 blocks from each other and thought they were friends. The supervisor never offered a ride to the employee, even though she was riding alone. This is unforgiveable to me.
The supervisor may have been off duty however, the duty to her employee remained, especially if they lived so close. Just because you’re off duty, doesn’t mean you can ignore the employee or supervisor, and there was no prohibition on employees and supervisors riding together at their employment site. The supervisors excuse? I forgot and didn’t think about it.
These kinds of excuses that will start employee’s beginning to be disgruntled and think about disparate treatment from their supervisors. Definitely a red flag to watch for if it happens on a continual basis.
Robert D. Sollars is a recognized expert on workplace violence prevention and other security issues. With numerous interviews, a twice weekly blog, articles, and 2 books he has proven himself in the security field for more than 31 years, and 23 studying workplace violence issues.
He utilizes his years of field knowledge to give real life examples of incidents pulled from both his own experiences and the news headlines. Contact him at 480-251-5197 or through his Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/oneistoomany. Here you will see and read about other items related to security as well as WPV